When I decided to start my online business, I had no idea where to start. But I was eager to do the work under the promise of one day being able to quit my 9-5 job. I started looking at examples of people that I personally knew that were moving in that direction. I want to share these eight best business lessons I learned from a successful entrepreneur.
My friend Gaby Natale is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, TV personality and author. Today, she spends her days bouncing from the set of her television show SuperLatina, to multiple locations around the United States to interview the hottest celebrities. However, ten years ago, she was in a very different spot.
From Unemployed to Successful Entrepreneur
Natale’s career started as an unemployed journalism graduate with a dream to start a television show to empower Latinas. With a lot of effort, she started side hustling the production of her show SuperLatina in 2007, at a carpet warehouse in a West Texas mall.
Fast forward 10 years, Gaby Natale is now a three-time Emmy award-winning TV personality. Along with her husband and business partner, Andrés Suárez, they have turned SuperLatina into a nationally syndicated show, with over 50 million views on YouTube and more than 100,000 followers on social media.
In an interview for episode 16 of my podcast, I asked Natale to share the most valuable lessons that have forged their entrepreneurial journey. You can click to listen to the entire interview or continue reading for the top eight business lessons she has learned.
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8 Best Business Lessons From a Successful Entrepreneur
1. Have a Great Attitude
When Natale was unemployed, she had a hard time keeping a good attitude. Who wouldn’t when you are concern about making a living! One day, she volunteered at a conference. She accepted to do the job for free, although some of her colleagues got paid positions. She tried to complain to her mom, but Mamá Cristina gave her little sympathy and great advice:
“Gabriela, you are going to go to the job, even if it is an unpaid job, and you are going to work with your best attitude… You never know when opportunity will knock on your door”.
And opportunity did knock on her door. At the last minute, a translator that was supposed to work at the conference canceled, and Natale being bilingual, ended up translating for a group of professors from George Washington University.
Little did she know that this gig would lead to a remote working relationship with the professors. Later, she had the opportunity to move from Argentina to Washington, DC., to start her career as a public relations executive.
Always keep a great attitude!
2. Be Willing to Sacrifice
After working in public relations, Natale became a TV news anchor for the Spanish network Univision in West, Texas. She had the idea of creating a show that could empower women to develop a strong sense of self, their “SuperLatina.” She pitched the idea to her bosses, but they were not interested.
Natale had to make tough choices to pursue her dream. She left the anchor desk to teach communications at three different colleges. This move gave her the freedom to work on Su[erLatina while still being able to pay the bills. Some people questioned her decision. But Natale moved on to pursue her dream.
3. Model Successful People
Always learn from people who are at the peak of excellence in their careers. Lack of experience didn’t stop Natale from producing a television show from scratch. To figure things out, she looked up to the women who were making it big in the media. She studied what Tyra Banks, Oprah, Martha Stewart, and Christina Saralegui were doing, and found the inspiration she needed to keep going.
By modeling what successful people are doing, you can learn and create your own products. There is no need to start from scratch. Learn from the challenges and successes other people have experienced. Ask them questions. Seek advice.
4. Be Open-Minded
Look at non-traditional ways of achieving your dream. Natale and her husband tried to partner with a CBS affiliate station in West Texas to start the production of their show. The manager was interested but had no availability to accommodate the shoot in his studio.
Instead of giving up, Natale and her husband kept an open mind. That’s how they ended up starting production inside a carpet warehouse. Having a television show produced even from a carpet warehouse was immensely better than having no television show at all.
5. Embrace Change
Regardless of their hard work, they canceled production six months later. The warehouse owner kicked them out and decided to turn the place into commercial space. They had to act fast to find not only an alternative channel to air their show but also a place to shoot it.
Natale and her husband learned that although you can plan and be proactive, nothing is really set in stone. When change arrives, it is vital to embrace it and not to panic. Being able to respond fast when the unexpected comes is the differentiator that will keep you in business.
6. Location Matters
In 2009, Natale and her husband decided to move from West Texas to Dallas. That’s when things started to radically change because they were now located in one of the top U.S. television markets. They had access to better talent, more interviews, and better sponsors. Little by little, the growth of their business allowed them to expand the show to other markets.
In 2014, VmeTV, a national Spanish public television network affiliated to PBS, picked up SuperLatina for national syndication. The show is now available in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada and around the world through the Super Latina TV YouTube channel.
7. Leverage Social Media
From their humble beginnings, they uploaded SuperLatina shows to YouTube so that friends and family in Argentina could watch them. But they realized that people all over the world were watching the show! To date, their YouTube channel has more than 52 million views.
The number of downloads and social media followers that they had amassed allowed them to negotiate better deals with broadcasters and sponsors. This is a vital lesson. You should always cultivate your own social media brand because you never know what kind of collaborations of business opportunities that can lead to.
8. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
If you want to reach the top, you must know your strengths and perfect them. But you should also know your weaknesses and improve them. “Excellence is something you are not born with, but it is a skill that can be learned,” said Natale. Always strive for doing more of what you are really good at.
As your business grows, you should consider hiring out or delegating some of those tasks that you are not great at. Try to spend most of your time in your zone of excellence to see the best results in your entrepreneurial journey.
In Conclusion: 8 Best Business Lessons From a Successful Entrepreneur
It is easy to look at successful people and assume that everything they have achieved happened effortlessly and overnight. Becoming a successful entrepreneur is really possible. Everywhere we see examples of people who have started with a simple idea and built empires. But we must realize too that none of that was easy to achieve.
In your entrepreneurial journey, I encourage you to do as many things from this list as possible:
- Have a great attitude
- Be willing to sacrifice
- Model successful people
- Be open-minded
- Embrace change
- Location matters
- Leverage social media
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
Success will come to you if you commit to working in your business, even when you feel like you are seeing no progress. Making it takes time. Some entrepreneurs see results in months, for others, it takes years. But no matter how challenging the journey is, you have to stay at it, especially if you aspire to one day saying goodbye to your 9-5 job.
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