Today’s Outside of the Box Entrepreneurs Series is excited to introduce you to Gustavo Zapz. There’s something special about an entrepreneur who came out of a corporate setting and jumped right into colouring outside of the lines. Someone who refused, and continues to refuse to fit into this mold of your “typical business man‘. What drew me most to Gustavo, and being part of his online (Facebook) journey – was his ability to say exactly what most people are thinking, bold, harsh, blunt or not – and turn it somewhere into a moment his audience can learn from. Teachable moments.
He is someone who understands the power in knowing what you want, and going after it. Taking life experiences — learning and growing from them – and figuring out a way to make them lucrative. Recognizing the importance of values and integrity, in a social world, that’s not always easy to do. What’s most impressive is Gustavo’s ability to remain transparent, the good and the bad – but always with a message of encouragement (minus the sugar coating nature of course). Get ready for some value …
What sparked your drive to become an entrepreneur?
It’s not really easy for me to pinpoint exactly when it happened, because in my opinion it takes a lot of different experiences to finally push someone to take the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. I do remember some moments where a change didn’t seem so bad in comparison to working the job i was currently in. I worked in a place in which working 60-70 hours week was normal. I worked for a fortune 500 company that was all about money, luxury and success but i could not partake in it..I could only watch.
I was responsible for assets that were worth millions, i watched as people experienced things and lived lives that with my wage at that time I could never experience, but I guess the final nail in the coffin of “corporate america Gustavo” was at a holiday event when one of my bosses that had a little too much to drink congratulated me on my new baby girl that was on the way. He sat me down and had a heart to heart. Basically in a nutshell he told me the path I was on was a dead end, and if I looked around at my co workers and superiors could I honestly tell myself that was the type of life I wanted. He also hit me with the bombshell that will stick with me forever, “kids do not care how much you make or that you are working hard for them, all she would want to know is why is dad always working and never around.” Why is dad never able to spend time with me, and how I eventually would regret not being able to experience those key moments in her life because I was too busy “making ends meet”.
It was a bit harsh to hear, but that does not mean it was not true.
You’ve been selected as an “out of the box entrepreneur” would you agree with this statement?
Yes of course I do! I’m that guy from Brooklyn NY. I am loud, opinionated and have a sense of humor that may rub you the wrong way at times. Sometimes you will love me and sometimes you will hate me, but the one thing you will always be able to say is, “wow he works hard..and he knows how to get results.”
I’ve never believed in fitting in. We live in a world in which the unique minds are the successful ones, and what is the easiest way to be unique? Simply to be yourself. That idea alone makes me out of the box. For anyone that follows me on Facebook, I share value with people by sharing my failures and embracing my flaws, in hopes others do not make the same mistakes. Most successful entrepreneurs try to put on a higher facade, personally I’m trying to show you that my life has pimples and warts – just like anyone else.
If you could have given yourself a piece of knowledge or advice when you started what would that be?
Ignore the naysayers and that small voice in your head telling you that those naysayers may be right. Doubting yourself is normal but succumbing to it is weak. Most people spend their whole lives being told they need to follow a specific, very regimented path. When you become an entrepreneur there is no clear path. There are ups and downs, side to side, face first falls and upper cuts. It’s normal and it makes success that much sweeter. Enjoy those chin checks life gives you, they make for great stories to tell your friends.
To what do you attribute your success? What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
I attribute my success to my parents. They are not business owners, but they are the hardest working people you’ll ever meet. My parents were 60-70 hour work week type of people. They came to this country with nothing and did everything they could to give my sister and I the best possible life. As odd as it may sound my key elements to running a successful business actually comes from my parents even though they have never had a business.
- Work Hard
- Have Faith
- Be Grateful
- Never show your hand.
- Realistic effort to reward ratio.
1. Work Hard – this is pretty self explanatory my parents worked 60-70 hours a week, in hard labor jobs. The level of tired they must have experienced is not on the exhaustion charts.
2. Have Faith – My mom always told me to trust in God, and trust in yourself. How I apply that to business is I have a firm belief in my level of intelligence and my work ethic. As long as I have resources to learn it, life in my body to work for it, and time to execute it all. I have FAITH that everything will come out exactly as I want it to.
3.Be Grateful – Both of my parents were grateful that they could work those hard jobs. Regardless of how tired they were at least they had the opportunity to make money, and provide for their families.
How I apply this to business is gratitude towards the experience. When an entrepreneur fails the normal reaction is sadness and anger. When a successful entrepreneur fails they see it as another learning experience, and a opportunity to do it better next time. Let’s not forget the successful situations as well. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs take for granted the positive things that happen to them. Those successful deals, sales, moments of growth that once excited them they become nonchalant about it.
If you start to take things for granted, you will lose those habits that got you that success in the first place.
Gratitude helps to keep that fire burning in your belly!
4. Never show your hand – My mom was the type of person that no matter how upset she was at work, she would never show it. She did not want to give anyone the satisfaction of knowing that they had any type of control of her. As a kid I remember her telling me that if someone was bullying me, or trying to get under my skin. Showing them that it was working would be the ultimate mistake. It would ensure that it would never stop.
a) In business I’ve learned that you never share the whole idea and plan behind anything, certain things are better revealed through action and results.
b) You definitely do not want to react emotionally to tough situations. So if you’re having a tough time with a sale, business partner, or deal, approach it logically, systematically and fix it. Obviously inside you may be upset or even angry, but if you show that.. it shows a lack of self control and control of the situation. Take a breath, stop being such a wimp and fix it.
5. Effort to Reward Ratio – My parents worked hard so they were compensated for every hour they worked. They never missed a day because they knew that would diminish their pay.
Simply put.. If you want results you have to work for them. Showing up will not get you paid. Waking up last and going to bed first will not increase your success rate. Your efforts will be directly related to what you make. This does not just mean “busy work” it means productive hustle. Learn your craft. Be the best and most knowledgeable person at what you’re passionate about.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Myself.. I know you expected me to say Superman, 50 cent, Warren Buffet or my parents..
Well I am “out of the box” – Seriously. I believe you should always be your greatest inspiration. You should amaze yourself at what you have accomplished. You should inspire others with your work ethic and passion. When you look in the mirror you should be shocked at how totally epic you are, how far you’ve come and how much more you know you’re going to achieve.
You are great. Act like it!
When the readers would like to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do so?
Social media is the easiest way to contact me:
How real was that? I’m sure you gained as much value and even as much insight into the reality of entrepreneurship through this small snippet of what was shared through this interview with today’s “outside of the box entrepreneur”. Comments and Feedback always welcome – either by signing in below, or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org The entrepreneurs who have participated throughout this series, have done so in donating their time. Always serving, endless value, leading from the front.
When I began this series of interviews, reaching out to successful, full time, entrepreneurs, I had one purpose – for this information to touch someone, somewhere who might be thinking of giving up. Reaching someone who needed to know that entrepreneurship isn’t always rainbows and awesome sauce – but there’s a real hustle, a real grind. Know that if you put in the work, success is inevitable.
Thank you for reading