Okay, I’ll Show You my financials.

When I built Bradford & Reed with my brother Michael, we didn’t have outside funding and we had no prospect of getting it. So we hustled our asses off.

As you can see from this video, even the company’s name was designed to give us an edge. We knew that calling the company Bradford & Reed would mean more people would take our calls. We picked the name because we knew it would help us get our calls answered.

No one would ever turn down a call from a company called Bradford & Reed, because it sounded like a law firm (trouble) or a venture capital firm (opportunity). When they finally took my call, it was my job to sell them.

I love sales. All real businesspeople do.

I always revealed to people why we invented the name Bradford & Reed. And even that was part of my sales process. It let the prospect know that I trusted him/her enough to be open, and it communicated what I think made my company special: our hunger and creativity.

Did the technique work? Damn right it did.

As you can see from this video, it was part of what helped us reach $38,572,258 in annual sales. (That’s right. That’s million.)

I know I shouldn’t care about money. It’s declasse to even talk about it, right? But some people were born to care about little animals in the destroyed rain forest. And I was born to care about little numbers on a financial statement. To each his own.

But there’s one thing that’s missing from the story: legacy.

You probably don’t know that we were in the online greeting card business, even though we served hundreds of thousands of greeting cards every day. You probably don’t even know that the brilliant team we formed created a top 20 web property, in terms of traffic. Your world–and most people’s world–wasn’t rocked by us.

Now my mission is to build a legacy, something that changes lives and outlives me. To do that, I need to learn from the best mix of people I can. That’s why I record these programs on Mixergy.

I also need YOU to use the ideas I gather and build a world-changing, legacy-making business from them. Because if these programs, interviews and ideas don’t help YOU, then after I die, all I’ll be remembered for is caring too much about little numbers on financial statements.

So what do you think? Am I giving you information you can use to reach that goal? Is there anything I can do better?

  • http://www.newportseo.com Craig Neil

    This is an awesome story, not too much information. Thanks for sharing Andrew!

  • http://www.planetc1.com/ Michael D

    I heart ambition too! Awesome video and post Andrew, keep it up.

  • http://www.pallian.com Pallian

    Would love to hear more about what Bradford & Reed did… and the story behind it.

  • http://twitter.com/jonathannelson Jonathan Nelson

    Awesome Andrew. Thanks for sharing. I think this is an inspiration for many.

  • http://fleethecube.com/ Cesar Gonzalez

    Thanks for sharing Andrew. I remember talking to you about Bradford & Reed, this puts it in context.

  • http://www.michaeldivirgilio.typepad.com Michael DiVirgilio

    Andrew – you (& your work), but mostly you inspire me. Thanks!

  • Brandon H.

    Yeah, I like that. And just like that you are generating, in the way you do things, a legacy of directness, openness, bluntness and devotion to cultivating ideas. That’s great.

  • http://emad.info emad

    I don’t see any issue with you giving us your numbers. This blog is a blog geared to inform people how to be more successful entrepreneurs and this is relevant information.

    My question now is why you aren’t interviewing yourself and giving us more of these tips! :-)

  • http://www.lalawag.com sean percival

    Thats how you do it buddy, VC money isn’t worth it. Start small and build it up from there. Bravo.

  • http://twitter.com/jdandrea Joe D

    Color me impressed. Good for you!

    Now, I don’t want to stir up trouble, but this is just me being curious and hitting a brick wall. I went to search Bradford & Reed:


    I don’t really find anything. Or rather, nothing at top-of-relevancy.

    Maybe the new owners already changed the name? Feel free to disabuse me of any misconceptions! I’m still impressed. :)

  • http://www.williamsmediadesign.com R Steven Williams

    As close as we have become over the years I never new the skinny about the company you and your brother founded and sold.

    Impressive for sure my friend. This is a great story indeed.

    Thanks for sharing this.



  • http://www.beermenus.com eric stephens

    So in the spirit of transparency, how much did you sell the business for? : )


  • Frode Odegard

    Well done!

    Do not underestimate the MEANING of what you have done – making money, no matter the type of business – requires the very best within us. We hear that money is the root of all evil, but I think it’s the opposite.

    Francisco’s Money Speech in Atlas Shrugged makes some excellent points about the nature of money and the virtues required to make it:


    Best wishes,

    Frode Odegard

  • http://www.domains99.com Mark Epstein

    So, how did you do it? We need an Andrew interview!

  • Andrew Warner

    @Craig, thanks. There’s more to say about this, but I’ll do it in small bites to keep it manageable.

    @Michael D ambition is put down a lot, but charities/businesses/ideas all benefit from ambitious people.

    @Pallian, I had this video ready months ago and didn’t publish it because I didn’t want to sound boastful. But I think I need to be more open to achieve this mission.

    @Jonathan, thanks.

    @Cesar, I’m lifting the curtain a bit.

    @Michael DiVirgilio, Glad this is inspiring. Let me know what I can do to keep it useful.

    @emad, When I interview other entrepreneurs, it feels like research. When I talk about myself, it feels like I’m egocentric. Maybe I need to get over that.

    @sean, VC money is a pain in the ass. The guys who earn it wear the amount they earned like a badge, but in private they (usually) hate the hell they put themselves in.

    @Joe, the assets are now in the hands of Fox Interactive Media and Demand Media.

    @RS Williams, I’ll talk more about what we did. Neil Patel has been convincing me to do it. Emad has pushed too. They’re smart guys. I should listen to them more.

    @Eric, I’m not sure I can talk about what we got for the sale. The profits were where the action was for us any way.

    @frode My problem with Ayan Rand is that her vision of the entrepreneur doesn’t give a rats ass about others. What I love about capitalism is that it forces entrepreneurs to stop being selfish and obsess on others. I can’t tell you how many hours we spent in this company wondering, “what do people want to buy?” or “What will draw the biggest audience?”

    @Mark Sean Percival did a short interview on lalawag.com

  • Andrew Warner

    @Brandon, I’m responding to you separately because I wouldn’t have gone as far or as fast in life if I hadn’t met you. You were in the trenches @ Bradford & Reed and beyond. Thanks.

  • http://clovercontent.com Don From Clover Content

    Wow, that was some good encouragement. It’s good to see that you made it big but did it quietly. I don’t think there’s any shame in making money. It’s and indicator of the value you create and obviously, you created quite a bit of value. Thanks for the honesty.

  • King of Clubs

    I heart Ambition: do you mean the card game?

  • http://blog.mediasocialist.com Kyle Welter

    Nice work keeping with the theme of your overall goal to be as transparent, open and honest as possible. The Bradford and Reed story is quite amazing. I’ll be searching for a way to create a need just as you did.

  • http://www.audiomicro.com Ryan Born

    killer sales , killer ambition…..you are such a sales stud….amazing story Andrew

  • http://www.gogreensolar.com Deep Patel

    that is why I’m here on Mixergy and was the reason I found you. I’m on the path of building a world changing business and your company is increasing my chances of success. thanks for including me on your journey to learn how to build a better business.

  • http://www.releasedatez.com Jeff

    Wow! Pure power! Thank you for sharing what you did. Very nice naming strategy. Really would love to hear more on how you’ve grown your business.

  • http://digforleadership.com Dig for Leadership

    You rock!

  • Andy Dang

    I agree

    Capitalism forces me to be less selfish. If I want to make money, I have to give others what they need first.

    Seth Godin said that he doesn’t know anyone that do business for the money, but rather because it’s a passion

    – but it is also true that you can be passionate about making money, about figuring out “how” to create a demanded value, about the whole aspect of business by it self.

    Side note: I absolutely love your site and I visit every single day anticipating new interviews. ….though I think it’s time for a new logo and a website makeover to help expand the brand value and recognition. Just my 2cents :)

    Andy Dang

  • http://www.brainbankhq.com Melvn Ram – BrainBank

    I’m curious about the specifics of how the name worked with sales calls. If I call someone without an introduction of a friend, the receptionist/secretary will usually ask what it’s in regards to.

    When you think back, do you remember if you’re response was vague so they weren’t sure what to do so they went the safe route of transferring your call in or did they usually not ask (probably due to the name) or did you handle it a different way?

  • http://www.sagevideotraining.co.uk Khuram Malik

    Hi Andrew,

    Im visiting your blog for the first time. Thank you for putting this site together.
    Your video is interesting, because my business partner and i have only just been discussing these issues today.

    This idea of openness, open mindedness and having a general love, wish and desire for those around you as well. I think its infectious and recently im starting to believe that it contributes to your own success.

    Our own business has been struggling for the last 5 years. Like any other business, we made some silly mistakes, but we have always been determined and ambitious….naive too .

    But while we have been doing that, and learning the things that we have, even though we are yet to see the sucess in our business, i already provide advice to other people i know in business to help them in any way that i can. Any little thing that i can learn, anything that has helped us, i like to pass it on.

    I agree, that mindset is everything and if you have the ambition and passion, i believe one can pull it off.

    Our business is also ogranic. We both (my business partner and i) decided that we were going to run the business without any outside investment, and scrapping is exactly what we have been doing for the last 5 years.

    One day, …….one day very soon, i really hope it will be worth it.
    Thank you for your inspiring words

    All the best.

  • http://clintschaff.wordpress.com Clint

    Damn, Andrew. I had no idea you were such a baller. Kudos.

    You’re doing an amazing job, and your blog is one of my favorites. Top 10.

    I’d love personally some help in determining which of my dozen ideas and the dozens of opportunities that present themselves each month are ‘legacy-worthy’. How do you determine which can break through and win? Right now, I think it’s largely guts and faith — couple with smarts, effort and luck.

    Do you know any differently?

  • http://JunLoayza.com Jun Loayza

    You are freaking intense bro, and I really admire it. $38M in a year! You know what… that's not even what caught my attention in this video.

    What did it for me is when you said, “build long-lasting companies that our grandchildren can interact with.” I don't believe in an after-life; this is pretty much it for me. What kind of legacy will I leave in this world?

    When I'm gone, I want to be remembered for great things. Keep doing what you're doing because it is so inspiring and helpful to young entrepreneurs like myself.

    Lets sit down and do lunch sometime to get to know each other outside of the interview setting.

    – Jun

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Would you rather spend your life building a Ford or a Bedazzler?

    Andrew Warner
    Founder, Mixergy.com

  • http://www.HomeRescueClub.com RogerV

    A dollar is just a point in a game called business.

    Why do people think it's declasse' to discuss money? I know, it is. But I think it's just a game… especially since it's so ironic that the more one has, the more of an abstraction aka game it becomes.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I think it's a little like dating. If you're single, it's good to want a
    dates. But if you spend too much time talking about how much you want to
    date, you'll sound desperate and hurt your chances.

    Aren't there somethings in life that we're much more likely to get by going
    at them indirectly?

    Andrew Warner
    Founder, Mixergy.com

  • http://www.consumercreators.com Lawrence

    Now, that is an engaging story. I even called my girlfriend into the room to read it aloud to her. I will be following you and I look forward to applying your generosity of spirit to creating my own legacy with my business.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks Lawrence.

    I've been reluctant to talk about myself here, but feedback like this is making me realize I should get over my reluctance.

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  • Alex

    So is that company you built still around or was it one of those companies sold in the internet bubble that goes bankrupt soon after, so no real value was created?

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Most of it was sold post-bubble. It survives in different ways as parts of different companies. I lost track of it over the years, but Fox Interactive Media still owns a part. DM owns another. And if you listen to my interview with Rosalind Resnick, I think you'll here that I sold a part of it to her previous company.

    But there's no legacy. I can't point to a building/movement/company that's still influencing the world.

  • Joel Spolksy

    How about some profit & growth numbers? Anyone can make $38m selling dollars for $.90.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner


    I admire your work. I'm happy to scan in the statement and send it to you.

    The other thing you should look at is the balance sheet. Anyone can make a
    big profit, but if the revenue is all tied up in A/R the company can
    suffocate from lack of cashflow.

    Maybe you'll have a suggestion for how I can present these ideas and
    experiences. I want to start sharing my experiences, but I'm much better at
    doing than taking about what I did.

    Andrew Warner
    Founder, Mixergy.com

  • http://www.dauclair.com dauclair

    You are legit Andrew Warner!

  • http://blog.geoffreyemery.com Geoff

    Love the eye pop out when you say i love ambition. Its crazy.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I guess that's the best part of posting that video. That it's giving my
    interviews more legitimacy.

    Thanks Dauclair.

  • http://proprofs.com sameer

    Andrew: This was an amazing post. I sure hope you plan to do more and share what we can learn from the exit you got .. what motivated you take the exit and how it went.

    We are lucky in LA to have mixergy that proving to be such a positive force for the entire community. I have benefited a LOT from the people I have met at your event and from the help you extended towards me.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Ha. Too much Geoff?

    I'm talking passionately about ambition as a rebellion against the growing
    wave of people who believe you have to “take it easy and good things will
    come to you.”

    That's not true. It's an insult to people who achieved anything. It's
    misleading people who try to achieve anything.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks Sameer. I exited because I was burned out.

    The last thing I ever wanted to do was exit. But I was so tired from long
    hours and lack of a personal life that I didn't the fire any more.

    The fire is back. I got it on vacation. And it grew when I started cycling
    and running and having an outside life.

    Glad the events helped you buddy. It's great to hear.

  • http://www.selfinlight.com michele

    love the last paragraph….. very poignant

    great sharing :-)

  • http://www.businesstribes.com/ Joseph Sherman

    Naming a company that sounds like a law firm or venture capital firm is brilliant. The irony is that when everyone is trying to sound like .com you go the other way, you stand out.

    Do more with more. Thank you for your videos.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks. Looking forward to seeing what you build. Keep me updated Michele.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Isn't business fun Joseph?

  • Dragana

    Andrew keep up the good work. There is so much useful information you give out, which we can't thank you enough for.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks Dragana.

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  • tmeloche

    Reminds me of Ashton-Tate, and dBase-II. There was no Ashton, there was no Tate, and there was no dBase-I. The old tricks still work.

  • Chance_Stevens


    Motivation speaking is what you should be doing…heck do it for free and just record all the sessions, and sell the live DVDs, sell these interviews on DVDs. If you made $38 million with the last business – this could definitely be bigger.

    You speak from a place most people only wish they could get to and you're not selling bunk or hope, but encourage people to research and dig deeper.

    I don't know if it's the coffee I just drank, but hearing this is exciting. Knowing someone else made it proves I can make it too.

    I <3 Ambition!

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    That is one of the best comments I've ever gotten!

    I love this. Wish you used your name so I could thank you by name.

    Thanks for making this link for me. You just made a smarter.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Right on Chance!

    I have to build something bigger than Bradford & Reed or else I'll spend the
    rest of my life looking back at the “good old days.” And that's not the kind
    of life I want. On to bigger and better.

    For you too buddy.

    This is a life-long quest for me. So we'll get there together.

    i <3 ambition

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  • http://www.evodence.com/ James

    Wow, I'm impressed by your ambition & perseverance, but more so than that, how do you actually achieve $38m in sales in 1 year for online greeting cards only!? How many units are sold for that revenue, how many people needed to achieve total, what was the average # of units sold per sale. You product must have been very saleable!

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    The revenue actually came in from advertising. It wasn't until years later
    that we sold anything through Bradford & Reed.

    Thanks for the compliment. It wasn't easy, but it was very satisfying to
    reach that point.

  • http://kshuk.com alexhoule

    Videos like this one are what gives me a kick in the morning.
    It makes me want to leave my mark on the business world before I hit 25 years of age.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    You're not 25 yet?

    I can't believe I sat on that video for months before running it. I thought
    talking about myself would distract from my mission here. Neil Patel was
    right to push me to do it.

  • http://kshuk.com alexhoule

    I'm only 20.

    Undoubtedly, this video gives you huge credibility.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    My brother Michael was under 21 when much of this happened.

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  • http://www.samuellavoie.com Samuel Lavoie

    Thanks a lot for sharing that story and numbers, really this is inspirationnal. Will keep in mind the name design and ideas behind it. thanks!

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    Thanks! I really hope other entrepreneurs could use the ideas.

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  • willieplasencia

    Major inspiration for me…

    I hope to be in your shoes one day.

    New fan of your blog.

  • https://mixergy.com AndrewWarner

    I hope to help you get even further than I did.

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  • Truman River

    You are certainly a great public speaker and you seem to have motivated quite a few people with the video.

    However, why do you only show the revenue number? Can you share how profitable the business was and the cash flow generated? Potentially anyone could build a $40million revenue business by selling $10 bills for $1 – unfortunately it would not last for long.

  • http://matthewkrawse.com Matthew Krawse

    What an excellent idea. Reverse engineering at its best.

  • http://pegobry.tumblr.com/ Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    That's great, but what matters in a business isn't the topline, it's the bottomline. Am I the only one who finds somewhat suspicious that you're willing to share one but not the other?

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/ssaikia ssaikia


    Your revenues were $38 million. What were your total expenses?

  • http://twitter.com/marksellsla marksellsla

    Hey Andrew,

    My friend John Yang referred me to your site. He's doing a video interview with you tomorrow, how cool. First and foremost it's awesome that you've created this site for other ambitious business owners, your post is inspiring and kicks me in the butt to move forward with my business plan and vision.

    This is going to be a major resource for my project to help me create a “legacy-making” business. Kudos to you Andrew.

    BTW- Early last year a friend and myself thought of a web concept similar to Mixergy.com, we even bought the domain name http://www.startyourventure.com. We never did anything with it, because we didn't even know where to begin. A site like your's is needed to get us ambitious idealists to take action.

    – Mark Gonzales, http://www.facebook.com/marksellsla

  • https://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks. Looking forward to showing your friend an his viewers how I do
    interviews on Mixergy.

    Sent from my mobile

  • TristanPR

    I'm glad you posted this, Andrew.

    I hope this gives EVERYONE out there a giant kick-in-the-ass to get moving! If Andrew Warner, Noah Kagan, Gary V, Siamak and all the others can do it — let's join them! Let's do it too!

    I'm pumped.

  • http://www.CALaborLaw.com/ Gene Lee

    Dude, you are awesome. Thumbs up for sincerity and directness.

  • eugenedlee

    Dude, you are awesome. Thumbs up for sincerity and directness.

  • Shanz

    I want andrew to elaborate on this

  • http://twitter.com/WCbusinessCoach WCbusinessCoach

    Man, that is a sweet strategy with the random name. I might have to copy that.

  • http://EliteBrains.com/ Dmitry

    Hi Andrew,
    can you please post an URL to Bradford & Reed site? I wander to see how it looks. Google doesn't give any relevant result by this name. If you were able to sell it to Fox, it must be worth it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Omar-Duarte/566275284 Omar Duarte

    Wow Andrew. Just wow!

    Now I'm really pumped of starting my business. It's going to be a rough road since I'm living in the Dominican Republic, but I'll freaking get there :).

    All this time I considered Angels and VCs a top priority for every business, but the people you've interviews and yourself have taught me otherwise.

    Omar Duarte

  • http://www.Escapingthe9to5.com/ Maren Kate

    I just read this story for the second time, it took a bit to really digest, this is super encouraging. Not just the money portion, but the fact that you admit you failed and then just grew from it. I always worry about complete & epic failure… so seeing you grow from it makes me smile.

    Thanks again, this site is really like the Mentor I never had…

  • https://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks. Failure was a hard thing to admit, but I felt reborn after.

    Sent from my mobile

    El Feb 6, 2010, a las 7:18 PM, “Disqus” <
    > escribió:

  • juliusorias

    Hey Andrew, I found your site through Neil Patel tweet. I started reading his awesome blog and followed him at twitter just today and then I saw his tweet about your site and now I am reading it
    to the fullest because since then I was young I love to do business or about sales. Anyway, right now it open up again my hunger about owning a real business and lately I already started having an affiliate business and started helping other people to be better about their financial situations. And as I do that, my business are being blessed also. Starting today, I will be following your blog and learn more from you and others. Maybe, someday I want to own my first company or venture online. As I learn from you and of all the interviews in here I am sure I will be successful someday just like you.

    Great story about your success.


  • http://twitter.com/AntwonDavis Antwon Davis

    I think you're doing an amazing job of connecting the dots. It's as if you're a mini-TED. I've taken the time to watch a few of your interviews and they all surpass the typical TV interviews we all usually see. You make your interviews count.

    I also respect and admire your desire and ambition to think and dream bigger. Your goal for your life will liberate other entrepreneurs to think and live in terms of “legacy” over “currency”.


  • Cindy

    Inspiring! And a great coincidence that I found your site today: the dream I have had for three years was realized today when my website went live this morning. It still needs a few tweaks before I start promoting it, but I believe with all my heart that it has something to offer the world that people will enjoy. I will definitely be back to check out your interviews–thank you for a great site!

  • Fin

    Nice video. Who bought out Bradford and Reed? And was the operating expenses around $14M, Did I see that right?

  • mizzfit

    I really loved this video. I can hear the amazing in your voice. I hope to inject that same kind of amazing into my business…


  • https://mixergy.com Andrew Warner


  • http://www.myspace.com/GODOLIFE Matt Shorty Wells

    I'm glad you decided to run it and share a story about some of your past success. I'm new to your site (found out about it through Todd Smith, I follow his stuff) and when I landed on your site I didn't know anything about who you were. With SO many people out there on the net I think you def should share the story of your success. It gives so much credibility to your ability.

    Personally I only care to learn from people who've “been there done that” and sharing the story of what you've done proves you know how to “walk the talk”

    Now that I know about this website I am a fan and am keeping tuned.

  • http://www.ThoughtRod.com Mark Alan Effinger

    Totally Transparent.

    Funny, Andrew. I'm rereading an old article in Wired Magazine as we speak. It's on radical transparency and the new world of the web.

    Of course, that was wayyy back in 2007.

    But I spent a day with Dr Vic last November (the Experience Architect behind Zappos). Seems clear, engaging and honest dialog is never out of style.

    Really cool to see you growing another big-picture business. Let me know if I can help. Your type of content is truly the RichContent we most like to promote.

    Best of success this year. And thanks again for opening the kimono.
    Mark Alan Effinger
    Chief Evangelist

  • http://www.ingboo.com Rikard

    Love the point about the name, just tells you how important it is to game the human brain. Makes me wonder how effective “ingboo” is…

  • rikardkjellberg

    Love the point about the name, just tells you how important it is to game the human brain.

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