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How do investors determine whether a company is worth their money, time, and effort? We explore that question in this week’s episode with interview guest John Cerasani. We discuss the key characteristics of an investable business and what entrepreneurs can do to increase their chances of attracting – and securing – investors.

As a leading entrepreneur with extensive expertise, Cerasani shares the story of his journey to success. He talks about how he achieves work-life balance, his first foray into business, and what he views as the non-negotiables of an investable company.

—John Cerasani

Raw and Real Entrepreneurship with John Cerasani

Topics covered in the interview

  • The fuel to be an entrepreneur
  • John’s recharge
  • John’s first business
  • Becoming an entrepreneur

About John Cersani

John Cerasani is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author who has achieved significant success in business. By the age of 27, he was named as one of Crain’s “40 Under 40,” and he attained a private equity exit for his insurance company by his mid-30s.

Using those financial proceeds, he founded the now well-known early-stage venture capitalist firm, Glencrest Global. At present, Cerasani has invested in more than two dozen companies.

He has been featured in a diverse range of industry publications and journals, including the New York Post and Chicago Tribune, and made appearances as a business expert on NBC, WGN, ABC, and FOX. Cerasani is based in Chicago and Los Angeles, where he lives with his family.

Follow John’s Instagram @JohnCerasani for regular business-related advice.

Follow John Cerasani

Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Susan Sly 00:00
Well, hey, what's up Raw and Real Entrepreneurs wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having an amazing, amazing day. And you know, any chance I get to talk about football, I am going to talk about. I know most of you are in countries where football is soccer. And I totally get that as originally from Canada, a Commonwealther, but my guest today is a serial entrepreneur, but we will figure it, well, I'll figure out a way. You all know I will always figure out a way. I do have a question for all of you. And the question is this. I mean, we're living in a very uncertain time. And I know that right now, in terms of our top shows, I get the report every single week. You know, US, Canada, UK, New Zealand overtook Australia. I don't know Australia, what is going on with you? And then Malaysia slipped into the top five, which is awesome. So hello to all of you. But everywhere in the world right now there's this crazy uncertainty. And my question for you is, do you truly feel that you control your own destiny? Because you do. You have to understand that if you want to be an entrepreneur, and my guest today definitely believes that.

Welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that dares to bring the no nonsense insight to those who have the courage to start, grow and scale a business. Here's your host, entrepreneur, investor, and best selling author, Susan Sly.

Susan Sly 01:28
Check this out. He's a serial entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, and I'm sure not one of the bad ones, one of the good ones, and an author and he is someone who loves to share his experience to really help people in business and entrepreneurship, which is messy and gritty and rewarding and fun. And at the age of 27, he was featured in Crain's 40 Under 40, and in his mid 30s, he had a private equity exit for his insurance company. And he founded his early stage VT firm Glencrest Global with a portion of those proceeds. He's been featured in so many publications, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, he's been featured on WGN, ABC, NBC and Fox. And the most important thing to me is, he's a single dad, and I was raised by a single dad. So you know, I love single dads, and my dad listens to the show every single week. So hi, Dad. Thank you for listening to the show. And on top of all of it, he's a former Notre Dame football player, although he did transferred Northwestern, we will probably talk about that. But John Cerasini, thank you for being on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. I'm so excited to talk to you.

John Cerasani 02:38
Thanks for having me, and hello to your dad as well.

Susan Sly 02:42
I want to jump right in with a question I've never asked anyone. What is it about being a single dad that gives you the fuel to be an entrepreneur?

John Cerasani 02:54
Oh, gosh, you know, I think it's kind of goes hand in hand if you really think about it. For me, at least. I guess not really for everybody. But but for me, I think it's the same characteristics, you know, the willingness and mentality that I want to do what's right, you know what I mean? And I want to, I want to be good at what I do as well. And, you know, it's kind of funny, I'll share a quick story. I, as my career kind of took off, and I left corporate America and started making money in the entrepreneurial world and my own business, I didn't feel fulfilled as I could have been in and should have been, as what you would have thought of when you're, when you're making 70 grand in corporate America and then okay, now I'm making a half million dollars, or whatever your numbers are, the numbers don't really matter. But, but when you're here, and then you get here, you feel like, Oh, I'm gonna have all this fulfillment in my life. I'll tell you right now, raising my kids has really filled that, filled that gap more than money ever would. And I thought about it even while it was happening. I don't look back and just think about it as it was actually happening. I knew that. So hopefully that answers your question a little bit.

Susan Sly 04:06
Yeah, it does. And we had, you know, my friend, Blake York. He started a med spa business. He was on the show. He's a single dad. And it's, it's tough, right? Because when you're the only game in town, there were,many years ago I was a single mom. And when you're the only game in town, it's on to on. So it's like I wake up in the morning and I'm on and then I'm in business I'm on and then I you know, when the kids come home from school, I'm on and it's that being on all the time and that, you know, let's face it, John, like this responsibility to lead 24/7. So what do you do to step back from leadership to regroup? Like what's your recharge?

John Cerasani 04:49
Oh, you mean besides some drinks after work? That's actually not what-

Susan Sly 04:55
I'm not kidding. But yeah, sure.

John Cerasani 04:59
You know, I'll, you had mentioned football earlier, I get away from things on the weekend, especially in the fall watching some good college football in the NFL. But I'm from Chicago, some of the Chicago Bears fan, even though we don't have much to cheer about right now. I still, I still work out quite a bit as well. Going into the gym. And I got to tell you, like a lot of people say that, maybe it's cliche. I hurt myself last year with a back injury that kind of laid me out and I couldn't work out for like eight months. And I mean, talk about having a gap in your, in your life. I never realized how much I needed that. And it was still kind of during COVID, too, so there's really nothing to do. So that is, that is an outlet for me. Oh, and I have two dogs too by the way. So-

Susan Sly 05:43
And they're very cute. If you're not on YouTube, if you're listening, they're adorable dogs. Oh my gosh. I was just, so we were talking before the show. And I was in Chicago for the National Restaurant Association, big show. And I was speaking there, as I was speaking and you know, and this show is like 20,000 people. And I was staying at the Marriott Marquis. And I went running and I got to run by Soldier Field, which is so freakin cool. And I was like, Oh, this is the best. Like, you know, the waterfront is gorgeous, but like I'm running by Soldier Field. So my favorite Bears player, I told, so I know some of you, I know you're like, if you're not following football, you're like, What is she even talking about? But back when I was growing up being raised by my single dad, some of you are old enough to remember we had rabbit ears, John. So like on top of the television, you have those little antenna that you have to move. So the only station we got was CBS and I grew up on the Canadian US border. So on Sundays, we watch, my dad and I will watch doubleheader so when the Bears were playing my favorite player was William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Oh, so yeah, so that, he's the one Bears player that I can name, The Fridge.

John Cerasani 06:58
I'm gonna tell you why. So anybody in our age bracket or around this age bracket, Susan could, that's from Chicago, could name every starter on the 1985 Bears. Okay? And I'll tell you right now, it's pretty darn impressive that you said the refrigerator, Perry, because I think it he was on the Bears for like three years. He didn't have like some kind of stellar career. So the fact that you're bringing up that name, you're one of us, Susan, we'll let you in. You're in the club.

Susan Sly 07:22
Well, thank you. Thank you. I have to go back to Chicago this summer. The you know, when The Fridge was playing, so my dad and I, John, on Sundays would, and I was a competitive nationally ranked track athletes. So on Sundays, it was like running, piano, church, and football. And so I would go out for my long run in the morning and then come back then we go to church, and then come back, we watched doubleheaders and my dad and I would do quarter bets. And I'm like, I would always bet on the Bears. And when The Fridge would come on, I'm like it's over. Like the man would just stand there and be like, I'll carry, you're 300 pounds, you're going down against The Fridge. Anyway, so I digress. So as a, as a serial entrepreneur, you know, so many of us, we start a business when we're a kid and there's that first business. What was your first business?

Susan Sly 08:17
Oh gosh, I'm gonna tell you what I remember doing stuff is like, a kindergartener trying to like, sell candy that I would take from my mom's cupboard and try to sell it for 50 cents or the quarter back then. I was always to and things like that. I had a little store set up in my bedroom of like comic books and baseball cards. I go, I go buy a pack of football cards and they became like eight in the pack for 25 cents and then try to sell them each for 10 cents or a nickel depending who the player was and but I was just gonna always wired that way. I think the first thing significant though, Susan would probably be when I was in college. I had a look at, you had mentioned I transferred to Northwestern University, which for those that don't know is right outside of Chicago. We're pretty darn good at football. When I, a lot of people ask them why did you transfer from Notre Dame Northwestern? Well, I tell them, well, a better education. How about that? No, I'm just kidding. They're pretty darn good in football.

Susan Sly 08:39
A bunch of people just cancelled subscribing to this show. And a bunch of people are subscribers now.

John Cerasani 09:19
Exactly. Well, anyone that's, I have my Notre Dame mug, out of coffee I'm drinking right now. And I actually have allegiance to both of the schools. Both of them have done great things for me. But um, anyway, so one of the things I did want to transfer to Northwestern was there wasn't like the same social circles that you might see at other universities, especially other ones at the big time. Like you know, the Michigan State, Ohio States of the world. Shocking, right. But Northwestern didn't have a big, big social scene, right. So I put together this company that would hold events at various downtown Chicago nightclubs and kind of cater to the, to the college crowd which really otherwise these nightclubs didn't even want us in there. So I was dating the girl from DePaul at the time. So her and all, DePaul University is in the city. It's like a Catholic school in downtown. And you know, and then I had a friend at Loyola University, another friend in University of Chicago, put this big group together and really formalized an actual company that got recognition. And actually, that's one of the reasons I was in that Crain's 40, under 40, under article years later. It was a you know, it was substantial. I mean, as I look back, I think, I think I passed the statute limit, the statute of limitations on this, we weren't supposed to be making money while we're in college playing football back then. Now, now you're allowed to. Not only all you're allowed to, it's encouraged, seems like, but yeah, so that was probably my first real entrepreneurial journey. I think, other than lemonade stands.

Susan Sly 10:49
Yeah, it's so interesting. When I'm, you know, I'm reaching like 300 episodes, and to hear people's first entrepreneurial venture, and that it tends to be something as a kid, it's like, there's a problem, I want to solve it. I, you know, and whether it's a personal problem that, you know, I want to make some more money, and I have to figure out a way or whatever it is, it's just like, it just seems so natural. What do you say, because in the VC world, you often hear invest in a team, invest in a team, invest in the team. And I want to ask, you know, it's, it's no different than sports, right? We bet on the team. But I want to ask you, taking a step back from that, do you think it's possible for someone to learn how to become an entrepreneur? Or do you think it's something that they're born with?

John Cerasani 11:41
You know, I, I think it can be learned. And I think, you know, the, the broad definition of entrepreneur, definitely, in some contexts, it could be learned, right? So like, if you're like, if you're a career-long architect or engineer and a firm for the last 20 years, and you have a bunch of contacts, and something happens with your boss, and you decide to go on business on your own, maybe you're not even wired for this, but you can go start up your own company, and probably do well for yourself, because you've learned the business, and it just makes sense to do. But the people with actual grit, that don't have that kind of, I guess you would say, like that bridge in that example that I just gave to, to get into it. No, everyone's not wired for it whatsoever. And especially with this early stage venture capital, this early stage VC stuff that I do, it becomes quite clear, quite obvious, you know, you got guys like, like, I got a guy in Atlanta that I'm invested in right now. It's called Money Line, is, it's a sports gambling app. And hopefully, it's gonna get bought by FanDuel, or something in a couple years. And I'm gonna tell you what, he barely raised any money. I gave him some. And now all of a sudden, two years later, Comcast sports Ventures has given them money. What? Look at how much is done with a little, that's impressive. Now I'm in some, and I'm in some other deals that are well funded, that we barely have a website up yet. It's like, what are you guys doing? You know what I mean? I like to think that maybe there's a method to that madness. I'm just the investor. I'm seeing where this is gonna go. And I do have some confidence in those. But I've been involved in a couple that it's like, you got so much, man, you're doing very little with a lot. And I want a lot with a little and you know that I think it truly is Susan, the way people are wired.

Susan Sly 13:34
I love that you brought in the investment piece. And what, let's talk about what makes a company investable, because I heard a story yesterday, John, where this company had raised, it was in like, the med tech space, and they had raised $150 million dollars, and the company went bust. $150 million, and they still couldn't get it done. And so one person's purview was, oh, it's because med tech is so hard. And I'm like, yeah, $150 million and you still couldn't get an MVP beyond a pilot stage to some form of production? Even if it was limited production in one hospital, you couldn't get that done. Right?

John Cerasani 14:18
They didn't have an MVP?

Susan Sly 14:21

John Cerasani 14:21
Oh my gosh, okay.

Susan Sly 14:23
And so, and you see investors like, you know, you see investors who are willing to throw millions and millions and millions of dollars at you know, a concept, but not necessarily look at the founders ability to hustle and sell. And so even with Radius where we're at, so we had raised, you know, it's on CrunchBase, so I can disclose it right, at about $7.1 million. We're already in the market. We're in production. And we've gone in 12 months from eight people to 86 people and we haven't even done our A round yet, so we're not even diluted that much. That's because we've been able to do, and in AI, that is not a lot of money to get to the point where we're, you know, production working with enterprise customers. But to your point, can that founder do a lot with a little? And that, that's a great question. So let me ask you this, like, if you had a checklist, and you probably do, have what makes a company investable, especially an early stage company, what are those things?

John Cerasani 15:29
Yeah. And you know, for your listeners too, when I'm talking, when I'm speaking of early stage, I'm talking about in this context, at least, I'm speaking a very early stage. There's no money coming in yet. There's, there's no, there's no money coming in yet. There's no, there's really no clients. It's really just an idea and sort of a platform and they're developing the minimum viable product. I'll look at the entrepreneur himself or herself. And just see, do they have that grit? Do they have the ability to fight through some adversity? I'll ask them questions that are tough. You know what I mean? And if they put their nose up early to those questions, gosh, that's such a telltale, you know what I mean? There's a very big difference between people being humble, which I love, your likeable person, if you're humble, okay? But not to be confused with passive, okay? When you are passive, how can I count on you to be aggressive and go get clients, okay? It's one thing if you're able to get this funding from me, but you need to actually be able to turn around and go do something with that funding. Okay. So that's, that's really the biggest thing I look at. And there's, there's really no formula. It's a series of conversations, and really just that gut instinct I get from a person. Now, beyond that, when I'm just talking about the company itself, then it's a little bit different, because then I gotta look, okay, what's the concept? Okay. What is, what is the reason you know, we think this is either going to disrupt the industry or exist in the existing industry, or exist to compete in the existing industry? And from that standpoint, you know, sometimes these founders don't know what they don't know. And maybe none of us know what we don't know about something. If it's new, like, if you would have told me in 1998, that I was going to be paying all my utility bills online and not sitting down for two hours and writing checks out, I never would have believed you, you know what I mean? You know, now technology has caught up so much. We're all starting to kind of look at life a little bit differently. We're like, okay, oh, this Metaverse, okay, this virtual reality. Okay, well, now we could actually see it happening, because we're so like, almost desensitized to the fact of how quick technology is moving. But some ideas though, it was safe saying all that Susan, some ideas are just stupid. Like, like, seriously, you get a lot of people right now, especially young, tech types of entrepreneurs, that, gosh, they want to do something with social media, or they're gonna take over Twitter, or they're gonna do you know, monetize hashtags, because Instagram hasn't figured it out properly. It's like, okay, and how much you guys raising? Okay, you're doing half a million dollars. Okay, you're gonna, you're gonna take over Instagram with a half a million dollar raise? I gotcha. Okay, you know what I mean? So, I think the combination of all of these things really just kind of gives me, you know, gives me an instinct and whether to do it or not. The other thing that I'll look at is, is this a person that could somehow add to my current network? Is there an expansion of my network that's valuable by working with this person, right? So like, Susan, you know, I'm just using it as an example here. But if say we didn't know each other, and I never knew about your podcast or anything, and we crossed paths and you were raising money down the road for your company. Okay. You know, is Susan someone I want to be associated with? Wow, look at her background. Oh, she's got the successful podcast, okay. Okay, now I'm getting, you know, I'm putting credibility to that. You know, so a little bit of all that.

Susan Sly 19:24
I think that I love that broad perspective, John. I had Nick Cavuoto on the show, and he is also an investor and entrepreneur, and we're talking about trends. And so he's investing his allocation for investment this year, are like salt of the earth style businesses that really target people who are aging, because we have a rapidly aging population. I think, in technology, for my incubator, Fem Boss, what I look for, for the applicants that come through, do you have one problem? Can you solve that problem with, based on your experience. Right? So what is, I'll give you an example. So one of the companies that's coming through our incubator, the two co founders' in another venture. They have made millions and millions of dollars. These women know how to hustle. I've known them for over 10 years. They aren't techie. But they have one problem that they want to solve. And it's very simple tech to build and you can stack it, you can add AI to it, you can do all sorts of things to it. But can we get that MVP out the door in 90 days, beta test? How long is it going to take us to get 1000 testers, and those are the things that I look for in a company, but it comes down to the founders. I have seen ideas that are okay, but founders that know how to hustle. So let's have this conversation. So I'm kind of obsessed with the, we crash story. And so there's Adam Newman, and I had, you know, I had this conversation with Nick, because Adam Newman in Silicon Valley just got $70 million, if you're not familiar with who that is, he was the co founder of WeWork. And the big documentary on Netflix, and you know, he's doing all these drugs and stuff. And the, you know, the C team comes in and kind of oust him much like a Steve Jobs kind of move. And yet, there are people who are willing to throw money at people like Adam Newman, who had a success, but a personal failure, because they know that he's going to be able to get it to a certain point, even if they take it over after. And I want to ask you about your opinion about that. Do you think if the founder is grittyy and hungry, even if their ideas mediocre, Can they do it?

John Cerasani 21:36
Yeah, yeah. And you know what? Yes, I do. 100, 1000% actually, so I'm in one right now, actually. It's called Lightning Fit. And they're going to take over, approaching and getting too many details about it. But there's some technology associated with it, it could really revolutionize physical therapy, and sports medicine, just kind of leave it at that, okay. But they also have a proof of concept with it being popular in the, in the fitness world and working there. And they've multiple locations set up with that now. Okay, the big thing over here is, let's be a billion dollar company one day, let's get an insurance code. Let's change the world. Okay. Over here, though, we can just keep setting up these locations. There's one in Brentwood, there's one in LA, they're not popping up, we have an app people work on there. Okay, there is no way this thing goes to zero. Because even if this doesn't work, which, by the way, it will, and I'm very impressed with the founder. And hopefully she's listening, she understands what you know, that I believe in her. And I'm one of the early investors because of this. But even if that doesn't work over there, you still have this, they will make something out of this no matter what we do. Sometimes, it's not almost, it is impossible to go to zero, because we already have a proof of concept down there. Now, the one thing with that Susan, as you probably know is okay, well valuation or you're coming in, okay, you know what I mean? I'm early stage enough now. So I still have that hedge down here. But if you come in a little bit later, and that's a half a billion dollar valuation, Okay, you know, workout centers in the strip malls are probably not going to be enough to have, ever had that half a billion dollar valuation. Right? Again, I'm early enough where I have that. But you know, that's, that's the exciting thing, because with this company, particularly, because you don't have that, and a lot of them, it's either gonna work or it's not, you know, what I mean, and this just has so much diversity and the different avenues that could go. And, and, you know, not just the concept, me having confidence in the founder, Colleen McKnight, that she's going to be able to find something to do with this regardless. She's convinced it's gonna be a billion dollar company. And I'm not arguing with her. So we'll just go well-

Susan Sly 24:00
We'll have to have Colleen on the show, because I would love to interview her. So how many companies are you invested in right now?

John Cerasani 24:06
I'm in about so, so Glencrest Global is set up as, it's just, I just was not comfortable calling it the John Cerasani family office, I call it Glencrest Global, it's my capital. We don't, we don't have limited partners. And my, my big money is managed by the professionals and you know, various hedge funds and private equity things and then I have a big, aportion of my net worth, that I manage myself through Glencrest Global go into these early stage pieces. And I'm in I think, 28 different ones at the moment. But 24, early stage and then I'm also in some for other random things that like, like the Newport Beach Marriott, I'm part of an investment group that bought that hotel, and now it's the Via, if you're ever in Newport Beach, go to the Via. It's amazing. But yeah, so.

Susan Sly 24:55
It's actually funny you say that because I was just at that hotel last year. So-

John Cerasani 25:02
That was, that was after we bought it. But during that they probably hadn't started the remodeling yet, if you go back now you will never recognize it. It's awesome. So

Susan Sly 25:12
In this episode today was brought to you by

John Cerasani 25:16
The Via, Newport Beach part of the Marriott family.

Susan Sly 25:20
So 28 companies, and it's, and you're, so when you're, when you're investing with an early stage startup, are you a hands off investor? Or do you get in there? Because there are different types of VCs and some want to get in there, John, and they want to change things up and they want to install a different CEO. How do you approach that aspect of it? Because I know there's some people listening who are like John and I, and they do invest in early stage companies, I have not 28, a couple of them. But then there are some of you who are thinking about investing in like a Wefunder kind of company or whatever, or you're investing in your retirement portfolio or whatever. I personally think there are some things that remain the same in terms of what to look at when investing in companies, whether you're spending $40 on United stock, or you're investing $736 In Tesla right now, or whatever it is. But I want to ask you, for you and your investments, what kind of relationship do you have with all of the founders?

John Cerasani 26:25
Yeah, so a lot of times now, I'm trying to have some kind of advisory type of position. One that I have a pretty big stake in and we're at the series B level now to government tech company, I'm actually on the board, because I was I'm involved well into the seven figures on that account, it's called QuicKutz solutions and other amazing company. But other than them, my checks are usually on the early stage stuff more in the six figures, and I try to go after or work with companies that I could actually bring something to the table, and it might not be specific to my background or my industry, but is there something complimentary that I could give them, you know, okay, these guys are a great tech product, and they're going to apply it to, I'm just making stuff up, but they're gonna apply it to the sports world. Okay, these guys are kind of like techie, geeky guys over here that don't have any context in the professional sports world. Okay, I do, maybe I could give some advisement on how to do that. So okay, here, I'll throw in, you know, X amount of dollars, and also put me as an advisor on your advisory board, and we're gonna get together once a quarter or once a month, you know, whatever makes sense. And then I could guide you through the process or even make some introductions. To me, that's where it's fun. Because an early stage venture capital, you're gonna get the crap diluted out of you over time. And, you know, even if I put a half a million dollar check into something that has a $10 million early stage precede valuation, look at me, everyone's kinda, you know, throwing me a party and, you know, treated me like God. And they should be, by the way, but in a couple, in a couple of minutes, I'm talking about that kind of money, making evaluation, but in a couple rounds, guess what? No one's gonna remember, man, that could have matter. I'm gonna be,you're gonna, if it goes the way we want, some funders gonna come in with a $10 million check and an $80 million valuation. That half a million I put on, my 10 million, hey, that's awesome. But you know what, and I'm making money on this from an investment standpoint, but I'm just not relevant, I'm just not significant anymore. So I want to be significant. And I'm not going to be able to keep up with these funds. That especially when we're talking about, you know, eight, nine figure check, not nine figure, but eight figure checks, it's going to be very few and far between for me because again, this is just my money. So so, you know, what do we do about this? If I'm an advisor and actually bringing more to the table than just money? You got my you got my attention.

Susan Sly 29:00
So what I'm hearing and I love and in, in my world, so we talk to people like John to invest in the company, right? And that's why I said he's one of the good guys because he wouldn't be on the show. He wasn't. I only have people on the show, John, that I would have the dinner table with my children.

John Cerasani 29:21

Susan Sly 29:21
So I'm very focused in terms of that, but what I'm hearing is it's not just about the money, it's also about how do I add value. And early stage investing is so risky and that, you know, that risk tolerance, and that's, you know, why I have so much respect for you because you're able to discern, you're able to look at risk and say what kind of risk tolerance do I have? How do I mitigate this risk? And if I'm an advisor to the company, that's gonna help to derisk my investment. Now speaking of So, you're getting the workout in, your single dad, 28 companies, plus a portfolio, plus you know, plus, plus, plus, plus, plus and you're writing a new book. Yeah, like the the last question I have, like, tell me about this new book and all your spare time that your writing.

John Cerasani 30:07
So, so my background is that I came up in corporate America and unlike other entrepreneurs, I didn't just, you know, come up with this earth shattering you know, groundbreaking idea, you know what I mean? So, so when you, I never raised money, I never did any of that stuff. I just came up in corporate America working at a publicly traded insurance company. And I was actually at a company called Arthur J. Gallagher, which anyone that's in the corporate insurance space should be familiar with. And I just decided, You know what, it's like the Wizard of Oz. And that's a great company. And they're all great. But it's like, when it comes to actually serving the client, when it comes to the deliverables given to the client, is there anything happening here at this billion dollar organization that I can't be doing on my own? So I left this job in my late 20s. And I just left corporate America behind me and I had that big title. I was an area Vice President, I had an office, I had an assistant. I mean, it was all the stuff that they had won. And a lot of people that do what I do on their own, go after littler clients. You know what, forget that, Susan, I'm gonna go after the same types of clients. And I'm gonna compete in that space. Because I've pulled back the curtain, I understand what it takes. And there's nothing I can't do here. Now corporate America might brainwash us with our business cards and everything else and our, our job titles and everything else to convince us and convince the clients that this is what they need, but you know what I know otherwise. So my book, it's called, it's called The 2000% Raise. And it's about leaving your job in corporate America, going to business on your own, and doing the exact same job, Okay, not changing a darn thing. And you know, I'm not oversimplifying it, it is really that simple. And this book really guides you through the process. It includes my past. It's not a memoir, by any stretch of the imagination. It's using my experiences as a guide, and also what I've witnessed with others. And the way it worked out for me, as I was making 140 grand, left that job in corporate America, started my own company, ended up selling it 10 years later to a private equity backed competitor, took a bunch of stock in that private equity firm that tripled three times, you know, twice in a five year period because it recapitalized twice. Holy cow, all of a sudden, I'm 42 years old and never have to work again the rest of my life. Never in a million years, well, maybe in a million, like literally maybe in a million, that would have happened in corporate America. So that's, that's the, that's the topic,

Susan Sly 33:01
The 2,000% Raise, and we'll have to get the foreword by Lou Holtz for that book.

John Cerasani 33:08
There you go. Exactly.

Susan Sly 33:09
Yeah, we can make that happen. Well, John, it is been a pleasure. And everyone listening, whatever platform you're on, Spotify, iHeart Radio, iTunes, wherever you are. John and I would love a great review. I actually read all of your reviews. And so please give us a great review. Tag John on IG. That's his hangout. So it's JohnCerasani on Instagram. It's actually his real name, which is cool. and tag me SusanSly on Instagram as well. But anyway, John, thank you so much for being here. You're absolutely amazing. I love what you're doing in the world. And I hope everyone here you know, just send us, send us a note if this episode has helped you because I've definitely taken a page of notes as we've been talking. So John, thanks so much.

John Cerasani 33:52
Thank you. Appreciate it.

Susan Sly 33:54
All right, entrepreneurs, well you go out there, rock your day, God bless, and I will see you in the next episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.

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Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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