Christian Maldonado took his 5-figure a month business, fired his staff, eliminated processes, and reinvested all the revenue back into the business to fund its new direction.
22-Year-Old Shares His Story About Turning His Company Digilism Into a Millennial Ran Creative Solutions Company
What’s your backstory?
Christian Maldonado: I am a 22-year-old entrepreneur, who recently graduated from the University of Tampa, with a bachelor’s in accounting. I was raised in Queens, New York until I was about 7 years old. I grew up with my mother who was on The Board of Education at the time and received her master’s degree to teach at just 24. All my life, I’ve been taught how to go about challenges, obstacles, and problems that life tends to throw at people from an extremely logical standpoint. I tend to analyze before I make conclusions or even have an opinion about something. I grew up in Pennsylvania after leaving New York, and my life did a complete 360. My mother lost her ambition for teaching, and had my sister, who is now 14 years old. I saw a complete change within not only my immediate family, but throughout my bloodline. The average income throughout my entire family is just about $30,000 a year as of right now and was even worse at certain times growing up. I always had the drive to excel and be the best I could be, which is why the University of Tampa was the only school I applied for and decided it would be my way out of my small town known as Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Digital marketing started for me my sophomore year of high school when I saw a need for a spirit club, to get more of a crowd to our sporting events. I made all the branding, socials, t-shirt designs, and entire club from the bottom up. After two school years, I left my high school with it being the highest grossing club to ever exist, having over $5,000 in the account for any future necessities or fundraisers. Since then, I have taken every opportunity that’s come my way, whether or not I’ve been qualified or even in the right position to do it.
Can you tell me the story of your prior successes, challenges, and major responsibilities?
Christian Maldonado: I came to Tampa with the idea of creating a new journey, and kind of starting over with an open perspective that I wouldn’t have limitations. Since moving here, I have been involved in multiple business dealings when it comes to branding and digital needs. I’ve been Director of Marketing for 2 start-ups, 2 multi-million-dollar entities, and have branded for multiple 7 to 8 figure brands such as Pepsi Co., The Miami Marlins, and Rolls Royce. Despite having all of this success, I have failed more than I have won...but have never taken the opposite result as a loss, but rather major lessons. Growing up and going to school on my own forced me to have to incur the stresses, liabilities, but most importantly the responsibilities that adults deal with every day. I grew faster than most people my age, mentally, physically, and spiritually. From paying for a car and insurance to leasing my own house, the stress just never stopped...and on top of it all I had to use my skills and work ethic to just pay my way through school.
Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
Christian Maldonado: My sophomore year of college, my roommates and I had moved into a house together, and at the time I was not in a good place financially. It caused me to have to really budget out my expenses every month, I was living on less food, sometimes even sacrificing meals. I did think for about the first 4-5 months of living my sophomore, and it was definitely the hardest few months of my life, especially since I was on my own.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
Christian Maldonado: I would suggest that the person try to avoid collaborating with just anyone when it comes to any and all opportunities that might come their way. As I went through college, I started to realize my true worth...the worth that highly successful people also told me they saw. Soon thereafter, I realized that most people saw this and not every opportunity would benefit me in any way. About two years ago is when I really started to see this for what it was and took my time vs. value a lot more seriously. Most people around my age do this every day, because they want that next big break, or just simply don’t know any better. The people I have recently brought onto my company have gone through very similar situations, which is why we all work amazingly together.