Bill Rancic's entrepreneurial beginning led him to opportunities in television, books and public speaking.
Yet Rancic, the first winner of Donald Trump's TV show “The Apprentice,” still considers himself an entrepreneur at heart.
“That's kind of the blood that runs through my veins,” says Rancic, who will speak to Club Industry conference attendees at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, in Chicago.
Since winning “The Apprentice,” Rancic has added several TV shows to his resume. He is the co-star of the reality show “Giuliana and Bill” on the Style network, a show that chronicles the lives of Rancic and his wife, Giuliana Rancic, who is an E! TV host. In addition to that show, Rancic produces and stars in the A&E TV series “We Mean Business” and is the executive producer of “Repo Man,” which will begin airing on The Discovery Channel in the next few months.
Rancic also has written two books, The New York Times best seller “You're Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life” and the follow-up “Beyond the Lemonade Stand.” The Rancics have collaborated on a new book titled “I Love You…Now What?” that is scheduled for release this month.
Rancic owes his success to “The Apprentice,” on which he still appears as a judge.
“I think that's something that's going to be with me forever, and it's not a bad thing,” Rancic says. “I'm OK [being] the first winner of ‘The Apprentice’ because it involved a lot of hard work and a little bit of ingenuity, and I think that first season was very popular. People saw something new in television.”
Rancic began his climb at the age of 23 when he started an Internet-based company called Cigars Around the World out of his 400-square-foot apartment in Chicago. The success of that company got the attention of the producers of “The Apprentice,” who chose Rancic from a pool of 250,000 applicants as one of 16 contestants to appear on the NBC show in 2004.
Landing the show changed Rancic's career. Winning “The Apprentice” changed his life.
“I think every entrepreneur is always looking to seize opportunities,” says Rancic, 39. “With ‘The Apprentice,’ it was an opportunity, and it was an opportunity I wasn't going to pass up. I capitalized on the opportunity, and I was given some pretty incredible opportunities to participate in.”
Rancic's keynote address, titled “You Don't Have to Be Corporate to Think Like an Entrepreneur,” will get to the heart of his entrepreneurial spirit.
“When you're in business, you have to be able to adjust with the times,” Rancic says. “The ones who are successful are the ones who say, ‘Wait a minute. The world is changing around me. What am I going to do differently to adjust? How am I going to adjust my game plan to keep up with what's happening?’ The people who aren't successful are the ones who say, ‘This is the way I did it last year, and I'm going to do it the same way next year and the year after that and the year after that.’”
Rancic adds he is looking forward to meeting attendees at the show and learning about their businesses.
“As a business owner myself, you can't be afraid to take chances,” Rancic says. “You can't be afraid to break out of the comfort zone and try new things. You've got to be willing to fall down a couple of times in order to get ahead of the game. You've got to be proactive rather than reactive. When you do that, you're always staying one step ahead of the game, and you're able to focus on growing your business rather than just maintaining it.”