125: Wealth and the Deathbed Framework
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone my guest on today’s Wealth Formula podcast is Steve Sims. He is the visionary founder of Bluefish, the world’s first luxury concierge that delivers the highest level of personalized travel, transportation and cutting edge entertainment services to corporate executives celebrities professional athletes and other discerning individuals, like you, interested in living life to its fullest. Welcome to Wealth Formula podcast, Steve.
Steve: Thanks for having me.
Buck: So Steve let’s start out with you. This is an interesting kind of area that you’re in. Tell us about yourself. Obviously that’s not a that’s not a Texas accent you’ve got. Where did you get your start and how did you end up starting Bluefish?
Steve: Well I didn’t is the easy answer. Before I go into it. I’m a bricklayer from East London, trying to find a job like all entrepreneurs knew more about where I didn’t fit than where I did fit, tried a whole host of jobs from cake salesman, insurance salesman, tried to be a stockbroker, ended up in Hong Kong doing what God built before working on the door of a dodgy nightclub and quite simply I had people coming to me asking me, oh do you know how to get into this party? And you know it became my way of being valued in a circle of affluent people so the more people were asking me where’s the best club, where the best restaurant, where’s the best place to stay, where’s the best hotel, it grew and I thought I only want to work with the rich people so I’m only going to advise the most affluent access and I started getting people into really cool clubs and parties in Hong Kong. Then I started getting them into you know worldwide social events like Kentucky Derby, Polo, Monaco Grand Prix and it just grew and all this time, here’s the dumb thing, all this time I thought of myself I’m just building up a network that I can turn around and go hey give me a job, without realizing I was actually building up my own business.
Buck: Right well that’s that’s pretty interesting I mean and that’s sort of, you’ve found a niche where you know you were you were unbeknownst to yourself creating a business. In a way I kind of did the same things with this podcast I just started talking and the next thing you know…so that’s that sometimes the best kind because it means you’re doing what you’re you’re interested in. But you know was there a critical point during this path? I mean obviously there’s a big step from from being a guy who knows where the best parties are and where the best place to stay is to becoming you know a business and really a recognized concierge service. When did that happen and how did you you know, how did you reach that conclusion or at that point?
Steve: Well it’s like all mountains they start off by being little stones that just get together. So the requests got bigger and bigger and as I say, went from getting into Johnny’s party to you know hanging out at the Formula One and then closing down museums to get married by the Pope, not at the same time those are all things that we’ve done. It’s a case of I think the one that really surprised me was way in the late 90s I started doing a lot of the Formula One parties for Ferrari and I thought okay and that just made me think well I’m just a party planner now you know that just happened to be with one of the biggest iconic car groups in there. And then when I came to the States in 2000, a friend of mine contacted me, and I must I must first let you know that I’ve never googled an applicant to my company so it’s been really interesting once I’m taking them on as a client, finding out just how powerful they actually are, it could be quite surprising, but I don’t want that intimidation to start at the beginning of the conversation, by the time I’ve been working with him for a while there’s no intimidation. But one of my clients actually owned is a New York Fashion Week and he said to me hey I want you to look after this little event I’ve got going on I don’t know what’s that you said it’s the New York Fashion Week. And I was like, you want me to do with that? And he was like oh you could be the the concierge to it. That was the first time we’d ever been referred to as a concierge. We’re not called Bluefish concierge we’re not called “the concierge”, were called Bluefish. We openly tell people we’re an attitude, we’re a style, we’re its own. We don’t say we’re a concierge, we say we do all of these things but we’re not a concierge. And the he literally put it in the New York Times that we were the official concierge at the New York Times.
Buck: Wow, so he started it for you.
Steve: Oh he started it. So then the Kentucky Derby took us on, the Grammys took us on, we did some events in America, Bridgehampton Polo West Palm Beach. So before you know it people were looking for a source. They were looking for someone to give them bad cocktail stories, make them a bit more exciting, make them a bit more interesting and we became that person.
Buck: So now you’ve got, we’ll get get more into this a little bit but now you’ve got access to pretty extraordinary things, people, etc. So it’s easy once you get there and you’re you’re already doing this, it’s probably a little bit easier to get access to those things now than it used to be?
Steve: Oh by far.
Buck: What what did you have to do in order to you know to pull off some of the things that you did early on I mean was it just you know kind of leveraging from one person to the next and how did that work?
Steve: So all of my intelligence comes from quips and quotes of which I’ve got a million. But someone once said to me that you don’t step on to the roof, you have to climb up a ladder. So as I grew and I got to know people, I could go to those people and go hey do you know so-and-so make a phone call for me because you know you, you know me and you’ve heard stories about me and you see what I look like I’m 240 pound of tattooed paste ugly, you know that’s it you know. I ride about on a motorcycle, drink too much whiskey to my health, not exactly probably they the prince charming who you want to see walking down your street or holding on to your black card and bank account details. So if I came to you in a party and I went hey I’m the guy that can close the museum down, I’m the guy who can get you on stage with your favorite rock band, then you’d look at me go yeah sure you are mate. But if your best friend told you that, hey now it’s crystal now it’s possible you know? So I always, and still do, I use the leverage of other people’s connections to get me in as a hot sauce to start with. I enter every phone call with the person going ah yeah I heard about you Jimmy called me and told me…oh I can’t believe he did that. And I’m like yes. You’re becoming incredible without trying to sell yourself because everyone else has. I learned that trick from a real young age and the daft thing, and you’ll realize by now there wasn’t a lot of intelligence and growing this company, I was looking for a job. I would literally three or four days a week get up take the earrings out, pursue on, go find a job and not get it and then throw a kick-ass party in Geneva or Thailand or something like that on the weekend and then come choose to go looking for a job again. I never realized and what I actually had and our good friend Joe Polish he talks about E.L.F., you know easy lucrative fun. I was to go with energy, if I can do something that takes a zero energy and nine times out of ten if you can do what you’re doing easily because you’re that good at it, the energy is very low and the frictions very low so me throwing a party at a royal palace in Monaco it was very easy for me. Me getting a job to sell cars and a car dealership was proving impossible, but believe it or not, that’s what I was trying to do before I realized I actually had something.
Buck: So the reason I wanted to have you on Wealth Formula podcast is that you know I’m a big proponent of experiences over stuff. You know my nephew’s in college now, but every year I would get him tickets to something when it was his birthday rather than send him some junk. And you know to me is it’s it’s it’s something that you could hold on to forever. And does that ethos have anything to do with what Bluefish is about?
Steve: It’s everything. It’s only that what that the stand-in line is that you will not take anything away from anything we provide you other than memories and cocktail stories. And the thing about thing about your memories is that they get polished with time as Dan Sullivan says they get bigger and broader. They’re more impactful. I give you $100,000 Audemars Piguet watch, ok. You say thank you ok, and you remember Steve Sims gave you a $100,000 watch. What you’ll remember is that it’s a $100,000 watch. You’ll remember that price tag. But, I fly you to Geneva I take you into the studios and they teach you what goes into a watch and how they make it and you actually add some part of actually constructing one of those watches and then you leave, you’re gonna remember that experience far more it would have cost significantly less but you’ll remember that experience far longer than you’ll ever on that watch.
Buck: Yeah no question about it. And I think that’s the thing that I certainly live by. Even in little things. I mean I’ll tell you know I was just yesterday my wife and I decided, well you know we might get a chef like three days a week just to cook for us at home and it seemed at first you know a little excessive, right? Well why can’t we just do our own thing I mean we end up eating out all the time and you know at the end of the day it’s like it’s not that much different in terms of price and if we just stay home we may not you know really have really you know make much of dinner the dinner might not be that great of an experience. But then all of a sudden you’ve got this opportunity to have this you know home-cooked meal, the chef at your own house and how much does that cost? Well it still costs a lot less then a lot of crap you could buy for the same amount. So that’s kind of why you know that’s exactly why your stuff you know really appeals to me now let’s just…
Steve: I actually, just to embellish on that, I wrote about that in my book about how I got a chef. Now I’m a whiskey-drinking biker from London. I’m 53 years old, I live up in the hills in Los Angeles, but I’m still a whiskey-drinking biker. So the idea having gardeners water my lawn, I still kind of go, this would happen. This chef thing was a big thing for me because there’s a few things that happen, one you eat better based on your dietary requirements. Chefs can do it. But this is what kicked me in the ass, I tried it as an experiment and I loved it and I urge everyone else to do it. I work with my wife, okay? I hate eleven o’clock in the morning and I hate five o’clock in the afternoon for two reasons. Between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning, my wife will say to me, what do you fancy for food tonight? And you’ve got to stop what you’re doing and start thinking about what you’re gonna fancy in six or seven hours time, okay? That as a start is annoying. She’s then gotta make a list, she’s then got to go and shop for it or check if we’ve got it, she goes out she leaves the house, come five o’clock she’s now making dinner. You get a chef, you’ve got no 11:00 a.m. phone conversation, chef turns up, I used something, chef’s coming to my house at 5:30 with the food half prepared, finish it off in the house and leave. And you’ve got no conversation, she’s not now leaving the house unless she wants to, I actually gained about three hours a day because she was able to do stuff, be more involved the kids would come home we could play with the kids rather than getting the dinner put together, and we were losing weight, we were trying gluten free, we were trying all these different things, and also you go to your fridge and you want to make this sandwich so you buy a lettuce, you know unless you want a sandwich every day the bloody lettuce is thrown away in three days time. You found in your your fridge was basically a third full of stuff that wouldn’t perish. So I found it a great way of relieving time, stress, and giving you more stuff to do and be a family.
Buck: Yeah I mean it it’s a it’s all about you know the the whole time thing And you know my wife likes to cook but you know she’s got her own little business going and so what we decided is like you know what we typically are gonna go out once or twice to a restaurant anyway, but she wants to cook, but cook, she wants to mean it. When she cooks, right? So she really enjoys cooking but when she has when she feels like she has to do it multiple times per week it becomes a job rather than something that she wants to really do so now she has two days where she’s like super excited about cooking for the family. And and I’ll tell you up you know again it’s a lot less expensive than you think it might be to look at these services, you know and the happiness that you can bring to your family particularly in my case my wife, it’s worth every penny.
Steve: Everyone should try it.
Buck: Yeah no question, no question. So let’s let’s talk a little bit more specifically about Bluefish. Now you know the range of things available to people as experiences that I’ve seen on your site and I’m a member as part of, I’m also in the Joe Polish group with you so I am starting to toy around with this stuff myself. But give us some ideas. Tell us some of the extraordinary things you know, pick two or three of your favorite things that people have done just like wow, that was very cool.
Steve: Well as you know we book hotels and flights and stuff like that. What we’re really well known for is the amazing experiential stuff. Three? Oh I’m gonna rattle on until you tell me to shut up. I put a client who sang on stage with the rock band Journey because he wanted to meet them and I didn’t think that was good enough he was cool enough, sent people down the Titanic, I’ve had clients wanted to get married in the Vatican by the Pope, I’ve closed museums down for a private dinner party of six at the feet of Michelangelo’s David in Florence, and then we needed some entertainment so I had Andrea Bocelli coming in and serenade them. Every year I partner with Elton John and I have clients from the white carpet and hang out with him in New York and then in Los Angeles on the Oscars, I’ve got people doing guitar lessons with ZZ Top, singing lessons with Florida Georgia Line, basketball lessons with LA Lakers and Miami Heat, drum lessons with Guns and Roses, I’ve had people sitting front row of every Fashion Week’s in Singapore, Milan, Paris, London, New York, not LA, thankfully. I just am the guy you come true when you have a slight dream and inclination and a checkbook that can match it and then I go and make the magical happen. That’s a bit more than three.
Buck: Yeah I know it’s great. What is the most extraordinary experience you’ve ever had?
Steve: So I’m pretty dull. I barbecue, I play around motorcycles, I live vicariously through my clients. But one of the greatest experiences I ever had was one of the experiences that I put together for my client that meant the most to me, that actually ended up being the cheapest experience I have ever, ever, ever, ever done. So I’ll tell you about that one. I’m a great believer in the power of the experience, not the power of the checkbook. So if you want Andrea Bocelli to come in and serenade you in France, you got to have a big fat checkbook, okay? So that there’s a client that spends anywhere between 50 to three-quarters of a million dollars on his anniversary. Every year he does something absolutely amazing. And this year we wanted to do something that was incredibly wonderful again, was his 20th. So this year he wanted it to be impactful. So for that reason we started looking into what would be impactful? What would create the biggest memory? What would be the biggest experience? Well here’s a funny thing if I will come to you in the street and I punch you in the head that’s gonna be an impactful experience that you’re gonna remember for a very long time and probably every time you see me so impact is critical here so we asked him about some of his impactful moments in his life but he told me about how he used to stalk her at college and one year set up this rug and put a hamper and the shitty sandwiches, cheap-ass bottle of champagne, a boom box with these love tunes on it. As she steps out of the class, he hits the boom, box pops the champagne and went, care to join me? And she did. So what we did 20 years later was we put her in a limousine, sent her off to get her hair done or something, and she was in jeans and a t-shirt, because we told her no need to get dressed up yet just go and have your hair done. She goes off at his local park we had looked through pictures of his old days found out what his boom box looked like, got the pattern and color of his parents’ car, his parents’ picnic rug, and was able to recreate that in a local park. So she didn’t come home from the from the hair. She actually went to the park. And as they opened up the door of his limousine, there’s the carpet, there’s the boombox, there’s the champagne, he hits the button, opens it up, gets the cork off and says, care to join me? Now we’ve spent up to three quarters of a million dollars on stuff for her to do on her anniversary. She took two steps and the tears came out. She needed to be escorted to that carpet. I’m on the other side, we have floaters, we have people ghosts as we call them. They will kinda circle the area to make sure no one can get close to them. We have people walking dogs on really really long leads and stuff, coz you can’t cordon off a part of a public park, but we were circling and I was around this side of this tree, I am trying not to bawl my eyes out, because as a guy that’s been with his wife for 33 years, this girl lost it. Now here’s the thing: it cost him about eighteen hundred bucks, for that experience, compared to three-quarters of a million dollars two years earlier. Most of the expense was trying to find a bloody boom box that actually worked, and then having to pay a special professional to actually record onto a cassette because we couldn’t buy cassettes anymore, and there were no cables that worked from your bloody computer into a 1980s boom box. So that’s where the expense was. So I’m a great believer the most impactful is not related to a checkbook, but memories will last forever.
Buck: So let’s talk a little bit about that because obviously, you know Bluefish does cater to people who are willing to drop three-quarters of a million bucks, but it doesn’t have to be that. You can be, if you’ve got you know some mone, if you’ve got decent money, obviously you can’t have no money and do this. But if you’ve got money this is a very useful service and I should tell people that I, like I said I am now part of this concierge service. And you know I don’t have 3/4 of a million dollars to just throw into something for fun, but there is a lot of stuff, a lot of opportunities. Can you talk about that? A little bit, who’s this appropriate for? I mean you can have extraordinary experiences without spending a million bucks.
Steve: Yeah well for start Bluefish membership is five grand a year, okay? So there be a lot of people to go oh I don’t want to spend five grand for membership. But we’ve got people like specially in our circle we got speakers that are constantly traveling, there are members of ours was purely simply because someone needs to look after their travel details, flights, hotels, transfers, and then you’ve got people we send them to Elton John’s parties, we send them to front row at Fashion Week, you know you could spend five grand on the weekend and they’d be really, really cool you could spend $100,000 and it’d be amazing. So we we look at being best value, like if someone contacts us they go hey I want to go to New York. We’ll find the best hotels that fit that style, not their checkbook, their style. Then we look to see if it fits within their budget. While you in New York that’s when we turn around go hey we know you love fish restaurants, this new fish restaurant’s opened up, should we get you a reservation? Or by the way there’s a new play in town would you like to not only go to the play, would you like to meet some of the cast before the play. So that’s where we add all of it on there. The best thing to do is find a who, not a how. Either who that knows everything from New York to Bali and everything in between and outside. We’re the guys there at the door thinking and designing for you so you don’t have to.
Buck: Yeah and think along that lines the $5,000 a year is pretty cheap for having a basically what turns out to be a personal concierge to set up stuff. I’m actually pretty impressed by the value of that because you know I mean I haven’t really got a chance to dig in yet, but I mean I, even as simple as just being you know, just talked to some of your people about you know I’ve got a birthday coming up do you have some ideas that you know we could do around here that would be you know really fun maybe a little bit different but not you know not off the charts because I have three little kids to come with me. And you know they were very helpful. So I think those are the kinds of things too, where it’s like you know the it doesn’t have to be, I still don’t understand how you got, you know how you were able to get the Pope to do a wedding…
Steve: It’s most stunning good looks and charisma.
Buck: And a bottle of whiskey.
Steve: More than a bottle whiskey, but yes you hit the right ballpark.
Buck: But there is a lot of value in it. And so I want to emphasize that. You also have a book. Tell us about the book. Steve: So to do a book on the most you know the most affluent clients I dealt with, and what they got up to, and dropping celebrities, bottom line of it is, I work with the rich and famous, but most of my clients are richer and unknown. And if I started talking about them, now you don’t hear, you don’t hear about the names of my clients unless they’ve named themselves, that I protect. Then I started doing a lot more speaking and coaching with luxury brands on how to get to my client and stuff and then they approached me a few years ago and asked me to do a book not of what I do but on how I do it. So we looked we launched a book Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen, that openly tells you the kind of things I got up to, how I made it happen, how my mindset was, what my market employees, were how I reached out to people. And it got released last October, I thought it would be good because I thought it would it was the kind of book the people should read but I didn’t think it would be as big as it got and I didn’t think it would suddenly start propelling me into the speeches and the consultant and the coaching I’m doing. I’m fully booked for speeches up until next March now. And so it’s just gone ridiculous because here’s the daft thing, quite simply a few years ago I was a big deal to maybe 2% of the planet, but no one else knew me and everyone else would avoid me, now I went to Las Vegas last weekend for a speech, I’m in the airport from LA going to Las Vegas and some people had bought my course and came up, wanted a selfie done with me. So it’s kind of a bit eerie to be on that side of the fence now.
Buck: That’s cool, that’s cool. Well the the website is it Bluefish.com?
Steve: So the concierge is TheBluefish.com. My personal consulting and videos and all that kind of stuff is SteveDSims.com or you can just text UglySims that’s my little byword, UglySims to 345345 and you had to get a downloadable PDF of the cheat sheet of Bluefish.
Buck: So I encourage everybody to take a look at that. This is the kind of stuff you know if you’re making money you know rather than buying a bunch of junk that you know these memories are really, really valuable. So hopefully people will take Steve up on that. Steve thanks so much for being on the show today, it’s been it’s been a lot of fun and when you, if you ever come up to Santa Barbara let me know I’m right up here so.
Steve: We’re next-door neighbors, LA-Santa Barbara, so you know we’ll make it happen.Buck: Sounds good man, thanks again.