Matthew Ganzak | Crain's Tampa Bay

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Matthew Ganzak

Background:  

Renew IV Wellness is a Tampa, Fla.-based modern wellness spa offering innovative and effective ways for clients to reach their optimum lifestyle. Matthew Ganzak is also a marketing strategist and author of "The Million Dollar Plan."

The Mistake:

I thought I knew everything.

I started a business and started making money on the side from 2003 to 2006. And then in 2006, I ended up moving over $1 million in product through an organization that I built within my company. And I thought I knew everything. I thought, "Hey. I just moved a million dollars in product. I'm 20-something-odd years old. I know everything. I don't need a mentor."

I was bringing in $20,000 a month in sales, personally; I thought I was the king of digital advertising. And then in 2007, 2008, I started realizing that that’s not the case. I had set myself up with trying to hire staff, and trying to build an infrastructure, and trying to build a business in Tampa. And the recession started happening and I was like, "Wow. Maybe this isn't as easy as I had thought." You know, when success comes easy up front – not that it was simple; I mean, I was working my tail off to achieve that goal – but when success comes easy, sometimes you lose sight of the hard work that it takes to actually sustain that success.

I was stupid. I didn't take my momentum and start building on it to foster continued growth. And I suspended my momentum by not taking advice from people and not finding a good mentor to help me take my success and perpetuate it.

It was a humbling experience to go completely broke ...

The Lesson:

I ended up going completely broke and I got to the point that I couldn't even afford my rental apartment. I just completely ran out of money trying to go out and sell. New clients weren't coming in and everything just started dwindling out. I was like, "Wow. This isn't a good situation." So I made the decision to move to New York City. I moved to New York with only $300 in my pocket after selling everything I owned.

But I figured it out. I decided I needed to go and work for somebody that really knows how to do digital marketing and really knows the business, so they can teach me. I landed a job, but until I got my first paycheck, I still had nothing. I was sleeping on the floor of a Manhattan apartment because I couldn’t afford to buy a bed for the first month or so I was there. It was a humbling experience to go completely broke, thinking that you know everything and then getting to the point that maybe you don't know everything.

So I started becoming more attentive to what people were saying, and I started becoming more humble. The No. 1 thing that turned around my life is having an open mind and going into every situation saying, "Hey, what can I learn from this situation? What can I learn from this other person?"

When I changed my mindset, when I changed the way that I perceived business and entrepreneurship in the world, that's really when things started turning around for me. I now have some great partnerships and some amazing people that I'm working with. And I'm just so grateful. But I guess if it wasn't for that breakdown and the recession, I don't know … you just never know where good advice, and good life lessons, and good business lessons are going to come from.​

Follow Matthew Ganzak on Twitter at @MattGanzak.

Photo courtesy of Sachi Castañeda

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