How This Founder Went From Zero To $200M

How This Founder Went From Zero To $200M

Have you ever wondered what it really takes to be a fighter pilot? Christian Boucousis can tell you. Born and bred to serve his country, Christian was living out his childhood dream of being a fighter pilot by his early twenties. Honourably discharged by the age of 30, he had his whole life ahead of him--and no idea where to go.

Recognising that his experience in the military equipped him to work in high-stakes environments, Christian partnered with a close friend and colleague and headed off to the Middle East to kick start a securities company. Did he have any experience running a business? No--but he was about to find out.

From anti-corruption programs to mortuary services, the Christian Thomas Group became a multimillion dollar enterprise that protected civilians and supported the post-war Afghanistan rebuild. After returning to Australia and learning--the hard way--how not to exit a business, Christian sought to share his experiences and “Get It Done” military mindset with other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Now collaborating with small-to-medium sized enterprises looking to get to the next level, Christian’s Get It Done program focuses on instilling high performance behaviours that can help level up your life.

If you’re interested in learning from a renaissance man who has lived in combat zones and believes in the power of the mind, my friend Christian Boucousis is your guy.

What you will learn in this episode

In this episode we’ll cover everything from:

  • How Christian built first business from zero to 200 million in 3.5 years
  • How a business partner can ruin your company
  • How to rebuild after your business fails

About Our Guest

BBS podcast - Christian Boucousis

Christian Boucousis

Over the past 40 years the Royal Australian Air Force trained only 400 fighter pilots, Boo was one of them. More people have played test cricket for Australia! Less than 1 in 10 start-up businesses survive beyond a year. Boo has successfully launched or grown four.

How has he beaten the statics to consistently achieve his goals? By applying the fighter pilot mindset to everything he does, every day.

Boo really started his career as a speaker over 25 years ago, as a mission commander in the Royal Australian Air Force leading 100’s of men and women on complex missions where the margin for error is only 5 secs, all while travelling in excess of 1,500 km/h! He has refined his craft over the past five years as a professional speaker in front of audiences ranging from 40 – 4,000 and his keynotes are some of the highest-ranked on Google.

His successful fighter pilot career was tragically cut short after being diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Confronting this significant life challenge Boo decided to leave his young family and start a business in war-torn Afghanistan called CTG Global, today one of the world’s largest humanitarian project support companies. He considers this his real-life MBA, working with multi-billion dollar aid agencies and building teams with people from all over the world to execute in some of the most complex and hostile environments on the planet.

With one successful business behind him, Boo applied the skills learned as a fighter pilot to subsequent business ventures including a record-breaking inner city hotel development, co-authoring a book, and acquiring and growing one of the world’s largest aviation publishing businesses.

Today he is pursuing his true passion as the Australian partner of world-class consulting group, Afterburner, and co-host of The Few Podcast.

Connect with Christian Boucousis

Show Notes

(10:25) How Christian’s time in the military led him to wanting to work in a combat zone --and why he and his business partner set up a securities company in the Middle East.

(12:08) How Christian came to think business was pretty easy--after kickstarting a venture and winning his first multimillion dollar contract.

(26:20) How running a business can be likened to a marathon--and how his very first business contract valued at $2.8M gave him a false sense of security.

(30:33) The COVID-19 trifecta that led Christian to divesting his aviation, hotel, and event assets--and how it redirected his new personal practice.

(31:30) How being in the labour market and enormous overhead costs helped topple his securities company off its $200M turnover. (And why saling from $0 to $200M in 3.5 years isn’t always a good thing.)

(34:16) How an off-shore partner’s refusal to front $500,000 caused a $150M Australian contract to fall through. (And why it finally prompted Christian to leave.)

(35:59) The papers he was served 6 years after exiting that led to a four year legal battle--and Christian’s recommendations for navigating being sued as best you can.

(44:25) What is the optimism bias and how our tendency to do the same thing over and over hurts us. To break through this, Christian recommends running through a simple mental debrief process once a day.

(50:2) Christian talks about a survey of high performing employees and how they showed 400% more productivity than the average employee. Want to achieve this level of performance? Listen to Christian talk about the mindset of ‘Get It Done’.

(53:00) His one take away? Remember that your business is an enabler for your life--not the other way around. Lastly, think about the 400%--even if you put 200% into your business, you’ve got the other 200% to put into your day.

The ultimate freedom is to own a company that is valuable, scalable, and saleable.

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