Q & A w/ Serial Entrepreneur – Gail Cayetano Classick

I met Gail in 2011 through a mutual friend who insisted that I had to meet her. My first impression upon meeting her was ‘I’ve never met someone so nice AND business-savvy.” After briefly talking, I continued to keep in touch with her and eventually coaxed her into speaking at my network event. I’ve witnessed her successfully launch and run several businesses and continue to be impressed at her drive, execution and personal touch. Get ready to soak up some wisdom while reading her answers! In fact I’ll be hosting The Secrets to Entrepreneurial Profitability with her a week from today in Santa Monica. Get your tickets here!

gail cayetano classick, starfish creative events, shop talk los angeles, cayetano legacy collection, serial entrepreneur

1) What’s your drive/motivation as a serial entrepreneur? 

I enjoy building things from the ground up – my approach to anything is I put my head down, work hard, and don’t come up for air until I know I have a business that is sustainable.  Looking back on my life I’ve always been the one to start or lead things from an early age, whether it was the new club at school, a new approach on how to fundraise for a nonprofit, or coaching a team that could use the help.  That internal motivation is something that naturally permeates into all aspects of my life.

2) What has been the ‘common thread’ of success with your 3 businesses?

I know I am not an expert in all aspects of business, and realizing that from the get-go has enabled me to build strong businesses by forming partnerships with others who are much more knowledgeable, successful and interested in those parts of the business than I am.  I stick to what I know I do well (typically marketing and business development) and leave the rest to the experts in the other fields.  These types of collaborations have catapulted the growth rate of any business I’ve been involved in.

3) Most entrepreneurs are passionate about their idea, but how do you make the transition of turning your hobby into a business that makes money?

For anyone starting a business they need to realize that they can have the best, most unique, top-of-the-line product or service out there, but if they don’t know how to go out and make money, then their hobby isn’t a business.  No one (well, almost no one) likes to go out and try to make sales happen (not even me), but if you’re not willing to go out and ask for the sale and overcome those fears, then you won’t be able to make a living.  If you really, really, really don’t want to go out and sell your product or service, then you will have to hire people that can do that for you, and manage them well.

4) When it’s all said and done, what type of impact do you want to leave on people?

I don’t need to be famous for some groundbreaking new approach or business (I actually hate being the center of attention), but if the way I do business can inspire someone else to live out their dreams like I have, then that would make me happy.  I want someone to look at what I’ve done and push forward with their ideas because they know that if a regular person like me can do it and make an honest living, they can too.

5) What’s one piece of advice you want to give fellow entrepreneurs? 

If you’re going to fail, fail fast.”  That’s one of my favorite sayings and I believe I truly operate that way.  The business world moves so quickly nowadays that you need to hit the ground running.  If you are starting a business, YOU are setting the pace of the company.  YOU are.  Not anyone else – not the industry you’ve chosen to be in, not the circumstances surrounding you, not your staff.  What’s worked for me is allowing myself and my team to take risks and make mistakes, as long as they don’t spend days/weeks/months agonizing over whether they should even try in the first place.  I want people to learn, to try, and to move on quickly if it doesn’t work out.

Gail Cayetano is the Co-Founder of Starfish Creative Events, a full service event marketing firm formed in 2008 that specializes in events and promotions for corporate and entertainment clients (including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Konami, Virgin and Namco Bandai), as well as CEO of Shop Talk Los Angeles, a strategic partnership consultancy for mid-to large- sized businesses (clients include Hasbro, Boston University, Warner Bros. and Tweak Footwear) formed in 2011. 

Most recently Gail has teamed up with her sisters to bring to life Cayetano Legacy Collection, a women’s statement accessories brand whose focus is to collaborate with citizens in the beautiful but third world country of the Philippines, to assist them in gaining additional skills and encouraging economic growth through the design training programs that CLC supports. The goal of Gail and her two sisters Karen and Christine is to provide “hand ups, not hand outs” to the country that has given them their heritage.  

In Gail’s free time she serves as Chairwoman of the Children’s Miracle Network’s Extra Life Marathon and is on the Board of Directors for the Toast Our Vets nonprofit. Prior to her entrepreneurial work and after receiving her BS from Boston University, Gail rose the ranks in the business world with stints at companies such as Activision and Konami Digital Entertainment.  In 2008 she was named The Stevie Awards’ “Best Young Entrepreneur,” 2010 to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Twenty in their 20’s” honoree list and 2011’s “Best Young Entrepreneur” by the FAOCCOC.   

Why You Need a Side Hustle

Everyone needs a side hustle. It’s not optional, it’s mandatory. Why?

Here are 3 reasons:

1. The Economy has changed forever

2.  You can’t put all your eggs in one basket

3.  Boredom

side hustle, everyday i'm hustlin', rick ross, katt williams

Currently, we’re in an economic recession, but your professional life going forward will never be the same. The definition of “security” (or the perception of) has changed. Long gone are pensions, retirement and 401k’s. Entering in is a longer “working” life, less long-term benefits and uncertainty. We live in a world where if you’re not looking over your shoulder for competition, you’re getting passed up yesterday. You need a side hustle because you never know when the rug will get pulled out from under you. This leads to my next point.

Just like you wouldn’t put all your assets into one stock, when it comes to your career you need to “diversify your portfolio.” Stay with the “stable” job that pays the bills, but in your free time work on your side business. The more passionate you are about monetizing a hobby, the better chance you have of turning your side gig into the main gig. Even if you never leave your primary job, it helps to have a secondary/passive income. Business is about selling (experiences and networking too) so the quicker you learn that skill, the faster you’ll see results.

That being said, we’re victims of an instant gratification society. Nothing keeps our attention for long. We’re all a little A.D.D.. So if you’re not pursuing your next “new shiny object” you’re setting yourself up for complacency and boredom. You and I are wired for: mastery, autonomy and purpose (according to Dan Pink). Translation: if you’re not able to chase your dream(s) and do it “your way,” there will always be some internal discontent.

So stop thinking about it and do something! If you haven’t started, start! If you’ve already started, keep going! When you make it a priority to always pursue your side hustle, it guarantees forward movement and personal growth. If you’re stuck and need some help moving, let’s talk.

In fact I’m offering a FREE Webinar tomorrow “Start your Side Hustle in 3 Easy Steps!“, you should check it out!

Interview w/ the Buttermilk Queen – Gigi Pascual

In 2010, my dad wanted a Food Truck to cater the Christmas Service at our church, so I hit up Twitter and contacted the most popular trucks to see who would respond back. The first person to get back was Gigi. At the time, Buttermilk Truck had to be one of the Top 3 Food Trucks in L.A. so I was thrilled! Gigi and I met for coffee in Downtown L.A. and we’ve been friends since. She graduated from LMU with my wife (but they didn’t know each other then), spoke at my network event and even reviewed my book before it was released! Gigi also got married a couple years ago to her Elementary School sweetheart, Ryan and just launched a product line! I think you’ll really enjoy her story:

buttermilk truck, buttermilk inc., buttermilk queen, ryan oales, lmu business 2005, pastry chef, pinay, red velvet mix, ube mix

1. Tell us WHY & HOW you got started with the Buttermilk Truck.

I started the Buttermilk truck around the time of the food truck boom in Los Angeles 2009. I always wanted my own business in the food industry and when this lower start-up cost opportunity came along I took the plunge. Besides breakfast being my favorite meal of the day, research and surveys played a large role in the concept and menu for Buttermilk. As with any business, research into your industry is needed. With the gourmet food truck industry being fairly new, alot was learned along the way. Some information was available like where to get a truck, where its stored, health permits and insurances etc. Where to park, city permits, business licenses were a process for the industry.

2. Why did you make the transition from a very successful Food Truck to a Product Line?

We were very successful the first two years and the last two we were able to maintain a strong brand name. As with any industry, competition comes into play and in this case over-saturation. Los Angeles is large but there is no need for the amount of gourmet food trucks that are out there. Profitable locations became a problem, as well as profit margins. As a business owner, it is so important to go over your financials at least quarterly and see the health of your business. We saw a great opportunity in our product line and decided this was the best decision for us.

3. As a pretty much ‘one-woman show,’ how do you stay focused and keep your priorities in order?

I would not consider myself a one-woman show anymore. As business owners we learn that we cannot do everything. Although I am busy, there is a way for everyday operations to run without you or at least spend minimal time doing so. Focus should be on the opportunities for your business and eventual growth. Daily lists and goals are essential to success, keeping an appointment book and staying organized. Also there are only so many hours in a day, so if you can’t get to something don’t rush a half-effort job. Put it on the list for the next day above your other tasks and get to it then.

4. What do you envision as the bright future for Buttermilk Inc.?

I strive for our product line to be national and international in retail but also used in many avenues of food service. Every product has to have numerous avenues. We will grow with intention and above all remain profitable.

5. What’s one piece of advice you want to give fellow entrepreneurs?

Network, network, network. You would be surprised the amount of helping hands that are out there. You are not a one person show. You may not be able to afford employees but see what makes sense for your business, maybe you can outsource a daily task etc. Your goal should never be to get by, but to grow with intention.

Founded in 2009 by Pastry Chef, Gigi Pascual, Buttermilk Inc first started as gourmet food truck- proudly serving their famous Breakfast dishes to the streets of Los Angeles.

Buttermilk is now making its way into homes and restaurants. In 2013, Buttermilk expanded their brand into gourmet products, debuting a Red Velvet Pancake Mix based on their most popular menu item on the truck.  Recently Gigi has developed a purple yam pancake mix as well partnering with donut shops in LA and OC.

From her pastry Arts and business background running her parents family business, Gigi will continue to grow Buttermilk as a nostalgia brand bringing families together to share the most important meal of the day, Breakfast.

How Rich are you really?

Today’s most valuable currency isn’t money, it’s time
Equally distributed to all, yet maximized wisely by few. 

In the article, Flexibility: The New Definition of Success, flexibility and autonomy is what’s most desired. 

It’s hard to control how much money you make, but you can be very deliberate how you choose to spend your time. 

flexibility the new definition of success, remote work, location independent

Speaking from experience, as a Lifestyle Entrepreneur money isn’t my main motivator, freedom and flexibility of schedule is. Every time I get down about how much money I could be making, I look at my daughter and wife next to me. What if I was working 80+ hours a week? Would I be happy? Would I truly know my wife and daughter?  

Money is a means to an end
Time is an end in itself
It can be argued that money buys time, but does it really?

My point isn’t aim to be poor, but instead question what you’re really after

If your goal is flexibility, then look at your current situation and ask yourself, “How can I free up more time to invest in the things I love?

Need someone to listen to you and sort out a game plan to get started? Let’s talk.

Getting in the Zone

Athletes experience it. In fact, the great ones encounter it more frequently. It’s when everything gets quiet, things slow down and your performance goes through the roof. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, so why can’t you experience it in your professional life?

phil jackson, 6 rings, scottie pippen, 3peat, jumpman, in the zone, kobe bryant
Getting in the zone happens when you’re able to tune out all distractions and perform efficiently
There’s no formula for how to get there because it’s different for every person, but becoming self-aware by knowing your strengths, weaknesses and tendencies will get you closer to peak performance more times than not.
Here are some tips to consider:
1. Figure out your most productive chunk of time and do your most important work then.
2. Create a routine that works for you where you can almost cruise on “auto-pilot” daily
3. Define your work-life boundaries by putting limits on your work hours
4. Go beyond organizing, prioritize! Instead of having a to-do list, label what’s most important & start there
5. Setting is crucial so find that “place” where you can grind out your best work
For myself, I work best alone where it’s quiet, so I schedule pockets of time away from everyone. I also enjoying meeting with people, so I make sure I do that a couple of times a week outside my office. My morning workouts give me energy and I set my appointments in the mornings to get my creative juices flowing followed up with solo work. Spending time with my family is my main motivation, so I try to schedule my work around them. Money is nice, but time is the currency I value the most
When I work with my clients it’s essential to identify their strengths early on. I help them “do more of who they are” or maximize their strengths. When my clients succeed, I succeed.
So when it comes to work, think of how athletes train for their performance(s). You can accomplish so much more when you create a consistent routine. Make it your goal to get in the zone regularly!