Leverage corporate experience to succeed as an entrepreneur – the Gail Cayetano interview

Today I interview Gail Cayetano, who is the founder and Managing Partner at Starfish Events – PR and Event planning firm in Los Angeles, California.  Gail had a very promising career is the corporate world, as she was the lead event planner for firms such as Activision and Konami.  Yes fellas, she’s a Girl Gamer.  But she wanted more, and decided to leave the corporate world to pursue her startup dreams.

Her company has been very successful and she has even won the Stevie Award for Entrepreneur of the Year.  In this interview, we go into detail about how she was able to make a successful transition from the corporate world to the startup life, how you can start your company part-time, what are the X-Factors that gave her an edge on the competition, and how to know when you’re ready to leave your corporate job and go full-time entrepreneur.

Contact: gail [at] starfish-events.com
Website: http://www.starfish-events.com/

To the minute summary of the interview:

1:51 – What inspired you to leave your corporate job at such a young age?

Gail started Starfish with her business partner Stephanie part-time at first.  Both of them had event planning backgrounds but in different capacities, which made them great compliments to each other.  Gail loves the fact that the more you put into your own business, the more you get out of it.  In the corporate world, you can work really hard and have great ideas, but you’re ultimately going to share the credit or your manager is going to take all of the credit.

3:26 – If you’re doing your startup venture part-time, when is it time to quit your day job and go full-time entrepreneur?

It’s all about having the steady revenue coming in.  Gail was ready to jump ship when she knew that Starfish would be able to sustain her life and pay all of her expenses.  Gail also leveraged her contacts in the event planning world by establishing clients that would stick with her once she trasitioned to her startup company.

5:04 – What was the X-factor that allowed your startup company to succeed?

One of the most important factors was that Gail and Stephanie came from different backgrounds in the event planning world.  Stephanie came from the agency side and Gail came from the corporate world.  Gail loves the business development side and Stephanie loves the day-to-day operations of the company.

Huge takeaway: Your business parter MUST compliment you, and not just have the same skill sets as you.  You must both love the company, but love to lead different aspects of the company so you can both push the company forward and not get in each others way.

Gail also established a strong board of advisors.

7:37 – How did you get these amazing board of advisors on your team?

Plain and simply, Gail just loves to meet people.  She advises that you constantly network and maintain relationships with people WAY BEFORE you ever need them.  As you establish yourself as a motivated and talented young individual, you will gain credibility in these peoples’ eyes and you’ll eventually be able to ask them to be your mentor or board of advisor.

9:11 – What is the best technique that you are using to get clients?

Relationships, relationships, and the I mention relationships?  Surround yourself with good people, and they will refer you if they believe in what you are doing.

Key takeaway: Tell everyone what you do.  Tell all of your friends and make sure that they can accurately pitch what you do do all of their contacts

10:30 – Last pieces of advice for a young entrepreneur

Mentors are a huge deal.  Find a mentor who has succeeded in your industry, and leverage them to help your company succeed.

11:20 – With such a young face, how do you get companies to take you seriously and give you money?

It’s all about personal and company branding.  You need to portray professionalism with your dress, your speach, and your website.  Embrace your youth, because you know the young, millennial demographic better than anyone else.  Gail has found that in these days, people love the young, hip marketer that is ready to tackle a demographic that the old, 40 year-old white men do not understand.

Published by

Jun Loayza

Jun Loayza is the Chief Growth Officer at Bunny Inc. In his startup experience, he has sold 2 technology companies and raised $1M in angel funding. Jun lives in San Francisco, CA with his wife Kim.

7 thoughts on “Leverage corporate experience to succeed as an entrepreneur – the Gail Cayetano interview”

  1. Awesome interview Jun – thanks for taking the time to sit down and tell your story Gail. I really appreciate the insight into your story of jumping the corporate ship and launching a start up. I appreciate the realistic perspective of when the right time is to make the switch – and that’s where it’s at for me. I am at the point where I have a lot of concepts in my head and I need to get them out to some people to see what they think, to see where they can lend a helping hand to get the groundwork laid out for me to really start pursuing my passions – and to see if I can sustain myself in my business ventures. Once I have that backing and self-actualization that I can make it and survive on my own (even if it’s not easy) – that’s when I’ll be able to dive into the deep end and go for it (Jun – you and I have got to chat on this).

    Thanks again for the awesome interview – Gail, Starfish looks awesome – I’m very impressed with the work you’ve done. You’re an inspiration for young entrepreneurs like yours truly. Keep doing what you do!

    1. Matt, lets definitely set up a time to chat. I’m really interested in learning more about the venture ideas that are floating around in your head.

      We’ll solidify the ideas and develop an actionable plan to get you as a full-time entrepreneur!

  2. Wow! Loved the interview, and loved the web page, I’m so glad I found it. I will surely visit the page for more entrepreneur interviews and tips. Keep up the good job! 🙂

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