With over 7 billion people on the globe, it’s comforting to know that God created some with an extra special mold, and He certainly broke it with this one. We do not say this lightly as we introduce entrepreneur Louis D. Spagnuolo. Quite possibly one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, his company Illuminati Trust has over 37 corporate holdings in a diverse range of industries. If you haven’t met him yet, you’re about to get to know one of the most powerful men in business.
Let’s get down to the bottom line…
Beverly Hills Magazine: What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: To me being an entrepreneur means having the “balls” to risk it all regardless of the circumstances. In life every situation most often it comes down to “two roads”, the hard road and the easy road. Going to school, getting a great education and getting a nice job and being a W-2 employee is what I would call the “easy road”. Clearing your own path and being a trailblazer with no assurance of success, is without a doubt the “hard road” and is the one that you see the best and the brightest always traveling on.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: For me at this stage of my career, all the building blocks are already in place, so now it’s just a question of how much further horizontally we can travel and how much higher vertically we can fly. With a consortium of over 37 companies, at times I feel like I have become a glorified babysitter and this most certainly can be a challenge. The greater the success the greater the responsibility. So going forward I am always looking for the right people who are self-managed and will follow the program or recipe for success that we know already works. Internally I call it “The Patriot Way” as a huge fan of the New England Patriots, Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck. When they won their first championship I learned that it’s not about having the best players but rather having the players that will best fit your system and who are willing to do whatever it takes to win regardless of what their job description outlines. If you can bring in people that care more about the greater good, versus individual accolades, as we have seen, it can lead to a lot of victories.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Without question, I would say Freedom is the most rewarding. I always tell people the first 29-days of the month suck, but the last day when you get remunerated makes it all worthwhile. Working all day every day can be a grind, so it’s important to once in a while take a break and smell the roses. The freedom to be able to wake up any morning and tell your wife, “Go get dressed we are leaving for the Bahamas in 40-minutes. And by the way, don’t pack a bag because we will buy all new clothes over there. Then drive up to your Falcon 50 private jet and in twenty-five minutes have a pina colada in your hand. That helps it all make sense.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is your business mission?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: I’m in the business of creating, building, scaling and exiting companies and through the grace of God have been blessed to have done it already fourteen times. So basically my mission is to seek out new opportunities that hold a sustainable competitive advantage, have barriers to entry and have a clear exit path for liquidity. Today we live in a technology-driven world. So 75% of my holdings pertain to the on-demand economy. With the remaining 25% consisting of traditional insurance companies, real estate and the premier chain of tanning salons in the country with Boca Tanning Club.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What have been major obstacles/stepping stones that you overcame to achieve your success?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: The magazine probably doesn’t have enough pages to cover all the obstacles I have faced in both my business and personal life, so that’s a tough one. Ultimately I tell everyone that really there are no secrets. Everything that we have done, we have built brick by brick. Have there been setbacks? Of course! Hundreds if not thousands, but my motto has always been that you can never beat a man that refuses to quit.
Growing up poor, not having a family that could help, having no money were all obstacles but conversely have all been overcome by many individuals and will continue to be conquered. When I meet people I tell them that ultimately their present situation is meaningless. Whether it is good or bad, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is where you are going, which is why God put your eyes on the front of your head for a reason.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Who or what have been your inspirations?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: I draw inspiration from a lot of things. Seeing people struggle who are faced with hardship motivates me to work harder. I know the more success I achieve, the more people I can then have a positive impact on and directly help and lift up. It’s nice when you live in the Penthouse, but I believe it is more important to always send the elevator back down to the lobby.
Clearly seeing the greatness of Tom Brady inspires me. From being the 199th pick in the NFL Draft and being told he would never materialize into an NFL player to becoming the greatest of all time, is a blueprint I have studied pretty closely. How he works, prepares, conditions and mentally edges his competition inspires me to always improve and keep educating myself.
Without a doubt, I would also have to include my wife Zurami Pascual, who never ceases to inspire me. Prior to meeting her, I always thought being a success was being rich, having a lot of money and having a Ferrari for every day of the week and two for Sunday’s. But she flipped my world upside down and taught me what it is like to strive for perfection in every aspect of your life and in every action you take.
Whether it is some simplistic thing or some complex situation or decision, I have never seen a human being insist upon being perfect with every execution. Literally, every move, every action, every motion she makes is geared toward perfection and being the absolute best you can be and not just in business. This in itself has inspired me to say you know what, I should do this to the point where it’s perfect or I should address this situation to the finest level and simply not take the easy way out simply because “I Can”. This has been a tremendous character builder and for that I am grateful.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What are your current projects or involvements?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Right now I have two main focuses that I am beyond dedicated to making a success. The first is a new revolutionary company we started called www.Proven.ai that has developed proprietary algorithms and automated engagements to aggregate a perpetual source of new customers for businesses. Instead of sitting in your office all day staring a the ceiling and waiting for your phone to ring from one of your referral partners, we have developed a pro-active approach whereby every day you walk into your office you already start the day with five prospects who want your product or service.
Essentially we have eliminated all the wasted time that goes into trying to find new customers and hunt for new business. Right now we are still in stealth mode and are not taking on new customers, but have proven our execution with companies such as www.PrivateJet.com, www.HedgeFundSymposium.com, AIG Insurance and Raymond James, just to name a few. Overall the success has been startling and has caused me to pull back the reins a little because the demand has become a little overwhelming. So right now our goal is to “open back up” hopefully by the end of summer when I can add to our core of scientists who have a finite understanding of Artificial Intelligence.
The second concept is a bit untraditional because it is actually a traditional brick and mortar concept I am looking to expand into the Los Angeles market with 10-12 locations by the end of 2018. This is more of a targeting mainstream business that leverages technology and on-demand customer needs all through your iPhone or Android and provides a superior service at the most efficient price point possible and should disrupt the L.A. market pretty considerably. I can’t really discuss much more about it but I can promise you that it will “BLOW” you away. 😉
Beverly Hills Magazine: What makes your business different from others of its kind?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Every business I have done, been involved with or are actively working on all have one indistinguishable trait, which is they are each absolutely DISTINCT in the product they sell or the service they provide. Many businesses have become no different than commodities where all of their products or services are basically the same and all they compete upon is price, which to me is a recipe for disaster. Instead, our businesses provide a superior offering in the most efficient manner possible, which as a by-product often times also translates into the best price, but are not built upon that. For example, with www.Proven.ai we offer the absolute best medium for marketing your company and guarantee it with a $10,000 challenge to any of our clients that can show us better results for the same price with any other medium in the world. So far no one has even come close to beating us. This is why our clients’ have been unable to “keep their mouths shut” and not tell other friends and professionals in other industries about us. I think this is a good problem to have.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where do you see your business development/growth within the next 5 years?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: I see us making a major impact in Southern California with the concept I mentioned and possibly a few others and then on the flip side seeing Artificial Intelligence basically disrupting all forms of business, as we know it. Humans simply can’t compete with machines that work 24-hours a day and 7-days a week with no stopping on Christmas or New Year’s. Plus have no families to attend to and have unlimited “fuel” to never stop pressing forward.
With integrating AI across our platforms of companies, I see profits rising and expenses shrinking with superstar employees shining and middle of the road professionals really suffering.
A dramatic shift is about to take place similar to the industrial revolution; when computers and Artificial Intelligence become this century’s form of automation. Companies that embrace this new technology will begin to surpass their competition by leaps and bounds while companies that ignore it will experience a slow death similar to what we are seeing with mass consumption retail.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How to you balance your professional and personal life?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: This is most definitely a difficult one and one that I have yet to conquer. Anytime one wishes to achieve greatness in any facet of life it requires an extreme dedication, which leads to other areas ultimately suffering.
Recently we have begun to instill rules as to how far we can push the envelope and have established boundaries so I am no longer available to clients or partners at say 3:00 am in the morning. I am beginning to learn that 95% of the issues that arise are not mission critical and can typically wait till the start of business the next day.
Beverly Hills Magazine: If you had to give a piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs out there, what would it be?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Don’t be normal. If you want to be normal then go get a W-2 job and go live a simple life. To be an entrepreneur you can’t achieve great success and be a sane individual on any level.
If you try it, you will without question fail which is why the smartest people are never the wealthiest nor the most successful. Their intelligence actually hinders their success because they are able to analytically realize that what they are doing is not going to work. Whereas the “Insane” individual ignores all these signs and simply keeps pressing on until eventually they cross the finish line and achieve massive success.
Being determined to never give up is a by-product of insanity because when all signs point towards quitting, the insane person simply laughs them off.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is “success” to you? DEFINE success.
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Success really is freedom to do whatever you want when you want and experience no repercussions. Additionally, success is the ability to have a positive impact in multiple layers of people’s lives with expecting nothing in return.
Success is great but with every success, comes a hardship. It’s never a clear path to perpetual utopia. The more successful one becomes, typically the more responsibility one inherits. I tell people it’s great to own 23 cars, but someone has to wash them all.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What’s your superpower and if you could be any superhero who would it be?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: This is a great one because I actually believe I have superpowers! (LOL) Since I was a kid I have always had an acute extra sensory perception. It’s something that just happens and pops into my head, so it’s not completely purposeful but I know it’s there when I need it. Both this and clairvoyance I have spent a lot of time studying and practicing. Both sensory have been especially good to me and have helped me in ways that no one would even believe. There are times when it happens where I just sit back and laugh because I know what is actually going on but could never disclose it or explain it to anyone without them thinking I should be hospitalized.
I truly believe we all have this in us, but very few of us actually look to analyze or study it. Most people pass it off as “luck” or “coincidence” but I believe in neither, so I know what is actually taking place.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I would be Superman! Truthfully my whole life I have been him so it would be an easy transition ;). Being able to be normal at one moment and then transform into this powerful, smart, indestructible being really has my name all over it. And then to be able to fly through the air and avoid L.A. traffic would really be the frosting on the cake!
Beverly Hills Magazine: If you were an animal which one would you be?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Another easy one. No question a Lion. King of The Jungle has a nice ring to it. I argue with my wife about this all the time because she tells me an Elephant is better because they are stronger and smarter but I tell her “I’m not a School Bus babe, I’m a Ferrari……”
But an elephant is still pretty good so maybe on the weekends I would be an elephant and during the week I would stick with being a Lion.
Beverly Hills Magazine: If you had to name the top three most influential people in the world today, who would they be?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Well right now Donald Trump with have to be in the top spot because he is running the show. Jeff Bezos may also have to be in there because he completely changed retail and will most likely change god knows what else…..Clearly he is a force to be reckoned with and I see no signs of him stopping with just growing Amazon. Rupert Murdoch probably has to be on the list as well, since he controls a lot of the media worldwide. Both he and Bezos have a massive power to influence the minds of the people, so they are both on my watch list of people who I am constantly following every move they make.
Beverly Hills Magazine: If there was one social problem in this country you would want to fix what would it be and how would you go about solving it?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: This is actually something I am extremely passionate about and have thought about for some time. I believe the biggest travesty in this country is seeing bonified United States Citizens homeless. In any form that you look at it, this is completely unacceptable. We live in the wealthiest, most powerful and soon to be again greatest country the world has even seen and we should not EVER have a single American homeless.
Just go watch the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith and then try to present to me a logical reason why we should allow this to happen. This story based on the true life of Chris Gardner encompasses all the reasons why every American deserves a chance and if it means that we have to lift some of them up, then so be it. His success was an anomaly. Most won’t rise unless someone cares enough to help them up.
Government incentives could easily solve this problem, whereas developers would get tax abatements for providing free shelter to the homeless. Also cities receive astronomical amounts of Federal Funding that would be re-routed to helping the homeless and vacating ridiculous research projects that serve no purpose to mankind.
Same for companies that hire designated homeless personnel. They would also receive huge tax incentives for skill training and continued employment.
What people need to understand is that NO ONE wants to be homeless. This isn’t a thing people set out to achieve when they start life. Most of the time it’s a by-product of some magnificent hardship that a person simply can’t overcome by themselves. They’re in a time in their lives where they really need help.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Knowing you have accomplished quite a bit in Florida, what would you like to achieve coming here to Beverly Hills and do you feel it would enhance your legacy?
Louis D. Spagnuolo: Yes without I doubt I feel that it will. Coming to California has always been a dream of mine and I feel at this stage in my life its time to take things to another level and California is the perfect stage to make this happen.
Both my wife and I have very significant goals for adding value to the community through our philanthropy work, our business development and our real estate objectives. Florida has been beyond great to us and will always be “home” but we feel that we have conquered all we set out to do here and are looking forward to new challenges that only California can offer.
Additionally, we both enjoy film and movie production and have been approached in the past about possibly financing some film projects, so I know we both have that in the back of our minds as well.
And with the incredible roads and weather, I’m sure I will keep busy with my cars exploring all the twists and turns Southern California has to offer!