Donnie Boivin is the founding CEO of Success Champions, a Business Growth Company, and Success Champion Networking, a global business development networking organisation. He is a Marine Corps Veteran, a top 200 Apple Podcaster, award winning sales trainer and raises Nigerian Pygmy goats on his farm. His story about becoming a Champion in his own life has inspired thousands to get out of their own way and go for it. In our interview with Donnie, we explore his origin story and entrepreneurial journey.
Thank you Donnie for participating in this Q&A session. Please give us an overview of your background and origin story?
Donnie: I grew up blue collar, Dad drove a truck and later retired as a technician fixing copiers for Xerox. Mom worked in factories and retired as a receptionist for an eye doctor.
The plan was always to work for someone else. I had no entrepreneurs in my family and I didn't have any mentors who ran businesses. It wasn't until my life had gotten to a point where I was repeating the same bad scenarios over and over again that I started to look for other things to do.
I was 40 years old when I sat in my truck anxious, confused, and unsure what my next move would be. I knew working for someone else could not and would not be the thing I would do for the rest of my life. I was going to make a major shift to this thing called being an entrepreneur and I was walking away from being an employee. I didn’t know what I was going to 100% do, all I knew was that I could not be anyone else’s retirement plan.
I was going to start a business and figure things out as I went along. Now I serve as CEO and Founder of Success Champions and Success Champion Networking. I am considered one of the leading global minds on sales, business development, and business growth. I also host a top-200 Apple Podcast called Growth Mode.
I am a community builder at heart, I build champions. I help small business owners leverage sales and business development, to grow and scale their business through my global brand ‘Success Champion’.
Success Champion Networking is changing the way people network and is one of the fastest growing professional networking groups, with over 55 groups in the US and abroad. The Success Champion family of companies also includes ‘The Badass Business Summit’, and ‘Champions Table Masterminds’. In addition to running multiple businesses, I run a full working farm. I am a four-time Best Selling Author and a highly sought-after public speaker.
Prior to launching ‘Success Champion Networking’ what attracted you to entrepreneurship?
Donnie: I didn't know I could be an entrepreneur but I liked the idea of helping people under my own brand. I wanted to build my own story and my Heroes Journey. I needed a challenge that would help me break my normal routines of good enough was good enough. I really believed that being an entrepreneur was that thing and damn did I underestimate that.
Hearing people talking about starting a business or being an entrepreneur made it sound easy. But the biggest lure was the idea of life on my terms. Freedom through building a business. I found that freedom but I had to go through some dark times and self discovery to get there.
I am a community builder at heart, I build champions. I help small business owners leverage sales and business development, to grow and scale their business through my global brand ‘Success Champion’. - Donnie Boivin
Why did you start ‘Success Champion Networking’?
Donnie: In April of 2020, I had rented out the Hurst Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas and we were doing the inaugural Badass Business Summit, when Covid shut down the conference and moved the whole world online. I knew our company would be okay but the world had no idea how to do business online. It had taken us two and a half years to build a successful online business and small businesses didn't have that kind of time.
On March 17 at 3:30 AM, I bolted out of bed with an idea. This is pretty typical when you're running a business. I sent our COO Kevin Snow a message that we were starting a networking group but I was not thrilled with the idea.
Truthfully, when I launched Success Champions the company, I decided I was done with traditional networking. I didn't want to be known as a networker and I didn't want to teach networking. People who teach networking are typically broke people who can't sell and I didn't want to be in that box.
On the morning of messaging Kevin, I was talking to my wife Elizabeth about how I was going to launch networking groups but I wasn't 100% sold on the idea. She brilliantly said, "Then why don't you become the guy who changes how the world networks, fix everything people hate about networking." So we did just that.
What are the key benefits of joining the ‘Success Champion Network (SCN)’?
1. All meetings are Virtual. No commutes losing half your day trying to get to a meeting, and you can join a meeting wherever you are.
2. No MLM or network marketing or direct sales companies.
3. Each meeting is different with masterminds, virtual coffees, training and learning.
4. Not everyone with a heartbeat can be a member, you must be voted in. It's about getting the right people in the room.
5. Members understand that the other members are not their prospects but part of their team.
6. We focus on helping beyond referrals by teaching how to grow and scale your business.
7. Each Thursday all the members from SCN come together via zoom to learn by networking with members around the world.
8. Online private community for your chapter and all of SCN.
Does ‘Success Champion Networking’ have a particular target audience or is it open to all business leaders?
Donnie: We focus on the second tier networker. People who have grown beyond the traditional model of people trying to sell to each other because they are not growing their business outside of networking.
Networking is a part of your business development not all of it.
We welcome small business owners that are looking to grow and scale with peer groups and referrals.
Truthfully, when I launched Success Champions the company, I decided I was done with traditional networking. I didn't want to be known as a networker and I didn't want to teach networking. People who teach networking are typically broke people who can't sell and I didn't want to be in that box. - Donnie Boivin
In addition to ‘ Success Champion Networking’ you are also the CEO of Badass Business Summit.
What is the purpose and target audience of this summit?
Donnie: The Badass Business Summit is an event focused on helping businesses grow and scale their businesses faster! This event is special because there is NO PITCHING. No selling from the stage, only 100% value and tools to help you go big.
The Badass Business Summit is more than just a weekend filled with learning and inspiration. It's a place where you can get away from the day-to-day worries and focus on the big ideas that can have a real impact on the growth of your business.
The Summit is your chance to look at your company and your next steps of growth from different viewpoints, and come up with your next big idea. The Badass Business Summit is your opportunity to hang out and talk to other business owners that are working on the same problems you are, and are as committed as you are to growing their business.
At the Summit, you surround yourself with likeminded people who want to grow their business, and find the people that can help you stay focused on the activities that will have the greatest impact on your business.
Overall, has your entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any past or present business leaders?
Donnie: I've learned a lot about being an entrepreneur just by going through it. I don't believe in ‘fake it until you make it’. It's do it and become it.
I don't listen to anyone currently in the market place, I am doing my own thing. I will say I love quotes and those have influenced me tremendously. Some of my favourites are:
“The only people who can change the world are those crazy enough to believe they can - Steve Jobs” ;
“Life is not about how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can hit and keep moving forward - Rocky Balboa”;
“You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want - Zig Ziglar”.
What tips do you have for business leaders trying to generate leads through networking?
Donnie: Change your mindset on generating leads and focus on opening doors for others. Quit trying to generate leads. Networking is not about generating leads or referrals. Networking is about opening doors for others through introductions and helping others grow their business.
When you open doors for others the universe will open doors for you. This isn't givers gain crap. You don't give to gain, you give because it's the right thing to do. Networking is not the only way to grow your business, it’s just one way you can, and it’s part of the whole business development process.
Before concluding this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Donnie: Life is more fun when you actually play it. A different times in my journey I thought I was going for it but I was going through the motions. A sure-fire way to tell that you are going for it is that the same issues don't keep popping up. You don't have the same financial struggles, the same motivation struggles and you are progressing forward.
A separation will happen where you grow beyond your current circle as you evolve and become more self aware. I promise that when you can look in the mirror and like the person looking back at you, life gets more real. Most people never take the time to meet themselves, but this is the only trick to living life. Fall in love with the person in the mirror.
You can’t lie to yourself. If you don't like the person in the mirror then start there and figure out why. Building Success Champions allowed me to take a hard look at myself and become the person I was meant to be. You got this.
Thank you Donnie for participating in this Q&A session, we wish you all the best.
Donnie: Thank you.
This interview was originally published in Issue 13 of The Business Anecdote magazine.
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