Joe Gagliese is the co-founder of Viral Nation. Joe is an industry thought leader on all things social. Follow him @joeyviral.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My hero in life is my dad. I’ve had the “entrepreneurial bug” for as long as I can remember, and he has guided me through it. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My father, like me, has been an entrepreneur for the greater part of his life, and a lot of my strengths came from watching him in the same environment.
My business hero is Warren Buffett: he is a master at reading what’s to come.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Acting the part is huge when starting a new venture, and are about to go up against companies that could “eat you for lunch.”
I always portrayed myself as though I were the best, and only did so because I knew I could execute on it. The key to using this principle the right way is to be able to execute without falsely representing your ability.
Being able to give up what you like to do in order to achieve greatness is huge: I spent 18 hours a day for three years taking barely any money out of the company to get where I am today.
I also like the quote, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Getting away from your core business and not focusing all your attention on what got you there is a deadly decision. I have what my friends like to call a “squirrel” attention span and because I am so prone to sniffing out new opportunities as an entrepreneur. In my past, I have had new opportunities come up and have completely switched focus as I believed they were bigger. This is a dangerous mindset, and I now always stop and think of the core business and if taking even a single step away from it, is worth it for the opportunity.
In summary, I think it’s important that entrepreneurs centralize their focus on what’s most important and what is actually working. When you become more successful, you can have others under you explore opportunities for you.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
My business day starts around 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. I first look through all social channels in this order: CNN, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Worldstar. I then go through all my emails. I get ready and get going at around 7:30 a.m. and usually talk to either my sales guys for a morning recap or my business partner.
My first actual business hour is going through all those emails and replying. I usually sit down with my partner and start honing in on the day’s events.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
I believe that if you are a true entrepreneur that you should be able to self-fund your business.
For those entrepreneurs who already started, I would recommend “running lean.” There is absolutely no reason you should hire someone or have a swanky office if you can do it yourself from a Starbucks. When my partner and I started out we were the played the roles of janitor, secretary, HR, sales, legal, and pretty well everything else you can think of. Make smart decisions with the capital you have, because it won’t last forever if your business doesn’t make money fast.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Stop being afraid to put yourself out there. I’ve been able to find clients for myself despite the naysayers.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
My definition of success is being happy with who you are as a person, no matter what level of income you make.
I aspire to feel good and have everything in the world I want. I have hit a point now where I have a lot of things. This is starting to mean less because I’m working more on handling anxiety and relationships than I am worrying about buying mansions.
If you achieve happiness, you become successful even faster. I recently made a conscious decision to not be as anxious and take things as they come, and in three weeks my sales funnel grew from five big opportunities to 25. Be great and greatness will follow.