No two entrepreneurship stories are alike, but there are a few overlaps they all face despite their foundations, prior wealth, educational background, and connections. These overlaps, regardless of the size of the ventures themselves, revolve around the fact that life as an entrepreneur is nothing short of a rollercoaster.
Entrepreneurship comes with flexibility, freedom, and adventure. Those can be seen as both pros and cons, because as the driving force of their businesses, entrepreneurs carry most of the weight on their shoulders, and the climate isn’t necessarily always sunny on all fronts. So what is an entrepreneur to do when the going gets rough? It all comes down to controlling emotions, never giving up, and maintaining an optimistic mindset through all the storms.
It’s important to acknowledge that this is absolutely easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it’s important for entrepreneurs to focus on the greater goals that really matter most and not lose control of that motivation. Each less favorable experience should be taken as a learning experience, and each successful milestone should be capitalized on to stay true to the long-term mission.
Self-made multi-millionaire serial entrepreneur Gustavo Geraldes strongly goes by these fundamentals. Geraldes is the Founder and CEO of the highly successful Florida-based performance marketing company Milkit, which specializes in mass direct-to-consumer marketing, in the eCommerce & Lead Generation verticals. Both private and public companies have leveraged Milkit to acquire millions upon millions of new users.
Geraldes also owns several other successful companies, and under the Milkit umbrella comes an SMS and voice marketing platform Sendii, as well as Milkit’s private Affiliate Network, boasting some of the world’s strongest publishers. Outside of Milkit is AmeriHealth, a Diagnostic Testing Laboratory and The Health Awareness Project a direct-to-consumer preventative health care company that utilizes genomic testing to deliver personalized patient care. It has been growing at an astounding rate. “Over the next few years I want to double down on everything I’ve learned and turn this company into a market leader in Genomic Testing. It’s exciting to be a part of a high growth company where the entire team shares a vision to help others: To leverage advancements in molecular science to improve patient care, says Geraldes.”
Each of these ventures bring in millions of dollars for this young entrepreneur, which makes it natural to assume that he might have hailed from a privileged background from the get-go, but that isn’t necessarily the case. It was resilience, perseverance and optimism that brought Geraldes to where he is today.
“I wasn’t the perfect scholar growing up,” says Geraldes. “I was a dreamer. I would always envisage being the owner of a large company. Not exactly knowing what type of company, I just knew one day that’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until I went to University that I changed my troublesome ways, having been somewhat of a black sheep growing up. University allowed me to find interest in subjects such as Marketing and Business Management, which ultimately began crafting the person I am today. Shortly after University, I began my entrepreneurial journey. I attempted various businesses, some failed and others did very well.”
Despite the failures during some of his earlier ventures, Geraldes continued to keep pushing forward. He accepted the fact that there were going to be ups and downs, and he recognized the importance to stay laser focused and energized throughout and not get caught up in his own hype to avoid exhausting himself.
For Geraldes, his spark came from having a long-term mission that mattered to him. “Whilst growing up I watched my parents work around the clock to support me and my siblings. It was tough for them. They sacrificed a lot raising us, and I can not thank them enough. I respect everything they did for us, and their tremendous work ethic,” says Geraldes. “I also realized I wanted to do everything in my power to avoid having to deal with that hardship myself. I was determined to find a way to be in a position to provide my family with the abundance they deserve. This was my spark, entire motivation and my WHY. I was always fascinated by how entrepreneurs built and scaled companies since I was young. My earlier ventures positioned me to be where I am today. I am grateful to be in a position where I can provide for those I care about. It is and will continue to be the driving force behind my obsession for success, and has helped me push through the struggles along this journey.”
Teamwork also played a key role in making what has become a reality, and Geraldes is forever grateful to those that have, and continue to help him along the way. He is quick to give recognition to the passionate, smart, humble, and driven individuals that helped him in various ways during his climb up. “I’ve received and continue to receive so much help from numerous people whom I cannot thank enough. These range from mentors, to friends who have much more experience than myself, to my parents which have always encouraged me to pursue my goals, despite seeming crazy to them at times.”
Geraldes goes onto describe the importance of having mentors to lean on when it came to making important business decisions. “There are always going to be times of uncertainty when you’re an entrepreneur, times where you’re obsessively working at 4am trying to solve a problem, times when you’re not sure you’re going to be able to break through. It’s at these times, having strong mentors to guide you through and support your pursuit is paramount. Pairing the importance of mentors with obsession and optimism is equally important. It’s hard to push through the tough times if either of these traits are not present.”
Maintaining an optimistic outlook through difficult times does not come easily for most young entrepreneurs. Between financial issues, self-doubt, and stress surrounding operations- it can all just become too much. But not for Geraldes, because his optimism is his saving grace. “I believe in looking at the brighter picture, and not allowing challenges to get in the way of the end goal. Many have said that I’m overly optimistic, but I prefer it this way. A positive mind is a healthy mind. I’ve had various challenges throughout my entrepreneurial journey, some greater than others, but my mindset tends to remain pretty consistent. I try not to let things frustrate me or affect me emotionally in any way. Keeping sound, taking responsibility and being confident in my abilities has been my best approach. If something has happened that is irreversible, I don’t let it worry me, I don’t dwell on it, or discuss it’s more than it needs to be discussed. I tend to focus (obsessively), on a way to overcome the challenge at hand in the shortest time frame possible, and with the least amount of setbacks. If the challenge is a hard rockblock, I take responsibility and work aggressively to overcome it, until the result is in my favor.”
Entrepreneurship is demanding and often leads to sleepless nights. But with a blend of perseverance, passion and business acumen, entrepreneurs can not only build a roaring business, but also create value and make a positive difference in society, as Geraldes is doing. “The key to success, is despite all the hurdles, you have to remain consistent in your efforts, and obsess over your end goal, focusing on delivering value for your customers, not on profit. Profit is a byproduct of value.”