Christian Maldonado took his 5-figure a month business, fired his staff, eliminated processes, and reinvested all the revenue back into the business to fund its new direction.
Can you give us a look into your background?
Christian Maldonado: I am a 22-year-old entrepreneur, who recently graduated from the University of Tampa, with a bachelor’s in accounting. I was raised in Queens, New York until I was about 7 years old. I grew up with my mother who was on The Board of Education at the time and received her master’s degree to teach at just 24. All my life, I’ve been taught how to go about challenges, obstacles, and problems that life tends to throw at people from an extremely logical standpoint. I tend to analyze before I make conclusions or even have an opinion about something. I grew up in Pennsylvania after leaving New York, and my life did a complete 360. My mother lost her ambition for teaching, and had my sister, who is now 14 years old. I saw a complete change within not only my immediate family, but throughout my bloodline. The average income throughout my entire family is just about $30,000 a year as of right now and was even worse at certain times growing up. I always had the drive to excel and be the best I could be, which is why the University of Tampa was the only school I applied for and decided it would be my way out of my small town known as Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Digital marketing started for me my sophomore year of high school when I saw a need for a spirit club, to get more of a crowd to our sporting events. I made all the branding, socials, t-shirt designs, and entire club from the bottom up. After two school years, I left my high school with it being the highest grossing club to ever exist, having over $5,000 in the account for any future necessities or fundraisers. Since then, I have taken every opportunity that’s come my way, whether or not I’ve been qualified or even in the right position to do it.
How has building a personal brand helped grow your business exponentially?
Christian Maldonado: I’ve been building my personal brand and direction throughout college for the last 2 years. I’m currently at around 17-18K followers and have partnerships/sponsorships with about 5+ brands. I branded myself early on and made what I shared broad, mainly focused around my lifestyle so then after college when I had more free time, I could decide which path I wanted to take. In the process of growing my Instagram and using it to monetize the digital marketing services I’ve offered over the last 18 months, I’ve generated well over $50,000 in sales just through direct messaging and basic outreach. Through this, growing my brand and account set me apart even more during my corporate branding dealing.
What are 5 things you wish someone told you when you first started and why?
- Never Sacrifice Your Value –If I was told this and taught the concept early on in life, I’d be way more successful than I am today, just from all the small freebies I gave away over the years to prove myself…even to people that I didn’t need to.
- Time Is Not Only Money, It’s Time – I always made use of my time when it came to completing projects and fulfilling services with clients. I followed the basic proverb of “time is money,” but I slowly learned that it’s also still time, and what I do with the time I have is crucial every minute of everyday. For example, when fulfilling a client’s package, the faster I get it done, the more I’ve maximized my money right? I started to look at it from this POV: If I spent maybe an extra hour or so on the overall service, I could have gain more knowledge from that extra time, which could potentially save even more in the future, make sense?
- If You’re Good At Something, Never Do It For Free– As learned by most of the world when it debuted in the Dark Knight, I started to grasp the concept even before. Most people at a young age just want an opportunity, and will do anything even for free, just to get that extra push towards their overall goal. I stopped doing anything for free about 12-14 months ago, around the time I did SMMA full-time, my junior year of college. Overall, I learned I’m more valuable when I turn people away, because it is neither compromised nor overlooked, but sought out even more.
- Always Get It In Writing– Like most people my age, I never understood the point in writing things down, but I never passed an opportunity to put things in my notes or collaborate with people based on words. Putting business elements in writing makes all the difference, not only for your records, but to protect your overall brand/assets. Taking the extra time to ensure that your business is protected, and no one can come from behind to ruin it, it’s a feeling that gives you even more power as an owner to excel.
- Work and Grow With A Team – I always wanted to do things myself, mainly because I realized early on that no one does things the way you’d want them done. Throughout college, I saw the other POV and realized that having support behind you could be priceless at the end of the day. When I transitioned Digilism into what it currently is, I took that lesson to heart, and brought on two highly undervalued yet extremely successful guys (Kendall Shaw @kndall & Jordan Nazario @jordan_nazario)
What techniques and methods do you use day to day to stay continuously motivated, focused and proactive when fear, hardships and procrastination have the best of you?
Christian Maldonado: I try to have a consistent routine on a daily basis, but as every entrepreneur knows, you just never know what’s going to come your way one day. I’m constantly swaying away from my daily to-dos, but utilize a regular paper planner, to make sure I’m always on task. Most people in this field would laugh or probably make fun of me and think that using Google Calendar or some type of to-do app would work. I believe that a tangible experience with your everyday life and finances needs to be done “the old way,” because of how much distraction comes along with having a phone. On top of keeping a routine the old-fashioned way, I get up at about 3am-4am every day, in order to get what I need done. It took me months to realize this when I had first taken my marketing company public but getting up that early in the morning really makes all the difference when it comes to getting things done. Everyone is still asleep at that time, which makes it a perfect time period to get my personal to-dos done, as well as catch up or even get ahead of certain things. During the day, we as entrepreneurs are constantly having to adapt, evolve, and adjust…so those extra early hours in the morning really do make all the difference in my day-to-day schedule.
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