Gerard Adams – Co-Founder of EliteDaily.com; Hitting Rock Bottom; Dealing with Criticism, Starting from Scratch; Leaders Create Leaders.
Segment 1: (Length :05:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Gerard Adams and his journey as an entrepreneur thus far, as well as his background; Starting his first venture.
Gerard’s finer points:
“I owe it all to my mom and dad for inspiring me. They’re the first mentors of my life. My mother’s work ethic working 7 days a week. My dad, same thing. Crazy work ethic but instilled in me leadership at a young age.“
“I wasn’t the smartest kid growing up. I wasn’t the book smart kid. I was a “C” / “B” student. I started a lot of side hustles cause I needed to provide for myself.”
“Early on, seeing my parents work really hard to provide for me and my two sisters, I was like, no matter what I’m going to achieve success cause I want to be able to make it in this world cause I want to be able to give back to my parents.”
“I ended up getting into a small school. Within the first semester I realized this was just a big business. They were telling me what classes to take. My friends and students were partying more in college than they were in high school and I was really interested in learning about business. At that time, the Internet was really booming to learn about business and self-educate.”
“Pretty quickly I decided maybe this (college) isn’t the best route for me. Let me try becoming an entrepreneur. I felt like it was in my nature and I wanted to use the Internet as a tool to get educated.”
“My first passion was to learn about the stock market and that led me to my first idea.”
“It was a big risk, I was so scared back then and I had to tell my parents that I’m dropping out. Back then it really wasn’t the cool thing to do; to become an entrepreneur, to drop out of college. People looked at me as a college dropout, as I wasn’t going to become successful.”
“My family was like, ‘Look, this is your life. If you fail, you’re going to have to pick yourself back up. You’re going to have to figure it all out. And that pressure really pushed me to work really hard at it. It was up to me and nobody else.”
Segment 2: (Length :07:00) – Talking with Gerard Adams; Dealing with criticism; Hitting Rock Bottom.
Gerard’s finer points:
“I dealt with a ton of criticism. Like I mentioned, back then it wasn’t the cool thing to do. Now, the term entrepreneur is very cliche. Everybody wants to become an entrepreneur. Back then it wasn’t the cool thing. Everyone was supposed to go to school and get a college degree. Everyone believed before 2008 – before the crash of 2008 to 2010 – that was the road to success.”
“So, it was really me taking an unconventional path; going against the grain. But I have to admit that at a very young age because my father instilled leadership in me and pounded it in my head . . .”
“I was a very charismatic guy. I wasn’t the most book smart, but I was street smart. And all of that early on in my life, including being a risk taker . . . it just all built me. By the time I already had all that criticism, I had already dealt with it in high school that I was like:
‘You know what, I believe in myself. This is a gut feeling and I’d rather take that chance while I’m young and take that gut feeling knowing that I can go back to school. I have that option if I want. For me to stay in school and say, ‘what if’ . . . would have been something I regretted and I’d rather live with no regrets in life.’
“I think ‘rock bottom’ can be different for everybody. It’s getting to a place where you’re second guessing yourself or you have that fear of the ‘what ifs’; is this working out – cause success doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to have people that doubt you. You’re going to have a lot people say no to you. There’s a lot of obstacles. There’s a lot of adversity. You have to have the determination and will to get through a lot of that.”
“(From what I feel was my first rock bottom experience) I have a passion for finding small companies that are innovative. I have a skill for marketing and storytelling and doing digital media, then I could do this for a lot more companies. So I took that adversity, that moment of feeling rock bottom and turned it into how can I learn from this mistake.”
“I turned that into an agency, a $10M / year agency by the time I was 24.”
“The next rock bottom experience I had was when the 2008 to 2010 crash happened. My company was built around helping small companies in the market, the stock market and the crash happened. Luckily, I was in a place where I understood investing so I started making really good investments to hedge the market.”
“I was making multimillion dollar trades and what happened was I ended up getting to cocky, too greedy and too confident, and I made a trade that put me up $20M on this trade. I was in my mid-20’s. I thought the stock was going to continue to go higher. That day the market crashed heavily and took this company with it. I lost everything that I had worked for up until that point.”
“I just lost millions that I worked for. Of course, I have this ego and it’s very important to learn as an early entrepreneur to understand ego. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have your losses. You’re going to have to learn to take them in stride. You’re going to have to learn form those mistakes and I learned from them by saying, I’m not going to allow this to hold me down.”
“So that rock bottom moment I had turned around and allowed me to continue to take what I’ve learned and my passion and it led me to forming Elite Daily with my co-founders.”
Segment 3: (Length :07:00) – Starting from scratch again; EliteDaily.com
Gerard’s finer points:
“What happened with the marketplace, I saw how it changed, not just me, but a lot of people around me. That trade did one thing for me, but also all my friends and people as a generation were impacted by that recession of 2008 to 2010. Why do you think we’re all so entrepreneurial right now? We have to pave our own ways in some aspect. We were almost forced to. How can we trust these institutions that lied to us, took advantage of us and caused these bubbles to burst?”
“My father got laid off. My family was impacted. It really impacted a lot of people and it really shaped me to say, ‘Wow, this is bigger than just me having to pivot and become successful again, but it was more than that. How can I step up for this generation for all of us to be entrepreneurial and show that we can build things?”
“How are we making an impact in this world and being leaders. It’s our job to continue to lead and become the greatest generation in history.”
“I end up getting introduced to a young guy. We had met at the Gansevoort Hotel in New York. He had this drive and fire in his eyes that he wanted to build something special. He didn’t have that much mentorship in his life at that time. His name was David Arabov. When I met him, I saw so much of me early on in my career.”
“I said, ‘you know what? if you’re truly passionate about building something, start showing up at my office in Edgewater at the time and he started showing up every single day around his school schedule, and everyday no matter what, no matter how many hours day in and day out, he’d show up and learn.”
“Showing that your dedicated. Showing that you’re willing to learn. Showing that you’re willing to show up. Showing that you’re willing to be proactive and offer ideas and offer proactive ways to build your mentors’ business or passion as well and bringing value to them.”
“One day, he (David Arabov) was inspired by what we were doing and he said, ‘Gerard, I have to talk to you about an idea. I think we should build a Millennial publication around business.”
Then we looked at the Millennial media landscape and saw that there was a huge window of opportunity because a lot of the Millennial sites that were being built were very much niche based. They were college, gossip, entertainment. Where was the New York Times and Huffington Post of Generation Y? We saw that really didn’t exist.”
“Something that we were looking for that we wanted to create for the marketplace that we wanted. We saw the opportunity. Timing is very important and we attacked. We went after it. We put our heads together, we came up with elite, I came up with daily.”
“I started bootstrapping it and funding it myself. I started working with the guys on mentoring them on how to get it off the ground.”
“A lot of it was experimenting and how this would be built, understanding the formula for how much content we’d have to get out per day, how would we build our contributor network, how would we get exposure, understanding social platforms for pulling, not just the pushing, understanding our voice, our brand identity, what the long-term strategy was, what partnerships we wanted, biz dev, sales, monetization, operation structure . . .”
“A blessing was that after years of grind, we built such an amazing culture and I owe it all to the team cause they were the ones that day in and day out were dedicated because they felt we built something that was a voice of our generation and we allow people to tell their stories through our publication.”
Segment 4: (Length :07:00) – Role as a Mentor; Millennial Game Changers; Leaders Create Leaders
Gerard’s finer points:
“For me, it was a lot of pulling out what was already inside of them. Making them believe that this is something that could become as big as it did, understanding that it’s not going to happen over night, helping them get a little bit of structure, helping them look on how we’re going to build a team.”
“A lot of guidance; guidance to stay focused. There’s so many different opportunities and ideas that come every single day, but it’s very difficult for you to believe in something you’re passionate about and stay extremely focused on it.”
“No matter what your role is, forget about titles, align with a vision, align with what your goals are together to get to that end goal.”
“Once you go for scaling, it can be very difficult because when you scale as rapidly as we did (all the way up to 80M unique visitors) starting in our apartment to 65 people to then 200, there’s a lot that happens. There was a lot for me to understand on how to go from Seed to Scale, double down, and make sure that we’re making payroll and being able to reinvest in the company and team.”
“After the acquisition of that company, dream come true, believe it or not it becomes bitter sweet sometimes because you don’t want to let go of your baby. But sometimes you need to learn as an entrepreneur when the right time to sell is, when is the right time for your team?
“It was the first time in my life where I realized I never branded myself. I’m an entrepreneur. I build companies. I enjoy creating companies. I don’t care about myself. I care about putting the desires of others and my team and companies before me.”
“If I can do it, they can do it and I’m going to bring them resources now and the network. It is possible. Now’s the time to turnaround a city like Newark. It starts with us. Us as entrepreneurs, us small businesses. That’s how we’ll build this economy. Not just for ourselves that’s meaningful, but for making our country great again. We’re the generation to do it.”
“What do I have to do now to be somewhat relatable as a Millennial, go through what I had to go through, learn how to teach people based upon my REAL experience, help them get there a little bit faster, a little bit smarter and then maybe they’ll do the same thing for the next person.”
“I see my own lane. I see there’s a lot of amazing thought leaders out there. There’s a lot of hustlers. There’s a lot of very credible, amazing people out there, but we’re all different in our own ways. We all have something to offer. I feel like I’m a little bit more of a different kind of brand and a different kind of voice.”
“So I really wanted to be able to play my role as somebody that can help be a leader. So I decide to launch my “Leaders Create Leaders” . . . Like anything, I’m still figuring it out . . . but the process becomes the plan. Just make good, quality content, put it out there into the world that will be inspiring, motivating, educating, actionable and I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Segment 5: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:
“Let’s face it – if you’re going to start your own business, your daily schedule won’t be the same as the 9-to-5ers. You’ll put in more hours each week than anyone else you know, so you’d better be passionate about what you’re doing. Be sure to get a stress test done, because starting and running your own business isn’t a cake walk. Also, don’t expect a constant cash flow, my friend. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you aren’t careful, you could become jaded and lose your sense of wonder in the world. Enduring years when paychecks are few and far between is all but inevitable.”
– Gerard Adams – From his article, Entrepreneurship: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Gerard’s finer points:
“I’m blessed everyday. We all are blessed to be able to live our passion; to be able to go after what we dream of every single day. When you’re able to live your passion, understand your why and your purpose, and you stay consistent every single day working a little bit towards it. And instead of trying to create something extraordinary, you just do the ordinary things every day consistently, it’s amazing what will manifest in your life.”
“You’ve got to focus on yourself, be happy and do what you love. If you’re not, you’ll never find that success that’s meaningful for yourself.”
Gerard Adams – Co-Founder of EliteDaily.com, Angel Investor, Millennial Mentor & Social Entrepreneur
- Gerard Adams, co-founder of Elite Daily (EliteDaily.com), the No.1 news platform for Generation Y, is an experienced angel investor, millennial mentor and social entrepreneur who overcame early adversity to become a self-made millionaire by the age of 24.
- Devoted to turning dreams into reality, Gerard has made it his mission to inspire and mentor young entrepreneurs on what it takes to be successful.
- Gerard’s most recent project, a video-series called Leaders Create Leaders, reflects on his personal journey from a hopeful entrepreneur to a millennial mentor.
- Gerard continues expand and diversify his investment portfolio backing businesses across multiple industries from technology to digital media to fashion.
- For more information about Gerard Adams, visit www.gerardadams.com and follow him on Instagram @GerardAdams and Snapchat @HelloGerard.