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We’re told to prepare for the new normal, characterized by periods of economic contraction alternating with economic expansion as waves of infections rise and wane. How does an entrepreneur deal with chaos, disruption and uncertainty? What strategies can be employed to not only cope with but confront and conquer these upcoming challenges?
Who is Joel Gandara?
If anyone can provide insight into conquering adversity and challenges it is Joel Gandara. Joel never had it easy. He was born in Cuba and arrived to the United States in 1980 with his family on an overcrowded boat.
His family lived below the poverty line which led him, mostly out of necessity, to become an entrepreneur early on. His parents could not afford to give him pocket money so he had to learn to make it himself. He started earning money at 10, buying and reselling products in the schoolyard. After High School, he worked up to 100 hours some weeks. With no more than four hours to eat and sleep each day, he still managed to go to garage sales and turn items around for a profit at a nearby flea market.
One day, Joel noticed someone selling hundreds of clothing samples at a garage sale which he bought for $1 each, despite the risk to his meager funds, and managed to reap a $3,000 profit at the flea market he frequented.
That was a turning point in his entrepreneurial journey as he went from flea markets to eBay then started a wholesale business with an apparel brand he imported from Mexico, giving him the opportunity to travel to trunk shows in places like Vegas and Paris and offer it to brick-and-mortar stores worldwide.
He then went from selling other companies’ products to creating his own brand and in only 13 months, his brand reached $1 million in sales.
He is now CEO and founder of Morro Capital, a privately-owned e-commerce apparel company with a portfolio of over 20 brands. Based on his unique approach to running a business, he has been able to invest in and acquire a wide variety of companies that are now far more efficient and profitable.
Joel understands how to use his business savvy to stay lean, capture opportunities and scale regardless of business climate.
What can we learn from Joel?
Startup Grind Fort Lauderdale is extremely proud to host Entrepreneur, Coach, Consultant, Public Speaker Joel Gandara as part of Startup Grind Mentorship month, for an absolutely crucial fireside chat during this time of crisis.
You will learn:
AWS + Startup Grind Mentorship Program:
As a Startup Grind Fort Lauderdale community member, you also are invited to apply for our exclusive AWS + Startup Grind Mentorship Program as part of Mentorship Month.
Selected applicants will have the opportunity to participate in a one-on-one mentor session to get guidance on how to grow and develop your business and allow you to get first-hand advice from experts in your field. We offer 5 distinct mentoring tracks that you can choose from, including Fundraising, Product, Marketing, Sales, or Strategy & Ops, and you will get paired with an AWS expert in the field of your choice. All sessions are held remotely, and the program is completely free for all participants.
I’m the CEO and founder of Morro Capital, a privately-owned e-commerce apparel company with a portfolio of over 20 brands. Based on my unique approach to running a business, I’ve been able to invest in and acquire a wide variety of companies that are now far more efficient and profitable. Now, I’m using my business knowledge and life experience to help others fulfill their dreams.
My Personal Journey
I was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1980. My family and I arrived on an overcrowded boat. Even though I was a kid, I knew that we landed somewhere life-altering.
My father took a job repairing electrical equipment at a nonprofit radio station while my mom cleaned rooms at a hotel. Despite their tremendous work ethic, my family lived below the poverty line like many immigrants. That led me to become an entrepreneur early on, mostly out of necessity.
I started earning money at the age of 10 when I was in the fourth grade. My first business plan was to buy products that I could resell in the schoolyard. I had a lot of fun and also learned many important life lessons that have helped me throughout my life. My parents could not afford to give me pocket money. But that’s what helped me learn how to make it.
Through hard work and discipline, my parents slowly clawed their way up to the lower middle class. And I never stopped looking for ways to get ahead.
After High School, I worked up to 100 hours some weeks. That left no more than four hours for me to eat and sleep each day. Even though my free time was limited, I would go to garage sales and turn items around for a profit at a nearby flea market.
It was at one of the garage sales that I noticed someone selling hundreds of clothing samples. I bought them all for $1 each. This was a huge risk given, how little money I had at the time. I took the samples to the flea market and sold them for $6 each and made $3,000.
It was then that I realized smart investing can do much more than just help me get by. I continued to work hard, save and invest. That allowed me to save for a down payment on my first home at the age of 22. And I paid my entire mortgage each month by renting out the extra bedrooms.
From flea markets, I moved up to selling on eBay. Soon after, I started a wholesale business with an apparel brand I began importing from Mexico. I started traveling to wholesale shows in Las Vegas and Paris where I offered business owners the opportunity to sell my products in their brick-and-mortar stores worldwide.
Then I went from selling other companies’ products to creating my own brand. In only 13 months, my brand reached $1 million in sales. My companies have since gone on to develop and acquire numerous brands.
I believe hard work pays off – and have proven that throughout my life. My companies have now grown to reach millions of dollars in sales each year, and I no longer have to work like I did when I was younger.
My life has not been easy, but the challenges I overcame have taught me to appreciate what I have today. I’m truly grateful for the life I’ve built and for the country that welcomed me. Now, I’m using my business knowledge and life experience to help others fulfill their dreams.
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