Living below your means is a superpower. It can change your life. After I learned how to control my spending, I was able to scale my business and quit my job in a matter of months.
As a part of my series about social media stars who are using their platform to make a significant social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deniero Bartolini. Deniero is an entrepreneur and content creator based in Toronto, Canada. He has helped over 100 youth find jobs or start a business, and he focuses on mental health as the key to creating a productive and sustainable lifestyle. He is currently planning on opening a business incubator to help people leverage the internet to fight unemployment and higher cost of living.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I moved to Canada from Italy when I was 20 years old, and I left my family behind. After I started my career in marketing, I realized that I didn’t want to work in the corporate world. I wanted the freedom to work from anywhere. The desire to reconnect with my family and friends back home drove me to start an e-commerce business. After a few years of trial and error, my business grew to be self-sufficient. That’s when I decided to start a social media account and a blog based around mindset, online marketing, productivity, and mental health. I cover these topics because each one of them played a crucial role in my ability to create my own path. My goal is to both inspire and teach people how to turn their dreams into actionable and measurable goals.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
There are quite a few, but the most interesting happened at a business event for young entrepreneurs. I was invited to speak, and before taking the floor, a young guy with lots of energy approached me. We talked for a minute about his plans to open an online business and the struggles he was facing. I invited him to take notes and to implement the knowledge as soon as possible. Then I went on with my talk, and I left right after. A few months later, I received a message on my Instagram account. It was the same guy. He was able to build his dream business, and he just wanted to thank me. I felt so excited and proud at the same time! I will never forget that day. It always reminds me to keep going.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first tried influencer marketing, I didn’t know much about it, and a friend told me it was a highly unregulated market. The social media account I was trying to scale was still new, so I reached out to several pages on Instagram and asked them to promote me. One page asked me to send $250 via PayPal, and I sent it right away. After a few hours, the page had blocked me. I didn’t know what to do! Thankfully, I was able to get PayPal to reverse the transaction, and I ended up flagging their email address for fraud. That was a great lesson! I learned to ask more questions and be more careful with my influencer marketing dollars.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?
I am all about personal development and living a life I can be proud of. I am using my social media platform and my blog to inspire people to do the same. I also just launched a podcast to help people set goals, and execute them. However, my approach to success has a significant mental health component. When I learned how to make money online, I spent the first few years with high levels of stress and anxiety. I was working around the clock with no breaks. Looking back, I know I could have done a better job at balancing productivity and wellbeing, but unfortunately, nobody taught me that. I saw a gap in the market, and that’s when I decided to put myself out there on social media. More and more people want to open a business and be their own boss, but most of them don’t know what it takes to create a sustainable, productive and joyful lifestyle.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?
The first person that was affected by my work was the young man at the speaking event I mentioned. He had built a business in less than a year using the knowledge he got from my lecture. Because of it, he was also able to quit the job he didn’t like. After that, I kept on working with the same youth center, and I ended up helping almost 100 at-risk youth. Some of them were trying to find a way into the labor market; some of them wanted to open a business.
Was there a tipping point the made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?
I always wanted to help people succeed in business, but I started including mental health and stress reduction in my content after I realized how many people were facing the same issues I did. One night I went out with a group of friends, and every single one of them was suffering from a type of anxiety disorder. That was the tipping point. I knew I needed to do something about it.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Schools should be teaching students how to fail correctly. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t want us to fail. We are told at a young age that failing is wrong and that we should only succeed. People grow up afraid to take risks, they don’t put themselves out there, and they end up living in regret. If we reframe failure as a necessary step in the learning process, we will teach our kids to dream big and commit to worthy goals. The school system is still designed to produce employees, and in this fast-changing economy, people need to learn how to be more resourceful. In addition to that, where are the life-skill classes? I am talking about personal finance, stress management, decision making and public speaking (to list a few). These skills have never been more in demand, and they should be in the curriculum of a new and improved school system.
What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?
I have been using infographics and short videos on Instagram, blog posts on my site and LinkedIn, and I have a podcast. I am also about to finish a book. I want to make my content as accessible as possible. Everyone learns differently so, by offering a multi-channel experience, I am hoping to make a bigger impact. For those who want to make a difference, I have one suggestion. Start with offering free mentorship online if you have a skill worth sharing. There are lots of people looking for help out there. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it makes a huge difference.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1) It’s not about working hard one day; it’s about showing up every day. Consistency always wins. When I first started, I didn’t know that, and I would work so hard I would burn out every week. It was awful.
2) Living below your means is a superpower. It can change your life. After I learned how to control my spending, I was able to scale my business and quit my job in a matter of months.
3) Health comes before money 100% of the time. I had a health scare two years ago that profoundly debilitated me. Everything turned out to be ok in the end, but those impending doom feelings still haunt me at times. During those days, I would have given away all my material possessions if that meant I could have been instantly healthy again.
4) If you want to be successful, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people. If your friends are not into personal development and growth, there are plenty of books, podcasts, blogs and online forums that can help you in your journey. Use them wisely and try to create new connections in those circles.
5) You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new project. When I first started, I used to spend days trying to come up with radically new ideas. Then one day I read Sir Isaac Newton’s quote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” It clicked right away. To produce great work, I needed to build upon what I already knew.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am moving back to Europe shortly, and I am preparing to open a business incubator. I want to help youth leverage the internet to create meaningful careers or businesses. Technology is a double-edged sword. I hate seeing young people hooked on their phones as if they were a drug. In the next few years, the new 5G network will engrain technology in the fabric of society at a whole new level. I want the new generation to use this technology as a tool, not as a crutch.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
I had to learn it the hard way. This quote landed on my computer screen during a very dark moment in my life. After reading it, I put a smile on my face and kept on going. Since then, I never looked at failure the same way.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I have been following Lewis Howes for a long time, and his work never stops inspiring me. Private lunch or not, I do think we need more people like him, and that’s why I do what I do.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My central hub at the moment is my Instagram account (@denierob). There you can find links to my website, my podcast, and that’s where I post all my news. I hope to see you all there!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!