Million Dollar Monday

Prepare & Conquer, Advice from Olympic Gold Medalist Geoff Gaberino

June 21, 2021 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
Prepare & Conquer, Advice from Olympic Gold Medalist Geoff Gaberino
Chapters
0:41
Introducing Geoff
2:31
Winning a Gold Olympic Medal
5:08
Little Seeds Turn to Big Dreams
8:50
Success Mindset
11:25
First Rental Property
12:40
Tough Lessons
19:30
Giving Back
Million Dollar Monday
Prepare & Conquer, Advice from Olympic Gold Medalist Geoff Gaberino
Jun 21, 2021
Greg Muzzillo

Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur, Geoff Gaberino, discusses the importance of determination and preparation. There will be unknown factors, there will be roadblocks – however when you know that failure is not an option, you will find a path and push through to achieve success. Gaberino shares his story and life lessons with Host Greg Muzzillo on this week’s Million Dollar Monday.

Chapter Summaries:

  • 00:41 - Introducing Geoff
  • 02:31- Winning a Gold Olympic Medal
  • 05:08 - Little Seeds Turn to Big Dreams
  • 08:50 - Success Mindset
  • 11:25 - First Rental Property
  • 12:40 - Tough Lessons
  • 19:30 - Giving Back

Resource Links: 

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur, Geoff Gaberino, discusses the importance of determination and preparation. There will be unknown factors, there will be roadblocks – however when you know that failure is not an option, you will find a path and push through to achieve success. Gaberino shares his story and life lessons with Host Greg Muzzillo on this week’s Million Dollar Monday.

Chapter Summaries:

  • 00:41 - Introducing Geoff
  • 02:31- Winning a Gold Olympic Medal
  • 05:08 - Little Seeds Turn to Big Dreams
  • 08:50 - Success Mindset
  • 11:25 - First Rental Property
  • 12:40 - Tough Lessons
  • 19:30 - Giving Back

Resource Links: 

If you enjoyed this episode, click here to watch/listen to more from Million Dollar Monday.
Subscribe and receive updates when new episodes are available.
>>>>>   Follow us on YouTube   <<<<<

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to million dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg. Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company.

Speaker 2:

Well, hello and welcome. I am very excited for today because I've got a special guest that is a first for million dollar Monday, and actually a first for me today's guest is along with being a very successful entrepreneur and business owner, a gold medal winner in the Olympics. And so let's just get straight to his story. Jeff Garbarino Jeff, thanks for joining us today.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, Greg. I appreciate

Speaker 2:

It . All right. All right. So , uh, we like sharing inspirational stories of success with people who are aspiring entrepreneurs and people with big dreams. So let's start at the beginning, cause that's usually where big dreams start. Tell us a little bit about your youth and sort of where you developed a work ethic where you might've thought you might want to somebody own your own business. Just give us a little bit of the backstory.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So grew up in Dallas. I'm one of four kids. I was the third of four and so I had an older brother and sister and , um, my parents were both hardworking people. Uh, and my dad was, I guess , uh , I guess a second generation American and so came from meager means, but, but really, you know , strong work ethic taught us the value of a dollar was, you know, you always had to work for it. They , we never got handouts. If we'd wanted to do something, wanted something, it was, what are you going to do to actually earn the money to do it? My brother and I had a paper route when I was 10 and he was 11. So early on we were, we were always looking at ways to make a little bit of money. Um, swam from an early age, played all kinds of different sports, but , but you know, that was the other thing that we did is we also were very involved with sports and so that the teamwork and being a part of the team and so forth was very important to me. And

Speaker 2:

So get me to , cause I'm anxious to hear the story myself, come on, everybody wants to hear a story about a gold medal winner in the Olympics. Tell us how that evolved and tell us the story about winning that gold medal.

Speaker 3:

So I guess the , the first time that I really felt like there was a possibility, I mean, those are, that's a really big, I mean , in swimming, that is the accomplishment go to the Olympics. It's like going to the super bowl and football and so forth. And I would say at the age of 14, and I remember at the age of 14, I was, that'd be at 1976 Olympics , uh , were happening and I was at a swim meet and we were actually watching the swim meet between sessions. And at the end of the evening on a portable black and white television with a screen, it was about a six by six screen. And I'm , uh , watching this. And if for those of you who don't remember or don't know, that was the Olympics that the American Nin swept like got first, second, third in, I don't like 10 of them. And so Americans dominated and that was really kind of my first taste of like, oh wow, that's kind of cool. And maybe I want to do that. Now that was at that point, it was, that was just the seed. And then I started to , you know, I guess, you know , see some progress and make posts and times that were very competitive against my peers. And then I went to the university of Florida and that was kind of the beginning of, of alcoholic , the real journey of, of seeing that dream kind of come. But I know this is going to sound kind of cliche and maybe try it , but the old the Olympics is really just, it's just the , the next big meet that happened in a series of big meets that happened for me. So it was it's , it's a progression of needs that you're not looking at the Olympics, you know , in 1981, I was, I went to Olympic 84 . I'm not looking at the Olympics in 1981. I'm looking at the next big meet as a progress or as a point to actually, you know, measure progress and measure my performance. So it was just a series of meats that happened that culminated in at the end of my senior year. Um, that happened to be the summer of my senior year of college. And I, you know, that was the next big meet. And I, I, you know, it's, it's a , it's a , it's a combination of luck and work and just being in the right place at the right time. And fortunately, as I said, I, I, you know, I got my hand on the wall, you know, fast enough that I was actually, you know , um, I went to the Olympics and actually swam in the Olympics in 84 in Los Angeles and was very fortunate to have been on a relay that won a gold medal. You

Speaker 2:

Know , you shared a story about another seed that was planted somehow and experience your head with your father. You want to tell us that story , uh, that planted the seed of maybe somebody wanting to own your own business. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

So , uh , my father at the age of, of 50 , um, he, he was let go, there was a buyout of his company and he was in , um, he was the director of engineering for a soft gelatin manufacturing company. So , um, soft gelatin capsules are like vitamin E and paintball and other things. So you're, you're, you're doing either nutraceuticals or vitamins or , or pharmaceuticals in this capsule form. And he struggled, he struggled with, he was 50. He was like, no, one's going to hire me in corporate America because I'm too old and I'm going to ask for too much money. And so he struggled for about a year and then he found a client that was willing to actually let him build equipment and put it into their factory and install it. And so that created the first, the first job created the money and the capital for him to actually his business. So he was doing that for a while and I had an opportunity to actually go to work with him . Um, and in large part it was kind of, it was kind of a dual thing. It was, it was, I was, I was unencumbered at the time. I didn't have a job. And it was, gave me an opportunity to see my dad in a different light and actually work with them. So , um, got a chance to actually work with them and travel all over the world , uh , selling pharmaceutical equipment in China. And I mean, all over Southeast Asia and Europe, you know, in south America, north America. And it was a really cool experience and got to Scott that, you know, that was again, sort of this seed of what does it like to actually own your own business?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's just interesting to me when I , when I hear people just share their stories like you're sharing with me and I really appreciate it. And by the way, congratulations on your gold medal, thank you for representing our country. And thank you for your time here today. It's interesting how sometimes those little seeds we don't even recognize that are being planted in our hearts and in our minds , uh , take root and, and make great and big things happen. So anyhow , let's back up now. And , uh, cause I know it was a , that was a part of your journey working with your dad and having that seed planted, but back up and just sorta tell us about your education and your career life that sort of got you to starting your own business. Yeah,

Speaker 3:

So I , again , I , I went to , uh , university of Florida and swam and so I w I will be real honest and I was , uh, you know, they call them student athletes. I'll be honest. I , I was an athlete student and , um, my focus was, you know , uh, uh, very much on swimming and then also getting my degree and I , so I finished and went to work for Proctor and gamble , uh , at the time Procter and gamble, loved athletes , uh , uh, sorority fraternity, sort of people who had this work ethic that they could then treat, teach and train work for Procter and gamble for a year realized that I just did not feel like I had the skillset . I was an undergraduate journalism communication major, and I just didn't feel like I had the skillset to really contribute. So I left and I, I, I applied to the university of Florida MBA program. It was accepted. And so got my MBA at Florida. That's where I met my wife and , and 33 years later, we're still together. And, and , um, and so she's been part of this whole, you know, journey for both of us, but so get the MBA program gave me some of those skills and some of the skill sets I felt like I needed to be able to contribute more. And then I did it. I did a typical sort of career path that was corporate America. I mean, this, this whole feeling like, well, I've just invested all this money in this, you know , expensive degree, you know, I need to earn it back. And so, you know, I felt like I needed to climb the ladder. And so I was at, at and T for a while , and I did a couple of different jobs, went to New Jersey and, you know, bounced around and in, at and T, and then just realized that that wasn't, you know, a great fit. So after all of those little turns and twists, a friend of mine who , um, had a , uh , a large thousand acre development, real estate development project in Gulf shores, we were living in Atlanta at the time, said, Hey, I want to come in . I want to , I want to introduce you to this, you know, this town and this project. And so we had two small kids. And so we were like, well, let's give this a shot. So we literally sold everything in Atlanta and moved down to Gulf shores, never being there , never seeing this place, except for one time and said, let's, let's make a run it something new and different and small. And so I jokingly call it the reverse hillbillies. I went from the big city to the really small town. And , um , 18 months later, the project that I was working on bankrupt. So I was doing a W2 working for a developer job. And my wife, we were buying properties. We built two properties, ourselves designed and built them. And we were managing our own properties , uh , uh , vacation rental properties, real estate on the Gulf coast. And so she was doing that. So kind of church and state, she was doing that while I was working, you know, making a living and 18 months into that it bankrupt. And so now we were both like, okay, what are we going to do? Because this is a small town, and there's not a lot of industry here. There's not a lot of corporations, and there's not a way for us to easily. My wife did time at Coke and marketing research companies. And so again, corporate America just didn't exist here. So at that point it was like , um, I've been asked, how did you get into this business? I said, my desperation, it was, it was, we had to make a plan because we were desperate for how are we going to make a living?

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Sometimes that's the best path because

Speaker 3:

What , failure's not an option, you just keep going it . Absolutely. And we have , again , two small kids and, you know, how are we going to actually provide for ourselves? And so there , there was no choice. It was digging in. And we actually, you know, we, we seed money was money from our retirement accounts. We literally raided our retirement accounts. I mean, we were taking funds from everywhere. We could to make sure that we could actually make this happen. And there were times when we weren't sure whether, you know , this was going to be successful or we were going to make it or not.

Speaker 2:

You know, a couple of weeks ago I interviewed somebody who talked about a couple of near death experiences in his business. And, and I think that that whole, that whole desperation, failure's not an option. I think sometimes that's a great corner to be backed into because there's a path out. Uh, and you sort of invent it just one day at a time and , and desperation really helps. All right . So what gave you guys the idea, you and your wife, the idea to even start building your first rental property? What , what gave you that thought I've

Speaker 3:

Always been interested in real estate? Everything that we always bought, we bought that was, you know, needed a little bit of work and we would do that work ourselves. So we had a house in Atlanta that we worked on. So we , we just sort of dabbled in real estate while I was working, you know , doing what I was doing. So that gave us a taste. And then when we moved to Gulf shores, the , the , the market and the market of Gulf shores, because it's mostly, it's a , it's a, it's a tourist destination, you know? Yeah. So that opera , that , that environment provided this opportunity for long-term rentals. And so we, again, we just sort of kept that same love of real estate and decided to do, you know, long-term rentals and , uh , bought two places and then bought a lot that we ended up designing and building on. Once again, we learned that it was a piece of dirt that we owned for about a year, and we were just writing checks right into the dirt and it was earning nothing. And we were like, could we have to, we have to actually activate this, make this be an asset and not just the liability. Right, right, right.

Speaker 2:

So it wouldn't be fair to say it was really a hobby, but it was an interest , uh, buying, fixing up real estate was an interest of yours. Jeff, you know, it's a great story. Uh, some seeds of inspiration turned into a gold medal in the Olympics. Some seeds of inspiration watching your father has turned into your turning. What sort of was, it's not really a hobby, but an interest in real estate into an $8 million business with about 35 homes, rental properties in all kinds of different sizes. Um, any other really interesting learning lessons along the way, building that $8 million company.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So , um, when we got here in 2005 , uh, in Gulf shores area, that was, it was a very active storm season. So I then was 2004 and that's what kind of puts up . So backing up Frederick and 79 hit this area, and this is just a sleepy little fishing village. This is what this area was. And I lived all over the place, Texas to Florida to Atlanta. And I didn't even know Alabama had beaches, Ivan hit and it , and it told the world are listed United States, Alabama has beaches and then Katrina hit as well. And so there was this big building frenzy that happened. And we came about that same time, but we came at Katrina. And so the storm comes and we're like, what is this? And it completely, you know, shuts things down and you have to evacuate and there's damage it's done. And then the mortgage crisis comes behind that. And then the , the big one that sort of really impacted our area tremendously was the oil spill in 2010. So in the first five years, oh, and by the way of 2007, the company I worked with bankrupt. So in the first five years where I'm like, what , what, what did we do? I mean, what have we done? We've , we've sold everything. We've , we've, we've mortgaged everything. We're down in the Gulf coast of Alabama. And , and this is our life. And 2010, the business started in 2009 and 2010 was the oil spill. So we were refunding people like everything. Thanks. So we didn't have any money coming in. Oh, ouch. And , and so, and we had, we had four homes that we owned , um, and, and the mortgage companies are calling us every single day saying, when are you paying the mortgage when you pay the mortgage, when you pay the mortgage. And so the learning of that was like, you , you, you, you know , if you don't stop and then figure out how you prepare yourself better for the next unknown thing that's going happen. Cause you all spill was, could not show up on anybody's radar. Nobody knew though COVID could not show . I mean, nobody knew that it was going to right . I mean , you can't prepare for that, but you have to prepare for an eventuality, an unforeseen issue. And so our business got stronger because we were able to survive and we were able to retrench and really figure out the things that were important financially for our business. And then the direction that we wanted to go, we choose to remain 35 properties, small. There's a company down here that has 2000 properties and we don't want to be that we want to have, we want to be small, nimble. We want to know our owners. We want to know our guests. We want to know the properties and that's our, that's our business model. And so that's as big as we want to be. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

By owners. I know what you're S w w w when you refer to that, some of the properties you manage for owners. Yeah. So there's other

Speaker 3:

People. Yeah. So there are people that they, they own investment properties and we manage those products . So what we are is we're a vacation rental management company. And then we also will do design build for certain clients. So we'll actually design and build, we have a house that's actually going right now. And one in design, that's waiting for a permit. And then another one that's in design. So we have some things that are waiting in the weeds to come along. But

Speaker 2:

I think that's a great lesson to say, because I , a lot of people, including myself, don't know how big is big, right? Like to this day , um, we'll be, we'll be talking about, we're a half billion dollar company. And I'm like, when are we going to get to a billion? And, and like enough is never enough. And I think some of that actually came out of you , just sort of not having enough when I was a kid. And now I just don't know how much is enough. I think that's a great lesson, Jeff, to get to a point in your life when, you know, when is enough enough,

Speaker 3:

It's not , not just one lens enough enough. It's like we had a broker who'd been in the business for a long time and she retired and she gave us great, great advice. And it was every time you add in an Indi , an individual, another employee, it's not one more property that you have to add in order to just pay that employee. It might have to be two or three. So, so the, it's not one for one, you add one asset and employee and you add one more property to actually pay for it. No, it could be multiple. So you're now expanding your business in a way that you think, oh, it's just one, one person. No, it's not. It's one person, plus three more properties, plus more cleaners plus more operations people. And you know, more and more and more. And the hardest part of this business is people. I mean, that , that's the hardest part of this business.

Speaker 2:

I I've heard people say that they love their business. They just wish they could figure out how to do it without any employees. Exactly,

Speaker 3:

Exactly. But you know

Speaker 2:

What, when you're younger, like country club, you know what I'm saying? Country club bragging is about how many employees you have. And , uh, and then you eventually realize that's not the right measure.

Speaker 3:

No, no, it's, you know what I mean? And we, you know, I, and we talked about this with, with our kids. Cause you know, they're now older 21 and 20 is Chanel. And, you know, we asked them, you know, do you feel like we, you missed anything? Like, did you, did you not get our attention? You know, when you were younger, when we show busy with the business. And that's the other thing that I think having a partner who shares in that, that vision is no matter what was going on in the business. One of us was always taking care of the kids activities or going to the ball games or, you know, whatever it is, they needed one of us. So , so one of us couldn't, but one of us could. And so they never felt like they were left out. You know what I mean? So , um, I, you know, I think that's another part of like, the business was important, but it was never more important than the kids.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Never more important. I ever , you know, there were a few things I missed in my kids' lives and I think sometimes it's not bad to show your kids that there's a work ethic that know it takes hard work and sacrifice. Uh, now I, I made most of my kids games and events and ballet shows and coach some of their teams. I know you have done the same, but I think showing kids a work ethic is , is , is a good thing. All right. So Jeff, you've accomplished lots of great dreams in your life dreams of an Olympic gold medal dreams of building a business to the size of your dream. Um, and now you're in your late fifties, you've accomplished some really great dreams. What dreams do you have for the rest of your life?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's a , well , that's a great question. And um, you know, so one of the things my son oldest son is 21 and he's in that place of he's about to finish. And he had like a , he's a really strong kid that he had like a meltdown with maybe other day. And I was like, what's going on? And he's like, I'm just struggling. I just don't feel like I have direction. And I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing and, you know, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, buddy, you're right where you're supposed to be. Like, I think it's important to always ask the question, even though you're very happy with what you're doing today. It's like, what do I want to do next? Like what do I want to do? Who do I want to be? I call it whatever your , you know, having that voice, your voice will come out at some point in your life, hopefully. And what does that voice going to be saying? And so, I mean, I've already started that like, like where we met obviously was doing the judging of the idea, right? So is giving back time to those who might need it. And w w whether you put that in a category of teaching or just giving back volunteer, you know, I I've , I've reached the point where we're, we're pretty close to the amount of money that we need to live very well and comfortably. And it's about just giving back to others and in service of others. And I don't, I don't know exactly what that looks like or where, but it's, that's, that's sort of the thing I would like to leave is , is leaving what we've learned and teaching and passing it on to somebody else who might learn from it

Speaker 2:

Some mixture of time, treasure, and talent, all three of those being relatively equal and important. Well, Jeff, I really have enjoyed, and it's been my honor to spend some time with you and get to know you beyond judging business plan competitions. And I thank you for giving back today, giving back some of the wisdom, sharing your story, and be an inspiration, all of our listeners. Thanks again, Jeff . Thanks Greg.

Introducing Geoff
Winning a Gold Olympic Medal
Little Seeds Turn to Big Dreams
Success Mindset
First Rental Property
Tough Lessons
Giving Back