Bill & Giuliana Rancic on Business, Life, and The Best Pizza On Earth- Beyond Speaking Podcast
This interview with Bill and Giuliana Rancic was one I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I like them as entrepreneurs, but I’ve also followed their personal lives for a long time, too. I’ve admired how they’ve handled adversity, whether it was the struggle to have children, to battling cancer and challenges of life. Even with limited time, I wanted to make sure that you as the listener could get business wisdom, but for those who want to gain some knowledge and insight on from Bill & Giuliana Rancic about how do deal with big personal challenges, you’ll have that as well.
Listen here: https://premierespeakers.com/beyond_speaking/bill_giuliana_rancic (full-text transcript below)
Brian Lord: Hi, I'm Brian Lord, your host of the Beyond Speaking Podcast, and today we have with us Bill and Giuliana Rancic who have are exceptionally talented entrepreneurs and media moguls. Just a little bit of everything and some fascinating people and I'm very excited for this interview. So Bill, Giuliana, thank you so much for coming on today.
Bill Rancic: Well thank you for having us.
Giuliana Rancic: Thanks for having us, Brian.
Brian Lord: You've done a lot of different things. You own real estate, RPM restaurants G Clothing Line, a wine line, everything. What is it like finding and marrying another entrepreneur?
Giuliana Rancic: It's good! In the beginning, I knew I was marrying an entrepreneur, but I don't think Bill knew he was marrying one. I wasn't really much of an entrepreneur when we first met about 13 years ago. Being married to Bill certainly changed my perspective of business and I started to look at things differently. I became an entrepreneur from being around Bill by watching him, learning from him, getting his advice. It's never too late to become an entrepreneur.
Bill Rancic: I agree with that and I think Giuliana has always had it in her. She has an incredible work ethic. She started hosting television shows and would begin her day at 4:00 in the morning and end her day at 10:00 at night much like I did when I was first starting my businesses. You have to be willing to do what other people are not willing to do. That means getting up earlier, staying later, putting the time in, and making the sacrifices. She definitely had the work ethic and that's really a key ingredient to become a successful entrepreneur.
Brian Lord: Do you have a favorite business out of these? The one that's maybe the most fun or comes the most easily to you?
Bill Rancic: The most surprising one is the RPM Restaurant Group. I think that's something that, initially, we were doing just more as a kind of a hobby. And not even a hobby, I was really pursuing it just to appease Giuliana because she wanted to resurrect all these recipes that she and her family brought over from Naples, Italy. Initially, the concept was gonna be a little 50 seat restaurant. Next thing I know, we've got a 12 thousand square foot restaurant, then we have two, then we have three, and we're about to have six of them total. It really took off. I think the other thing that I've really been impressed with, too, is Giuliani's new skincare line. She just launched an all-natural skincare line.
Giuliana Rancic: For me, that's definitely the one I'm most passionate about. I love them all, but, I just launched a skincare line called Fountain of Truth and that came from finding a white space in the marketplace that I was frustrated with: clean, yet effective, skincare. I was going into my early 40s, and I had the fine lines and discoloration. issues that a lot of people deal with. I wanted to use clean skincare because I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and it really changed what I was putting on my skin and what I was putting in my body. I found a lot of great clean skincare, but it really didn't do much for wrinkles and fine lines. I found a lot of stuff that was great for fine lines, but it wasn't clean. That's how Fountain of Truth came about. So that's kind of a classic story of how you hear about some of the best ideas come from, really-
Bill Rancic: Necessity.
Giuliana Rancic: -existing and necessity. Exactly. So for me, that's been a joy. I just launched it and it's been incredible so far. That's really my focus right now.
Brian Lord: You talk a lot about finding opportunities and hard work. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
Bill Rancic: Well, first and foremost, you can't do it alone. That's where a lot of entrepreneurs and even people in corporate America think you can have an entrepreneurial mindset and work in corporate America. Where a lot of people stunt their growth is they let their egos get in the way and try to do it all. One thing that I believe in and I learned midway through my professional career is that you have to have the mindset of a conductor of an orchestra. The conductor of an orchestra doesn't try to play every single instrument in his or her pit. He finds the best musicians from all over the country or all over the world and puts them together. That's what a good leader does. You find people who are smarter in areas where you may lack and you bring them on the team. That is how you find success.
Giuliana Rancic: I've heard other advice about balance and needing time off while trying to start a business, but for us, that wasn't our recipe for success. When we were hustling and trying to get-
Bill Rancic: We still are!
Giuliana Rancic: -to where we are today and we were starting businesses, there was no balance. We worked, and worked, and worked, and worked. We knew that we had to make a sacrifice in that period of time in hopes that it would pay off. That meant late-night phone calls, that meant early mornings. I remember I would take 10 flights a week just working and going to different cities. It was what I had to do to build my businesses. It does not appear overnight. The hard work is so important and I can't stress that enough because there is no real secret. It's hard work and knowing that you might not have balance for a while but hopefully, it'll pay off.
Brian Lord: What's the importance of using empathy in business?
Bill Rancic: That's something that's really important to me and I think a lot of people misinterpret that term, "using empathy in business." They think it just means being nice to people. Of course, it's important to be nice to people, but I think when you use empathy in business, you're able to see the world from your customer's perspective or your employee's perspective rather than your own. I always use the analogy, sometimes it's when you look from the outside in that you see things a little bit differently. Oftentimes, we think we're leading a certain way, or we're approaching our customers in a certain way and when we stop and we pause and see the world from their perspective, it's a much different perspective that we're actually seeing. Empathy is so important in business and in building relationships with your customers as well as how you manage your employees or team members.
Brian Lord: What is one of the toughest decisions you've had to make as business leaders or as entrepreneurs?
Bill Rancic: Well, I think one of them is always admitting a failure. I think that's important and that failure is important in business because you learn from it, you grow from it, and you're not always going to hit a home run. If you think you're always going to be hitting a home run then you're going to be setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment. I think knowing when you reach that point where you maybe have to retool or adjust to react. That's something that a lot of people have a hard time doing.
Giuliana Rancic: Also getting into business with bad people. Sometimes you think a deal sounds incredible. It looks great on paper even though you're not so sure about the people, you know this product is incredible you really believe in it. If you get in business with bad people it's going to end up a bad deal. We've had to learn that the hard way with a business venture of mine years ago. There's a lot to learn from that. It's such a priority to us now, in terms of what deals we look at. The people need to be good people. We just did a deal the other day where we invested in a company because of the owners. These two women had incredible backgrounds and they were just so talented and we love talking to them. You could tell they were great people.
Bill Rancic: The passion they had for it.
Passion. That right there was one of the reasons we wanted to do this deal. Because we believed in them and we truly liked them as people. That's really important, as well.
Brian Lord: You've been married is it over 10 years now?
Bill Rancic: Over 11 years.
Brian Lord: Do you have any rules for working with your spouse to keep work and home life separate or balanced or successful?
Bill Rancic: No, not really. We don't really have any hard set rules on it. When it's family time, it's family time. When we have to work, we work. I think we're very efficient in both areas. When we're with our son or we're with each other we're very present. We're in the moment and we're not checking our emails or texting. We try to be there 100 percent. And then when we're working, it's the same thing. We're not playing around or sending silly e-mails or some of the things that people do. We're very efficient and try to be focused and present while we're working.
Giuliana Rancic: We love working together and actually every business opportunity that comes our way as individuals, we think to ourselves "Hmm, could Bill add value to this?" and Bill wonders if I can add value. Some deals don't make sense, but a lot do. It's a way for us to spend even more time together. But at the end of the day, Bill and I actually like being together. We are husband and wife, but we're best friends, too. We like to hang out and be around each other so that's definitely a key to it, too. You've got to really enjoy spending a lot of time together.
Brian Lord: What's the biggest struggle when dealing with Hollywood values?
Giuliana Rancic: Interesting. I imagine it's a struggle for a lot of people because Hollywood is a very different place. It's a very unique place with much focus on entertainment and who you know and that sort of thing. For us, it does not affect us at all because Bill and I have never changed. I moved to Hollywood when right after graduate school and I'm still the same person. I still feel like I'm that same girl. I still have the same values, the same morals, the same personality. For us, we have very strong personalities and we know who we are, where we come from. We don't ever lose sight of that. It hasn't been a struggle at all for us but I know for a lot of people it is. You just have to keep in mind who you are, where you come from, and what's really important in life. It's not who you know in Hollywood or what you're doing in Hollywood, it's at the end of the day, it's just-
Bill Rancic: About the relationships that you've formed and the impact that you've had on the world. I think that's the most important thing at the end of the day.
Brian Lord: Where do you think that comes from for each of you?
Giuliana Rancic: Family.
Bill Rancic: Parents for sure. Although we grew up on different sides of the world- Giuliana was born and grew up partly in Naples, Italy and I was the South Side of Chicago- our upbringings are very similar. We definitely have very similar values and work ethic. The way our parents raised us was very parallel.
Brian Lord: Do you have any specific stories of maybe things that your parents taught you that were able to kind of carry you through? Whether you'd gone to Hollywood or not, what are some of those values that they instilled in you?
Bill Rancic: The best lesson that my parents instilled in me was that it was okay to make mistakes. It was OK to have failures, but it was never OK not to try. Today, I see it more than ever where these parents are so set out on perfection and they're aligning their kids with quarterback coaches at the age of seven. This is happening in the world. There's no room for failure, there's no room for mistakes. What happens is when they reach adulthood, they are so afraid of failing that they don't try. Ultimately that's the biggest failure of them all, not trying.
Giuliana Rancic: For me, I had a very strong sense of self as a young child. I think my parents were constantly just making me feel like I could do anything. There was never a moment where "you can't do that" or "you can't try that." It was the total opposite. In moving to Hollywood, I just always had a very strong sense of who I was. Also, I'm very close to my parents. Me and my siblings are all very close to my parents. We love them so much and for us, growing up, we never wanted to disappoint them. And I think that I still have that feeling as an adult. I have a lot of pride with my family. I never want to disappoint my parents. They did everything for us. They moved to this country with nothing for us. My dad was a tailor and he worked day in, day out. My dad turned 80 almost a year ago and he still, every day, goes to a shop and works. He's worked since he was 11-years-old in a tailor shop. I have an incredible sense of work ethic from my father and my mom as well. Just being with him working day in, day out. They sacrificed so much for us and so I always want to make sure that they're proud of me and I think that's a great thing. I think if you can instill that in your kids, there's nothing better.
Brian Lord: Having those foundations from your family I'm sure have helped. I know very publicly you've dealt with a lot of different things from health and infertility. My wife and I have had struggled with that around the same time. You've had breast cancer. How are you able to continuously overcome and get through those really serious issues in life?
Giuliana Rancic: It's not easy. We have definitely been through a lot. Trying to have a child was a struggle. With rounds of IVF and so much disappointment and sadness, it's been really tough. And yes, breast cancer. Going through breast cancer at the young age of 36 obviously rocked my world in the worst way possible. Whenever I'm in really dark moments and especially during those health issues, Bill is able to listen to me, empathize with me, but then also say, "You know what though, look at all the great things happening in our lives." That's what helps me, is just bringing it back to gratitude and being grateful for what I have. Even when it feels like everything's crumbling around me, it's very, very important to keep gratitude in mind and be constantly grateful.
Bill Rancic: We also learned to turn negatives into positives. We were doing a TV show at the time and we chose to use that platform for good and not evil. We documented the process and in doing so, we knew that it was going to have an impact on a lot of people much like you and your wife. There isn't a day that goes by where someone won't stop either myself or Giuliana and say, "Thank you. My wife went in and got a mammogram because we watched your show" or, "Thank you, my family now knows what it's like to struggle with infertility because they watched your show." So, I think that really helped the journey as well because we knew that we were going to be able to have an impact on a lot of people through the process.
Brian Lord: You now are parents and you've got a very cute little boy. How has life changed since that moment?
Bill Rancic: When you have a kid, it's the one decision you make that affects every decision from that point on. We've definitely had to willingly change our lifestyle a little bit. We are now focused primarily on him. He's our number one priority. Family first. That's our rule, we don't negotiate, we don't compromise. It's family first and we're going to make sure that we raise a fine young man with a good work ethic who has compassion and kindness. We're going to do everything we can to make sure that's the case.
Giuliana Rancic: It's definitely changed for the better.
Bill Rancic: Without a doubt.
Giuliana Rancic: Our life was great before Duke but it's so much fuller now. He's just an incredible little guy. I always say it's like growing up, I loved to laugh. I have great friends and Bill and I laugh- I just laugh all the time. I just love to have fun and laugh. But, when my son makes me laugh, there's no feeling like that. It's a different type of joy. It's a different type of laughter. It's a deeper laugh and it's from the deepest place in my heart. I've noticed it because I'm like, "Wow. The way I laugh with him is... I've never felt that in my life." I think that just goes to show what a gift kids are.
Bill Rancic: When we were expecting, someone once told me that when you have a child it unlocks a chamber in your heart that you never knew existed. And that is so true. It's a type of love that you never thought you would experience.
Brian Lord: One of the things you talked about is that you want him to grow up to be someone with compassion and is hard-working. In the show, and I love watching it, you go to Haiti or Giuliana with FAB-U-WISH, your non-profit. Can you talk about some of the things that you've done or what those experiences were like for you?
Bill Rancic: Ultimately, you have to be a good steward with the gifts that God has given you. We have a little quote in one of our offices and it says, "to whom much is given, much is expected." We believe that and we've been very fortunate and very blessed. If we can make a difference and help a few others along the way, then then we're doing our job the right way.
Brian Lord: And what's it been like launching FAB-U-WISH?
Giuliana Rancic: FAB-U-WISH was something that came out of my whole experience with breast cancer. After my double mastectomy, I went back to work. It was about two weeks or so after the double mastectomy, and I remember getting hair and makeup done and I'm sitting in the chair looking down at my phone and I'm just thinking "Oh this is so silly. What do I care about hair and makeup? Wardrobe? Should I even have come back to work this quickly?" and "I don't know, I'm not really into this" and I'll never forget when the girls go OK you're done. Let's go to set. And I looked up and I saw myself in the mirror and for the first time in so long since I'd been diagnosed, I recognized that face in the mirror. I saw the girl I was before I had breast cancer and that was so empowering and really helped me heal because I thought, "You know what? I'm more. I'm more than this. This is just a part of my journey. This isn't my whole life." And I thought if that worked for me, and that really helped me, I imagine this can help so many other women. So I came up with this initiative called FAB-U-WISH and we grant wishes to women who are going through breast cancer treatment and it's just been incredible. We've granted hundreds of wishes and they're the most deserving women. It's everything from makeovers, new wardrobes, to trips to Disney World and home makeovers and that sort of thing. It's been really incredibly rewarding to help these women step outside of that world of breast cancer and her day-to-day life having to deal with this disease and just feel like herself again. It's been really incredible.
Brian Lord: Last question, and this could be the most difficult one. I know Giuliana you're from Naples where pizza was invented and Bill, you're from Chicago with famous deep-dish. What is the best pizza on Earth?
Giuliana Rancic: I'd have to say Naples and margarita. Like I'd say I have to. To me, this is a no-brainer. I would say Neapolitan pizza. Like margarita pizzas from Naples, Italy. I mean there are some actually great places in the States that make that from the wood-burning ovens and those "a whole pie is yours" sort of thing. I love that yummy, mozzarella, thinner, gooey, Neapolitan pizza. That's my favorite.
Bill Rancic: Sitting in a piazza in southern Italy, eating a pizza, having a glass of wine, you know.
Giuliana Rancic: It's as good as it gets.
Bill Rancic: Doesn't get any better.
The Rancic's are the authors of several books including I Do, Now What?: Secrets, Stories, and Advice from a Madly-in-Love Couple. To order copies in bulk for your event, please visit Bulkbooks.com.
Brian is the president of Premiere Speakers Bureau and host of the Beyond Speaking Podcast. In addition to hosting hundreds of interviews and helping clients with speakers for the past 24 years, he’s been interviewed by the BBC, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, and was chosen as one of Nashville’s 40 Under 40.