SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT - The Mogul Mom, Introducing Gabriella Ribiero!
Welcome to our Small Business Spotlight, where we highlight an emerging or established business. The mission & vision of Swivel Works is to help small business owners gain exposure and success though the support of our community. We hope to share inspirational stories of founders & business owners that will give each of us insight into the joys, struggles, & reality of running a business today.
We are thrilled to introduce you to Gabriella Ribiero!
What is the name of your company and how long have you been in business?
The Mogul Mom- while the site has been around for years, I have recently taken the helm and am very ready to take it to the next level! However, I have been an entrepreneur for 17 years and currently run 3 companies- Trumarketing, which is a boutique sales and marketing firm dedicated to tourism clients (since 2003), Explorateur Journeys which custom curates authentic, immersive travel for globally curious wanderers, and 48 Hour Power Jaunt which delivers the trip of a lifetime in nearly any city around the world in just 2 days.
How did the idea for your business come about and how did you determine it was the right business for you?
I’ve always loved travel. I grew up in a family that was very immersed in the business and it was just very normal for us to take off to faraway lands on a regular basis. It was something that always fueled me, inspired me and made me a better person. I never knew, yet I always knew in some way, I would build a life around it but it wasn’t clear when I was younger. I went to college with the intentions of being a lawyer- midstream I switched over to journalism as I loved to write and produce, I was obsessed with news so it was such a great path but when I graduated, it just didn’t seem right. I took a job in the meantime at a travel company and it turned into the beginning of a beautiful career. I got my MBA while working in a corporate environment and right after that, I felt confident enough to launch my first business back in 2003 and haven’t looked back since.
What do you think are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Just f*cking do it. I say it all the time and I mean it. I think that is the core critical element to starting, and running a successful business. Nothing good happens when you wait, drag your feet (or your heels), overthink and overplan. If you have an idea, do it. If you want to say something to someone, do it. If you have a dream, go after it and do it. There is never any time to waste.
Did you have a mentor or someone who inspired you along your entrepreneurial journey?
The best mentor in my life was my Dad, he was the quintessential entrepreneur and he taught me all I ever really needed to know at the core about business and life. The rules were:
- Always return phone calls (and of course now texts, WhatsApps, emails, and the like). When people reach out to you it’s for a reason and think about how you feel when you’re on the other end and you don’t receive a response.
- Never put anything in writing you’ll regret later. This one came from a letter he found that I wrote an old boyfriend when I was a teen. Talk about mortifying. He found it, placed it on my desk, smirked in a funny way, told me that line and the lesson was learned.
- Go big or go home, but have a safety net.
- There is no free lunch. It’s all about hard work and there’s no way around it but through it.
- Dream, Dream, Dream. It’s all possible when there is no “no”.
Do you have a book(s) or listened to a podcast, or webinar that really helped you focus on building your business?
To date, my absolute favorite business book continues to be “Losing My Virginity” by Sir Richard Branson. Someone gave it to me when I was much younger, when it first came out and I remember not being able to put it down. I read through it in record time and I recall taking furious notes, thinking about how I was inspired by all of the ideas and tactics he shared, believing I could do something awesome on my own too in my own way. I still glance at it from time to time and it’s something I gift to everyone I know that is ready to launch their own business.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most? And why?
I truly admire Virgin…probably because I have been such a fan of Sir Richard Branson for as long as I can remember. The company consistently innovates, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has created such an incredible brand with an unstoppably loyal fan base. They have phenomenal customer service and I’ve admired how they have branched out into so many segments. Truly inspiring.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Honestly, I truly love what I do so I can only hope that I continue doing it and elevating my brands. I aspire to uplevel the Mogul Mom brand as well, integrating new members, launching regional and global events to foster a bigger, tighter sense of community and I want to continue to help women build their own businesses and launch their dreams. I also would like to have published at least 2 more books in that timeframe!
In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
When you come up with a new business concept, how long do you spend working on it's development before deciding if it has merit to move forward?
I move very fast so I am a big believer in not overthinking- I always think it’s better to launch something quickly and test it, rather than try to over-analyze and over-complicate it. I jump quickly, it doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me.
How many hours do you work a day on average? Do you have routines that you do daily to start your day with a positive outlook?
My day never really seems to end but I am actually very OK with that- I thrive on the chaos and love being busy but I also know when it is time to disconnect. My day starts very early, I wake between 4:30 and 5, mainly because most of my clients are at least 7 hours ahead and if I want to chat with them, I need that early window. Also, it’s a time where I’m all alone really in the house- my daughter isn’t up yet and I have 2-3 hours to myself to work, make calls, and exercise which I do daily as it helps me get a more focused mindset to take on the day with. The daytime hours are busy with office hours or meetings, after school is dedicated entirely to my daughter into the evening and then after she goes to bed, I work usually in front of the TV in bed for a few hours to wrap up what I might have missed.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It’s really only served to enrich my family. I am a single mom now of a 9 year old daughter and I love that she gets to see me in action, making things happen and being alongside me to learn more about what I do. I do my best to integrate her into things that I am working on and explaining projects to her in a way that would seem interesting to her and I find her getting engaged in ideas. That’s all I could ever ask for. There are trade offs, the positive side is that my schedule is so in my control most of the time that I get to be at school pickup, at activities and such but the rough side is that there are phone calls that come in during time I am spending with her, or work that must be done when I’d rather be doing something with her- I manage those times as they happen and all with the explanation, and understanding from her side that this is only to make our family stronger and more financially stable. Still, it’s not easy at times but worth every second.
How do you generate new ideas?
Honestly, I wish there was a formula that I could explain but they truly just come to me. I think because I am so open to new energy and higher vibrations. I also travel constantly, both for work and for fun and I find being away from what’s familiar always spurs new ideas and innovation. I highly recommend it as a reboot for your mind and soul.
Does your business participate in your community or with charitable causes?
We do. The project closest to my heart is Hotel Hope which consists of 2 children’s homes in Johannesburg, South Africa that are dedicated to taking in children that have been affected by HIV, or poverty, or both in some way. These homes are incredible and are served by true angels on Earth, who care for these children, educate them, love them, play with them, enrich their lives and work tirelessly to find them forever homes. It is a beautiful project and I have personally been donating to them for years and years, and visiting with them as often as I can.
What do you attribute your success to?
One of my mantras is “there is no NO”, meaning I don’t take a no for an answer in any regard. There is a solution to every challenge, and there is always a way to get something done and make any idea happen. Tenacity and an attitude of never, ever giving up has gotten me to rise to heights I never imagined.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
I always say that the number one thing an entrepreneur must master is cash flow. Even before you start a business, begin organizing finances as if you’re already in it. Put a ton away each week or month depending on when you get paid, pretend it’s not there, live as lean as possible while the money is still steadily coming in before you go out on your own. Cash flow will likely always be an issue when you own your own business, late payments are the norm unfortunately so you have to be able to manage money when it doesn’t come in as quickly as you expect it to.