Gonzalo Velasco? Gonzalo Velasco is an entrepreneur by profession. Partner of five successful businesses that bet on becoming a business holding company, he does not recommend everyone to enter the world of entrepreneurship, unless they are willing to work three times and be passionate full time. Gonzalo Velasco, through his website, tells the adventures of starting a business and the pleasure and risks involved in aspiring to be your own boss.
My name is Gonzalo Velasco Bustamante. I was born in Lima. I am 27 years old and I studied the Industrial Engineering and Marketing courses at the University of Lima until the seventh cycle. I left them both. But do not get me wrong, it’s not that I have something against education; on the contrary, it is a subject that I am passionate about. It happens that I decided to build my own path of learning and my own profession: I am an entrepreneur, someone who has a dream and starts an adventure until I reach it. I started on this road at 18 thinking that I would achieve my goals in two years, but it was not like that. I have just seen the results in eight years of hard work. Since then, I have created around fifteen ventures, and only a few had the results I expected: Circuit, a digital strategy company that manages the social networks of San Miguel Industries, Porsche, La Curacao, among others. We also have Acelerala.com, a digital platform where anyone can create a virtual store and sell from 60 soles per month. Juku, a coffee sales company; and AArrow, a US franchise that offers advertising. For this 2017, we bet on the world of audiovisual content and became partners of NV Broadcast (owner of Alacocina TV) and with plans to create new digital and television channels. The pieces are being adapted to build a holding that in the future can see digital themes, advertising, coffee, clothing sales, media, etc. Different lines, yes, but it will be like joining the pieces of a great puzzle with talented people, entrepreneur and who wants to grow as a team. We want to consolidate ourselves as a business group.
Eight years ago I started investing 300 soles. It was a money that I saved when I was studying thanks to a university scholarship, since I was a member of the national men’s volleyball team. I started selling clothes that I got in outlets, and each garment I resold, for example, to twenty more soles. I invited my friends to my house and there I sold them to them. So I started to earn some money and everything I got was reinvested to get more money. At the beginning it was that: get products in concession and offer them with a profit margin. A lot of commerce, buying and selling things.
Then Gonzalo Velasco found out that some friends had problems with their companies and I thought I could offer them accounting advisory services. Gonzalo Velasco hired accountants to solve their problems and so he was making profits. Since I could not rest easy, it occurred to me that I could organize events. I met American entrepreneurs and brought them from the United States to give lectures. In short, selling clothes, giving talks, helping my mom in her jewelry business and receiving the help of private employees, I accumulated capital, experience and skills, until the companies were paying off.
If I needed financing from a bank? No. We operate with the resources we generate. At one point I received loans from people who trusted me. But everything has been an organic process and I have fought it from scratch. To start you do not need to be looking for money, you need to be looking for clients. That’s the problem: too many entrepreneurs are raising money instead of getting to sell.
Nor did I have to ask for financing from companies that offer venture capital for young entrepreneurs. When I started I did not even exist locally. Moreover, IGonzalo Velasco think sometimes they are counterproductive because, he think, when they give you the money to start, they are spoiling you, like the child they give everything: toys, cars, homes and do not teach them to value the effort. In these cases you “give” thousands of dollars and, since you never had the experience of managing your money from sun to sun, to control your flows, what happens ?: you finish it, you do not start anything and apply for another financing. In this way, many have started to undertake. And why do they do it? Because it’s fashionable: it seems easy for these funding and mentoring contests, and not because they’re passionate about it.
Many people see entrepreneurship as a way to get cars, beaches, luxury watches, when that is not the case. It is good that your goal is to make money, but the truly exciting thing to undertake is the adventure of building something from scratch, of suffering, of triumph, of following your dreams. That for me is the value of all this work and, therefore, I decided to have, from the beginning of the year, my experiences in a show that posted on YouTube: #GVonthego, a documentary series where people can see what life is like firsthand entrepreneur. I show the meetings with my team, the days in the office, the possible successes and the failures. I also have another show on YouTube called #LibrosImparables, where I recommend or think about some texts about entrepreneurship or marketing that have served me. I do not pretend to give advice of success nor to be a guru: I only want to help those who watch the videos being myself. Doing these shows does not generate any kind of gain. I just want to show the challenges and how exciting it is to undertake. And, the truth is, I do not recommend it to everyone. Why?
When people come to talk to us and have ideas, we try to convince them that they really are not entrepreneurs. It’s not like many believe: it’ll rain down on you, that you’ll work sitting on a beach while you take a margarita. Actually, you will have a lot of obstacles and almost certainly fail. If you are young, age or money will be an inconvenience. Do you think you will be your own boss? False. If you have five clients, you will have five bosses who will not care about your work schedules but will put pressure on you and demand results. Do you want to own your own time? Well, you will have to dedicate yourself to your work most of the day, especially if you are expecting extraordinary results, since a large company is not built with six or eight hours of work. Many times you will triple those hours of work to earn the same as when you were in the form of a company. Also, you have to be prepared to fail. If you are a person who has a lot of ego, who is not willing to take a defeat and accept that he was wrong, do not start. You must have emotional strength. Have enough self-esteem to know that you are capable of everything, but also humility to understand that every day you have something to learn. If after all that we have told you, you still have that flame on and you want to start, then throw yourself. Have enough self-esteem to know that you are capable of everything, but also humility to understand that every day you have something to learn. If after all that we have told you, you still have that flame on and you want to start, then throw yourself. Have enough self-esteem to know that you are capable of everything, but also humility to understand that every day you have something to learn. If after all that we have told you, you still have that flame on and you want to start, then throw yourself.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting adventure, because every day you will learn something new. Entrepreneurship is an infinite learning process, and that is very exciting. It will allow you to be David against Goliath, the one that faces the big guy. Conquer the mountain, sit down to breathe a while and climb the next mountain. This I learned from my parents. My father (Miguel Velasco Guido) is 84 years old and has always been an entrepreneur and always has new ideas, and my mother (Josefina Bustamante Mendoza) has a jewelry business with which I grew up. She was my great influence. She is the best seller in the world. Seeing her at home undertaking helped me a lot. I helped her make her price list, her box, that kind of thing, since she was young. I saw how much I bought, how much I sold, how much was left. That’s how the entrepreneur bug tricked me. One day I realized that that was what I was passionate about and that I wanted to live from that. So I decided to sell clothes and I grew up to have some successful projects: everything is effort, teamwork and creativity. I feel like I was born for this.
I do not know a successful entrepreneur who does not know how to sell. How do you learn to sell? Selling. Drop by the pool, get a product and offer it.
That thinks like you and that points to the same thing that you want. That everyone is tuned and aligned with your way of working and thinking.
Entrepreneurship takes time. It is not fast and you will fall many times. Be patient. I expected to have results in two years and I just did it in eight. I’m still happy.
You must have enough self-esteem to know that you are capable of doing what you propose, but enough humility to understand that every day there is something to learn.