In Conversation with Serial Entrepreneur & Blogger Christina Galbato
Describe your business in a few words?
I help women build careers as Instagram influencers and bloggers. (See here to learn more!)
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I have always been passionate about travel because I’ve been traveling since I was very young. After college, I found myself working in a 9-to-5 job, drowning in monotony, and realizing that the corporate ladder climb wasn’t for me. I started a travel blog and Instagram not knowing where it would take me.
Fast forward four years, I have an audience online of over 500,000, have landed over $250,000 in brand partnerships, oversee a team of 10 women, and have built a 7-figure online business teaching women how to do the same.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I worked in Public Relations, landing press features and organizing influencer marketing campaigns for tech startups in New York City.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
If you had asked young Christina – Christina before high school – what she wanted to do, it would have been something entrepreneurial. Like, I was that kid in 4th grade that bought a mechanical pencil sharpener and charged kids 25 cents to use it, and was promptly sent to the principals’ office. ? “I was just capitalizing on the fact that everyone was using the sharpener on the wall with a crank…”
As I entered high school and college though, “real life” expectations were set on my shoulders. I tried on many hats: Political Science classes, Bar classes (because suddenly I wanted to be a lawyer…), and ultimately a 9-to-5 job in Public Relations. It was then I rediscovered my passion for entrepreneurship.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I think of this question in two phases. First, when I was growing my community on Instagram and on my blog. In that phase, my marketing strategy was purely organic. I spent so much time creating consistent, quality content, engaging with my audience, and reaching out to others. It went as planned because my audience grew from 0 to over 200,000 in two years. I traveled around the world working with hotels like Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons, and the tourism boards of Thailand, Morocco, and Bahamas. I partnered with lululemon, Banana Republic, Mazda, and more.
Second, when I launched my online course business. At first, I promoted my online courses completely organically to my existing audience, which was successful because they wanted to know how they could create an influencer business similar to mine. I learned a lot from this, but quickly realized I didn’t want to be constantly selling to my audience, so I began using ads in 2018.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
In the past, I’ve felt burnt out many times and what I’ve learned from those experiences is that entrepreneurs cannot and should not try to do everything. Your business can only grow so large if you do not hire. There is no pride to be found in “wearing all of the hats” and hustling yourself into the ground.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Helping over 500,000 women with my free content, and over 7,000 with my paid content. Redefining the word “influencer.” Writing for CNN and Forbes. Reaching 7-figures in revenue in 2020.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
“What does curiosity mean to you?” Curiosity is one of Team CG’s core values because it encompasses so much. It does not just mean trying new things, but also seeking to understand the unfamiliar and putting yourself in others’ shoes. The response to this question is always a good gauge of someone’s character and whether they’d be a good fit at my company. For anyone hiring, I recommend defining your company’s core values and ensuring anyone coming onto your team aligns perfectly with them.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
My business during the COVID-19 pandemic was positively impacted. The pandemic has thrown a lot of jobs into limbo and made people question just how safe their “secure” 9-to-5 careers are. I have welcomed many new students who are eager to build a business online – and I know many in the online education industry have as well!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
More programs that help even more women build empires on social media and on their blogs.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
I learned that I was living an extremely fast-paced – and, oftentimes, ungrateful – existence prior to this. I’ve learned that every day, every experience, every opportunity is a gift that should be cherished and enjoyed.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew how important investing in mentorship and online education is. I don’t regret anything about my path, but I absolutely have spent the last four years learning and figuring everything out myself. If I had hired the right mentors, or even invested in the right online courses, I would have grown my team a lot quicker, created scalable income streams sooner, and ultimately had a better idea of what it means to be a CEO earlier.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Connecting to my “why” has allowed me to not get caught up in all of 2020’s letdowns. My mission is to give women the strategies they need to succeed as influencers and bloggers. So sure – while I may not be able to travel, see friends, or go out to dinner as often as I’d like, I can hunker down with my team and figure out how we can make a larger impact in others’ lives. Your “why” will always get you through difficult times because you’re connected with what matters.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I believe work/life “balance” will never be perfect even in terms of time spent. But I do believe that whether it’s 70/30 or 10/90, you can be fully present and “all in” for each. At this point in my life (age 27), it’s not about the quantity of time; it’s about the quality.
I personally don’t struggle to disconnect from “life” while in “work” (classic entrepreneur!), but I have struggled in the past with the opposite. I spent a lot of time in the first couple years of my business letting my personal life suffer. I won’t let that happen again! What’s the point of being a CEO if you have no life?
So, when I’m with my boyfriend or friends, I put my phone away. I try my best to listen instead of thinking about what I’m going to say back. I dedicate myself to the present instead of letting my mind drift.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I am an impulsive person and a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I’ve learned to tame this over the years, but am still the kind of person that if invited to skydive tomorrow, wouldn’t hesitate to go (again!). I’ve also been known to book week-long trips 12 hours in advance…
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Don’t touch your phone for the first hour of the day. The difference between the day you have when you wake up, check social, scroll email, etc. and the day you have when you don’t touch your phone for the first 30 minutes to one hour … It’s remarkable. That initial disconnection helps set you up for a fantastic, productive, and happy day.
- Turn off notifications. The only notifications I have on my phone are Calls and iMessages (because only my close friends & family have my number). Turning off work, social media, email, and news notifications was a game changer for my productivity.
- Work in a happy environment. Whatever this means to you. Whether it’s being outside or being in dim lighting… lighting candles or turning on music, pay close attention to when you are most productive and create that environmental scenario for yourself every day.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
An Entreprenista takes her life and career into her own hands, and empowers other women to do the same.