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Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned From BRAVO's Andy Cohen

Published on Oct 7, 2013


Coined, “Mr. Bravo,” Andy Cohen is definitely doing it right when it comes to building a brand. Here are some entrepreneurial lessons to learn.

You know Andy Cohen from your television. Not his face, necessarily, but his body of work: the runny-mascara reality empire to which the general female population has become passionately addicted. As Bravo's Executive Vice President of Development and Talent—Andy has puppeteered several dozen reality shows, and in turn become responsible for huge chunks of pop culture. Along the way, the face of Andy Cohen has become increasingly inseparable from the kind of television he makes. Coined, “Mr. Bravo,” Andy Cohen is definitely doing it right when it comes to building a brand. Although his business is certainly niche, there are a few key entrepreneurial lessons that rookie entrepreneurs should keep in mind when adopting their business incorporation venture.

entrepreneurial lessons learned

1. Believe in your brand

Before Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise took off, most TV viewers would have rolled their eyes at the idea of watching middle aged women with a disposable income and prominent social status fight on camera. But Andy Cohen believed in the concept, creating a pop culture phenomenon with the series, which has expanded into a six-city empire and a handful of international spinoffs. As an entrepreneur, you cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell. Believing in your brand is more than just a train of thought. It should be a foundational philosophy and guide everything you create. A brand you can believe in provides consistent clarity, inspires your employees and motivates your customers to continually support your business corporation. 2. Do what you enjoy A few years ago, after several of Andy's creative visions started to slot him into the cast by default (think Real Housewives Reunions), Bravo asked Andy to produce a new kind of television: his own show. The late night talk show, “Watch What Happens Live,” is where Andy steps in front of the camera to confront, and more generally vibe with, the creatures of his own creation: Housewives, Hollywood stylists, designers of anything; even Oprah Winfrey has appeared. The show is a mainstay of volatile looseness- and tailored perfectly to all things Andy Cohen. What you get out of your business incorporation in the form of personal satisfaction, financial gain, stability and enjoyment will be the sum of what you put into your business. So if you don't enjoy what you're doing, it's safe to assume that will be reflected in the success of your business--or subsequent lack of success. 3. Be a shameless self-promoter Commanding over two million followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and labeled as one of TV Guide’s “Top 25 Most Influential People on TV,” Andy has no problem sharing his brand with the world. One of the greatest myths about personal or business success is that eventually your business, personal abilities, products or services will be discovered and embraced by the masses, resulting in customers flocking to buy what you are selling. But how can this happen if no one knows who you are, what you sell and why they should be buying? Self-promotion is one of the most beneficial, yet most underutilized, marketing tools that the majority of incorporated business owners have at their immediate disposal. 4. Design your workspace for success Referred to as “the clubhouse,” Andy’s talk show set is a replica of the den in his apartment. Gifts from guests, photos of Andy with countless famous names, mementos from his home town, even a fully stocked bar is there. "I feel like I'm in my home, like we're doing the show for party guests at my apartment," Andy says in his NY Times bestselling book: Most Talkative: Stories from the Frontlines of Pop. “I still don't feel like I'm on TV.” As a business owner, it’s vital to carefully plan and design your workspace to ensure maximum personal performance and productivity and, if necessary, to project professionalism for visiting clients. More than just improving productivity, when you personalize your work space, studies have shown you enjoy work more, you work harder, and you have a greater sense of organizational well-being.