E139 | The Art of Making Things Happen with Steve Sims
Do you know anyone that’s worked with Sir Elton John and Elon Musk, sent people down to see the wreck of the Titanic on the sea bed, closed museums in Florence for a private dinner party and then had Andrea Bocelli serenade guests while they ate their pasta?
Meet Steve Sims, a biker with face piercings, a goatee and a bald head. He’s heavy set, into heavy metal, yet Forbes and Entrepreneur magazine have described him as “The Real Life Wizard of Oz” for the amazing feats he’s pulled off for his billionaire clients.
While he may have put a pin in his party planning days, he’s certainly not forgotten them. In fact, as a best-selling author, sought-after coach and a speaker, he now dedicates his time to coaching entrepreneurs to break through their glass ceiling and reach heights they didn’t know were possible, all by teaching them how to ask questions, have a conversation, and deliver results.
This is an incredibly entertaining, lively and engaging conversation, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
On today’s podcast:
- From bricklayer to billionaire party planner
- The personal concierge service
- Aggravating oysters
- The Florence story
- Blue Fishing
- Find clarity in your business
- The Sims Distillery – https://simsdistillery.com
- The Art of Making Things Happen Podcast with Steve Sims
- Book – Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen
From Bricklayer, To Billionaire Party Planner With Steve Sims
Steve Sims is an author, coach and speaker, but he’s best known for spending billionaires cheque books to give them really interesting stories. He was born in Reading but grew up in East London, before traveling round the world searching for how he could disrupt, conquer and become hugely affluent.
“I remember turning up on a building site with my dad, my uncle, my two cousins, and my granddad who was in his 80s and I thought to myself, shit, this is it. This is the rest of my life. I like all entrepreneurs, we jump out of the frying pan into the fire. I just went right, I’m quitting.”
And he did.
“I tried so many jobs and got fired so many times. Until finally I ended up inventing my own pocket in my own industry.”
The personal concierge industry
Steve invented the personal concierge industry, where he threw lavish parties for the super rich. From working for the Grammys, to Elton John’s Oscar party, New York Fashion Week, to the Kentucky Derby, he’s worked at the biggest events on the planet, for the wealthiest people on the planet.
“I started throwing the parties not because I liked people, not because I’m approachable, warm and fuzzy. But because I wanted that to be my Trojan horse, to allow me to be in a room with rich people. Because I wanted to walk up to a rich person and go, Hey, you’re a billionaire. I’m not. Why? And that was it.”
He began with people who had half a million dollars, then he threw parties where people were arguing over who had the best jet, then he was dealing with people who owned countries. He wanted to be in the room with them, to have conversations with people who owned major industries, and find out why they were wealthy and he wasn’t.
And it all came from not being able to settle, from realising he wasn’t created to settle, to be a bricklayer like his dad and grandad before him.
The aggravating factor
Every entrepreneur and rich person Steve has spoken to, he’s asked the same questions – where did you get your start? And what aggravated you to do what you do now? Steve believes that every entrepreneur starts off because something has aggravated them. They were working on something and went, hang on, why does it have to be like this?
“I remember Elon Musk telling me that the idea of PayPal came from the fact that they couldn’t understand why it took five days to wire money for one US Bank Account to another US Bank Account. Why should that be the case? So he invented PayPal.”
Entrepreneurs are oysters, says Steve, and it’s the aggravated oysters that make the pearls. Entrepreneurs get frustrated by what’s available and go and innovate and invent a better way of doing it. And then they sell that solution to solve someone else’s problem.
The Florence story
Steve had a client who wanted to get married by the Pope in the Vatican, so he was in Rome, organising that. Another client got in touch to ask him to put together a dining experience in Florence that would impress his in-laws.
“I went okay, how stupid can I do this? I never look at what I can achieve. What can I pull off? That would be cool. I go for Okay, how can I go for something so ridiculous, that is laughable until I pull it off, and you applaud.”
And because it was Florence, he contacted the museum that houses Michelangelo’s David, the world’s most famous statue, and booked the museum from 3pm to 2am. He set up a table, 6ft from the statue. The client arrived at 9pm, a string quartet was playing, they had the red carpet, the full works. Then, while they were eating their pasta, he brought in Andrea Bocelli to serenade them.
Focus on solving a problem
He wrote his book, Blue Fishing, when he moved away from events to focus on getting other entrepreneurs to think differently, to act differently, to create impact and focus on relationships.
The thing is, says Steve, when was the last time you threw away a packet of headache tablets, when you had a headache, because you didn’t like the packaging. You wouldn’t. Headache tablets solve a problem, it doesn’t matter what packet they come in.
“If you can focus on solving a problem you don’t have to worry about a pretty website. You don’t have to worry about pretty branding, Jesus Christ, look at me, I would take people’s money. And I literally look like the doorman and the biker because that’s exactly what I am. I’ve never focused any effort on branding or manipulating who I am. I focus all my energy on solving your problem.”
No matter what your business, stop trying to sell your product, says Steve, and focus on the solution the product provides. Then go out and find the people who need your solution.
“Most of my billionaires wanted to show off, most of my billionaires wanted to meet other billionaires, most of my clients wanted to have parties with rockstars, superstars, movie stars. And then they wanted bigger stars to show up at cocktail parties. That was the problem I was solving. I was giving them the stories that they wanted.”
Find clarity in your business
Look at your marketing message, look at your copy, and ask yourself, are you selling your product, or are you solving a problem? Are you the solution?
This clarity is what is often missing, says Steve. The next thing is to ask ‘why?’
“But why does that need to be done by four o’clock? Why do you need that done? Why do you feel that’s the problem that we need to be focusing on?”
By asking ‘why’ you get to the core of the actual problem that needs solving, rather than fighting fires and dealing with temporary issues.
“When I dealt with Elon Musk he would say before they ever looked at fixing the problem, they would identify why the problem was there in the first place.”
Why is such a great question because it gets you the real answer. And once you have the real answer, you can deliver the actual results your clients want.
“Stop branding, and start talking. A lot of people are too worried about how they look and how they come across. Literally pick up the phone and phone everyone in your inbox and go, Hey, I got your email. But I just wondered, was there anything else I was missing from that email?”