At the age of 10 Christian Phyfier started his very first business, a 500 count gumball machine that he asked for from his mother as a Christmas gift. He didn’t know quite what he was doing back then, but he knew that those gum balls lead to quarters and those quarters could buy more gumballs and other things. He started off by just putting it in the entryway of the apartment where he and his mom, aunts and several cousins lived, so when cousins and family came home or found a quarter they’d impulsively buy a gumball. Then an idea struck him, his mom was the manager at a children’s play center called Gymboree, she agreed to placing it on the front desk and at 10 years old, $125 dollars every two weeks in passive income wasn’t too bad.
This was the young entrepreneur’s first taste at how business worked, and he was addicted ever since. Before the gumball machine Christian hustled, selling candy in school and burned CDs of some of the hot rappers at the time. At a young age he realized how supply and demand worked, reordering inventory, and simply managing a business, although he may have not known it. In those same moments he also learned how to deal with failure and loss, as one day he came to find out that his gumball machine had been accidentally pushed off the counter and broken. But little did anyone know; the beast came alive in him that day.
Now 24 years later Christian has started more than a dozen companies and has built resources that have allowed him to truly conquer the digital era. He sat down with us to discuss his views on business.
Do you ever regret the decision to pursue business over diving deeper into being an athlete?
Not at all, though I train hard to maintain a certain athletic physique, I am way more fond of my mind. I like the way my brain works when it comes to business, more than the challenge of pushing myself physically. Although I love that too, just not as much. We have enough athletes; I think we need more great thinkers in my community.
So, when you say business is now your sport, what exactly does that mean?
When you’re an athlete, you’re dedicated to your craft. Your number one goal should be making sure that when your team is relying on you to bring home a win or do your part, you don’t drop the ball. For business it’s the same for me. I have been dedicated to training my mind to ensure that when an opportunity presents itself, I am in the right frame of mind to make sure I bring home a win for my team.
Also, to know that my work ethic will always be superior to my competition. Staying sharp, thinking as far outside of the box as I can go and then figuring out how to make those random thoughts into tangible products.
What are some of the correlating factors you believe there are in being a successful entrepreneur or athlete?
Whether an athlete or business individual, you must have patience. Muscles and skills don’t come overnight. Which leads to needing consistency and persistence, you must be dedicated, you have to minimize your distractions and negativity and focus on where you’re trying to go. With either, you have to decide whether you want it, or you don’t, there’s no middle.
Between athlete and entrepreneur, which do you think is simpler to accomplish.
That’s tough (laughing), If I couldn’t say they are both challenging, I would have to say being an entrepreneur. The only reason why is because in most cases with being an entrepreneur, there are no clear steps to completion. Most of it is trial and error and you need to fail way more just to succeed.
Not that the same doesn’t hold true for sports but there’s so many coaches and things you are taught while in school that help athletes improve. With sports there’s a stronger correlation between work hard and see positive results. With business, you can work hard and still fail more often than not.
But on the other hand, sports have so many politics. Because it’s a job you deal with a boss, with people’s personal biases and other things. While in entrepreneurship, you can create your own lane when you’ve been told no. So, it’s really tough, but I’m definitely going to stick with entrepreneurship being more difficult.
Most people are one sided, fitness or business. How do you balance pushing your body in the gym and pushing your mind in business?
It’s simple, the same disciplines I implement in the gym I implement in business. Taking time to stretch to make sure my body is flexible and not tight so that the muscle can grow properly and without injury. Compared to taking the time to budget finances or read books in business to make sure that I can do what’s necessary to see a business to success.
Eating right to make sure I maintain a certain body style is similar to making sure I limit my distractions while working on business so I can stay focused on the goal.
Everything in life correlates, what you learn from a sport you can apply to life and business. You just have to take advantage of the things that you have learned in your early years and apply them to your everyday life and goals.