Photo: Roberto Candelaria
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In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of . This interview is with Roberto C. Candelaria, co-founder and CEO of , a purpose-driven marketing and talent agency. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
Roberto Candelaria: My biggest influence was my dad, who passed away in January. When I was young, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I don’t remember my answer, but I’ll never forget his response: “If you can do anything in the world, why not dream bigger?”
Those words have stayed with me my entire life. My dad wanted me to dream bigger than he had as a young migrant worker picking cotton, carrots, and onions. He was an inspiration and taught me a solid work ethic to reach my full potential. He was the first in our family to graduate college and went on to work on projects for NASA and IBM. By dreaming big, we can reach a lot more than if we aim low and keep hitting mediocre.
What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Roberto Candelaria: Building partnerships and genuine relationships. I see connections, relationships, and possibilities where others don’t. Genuine relationships will take you places and open doors that your credit card or bank account never could.
What excites you the most about your business right now?
Roberto Candelaria: Social relevance used to be all about networking offline, then it was all about networking online. Now we are finally connecting both online and off. I’m excited that millennials, influencers, and entrepreneurs are realizing the value of this kind of social relevance and prioritizing genuine relationships.
I love seeing our clients win as we help them reach new levels of success through partnerships, sponsorships, and collaborations. It all comes down to being relevant to partners, prospects, customers, and community and connecting with them for the greater good.
What did you learn from your favorite mentor?
Roberto Candelaria: Internet marketing multimillionaire Tom Antion is my personal mentor and friend. I learned to build my first website through his WordPress course in 2012 and joined his mentee program from there.
Since then, I’ve launched trainings on partnerships and sponsorships, produced numerous webinars, launched my mastermind PROPEL, and created an online business. The skills I learned from Tom have not just allowed me to fill our own coaching programs and live events. I’ve also helped numerous influencers, speakers, and entrepreneurs position themselves in the market and profit through their platforms and partnerships.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Roberto Candelaria: Ten years ago, I was so focused on perfection that I missed a lot of opportunities. I had this realization when I was explaining how I got started to Ontraport CEO Landon Ray for his . Looking back, I would tell myself to believe in myself, dive in, and make mistakes sooner. You’re going to make mistakes but you’ll learn from them, so don’t let fear prevent you from getting started.
Before that, I wrote an about 10 things I would tell my 16-year-old self. The number one thing I knew back then was that people are always going to talk about you, no matter how great you’re doing. So learn to love yourself and don’t let others tell you how to live.
What’s the biggest common leadership mistake?
Roberto Candelaria: The most common leadership mistake is being the wrong CEO — that is, being the “chief everything officer” instead of the chief executive officer. We become stronger leaders when we trust our team, allow them to lead, and create an environment where their creativity and input is accepted.
Great leadership is about focusing on the basics, not making things so complicated that people don’t know what to do. That doesn’t look the same to everyone, so clearly define what leadership looks like to you so everyone is on the same page, whether they’re in customer service, fulfillment, or enrollment.
How do you identify a good business partner?
Roberto Candelaria: Someone once told me that not everyone needs a partner; sometimes, they need a mentor. I have found this to be true several times over the past 10 years as an entrepreneur.
That said, there are several key qualities I look for in a partner. A great partner is an expert in their field, with strong personal and business relationships. They have resources other than just cash, because building a business takes more than that — it also takes time, our most valuable resource. They value human potential and human capital and want to take others to the next level. They also fully align with the company vision, direction, and values.
Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Roberto Candelaria: Building consistent partnerships and genuine relationships. I spend most mornings connecting with current and prospective clients and partners. Checking in with three to five people each day has opened the door to so many possibilities.
My favorite question is “what are you working on and how can I or my network help you?” Always show up to serve, and deliver value first.
What are you working on right now?
Roberto Candelaria: In addition to building platforms, partnerships, and profits for purpose-driven brands and influencers through our agency, I’m also working on my next book, “Relationships Make Money.”
I’m proof that relationships make money. Because of relationships, I’ve been invited to speak in London when others had to pay for the opportunity, given the keynote remarks at the New Zealand Sponsorship Summit, and hosted creative experiences for clients with our food and wine partners. Now I want to help others do the same to accelerate their platforms, partnerships, and profits.
It’s an amazing time to be alive. Where else could the son of a migrant worker who didn’t finish high school build a business that is impacting lives around the world?
What is the most exciting question that you spend time thinking about?
Roberto Candelaria: What if? This is my favorite question to ask entrepreneurs starting their journey. What if I see more partnerships, collaborations, and stages for you? What if I see you changing lives and making the impact you deeply desire to have in the world? What if I see you earning money your way?
I love the power of this question. These two simple words inspire possibility and clarity. What if we, as leaders, asked ourselves this question and re-believed in our own dreams and desires?
Connect with Roberto on and or visit his .
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This article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com
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