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Starting a business from scratch is an adventure.

In the episodes below we dig deep into the systems, secrets, and stories of remarkable people who dropped everything to start a healthy profitable business.

Jan 29, 2018

Have you ever dreamed of going viral, schmoozing with the stars, swimming in piles of virtual likes and shares, retweets and smiley faces? I mean who doesn’t want fan mail, right? 

Our guest today is fortunate enough to have experienced all of that but here’s the thing, he wasn’t really dreaming of it.  In fact, as it turns out, most people who go viral weren’t.  Generally they are living life like the rest of us, chasing passions, making ends meet, and then one day this one part of their world blows up.  Today Mike Bridavsky, owner of Russian Recording studio and dad to world famous cat Lil Bub shares his story.  

We’re glad you joined us! 


Here's an overview:


Early Memories of Entrepreneurship

Mike always attracted to creating businesses.  Even as a young kid in his parents’ community of Russian immigrants he would sell berries to his neighbors.  By the time he became a teenager he fell in love with recording music.  Immediately he started recording bands.


The Two Sides of Owning a Business

For Mike there are two sides.  The thing your business is about and then the process of owning the business itself.  Mike loved both.   A business is the ultimate customization of something.  You get to pick the brand and the marketing and the place.  The other side is the passion, the thing you love so much that you want to help others with it.  What can be hard when you really love what you do is the monetization.  The “does my business work on paper?” part.  It’s something


Why Recording Studios Are The Worst Business Model Ever

The overhead with a recording studio is insane.  All of the equipment is super expensive.  It takes about $300,00 to really get it put together.  But the recording industry has completely changed since the 1990’s.  Rates for a day of record have dropped from $5000 a day to $500.  So the amount you can make on your best day is pretty much break even.


Yet Mike still continues.  In 2007, he decided to go all in.  He got a large loan, quit his day job, and built his dream studio.  Mike and I walked through before the interview.  He showed me a 50’s era Russian ribbon microphone that could have amplified the voices of Russia’s biggest political leaders.  I walked singing from the band room to the dead room and listened to the change in my voice.  Every detail of the space was beautiful… and expensive.  It’s clear that Mike built his dream and his passion for the perfect audio space drove everything, maybe even just a little too far


It All Goes Bad, Then Good

After he built the studio, it all went bad.  Bands weren’t showing, he wasn’t able to pay rent, the whole thing was bombing.  And just at that moment, Mike’s cat got famous.

Mike had a blog for his Cat Lil Bub.  It was kind of a fun thing.  Him and a friend were kind of pretending like their cats were famous.  Then suddenly one of the blog posts went viral and tons of people wanted to buy t-shirts.  Mike’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and his love for Bub became a vehicle for everyone else to love her too.  Lil Bub is in charge, Mike is the facilitator.


The Story of Lil Bub

As the person who’s been there from the beginning, Mike truly believes Bub is in charge.  His job is to control the train He employs strict rules about how things work if someone wants to do an event, show, book, or whatever with Bub.  He’s seen that saying “No” to people is actually a great way to get exactly what you want.  They really don’t need to do any of the things their asked so they only do it if it fits perfectly.  Mike just lives life with Bub (and photographs it of course).  He tries to follow Bub’s lead and see where they go.


Lessons Mike has learned:

  • Passion and will power are great but you’ve got to understand the numbers too
  • Various sources of income is important
  • You can’t give all your money away
  • Be Authentic!
  • Going viral never happens on purpose


Special thanks to Mike Bridavsky for taking the time to share the Russian Recording & Lil Bub story with us.


Mentioned in the episode:

Russian Recording

Lil Bub’s Big Show

Lil Bub Animal Planet Show

Lil Bub Book

Lil Bub on The View

YouTube Big Live Comedy Show with Jack McBrayer & Workaholics


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Music by Mark Vinten


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