TPE S2 22 | Joy And Happiness

 

Ever since you were young, you were programmed by society to aim for money and success. But, what is the real meaning of being successful? Is it based on the income you’re earning or the profit your business is generating? Listen to your host Don Williams as he talks with Brent Freeman about focusing on the little things that bring you joy and happiness. He talks about realigning your life to reconnect with what you’re passionate about. Brent uses business to generate profits and social impact while optimizing happiness in himself and other people’s lives. In this episode, he shares how he got into entrepreneurship and failed his way to success. He explains the power of learning and discovering your true happiness.

 

For information on how to work with Don visit Work With Don Williams

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From Florence, Italy – Entrepreneur Brent Freeman

I have a real treat for you. He lives in the Bay Area but somehow, he’s in Florence, Italy. I’m jealous. He’s the Founder and President of Stealth Venture Labs, a serial entrepreneur passionate about using business to generate not just profits but social impact. In 2009, he founded Roozt, an online marketplace for social consumer brands that was featured in Mashable, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc., Today’s Show, NBC, ABC and soon to be everywhere. He was honored by Forbes as a name you need to know.

Brent is an Angel investor and former venture capitalist, a regular contributor for Entrepreneur and Inc. He Cofounded five eCommerce brands and is Chairman of the Board of the Bay Area Chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to Inner City Children. His bio says he loves to travel to Italy. Remember, he’s in Italy. He spends time with family and friends. In 2020, he received the high honor to be knighted by the Italian Royal family, Casa de Savoia, for his commitment to philanthropy and giving back. Brent Freeman, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Don. It’s a pleasure to be here. I appreciate that.

I’m glad that you took the time. I love the power of video conferencing where time is irrelevant. Tell me, what are you doing? What’s your main passion? What’s happening?

I’m in Florence, Italy. Florence is where my soul is at peace. There’s magic, energy and vibration in the city that’s different than any other city in the world. This is the birthplace of the Renaissance and insane creators like Michelangelo, DaVinci and Rafael, that influence history for so many years. They all came from here, including Dante and Claudia. There’s so much here in Florence.

The entrepreneurial spirit is when you love creating solutions. Click To Tweet

My passion is speaking Italian, the Italian culture and being here. I invest 2 to 3 months a year living out here. We have a business out here. If you say what’s your passion, it’s Italy. What I’m up to, in general, is I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve been an entrepreneur for years. I have been failing my way to moderate successes in that entire rodeo. I’ve had some moderate successes and a lot more failures. I’m fortunate to have the company I have called Stealth Venture Labs.

You can think of us as a venture studio that has a digital marketing agency inside of it that helps eCommerce brands grow and scale through growth plateaus, from big brands like HelloFresh down to small startups. We have an incubator that helps start and incubate new brands with 0 to 1 concepts. We have a nonprofit that teaches inner-city children how to start businesses, entrepreneurial mindset, digital marketing and eCommerce. It’s three divisions under Stealth Venture Labs, agency, incubator and nonprofit.

I’m active in Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which is 16,000 people around the world and 1 chapter or 2 in Italy as far as that goes.

I am in EO, the San Francisco chapter.

I’m going to dial you back to young Brent, aged 5 to 18. In the household or households where you were raised, did one of the adults in your life, whoever that might’ve been different for different people, set an entrepreneurial example for young boy Brent?

TPE S2 22 | Joy And Happiness

Joy And Happiness: When you really fulfill a dream that is rooted in joy, your life starts to change for the better.

 

The short answer is yes. My birth mom passed away when I was seven. It is the defining events in my life that made me into the man I am. She and her energy and spirit has stayed with me my whole life. I call her my birth mom. Both were Italian women. My father remarried an amazing woman who is my first mom. She was an entrepreneur. My father was a cinematographer and director of photography, very focused on the artist’s voice of telling stories. My first mom was an entrepreneur for twenty years.

I got to see the dichotomy between hustle, grind, do everything yourself, the long nights and weekends hours working on vacations and all of that. The artistry and passion of my dad, where he would sometimes work on set for 6 to 12 weeks and not work for 3 months, was very feast and famine. I wasn’t a lemonade stand entrepreneur. I believe that entrepreneurs are made as well as born. For some people, it clicked. They have a garden cleaning business and a lemonade stand. They’re selling things door to door. I wasn’t that kid. My only dream in life was to come to Italy, meet my Italian relatives and learn to speak the language.

When I saw the dichotomy between my parents, I knew I didn’t want to be that workaholic, crazy entrepreneur who so many of us see. I also didn’t want to be the feast and famine of freelance life. The lessons they taught me were centered around following your passion and the money will come and work hard but don’t work so hard that you burn out because the destination isn’t promised. It’s about the journey.

Brent from age 5 through 18 went through a lot. My birth mom passed away. I was coming of age and rebelled. I found and lost myself. I ventured out on my own and went to college. I saw the volatility of what happens in entrepreneurship. Through a series of very unfortunate events and no fault of my mom, she sold the business she ran but the company that bought it was fraudulent. It took the whole business and the family to bankrupt. I was in my freshman year in college.

We went from being upper-middle-class to bankrupt when I was eighteen. I didn’t want to switch colleges because it was the place that I wanted to be. My parents, God bless them, took out student loans. I took out student loans. I worked. They helped where they could. I went to USC, not a cheap college. I graduated from that institution knowing that my network would be my net worth as I got out there. That’s when I started my first business.

You win some, you learn some. Click To Tweet

The connections between those early years of loss, grief and connection with my parents and this amazing woman who came into my life when I was a little bit older showed me what entrepreneurship can be and what it can’t be. The ups and downs that I came out with said that I’m very squarely optimizing through the journey because the journey is the destination.

We’re probably still in young Brent. You weren’t a lemonade entrepreneur but what’s the first thing you did where you traded time and effort and somebody paid you?

My first job was schlepping gear for my dad on set as a production brad, as they call them. You bring in sandbags, help set up lights and all of that. I was 10 or 11 when I did that. I was twelve because it was under the table. I worked at a video store rewinding VCR tapes. Take them out of the thing, the owner winds them, you put them into this and put it back on the shelf. That was my very first job.

It was a terrible job but with good benefits. I got free movies. I love movies. My thing was always about who you know. I always had a guy that worked here and there. They give you a discount here. I always had a little network going as a kid. I didn’t work the system like I was going to sell things to people because my next job after that was working at the front desk at a local gym.

It was always about me saying, “How do I create a network of people where I bring value to them and vice versa?” It wasn’t like, “I’ll do this for you. You do it for me.” It was like, “I know a guy that works at the movie theater. He can get us in and gets free popcorn.” There’s always that stuff. That transcended to college, where I couldn’t afford spring break trips and became the head rep for them. I would get paid to promote them and get free trips. I was always hustling stuff like that.

TPE S2 22 | Joy And Happiness

Joy And Happiness: When a business doesn’t work out and you experience failures, you learn so much.

 

Kids, if you’re not familiar with a VCR tape rewinder, ask your parents. Brent barely remembers but I remember well. You went to USC, graduated with a degree or degrees in what?

I was a Communication Major with International Business Emphasis. I had a Minor in Entrepreneurship and Italian Language and Literature.

I always love you, who went to college and got a degree in Entrepreneurship. One of my best friends went to Baylor and got his degree in Entrepreneurship many years ago. It would’ve been cutting-edge stuff for higher education to recognize the value.

The entrepreneurship program at USC is very strong. It’s called the Gray Center. They have done a good job at incubating amazing entrepreneurs and bringing alumni together. Marc Benioff and Aaron Levy went to USC. There are many examples of people who have done big companies and small alike. The curriculum when I was there was centered around the traditional business plan, feasibility study, business planning, go to your pitch and all that.

What was good about that is it taught you a process but the moment I graduated, I realized that a business plan isn’t worth a shit. As long as you have business plans, you have business realities. “Everyone has a plan until you are punched in the face,” as our boy Mike Tyson says. What the Entrepreneur Minor did for me was put me in a peer group around other people to say, “I’m not alone. Other people think like me.” That sparked my entrepreneurial spirit. Full circle to Florence, I studied abroad in Florence in 2006 during my junior spring semester.

You should have a passionate vision to show the world that you can make a difference in a profit through your business. Click To Tweet

I took Intro to Entrepreneurship class here for the first time before I went back and declared an Entrepreneurship Minor. In that class, it was like, “This is why I think differently. This is why I’m studying. This is why I think all my bosses are craps and they should do things differently. I have opinions about how they should run their company when I’m eighteen years old.” It was like this, “It’s because I’m an entrepreneur, I think entrepreneurially.” I joked that EO, Entrepreneur’s Organization, is like entrepreneurs anonymous. It’s like that because we are afflicted with the blessing and the curse of being creators.

If you are an entrepreneur reading and have not found your tribe, reach out to Brent, me or EO. There are other groups out there. That’s the one we’re probably the fondest of but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Many years ago, a client called me and said, “You should join this thing called YEO.” I was like, “What is that?” He told me and I was like, “I’m not a joiner. I don’t play well with others.” I pass. Two years later, a friend invited me to go to an event. I go to an event and I’m like, “This is going to be cool.” It takes me about six months to connect the dots. Somebody brought this up way back then. Tell me, how’d you start your first business? Was your first business Stealth Venture Labs?

No. I’ve been doing Stealth since I was about 29. My first actual attempted business was a consulting company in college trying to convince restaurants and bars in downtown LA where the downtown LA project hadn’t blown up yet because they were still very barren on how to recruit and get USC kids to come and drink and eat at their establishment. We walked around all these places, pitched to the owners and put together a proposal like, “Here’s what we’re going to do and the plan.” We give them a proposal. We didn’t realize we should give a synopsis of the proposal. We gave them the proposal. They were like, “Why are we paying you? You’ve given us everything you need.” That business was dead on arrival.

We called it Lounge Doctors. It was never even a formal company but that was the first foray to be like, “Let’s re-tweak this.” My best friend at the time, who helped me, has gone on to start a couple of unicorn companies. He’s a brilliant kid. My first real company was an international commodities import-export business, commodities trading. I was 22 and graduating with $200,000 plus of student loan debt due to the factors I told you about. My dear friend, who is Co-President of the Entrepreneur Club at USC, had worked in that industry the summer prior and had made $100,000 in sourcing lumber for a construction project in Dubai, cutting out the middleman.

I was like, “That’s interesting. I could use two of those deals. Please, pay back some of these student loans.” We started talking and he had some connections in the supply chain and on the buyer side. We decided to form a company together, not knowing what we were doing. I didn’t know anything about import export. I bought commodities trading for dummies, an Import/Export for Dummies to try to understand what terms like FOB rent, EX Works and all that.

TPE S2 22 | Joy And Happiness

Joy And Happiness: The world tells you, you can do all these things and once you get these things of success and recognition, you will be happy but you’re not promised the destination. You should recalibrate back into the things that bring you joy.

 

We started that and for two years, we chased the money aggressively. The goal was to make as much money as quickly as possible. We made that money. My lifelong dream was to go to Italy. When I came to Italy and fulfilled that dream, the radiance from the inside out of my body are pride, happiness and fulfillment. I feel it looking out here at the Florence Cape. There’s a fulfillment too, when you fulfill a dream that is rooted in joy. I knew what that felt like.

Fast forward, I’d set this goal to make a certain amount of money because it’s a $10 million deal. We celebrate it. The next morning, I wake up. I’m a millionaire on paper. I felt the most hollow I had ever felt in my life. From a very early age, I got to compare and contrast of the money chase. Money brings happiness to a certain point but it handcuffs at times. You need money to create freedom. I expected the inside-out radiance that I felt when I came to Italy for the first time when I closed this big deal and it wasn’t there. That was an a-ha moment for me.

The world imploded. The global financial crisis killed that business. Dubai was a couple of rings outside of the center. What’s $1 million became $100,000. I walked with $40,000. We shut the business down. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me because it was my first big failure in business. It’s a failure because the business didn’t work out but I learned so much. I loved being entrepreneurial. I didn’t love that business. I didn’t want to be the guys that were the most successful there. I didn’t look up to them. They had all the fancy things but they were miserable on the inside.

I got an opportunity in 2009 and 2010 to reinvent my entrepreneurial career at a very young age. I was 24, 25 or somewhere in there. I was always passionate about philanthropy and giving back. I volunteered for the American Cancer Society. My mom had died from cancer. I liked the model that TOMS shoes were pioneering at the time and embedding social good into the DNA of the business. I said, “I want to do that. I want to use for-profit businesses to create a social impact. That’s my mission in life.”

I set out on a journey to make that my life’s mission to embed cause into my cogs. I’ve been doing that ever since in a lot of different forums. I went on to start a marketplace platform for social entrepreneurs, which also failed miserably that took four years to bleed out slowly in a lot of different ways. I learned a lot from that and that’s what led me into what we do at Stealth. Here at Stealth, we’ve founded and cofounded about 10 different brands and companies, including 1 in Italy that we started in COVID with Italian grandmothers doing Livestream pasta-making classes over Zoom. That’s the arc. There’s a lot more failure than success.

You will realize all of a sudden that the things that you're doing in your day to day are actually rooted in the things that make you smile from the inside out. Click To Tweet

I love your attitude on failing my way to success and every time you talked about a failing and you learned. In my private client practice, one thing I share with clients is this, “Either you win or you learn.” Learning is winning. It’s a little slower than the pure winning.

I have a saying and we do it in my company. “You win some. You learn some.” We do wins and then learnings. I’ve done this long enough to know that as an entrepreneur, you’re a firefighter. The failures are your stepping stones to success. You’re constantly putting out fires all around you every day. We tell ourselves, “We create solutions wherever we go. It doesn’t matter if we’re traveling or it’s a business issue. We create solutions.” “Failures” are those learning stepping stones.

I have a friend here in town. He is a venture capitalist and interviewed 40 billionaires when he started his career. That provided this immense amount of wealth and knowledge. With his four children, he has told them, “From birth, you will all be entrepreneurs.” When people hear that, they’re like, “It’s a little heavy-handed.”

He’s like, “Yes, but listen to how I define being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is a problem solver.” That’s the way it goes. Think back across your career. I’m going to ask you for a candid story. Think back to a hard lesson, something that when it happened, you were like, “That hurts.” In retrospect, you look back and you’re like, “That needed to happen.” Do you have a hard lesson you can share with us?

We don’t even have enough hours in the day to go through all those but here’s what I can tell you. In the last years of my life, I have gone through a renaissance of rediscovering the joy, a rebirth of reconnecting to the things that matter to me and the why. In that process, what I realized if you do the timeline or an equator exercise, highs and lows, is that in every single joyful moment in my life, the highest of the highs stemmed where the seedling was the lowest of the low.

TPE S2 22 | Joy And Happiness

Joy And Happiness: Society is so damn good at feeding us from a young age on what success looks like, what it means to be successful, how much money you need to have the things you need to do so we think that’s the road to chase.

 

I’ve realized that the hardships are my seedlings of joy. That realization, because there’s been so many, allows me to surrender to the universe and trust that when I’m going through hard times, there’s beauty on the other side. It’s like the sun is always shining behind the clouds that we see in the sky. It may feel gray, dark or stormy but the sun is always there.

There are a couple but the business story is when Roozt, the marketplace for social entrepreneurs that I started after the commodities things failed, was my baby. They say, “Don’t attach yourself to your company.” It was me. I was on all the shows. I had 45 people on my cap table, from my high school football coach, my brother and best friends, you name it. It was on a passionate vision to show the world that you can make a difference in a profit. We did the first one very well. With the second one, not so well.

We had bad margins. We didn’t have any recurring revenue. It was my first real operational business with a couple of employees. We had 25. That business eventually failed because we ran out of capital. We tried to raise a Series A. We got our ducks in order. The market went soft and we ran out of money. I had to lay off 25 people in 1 day with 9 hours of check writing saying, “Go cash this. There won’t be money tomorrow.”

You want to talk about ambiguous loss. When you have a company like that go under like the way that it did, I was destroyed, embarrassed, in real grief, in shock, angry and in denial. I went through all five stages of grief. What I realized happened in the failure of that company is I had to go through that entire journey. At this stage of my career in life, the stakes are even higher. I’m looking to build a family and grow. I’m not as young and have as much energy as I did when I was 25. It starts to decline in the late 30s slowly.

I realized that the joy of me being in the happiness that I am in, I had to go through that because the learnings that came out of it were the fundamental building blocks for everything that we’ve gone on to do with Stealth. We’ve catalyzed $1 billion in M&A exits for our clients in the food industry. We’ve helped our clients generate $1 billion in revenue. We’ve done pretty well ourselves, certainly not in the billions. I am focused on how we create a lifestyle that is centered around joy, investing in joy and getting Return On Joy or what I call the ROJ.

It's not too late to recenter on joy and to re adjust your day to day, week to week life and operations. One joyful act at a time, even having coffee in the morning, will impact you a lot. Click To Tweet

That all came about because the other business failed. I walked away with even more in debt than I previously was. I was embarrassed that I lost all my investor’s money with no finances or anything. I didn’t want to get a job. All I had was the learnings. As I went through the recovery of that, I eventually got married and that marriage failed. I had to go through another heartbreak to lead me into this renaissance that I told you about.

I had to get to a point where I stood at my penthouse window in San Francisco and considered jumping. I had all the fancy things but it was so dark. The world tells you, “You can do all these things and follow the program.” Once you get these number of things of success and recognition, you’re happy. I realized that I followed all of that and still didn’t get the things. I wasn’t promised the destination. I had to recalibrate back into the things that brought me joy. It was little things like going to watch a sunset, freshly fallen snow or being in Italy, which I hadn’t gone to in years at that time.

It’s the moment I turned my attention to trying to achieve what the world told me I needed to achieve and I recentered. The destination isn’t promised and I learned that. The marriage and business failed. There is no destination. Why am I waiting to invest in joy to some later date once I have an “exit?” What I did is I made a commitment to myself every single day to invest in one thing that brings me joy and that could be small, like I walked through the bubbly gardens and laying back on the grass. I looked up at the clouds like a kid and made shapes in the clouds that passed by. Let the imagination go. That’s on what I call my list of joy.

What happens is when you invest in those daily little things that bring you small little bits of joy, it becomes a compounding Moore’s law exponential growth effect. The first is slow but then quick. You realize all of a sudden that the things that you’re doing in your day-to-day are rooted in the things that make you smile from the inside out. That all stemmed from the failure of that business. I was so devastated, destroyed, bitter, angry, jaded, frustrated, disappointed and embarrassed, all the emotions. It drove me into the lowest of the low so that I could use it as a trampoline and bring me into the orbit that I’m in, which is much more sustainable and happier. I’m not always happy. Life happens but I know how to get back to the center.

My wife is one of those people who people will comment, “She’s joyful.” It is her natural bent to be joyful. That’s a gift. It’s not necessarily my natural bent. I benefit from the fact that it is her gyroscope is set that way. Years ago, I began this intentional daily practice of gratitude. They’re interlinked. I’ll tell you that if you have practice gratitude and you do it with intention, not accidentally, every day, you’ll be amazed at how much more grateful you become. The more grateful I become, I trespass into joy.

TPE S2 22 | Joy And Happiness

Joy And Happiness: It’s the daily and small compounding effects. It’s a compound interest, put it in there that brings you true joy and happiness. When you start to do more and more of that, it’s slow at first and then speeds up and business starts to change for the better.

 

That’s it, Don. It becomes a practice. People think that it’s so hard or they can’t do it. Gratitude is when you’re in a state of elevated emotion. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a future or a past event, talking about time at the beginning of this. It’s all happening in the present. When you feel in a state of gratitude, even if it’s from the past, your body’s feeling it. I use gratitude in daily practice but it’s also fantastic as a way to fall asleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, drop into a state of gratitude with a small little thank you for this bed, pillow and these sheets.

You are feeling grateful. Before you get to ten things, you’re asleep. It’s because gratitude shuts the nervous system down. It gets you out of this cortisol and puts you in a state of bliss. Joy is the same thing as a gratitude practice. The joy practice is not like, “Sit there and grin,” although there’s science behind smiling and what that does. It’s about reconnecting with the things that make you smile from the inside out. Usually, those are things from our childhood.

As we get older, we forget about these things. We don’t allow ourselves to over-chase a program. When I first did my first list of joy, it was very short, 5, 10 items. I had trouble remembering. I wasn’t doing any of them. It was big things like going to Italy, speaking Italian and watching sunsets. My list of joy and I do this every year on New Year’s, are 170 things. I keep adding to it because I’m like, “That brings me joy.” It’s specific, like hearing the sound of Italian being spoken, speaking Italian to a little or old Italian lady, freshly fallen snow or big snowflakes.

All of a sudden, you start to tune into the things that bring you joy. In your brain, we have this little feature called the Reticular Activating System, the RAS for short. It says, “Be aware of this.” Sometimes, that happens like you got a new car and all of a sudden, you see that car everywhere. What happens is when you start programming your brain into saying, “Be aware that this matters. This brings me joy,” you’re going to start noticing it. The more you notice it, guess what the happier you are. It’s not that you necessarily turn from a grouch to blissful. It’s the happiness or joy quotient from the inside out. You feel better.

I started this gratitude thing years ago. I released the book in December, which is my fourth book. You may have a joyful book in your future, Brent. You got a story.

You have to really align with things that make you happy. Take that vacation, take that time with your family, be present, go do something that makes you uncomfortable. Click To Tweet

I’m writing it. I’m running a couple of businesses full-time. Finding the writing space has been a challenge to create. What’s interesting is that every day, I’m building on it. I’m adding new things. I’m never going to stop growing. I’ll pick your brain as I dig into it. It sounds like you’re quite the writing expert.

I’m happy to share some tips. I’ve written four. 5 and 6 are in process. That’s the first time I’ve been working on two at one time. That may be a sign of insanity but maybe not. It may be a sign of genius. Who knows? We’ll see. That’s what I’m doing. We’re getting into the final turn. I can see the checkered flag out there. You’ve been generous with your gold so far but share a nugget or pure gold that an entrepreneur could take from your career that maybe would help them in theirs, other than what you already have, which has been extremely valuable.

It’s a continuation of what we were talking about. There’s a very tactical answer to this, which is centered on pay. Listen to the market and adapt to the market. It is such simple advice that is so difficult to do and follow but I’m going to move away from the tactical into the area that we were talking around. There’s no dress rehearsal in life. This is it. We’re in the main show, the main event.

We get certain chapters. We’re not promised all of them. My mom died when she was 42. Guaranteed she wasn’t planning on that. In that journey that we have, what are we doing? What are we chasing? Why? Our society is so good at feeding us from a young age what success looks like, what it means to be successful, how much money you need to have and the things you need to do.

The white picket fence, the two and a half kids, the fancy car, all these different things when you’re an entrepreneur, the tech crunch, the exits, the VC, the glamour and all the different stuff that comes along with what it means to be “successful” that we think that that’s the road we should chase. You know this as well as I do, being a part of the EO. How many of our fellow EO-ers are miserable because they don’t want to be in their business anymore? It’s not because they’re entrepreneurs, not creators but they had a misaligned understanding of what they do and why. It’s the how. “I need to do to hustle and grind. Once I get there one day, I can enjoy it.”

The one day is now. That’s the piece of advice that I hope I get to share with the world. It ties into the joy. We can only control the now and the things that we put our attention on. While I’m running several businesses and solving serious in this post-COVID world, I am choosing to invest in joy every day and create more of that. It’s not always easy but I’m also choosing to say, “I am intentionally not going the route of venture-backed and chasing like I once did, because when I did that, I got some of the things and places. It all fell out from underneath me and I was left with nothing.”

I had neglected my mind, body, soul, family and all of these different areas for so long. That was only a five-year stretch. Not someone doing it for twenty. My biggest nugget is it’s not too late to recenter on joy. Readjust your day-to-day and week-to-week life and operations. One joyful act at a time, even if it’s as little as, “I love sitting in the sun, having coffee in the morning and playing with my children.” It’s the daily small compounding effects. It’s compound interest but with joy.

What happens there when you start to do more of that? It’s slow at first and speeds up. Businesses, clients and your relationships start to change sometimes for the better. Sometimes things have to fall off. That is a beautiful process when rooted in things that make you smile. I would encourage my fellow entrepreneurs, wantrepreneurs or people that are operating to say, “It’s not too late to readjust your operations day to day. Realign with things that make you happy. Take that vacation. Take that time with your family. Turn your phone off at night. Be present. Go do something that makes you uncomfortable. Get out of the program. It’s the matrix.”

Maybe the title is One Day is Today. That’s pretty powerful. Brent, how can we support you? Is there anything we can do for you?

Don, you’re doing it. This was a beautiful conversation. I run a multimillion-dollar firm and brands. I had a lot of responsibilities, employees and all of that. That is important work in the world. My passion beyond Italy is spreading this message so people can live a joyful life. If people want to reach me, they can email me. I do respond to all of them. It’s Brent.Freeman@StealthVentureLabs.com. If they want to work with us, that’s the fastest way to reach us. We respond to all of them but the number one thing is spreading the good word and chasing the life you want.

Thank you so much for joining us. Remember, it’s good business to do good, so do both.

 

Important Links

 

About Brent Freeman

TPE S2 22 | Joy And HappinessBrent Freeman is a serial entrepreneur who’s passionate about using business to generate both profits & social impact. While at USC, he launched a commodities trading firm with offices in Dubai & LA where the goal was to make as much money as fast as possible. After doing exactly this, he quickly realized that money alone does not bring happiness. So in 2009, he dedicated his life to using for-profit businesses to create real social impact in the world and founded Roozt.com with a vision of connecting the millennial online shopper with fashion forward, socially conscious brands.

As one of the pioneering advertisers on Facebook, Roozt grew into an industry leading, seven figure revenue platform with a community of over 250k people that donated a meal to Americans in need for every member who joined. Roozt was a “2011 Forbes Name You Need To Know” and was featured on the The Today Show, INC.com, Mashable, Huffington Post, NBC, & ABC.

In 2014, Brent founded Stealth Venture Labs with the vision of creating a turnkey, digital marketing team-for-hire that helps subscription brands find product market fit, push through growth plateaus & integrate social good into their business models. In the last 7 years, Stealth has generated over $750M in recurring revenue for it brand partners and manages over $20M+ per month in media spend for brands like Hello Fresh, Factor_75, MUD\WTR, Crocs and many more. As a 100% remote organization since 2014, Stealth attracts some of the best digital marketing talent from orgs like Facebook, Thrive Market, JustFab, Retention Science, & Uber and has let everyone work from home before it was en-vogue!

In 2018, Brent launched the Stealth Impact Lab as a 501c3 non-profit org that provides $5000 grants to inner-city teenage entrepreneurs in the US from disadvantaged backgrounds. Brent has written for Entrepreneur and Inc and speaks all over the US on topics like social entrepreneurship, including a TEDx on social enterprise. Brent lives in Lake Tahoe full time and in Italy 2-3 months per year where is a co-founder in a business called NonnaLive that live streams pasta making classes with real Italian grandmothers from a little village outside of Rome. For every class we teach, we donate a meal to a family in need.

In 2020, Brent was appointed a Knighthood (Cavaliere) and invited to become a member of the Royal House of Savoy by Prince Emanuele Filiberto of the Italian Royal Family, House of Savoy, in recognition of Brent’s 15+ year dedication to social enterprise using for profit businesses to create social impact.

 

For information on how to work with Don visit Work With Don Williams

You can also reach out to Don Williams at https://donwilliamsglobal.com

Please join Don and his businesses in support of St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in its Mission to cure Childhood Cancers. You can donate to St. Jude at stjude.org/donate