John Bonavia on new starts and The Gateway Advantage
Sales and marketing guru John Bonavia’s latest venture is all about helping others take their success to the next level. Experienced in working with a variety of industries, his diverse background touches on everything from hospitality, education, media, and business services. Considering himself to be an entrepreneur, first and foremost, John Bonavia is always on the hunt for the next “un-fundable” business.
After being incarcerated for committing a violent crime John Bonavia has had time to think about his future. The Gateway Advantage is John Bonavia’s latest venture where he aims to give back to entrepreneurs like himself and dedicate an arm of his business to philanthropy. The Gateway Advantage was created to offer companies Sales and Marketing advice and, just as importantly, to create a support network. Seeing the benefits of business owners and managers having the opportunity to meet regularly with like-minded people who were facing the same problems and issues, The Gateway Advantage has created a space for that style of brainstorming and connections.
The Gateway Advantage offers business owners advice and connections that help with cost reduction, increasing efficiency, low morale, effective marketing skills, selling skills, and managing people. As the companies who join The Gateway Advantage connection with one another, all of the business benefit and grow.
We had the opportunity to meet with John Bonavia to discuss his newest venture, his passion for business, and the mistakes of his past.
Let’s start with your personal achievements:
I am starting The Gateway Advantage to help businesses get funded.
I have donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital as well as women’s charities.
What is your company known for – and why is it serving the public better than many competitors?
The Gateway Advantage was founded by men of vision to bring together business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors. We aim to facilitate a professional network environment that brings direct business value with a social spin. The Gateway Advantage was created to help companies with Sales and Marketing advice and to create a support network. It soon became obvious that it was equally, if not more, important for business owners and managers to meet regularly with like-minded people who were facing the same problems and issues.
In 5 years from now, what is your prediction and what do you aim for?
In five years I want to be heavily involved in philanthropy, making a difference in the world for the better. I hope to be bringing clean water to the entire world and helping our environment. As you know, I am no longer the “millionaire matchmaker John Bonavia” of the past – I look forward to achieving far greater things in the near future.
Which other people do you draw inspiration from?
Jesus Christ is my lord and saviour. My father who is the principal of a school that shapes and moulds kids is my mentor. My mother is a Sunday schooling teacher saving lives daily.
It is good to stand for something. Are there any causes you care about?
I stand for anything that is right. Respect
What is your advice to people during times of adversity?
I am a fan of letting go and letting GOD.
Sometimes, unknown information can be an eye-opener. Are there any trends and statistics that people should know about in your industry?
This industry at The Gateway Advantage will revolutionize the venture capital market.
Can we talk a little more about how you got to this point?
As you know my background (previous incarceration for a violent crime)… I am looking for a new start with no judgments, we all make mistakes and I am ready to show the world who I really am. A man who loves life.
I was financially successful at a young age. It was easy for me to become the party boy in the nightlife scene. I managed to amass a very successful portfolio in my Wall Street ventures. Almost overnight I became a marketing guru orchestrating ad campaigns for Sean John that were broadcast in Times Square.
Because of the long arduous process of reconfiguration of my thinking,, moving away from the idea of being the millionaire matchmaker I once was. I have begun to see that joy can be obtained through meditation, cognitive therapy and the unconditional love of friends and family. This new way of understanding has renewed my perspective on life. I believe, we are all shaped by our personal experiences, and in the end, it all comes down to wanting to be loved.
I was confused to learn what love is and to learn it in a place of violence and hate, I can only attribute to what was needed for my own internal joy. In my life as-well-as others, I thought long and hard and I decided to continue my education while incarcerated. I took twenty-one credits with a true conviction to be a light to others. I know my journey is not complete but I truly believe I am, in some small way lighting the path for others to follow.
I have come to realize I am no different than anyone else. Inside or outside the classroom I learned how to love my neighbour, and this understanding has generated true happiness within myself. I believe that with continued education and research in myself and desire to be the best I can be for myself and others, I can place myself in a position to reach my ultimate goal of internal joy by helping and loving everyone.
Tell us about the history of your entrepreneurship. How did you start your journey?
I started my entrepreneurship in Washington, DC. I started a bachelorette party planning company. It was a great place for me to start, I had so much fun doing it. I was able to meet a lot of industry people in the nightlife scene in New York City and eventually moved there, but when I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, I knew it was time for something else. I met a lot of people in the stock markets that got me investing in new startup companies.
What other businesses have inspired you?
I am really excited about the idea of an atmosphere, where our members can get a return on their investment with like-minded individuals. When you invest in a club you should be able to get something out of it, and that’s what we have created with our in-house venture capitalists and lawyers to assure a smooth process.
What are the top 5 takeaways you want your clients to experience when using The Gateway Advantage?
While at The Gateway Advantage I want our guests to walk away having a great time, amazing food, great service, a place to network, and cannot wait to come back.
What 3 movies should everyone catch at this year?
Star Wars, Bombshell, and 1917
What was the one movie you saw that made you want to go into a career in film?
Casablanca really opened me up to the idea of having a true passion for acting. It made me want to fall in love and open my own restaurant, I knew that acting was going to be a persuasive tool, and wanted to take roles that would compel others like Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman did for me. It made me want to fall in love and stand for what is right, even if you lose your first true love.
Why should people work with The Gateway Advantage to help their business get funded?
People should work with TGA to help their business because at The Gateway Advantage only the right people will be admitted. We pride ourselves on being an executive member-only club. When you walk into The Gateway Advantage you will have every possible way to network for your business with top businessmen of our generation.
What sort of businesses is The Gateway Advantage looking to work with?
The Gateway Advantage is looking to work with executive business members. We are wanting The Gateway Advantage to be a place that when you are here you don’t have to explain that you are an executive but it is already known.
What TV shows do you think have best depicted the journey of an entrepreneur?
I think the show that best depicted the journey of an entrepreneur is Suits and Billions.
Where did the concept come from for The Gateway Advantage?
As a business executive networking has always been the most important part to grow your business. I wanted to create an atmosphere for all business executives to be able to collaborate in a safe environment.
What have been the greatest successes of your career so far?
Leaving a regular job and starting The Gateway Advantage was a major decision, learning the process of how much work it really takes to do something on your own is the greatest feeling I could ever ask for. To know that the success or failure of your business all rests on your shoulders! It’s nerve-wracking and exhilarating.
Talk us through your creative process.
I believe in manifesting and journaling. As soon as a creative thought comes to me, I think it is important to write it down, every time while I am writing more creativity comes and I am able to visualize the vision of what I want more clearly.
What tips do you have for new entrepreneurs?
Find like-minded people to share your dreams with. They will support you and encourage you.
Never give up on your dreams. They are a dream for a reason.
Manifest it. Write down your dreams, and never stop thinking about it.
What part of start-up culture do you geek out about the most?
I geek out about all the highs. When you first start a company, the little milestones mean the most, yet when you grow you tend to forget about the excitement in the first milestones. But it’s important to remember all the struggles as life is a journey and I’ve always looked at my ventures as going as far as my eyes could see, but when I got there I could see even farther. I kept going!
What’s been your biggest failure?
Alcohol and drug addiction was introduced to me when I was in the nightclubs in NYC, unfortunately, I battled with this disease until 2015, but it showed me when I was in the darkest place in my life, I needed to give my life to God.
If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be?
If I could watch one movie for the rest of my life, I would watch Chronicles of Narnia because it shows that it does not matter where you came from, it matters what you choose to do.
Do you run any other projects we need to know about?
I am also in the process of working with young entrepreneurs. I believe it is important to shape and mould our kids, and what better way to give them the excitement about their creativity at such a young age!
Have you worked with business mentors in the past? How would you recommend people go about finding them?
Think about who has encouraged you before you even start your company, and do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Networking is extremely important when finding your business mentors.
What’s your core business mission?
My core business mission is an astounding club where like-minded people can come to find a great time, great food, great people, and always wanting to come back to in every major city in the world.
What’s the five-year plan?
I think it is extremely important to never stop growing and learning. We have learned a lot just in our San Diego flagship. We want to bring in the world’s best entrepreneurs all under one roof! Our next locations will be in Houston Texas and Washington D.C.
What start-ups should be on our radar?
If you have the capital to invest, I really feel like CryptoCurrency is really taking off, also I think credit repair is a huge asset to people right now who are looking to get funding for their new startup. The Senate Group Credit repair is a company that can get you on track to make investments.
Who would compose the soundtrack of your life?
Queen because they tell the best stories and are timeless. Also, I love Barbara Streisand because I feel like she is singing to only me.
John Boniva can be found on Twitter, or you can follow him on Linkedin or Facebook.