Color Me Purple: How Former Illusionist & Mentalist, Benji Bruce Built an Online Business Empire
Color Me Purple: How Former Illusionist & Mentalist, Benji Bruce Built an Online Business Empire
Benji Bruce started his first business as an illusionist/mentalist. He started learning magic when he was 10, and by 13 he was performing for tips in restaurants. Eventually he worked his way into the corporate market where he would get hired by companies like Remax, Aflac, AAA, Best Buy, IBM, and more, as the keynote presenter and entertainer for their events. While performing, other entertainers and speakers began to ask Benji how he was getting hired by all these companies. So he started building an online training company.
Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks. My name is Ari Shermer, and I’m your host. I have a very, very special guest today. He say a very dear friend of mine and a mentor of mine as well is named Benji Bruce he started his first business as an illusionist slash mentalist. He started learning magic when he was 10 years old. And by the time he was 13, he was performing for tips in restaurants. Eventually, he worked his way into the corporate market. We get hired by companies like REMAX Aflac, triple A BestBuy, IBM, etc. As the keynote presenter and entertainer for their events. Ultimately, other entertainers and speakers began to ask Benji, what his secret was for getting hired by all these companies. So Benji decided to build an online training company to teach others how to do what he does. In the beginning. Benji didn’t take the online business seriously because it didn’t really make much sense for him to put effort into selling an online program for $297 when he was getting up to 30 grand for appearing at events, then it happens. Benji’s first breakthrough with the personal brand, was when he hit $93,000 in a single month. After that, Benji said, To heck with performing I’m doing this online stuff. And the rest, as they say is history. Please help me welcome my friend and mentor, Benji, Bruce. Cool. Thanks for having me. Great having events. So first and foremost, I need to ask you a question. What is your obsession with purple? You always wear purple. What is that all about?
Benji: Well, it’s just part of the brand really chose as my colors for the business. And then I was filming so many videos how I would always wear purple when I’ll film videos, but I was filming so many videos to where I was wearing purple five days out of the week. And so I figured, oh, let me just keep wearing purple. And it was that combined with I used to perform an effect where you take a coin you borrow a coin and it would bend and then you would give the coin because it’s their coin and they would keep it for years and I thought to myself what is it that I can get people to remember me by when I’m not there so like the coin they remember me as a as like a mentalist, but I thought well with purple people can remember me as well, when they just see it just shop and they just see purple. They’re like, Oh, Benji Bruce. So that’s the other part turned to the purple. Wow.
Ari: Wow. I gotta tell you. I find it fascinating. Do you do magic gigs at the age of 13? Was Was your mom supportive of this?
Benji: Yes? She was the one who actually got me the first restaurant gig because we went out to a restaurant was called red hot and blue. And it was his barbecue spot, friggin best barbecue spot ever. And so we went out there is in Colorado Springs. We were eating and then my mom’s like, Oh, why don’t you think about like performing here. And so she asked a general manager to come over. I showed him a trick. He was like, okay, cool. So that’s how it started. So yeah, she’s always been supportive of everything.
Ari: Wow. You know, I have to tell you, my youngest. I have five children. My youngest is now 17. When he was about 10 years old. He took an interest in magic and he started to learn magic. And also at about the age of 13. He was doing restaurants but he was doing like Bar Mitzvahs. He was doing kids parties. And he was really, really good. And then he started juggling. He learned how to juggle he just actually he just got those the clubs now that he learned how to juggle and I’m telling you, I’ve got basically two left hands when it comes to that kind of stuff. But it was really fascinating that you know, and it was funny because I had to drive him every time he had a gig. I had to drive them in order to get there. But didn’t last long. He still likes the magic stuff, but he doesn’t really do it anymore. Anyway. Alright, so as you know, the name of this podcast is whispers and bricks, the whispers are those voices telling you what the right thing to do is and the represents the good things in life. The bricks represent the bad things that we go through in life. Now, everybody goes through something. Nobody’s got a straight, you know, a straight ride. Okay, everybody hit some bumps in the road. Now on the surface. You seem to have had a great life and a great career. But we all know that life is not a straight line. There are ups and downs bumps in the road. I bet you it took me years to become an overnight success.
Benji: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. That whole takes 10 years to become an overnight success. It’s
Ari: true. Right. Now, what I’d like to know is what my audience would like to know is what was some of the struggles and or failures actually, some of the bricks that you got hit with when you were starting out in your career and throughout your career.
Benji: Well So, alright, so I’m gonna tell you the biggest one. And then I’ll tell you my thinking behind this whole thing. So the biggest one was when I was performing, and I was doing all the restaurants and I was doing it full time. This was after college, I’m still doing it full time and everything, just like, five, six days out of the week. And then what happened is, I wanted to perform corporate but I just never made the leap. And what happened is all the restaurants just let me go within like the same week, it was the weirdest thing ever. They all just let me go. They’re like, Oh, Benji, like, alright, it’s gonna be our last day where you can pay you you still come in just for tips if you want, but we can’t pay you anymore. So all of them, let me go like set one of them the Bandler Silva in Colorado Springs, they’re really cool. And I was singing Oh, man, that was like the scariest moment for me because I’m like, damn, I gotta get a job and all that. So is it that’s kind of what happened. I was like, the scariest moment. But that was also the moment that kind of fueled everything, because I was pretty pissed off and like, Okay, I’m gonna show these efforts. And then boom, I just jumped into corporate. And so that was one of the things that really did it. In terms of like, the struggles and failures is not that I haven’t had any, it’s just that I’ve had so many that I don’t think about it anymore. So I’ve almost blanked them all out. Because they just don’t matter to me anymore. So it doesn’t matter how many times I mess up, they’ll whatever is it’s almost like a non event to me at this point. Similar to, if I were to ask you what, what did you eat last month on last Wednesday at 2pm? Or whatever? What would you eat? It’s a non event to you. It’s not that it didn’t happen, you just don’t remember it. And that’s what happens to me when it comes to just failing at stuff is when I was doing the brand stuff. There’s all kinds of things I was failing at trying to create products, nobody would buy webinars, nobody will buy stuff that is just one of those things where when things fail, they don’t work out. I’m just like, Okay, go on to the next thing. That’s literally what’s happened to me, I just become numb over it. So I wish I could tell you more of the failures and everything. I just honestly don’t remember, I kid you not. That’s just how my brain works at this point.
Ari: No, that’s great. Because, again, you know, we have everybody goes through ups and downs, and everybody goes through these failures. And the whole point of this show is to try and teach people how to get past that how to get what to do in those kinds of situations. And that’s why I bring on people who have gone through situations. And they always tell us, you know, well, this, this is the way I handled it. I don’t know what you do, but this the way I handle it. So you’re giving my audience some ideas and some confidence to say, hey, you know what, alright, so this happened. So let’s move on. Let me ask you this. Did you ever fall to a point, like so low? That like you said to yourself, you know what, I quit, I’m out, I can’t do this anymore. Whatever. It was just like you, you just, I mean, you just hit rock bottom. Okay. And if that did happen to you, A, how did you deal with it? And how did you make that comeback?
Benji: Oh, but just because I really think my brain is kind of it’s very delusional, in a sense, to where, like I said, when something happens, I can feel bad for a little bit. And then my, my head, my thoughts where it’s like, stop saying this stupid. And it’s like, I have my own motivational coach in my head, which is kind of weird. But yeah, in terms of the rock bottom is stuff, it’s more of, is it? I’m the opposite. I have so much self esteem. It’s, it’s insane. So it’s like I said, if there’s anything bad that happens, I’m Oh, motivational coach in my head is slick. Just Alright, let’s go on to the next one. And that’s kind of what I do. I don’t really know how to describe it. Other than that,
Ari: wow. The fact that you’re African American and Jewish on top of that, did that hinder you in any way shape? Or form? Was it a was it a good thing for you? Is it a bad thing for you, you know, maybe had no effect at all? I mean, I don’t know.
Benji: Oh, well, I mean, I don’t know if it had an effect in terms of like racism or stuff. Because, I mean, there’s obviously little things that happen. But in terms of growing the business and all that I didn’t really notice a difference in terms of being black, Jewish, and all that and really notice a difference. It was just really terms of what was going on in my head, like, I got to make this thing happen. I got to figure this out type thing. I never thought in terms of a black and Jewish type of stuff. I mean, obviously stuff has happened, but not to a point where even it was business related or anything like that.
Ari: So basically, it was no big deal. He didn’t feel hindered. I mean, we hear so many, so many so often, how they say we have systemic racism, and I don’t know that if you’ve ever felt that or you believe.
Benji: So. I do believe it’s kind of like like you’re starting a race and you’re starting it late. So everyone else is starting. Let’s say you’re running a marathon, everyone else starting on mile 10. And you’re starting on just from zero. And so that is how I felt but at the same time, it’s One of those things that motivates you even more. So the reason why you hear so many rags to riches stories is because when you’re broke, you know you need money. So all you can think about is I gotta make money, and I’ll send an SMS, all you start to do you just like, boom, boom, boom. But when you have money, you’re comfortable, and you just, you don’t think about it. So you just stay the same. So someone who’s starting from zero, they, they know, Hey, I gotta hurry up. Whereas a person is starting at 10, the 10 mile marker, they’re like, Well, I can take my time. And then before they know it, this person who start from zero, they pass them because they just went with with a sense of urgency. So if anything, it was like that, to where it’s kind of like, well, because you’re broke, I was like, Alright, I gotta make some money. So if anything, it was that but it wasn’t in terms of some crazy racism stuff.
Ari: Okay. So it’s kind of like, there are a lot of stories about Holocaust survivors, who came out of the camps with literally the shirt on their back and turn around and 2030 years later, and they’re highly successful people. And it was kind of like I’ve been I’ve spoken to, you know, a number of Holocaust survivors. And it was something like, look, they took every chance in the world because they saw a hell they were at Hell and Back. Alright, so they had nothing to lose. What is the worst thing that can happen? Was there a thought, right? So they took they took the plunge no matter what, they took the risks, alright. And many of them became very, very successful in simply because, you know, they had that mindset of I got nothing to lose. Alright, I can do this. Alright. Yeah, pretty much that sounds like kind of sounds like what you know what you went through? Not the Holocaust part. Thank God.
Benji: But again, grandfather
was in the in a concentration camp.
Ari: Really? Oh, that’s right. You’re Jewish. I keep forgetting
Benji: X. My mom born and raised in Israel. So yeah, her dad was in a concentration camp when he? Well, I’m not allowed to say too much about it. But yeah, basically was in a concentration camp. Yeah.
Ari: Okay. Look, there, there there aren’t. There aren’t a whole lot of Jews who didn’t have some connection to the Holocaust in some way, shape or form? Yeah. So let me ask you this. Is there anything, any other words of wisdom that you can share with my audience some advice, if people are going through stuff, you know, because especially now with the pandemic, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on on businesses all over the place. I mean, my speaking business basically shut down because of the pandemic. I’m starting to see it open up a little bit. So that’s good, besides the Zoom talks, but there’s nothing like live, as you well know. So any, any advice you can give? How to get through this pandemic? How to deal with it? What should people do? How should they keep their spirits up?
Benji: So one of the things I’ve always liked doing was turn anger into ambition, when you get mad at something in terms whether you fail or something, whatever. But when you get mad, you turn it, you use that as a reason to push even further and stronger, and all that sort of stuff. It’s like when all the restaurants let me go. And I was like, motherfucker, it sounds pissed off. It was like, part of it was fear, but part of his like, motherfuck. And so that’s when I decided I’m just gonna keep pushing. So the same thing with everything with the virus on sort of stuff, to where, let’s say you, you lose your business and all that you use that anger that you have inside of you, you turn it into the ambition aspect. So it’s one of those those types of things so you don’t just get angry just to get angry, it’s more of your you’re pissed off at something, and you use it as a reason to go further. So it’s they hear stories of, let’s say, a guy breaks up with his girlfriend, he’s like, Oh, you’re fat, and all sudden, she’s like, okay, and then boom, she just gets hella fit. He’s, like, see their mother. And so like, she does it in terms of like, look at me now type of thing. And that’s that honestly, like, is motivated me a lot. I remember when I was charging for gigs, and I would charge, I would say, $1,000, then they’d be like, Oh, no, it’s too much, and things like that. And then in the back of my head, I’m like, okay, mother, I’m gonna get to a point. Next time he asked me, I’m gonna say, I’m gonna, um, be able to do so many gigs, where you won’t be able to afford me anymore. And so it was that that was honestly my mindset for a long time to where instead still do it. Now. It’s just one of those things where, even with let’s say, Selma, the programs I think in the back of my head, I’m like, okay, he’s an adverse who don’t buy the program, just wait, I’m going to get it to a point where it’s going to be so expensive, they won’t be able to afford it. They’re going to be begging me to charge them what I used to charge back in the day. And so is that type of thing that I truly think actually causes? Insane result. Wow.
Ari: Sounds good. Sounds really, really good. So now, if people want to get in touch with you, they want to learn more about your programs which have to sell. What would be the best way for them to do that actually get in touch with you? Email or website? How would they do that?
Benji: I mean, you could go to www.speakinglifestyle.com And then you’ll find everything there in terms of programs, email, all sorts of stuff. And then if you want to look up social media, just type Benji Bruce and I’m sure stuff a pop up. Just look for the guy in purple.
Ari: All right, that’s great. Benji, listen, thanks so much for sharing your story with my audience, giving the people the motivation and the inspiration they need to persevere and all the struggles in life to you. Good luck going forward. You been listening to whispers in bricks and I’m your host Ari Schonbrun. Until next time, listen to the whispers never give up on your dreams. Bye for now.