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From High School Drop Out to $20M in Revenue: Brad Lea’s Journey with Lightspeed VT (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, May 9th 2016
If you haven’t already, please study our Bootstrapping Course and Investor Introductions page. 

Brad knows how to sell. Read how he turned that skill in to a $20M revenue business with very little formal education.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Brad Lea: I was born in Cottage Grove, Oregon in about 1969. My journey began right there.

Sramana Mitra: Did you grow up in that community?

Brad Lea: Yes, I grew up there until I was 14 years old.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do after that? Where did you move to and how did the journey evolve?

Brad Lea: When I was 14 years old, my parents moved to a town just a little bit north called Eugene, Oregon. I pretty much had stars in my eyes, ran around, did a few commercials, and thought I was going to be a movie star. I ended up dropping out of school at 16 and running down to LA to try to be a movie star. That lasted about six months. I got tired of being broke so then I entered the workforce and started selling things.

Sramana Mitra: What did you sell?

Brad Lea: Cars, artwork, vacuums. It was job to job. I honed my skills in the car business when I was younger and got professional and learned a lot about closing, about people, and the various aspects of the deal. I, ultimately, ended up creating my own lease presentation called The Real Deal presentation. It actually became trademarked. With that, I traveled around the country training sales teams. I realized that by traveling around live, it wasn’t sticking. When you train, you need repetition. It wasn’t allowing the repetition to really learn, so I invented the business I have now out of necessity to deliver my Real Deal presentation.

We’re probably the world’s most advanced interactive training communication technology. We developed it to deliver our own training. It worked so well that everybody started seeing it and wanted to use it as well. So we started private-labelling out software for others, and got out of the training business. There’s a lot of people out there with expertise. We didn’t want to fight with that kind of a crowded market. We decided to get out of the expertise business and just focus on the software.

Sramana Mitra: Are we talking about a platform where a lot of people are coming and setting up their own e-learning courses like Pluralsight or Lynda, or are we talking about you selling your software to other trainers?

Brad Lea: The latter. Lynda is like YouTube with a paywall. Our system is a user experience-based platform where we help the client create their curriculum or experience based on their goal or their target market. We wouldn’t be like a Lynda at all.

This segment is part 1 in the series : From High School Drop Out to $20M in Revenue: Brad Lea’s Journey with Lightspeed VT
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