Ruben Vergara Meersohn is just 25 years old and since a very young age he already knew his destination- success.
He is the mastermind behind some well profiting business ventures from media companies to luxury properties as villas all over Italy and hotel resorts in the Madagascar sea. Internationally successful.
Wondering why he hasn’t yet been featured on the Forbes list “30 under 30” as one of the youngest & richest entrepreneurs.
Before getting to know Ruben from a more personal point of view, here’s a brief description of his businesses.
“I’m the founder and CEO of Wall Street International, a cultural Magazine written in six languages. So far we have over two thousand authors and journalists, we are trying to create a platform where the unheard voices can have a space, we try avoiding chronicles that involves conflicts, deaths and all the negative news we are constantly surrounded by. We are always on the look for the beauty that surrounds us, telling the stories of small populations, making culture cool again and overall just creating a niche in which the quality of books can survive online. You can read it at the following link:www.wsimag.com
I’m also the COO of Villas Link, a luxury villas rental that operates in the Mediterranean. We manage the best luxury properties and find clients that would like to rent them for short and longer periods. This company is quickly becoming a major player in the European market, overtaking a huge portion of the luxury sector. Connected to this company we also have Admaiora Group, a destination management and concierge services company which can provide bespoke travel itineraries, luxury yachts, helicopter, car transfers or any desire our clients might have.
I’m also involved in Cecchi de’ Rossi a company where we produce leather bags, shoes and accessories treated naturally, hand-crafted and colored with wine. If that wasn’t great enough, this brand was just named one of the most innovative during the recent Milan Fashion Week. We recently opened our first flagship store in Ibiza and we cannot keep up with the demand and the feedback we are getting from the market.I do also consultancy on the side, mainly financial and strategical, plus I’m the shareholder of few more companies.“
Ruben, as one of many others that try to get into this business doesn’t accept failure as an option. That’s what all successful entrepreneurs have in common though- Never quit!
Starting is like being in hell, everyone feels entitled to share his opinion about your choices and you have to go through a really tough period, especially because you are just guessing what would be a good choice and you know that making the wrong decisions will cost you months if not money.
But quitting for me was never an option, would you ever put a deposit on your dream house and then just leave losing all those money? Sure not!
But somehow when we are talking about the dream life quitters are willing to lose all the time they invested to get there. I wouldn’t say time is money, because I value my time much more, but you get the point. Anyhow, for me the hardest part comes when you reach your first milestones, only then you understand what kind of entrepreneur you are. Anyone can open a company, but how many people can deal with the pressure of a growing a company?
I have always had a “crush” about managing, creating projects and taking risks. That’s what you officially do. Is it tougher than it looks?
Much tougher than it looks, but also much more interesting than it looks! It’s tough because all the responsibility is on your shoulders and in your decisions, a wrong decision could mean that hundreds of people are out of job. But being an entrepreneur teaches you how to solve any kind of situation, especially if you are in the position of managing businesses in totally different fields from each other, it makes you feel immensely alive and constantly stimulated.
I call it my privilege and duty, you put a lot of time, responsibility, instability and dedication but in return you get the life that most people can only dream about. This is not because it’s impossible to reach it but because it takes doing constantly what nobody wants to do to get where everybody wants to be.
He is not just a young businessman but also a young father of two children. A father of a boy and a very young baby girl that was born not so long ago.
-How was the experience of being a father for the first time and then the 2nd one?
Unbelievable, one of the most beautiful experiences a man can have, especially if you take it lighthearted without thinking too much about the fact your life is changing and that you’ll be thrown into the unknown. I wrote a great article about the topic.
Having to be a leader of a few companies at a young age and taking care of his family at the same time, isn’t something that made him worrying taking into consideration the advantages that come with that.
Nothing comes easy nowadays, but the rewards you get are mind-blowing, I deem myself an extremely happy person, and I can only be grateful for what I have in my life at this stage. Business and family are extremely similar, in both you need to invest time and effort to see them flourish and prosper.
Are you happy how things have turned out until now?
More than happy, ecstatic! If you ask most people, they would tell you it’s almost impossible to spend quality time with the family while growing a business, choosing for me wasn’t an option. But the picture of me afraid and lost in the world is vivid in my mind, as a reminder that nothing comes easy and that I need to always be humble, because the moment you sit it’s the time you lose the battle. Happiness is not something you reach and lasts forever, you need to nurture it daily and have constantly new goals, passions and aims.
What most people think of successful people is how much of their time and money they have spend on education and getting a degree but in fact most of the successful people don’t have any graduation. They just are smart enough to make earnings. Ruben is one of them and doesn’t feel ashamed.
For me success doesn’t exist, once you reach your goal you immediately create a bigger and better goal to accomplish, there are people with a winning mindset and the average person, which by the way is a choice you have to make every morning, do you want to be great or average?
When talking about why he left school, furthermore at a very young age he argues that despite not being very good at, also wasn’t preparing him to be successful.
I was losing time, not my cup of tea. To say it more clearly I was a failure at school. I believe that school prepares you to be a good worker and follow the lines, but to be an entrepreneur you have to think differently from others and learn how to take a punch in the mouth without giving up. I took an impulsive decision, I wasn’t satisfied nor happy, I wanted to do, work and succeed. It was extremely difficult at first because most people I knew thought I was destroying my chances, too much to take in for a fourteen years old. It’s the worst mistake you can do. The best you can aim for is a job as a factory worker, which by the way was my second job, in a steel factory. You just gamble your future. These were only few of the things people told me.
My belief is that the school system needs to be reformed and changed drastically, for millennials having a job isn’t enough anymore, we are seeing more and more people starting a home business, a blog, companies, branch out.. Making a living isn’t cutting it anymore, especially because most of us are unhappy with a 9-5 job and having a regular life.
How was dealing with life at that young age?
Hard, imagine being at the bottom of the latter while also being by far the youngest in every situation. Now at 25 I have almost fifteen years of experience, own six companies, do consultancy, have a wife and two kids, I gave a lot to life, and somehow it’s coming back. Not having an academic experience in my opinion is something really useful in the business world, as you are able to think out of the box, and you know you must work double as hard to accomplish the same. In professional boxe they call it having a handicap, well I have it, in every situation I start as the underdog, and I need to work my way up.
Globetrotter is another nickname that suits you- how do you plan your vacations?
I’m not a big planner when it comes to traveling, as I’m busy all the time and my schedule could change quite quickly. Usually I decide at the beginning of the year where I want to go and where I need to go, and just few days before the departure date I start buying the tickets and reserve the hotels.
Is it true what they say that if you want to be successful you can’t just go on vacations without thinking about your work?
Absolutely, I never go on vacation, I travel! This year the only day I didn’t touch my computer was in September when my daughter was born because I was all day at the hospital, but as soon as I got back home I was on my laptop replying to emails, it was 3am.
To be successful you need to love what you do, and you want to dedicate every single second to it, it’s like raising a kid, all your attentions are concentrated there and even when they are with the grandparents or the nanny you are constantly thinking about them.
And as Ruben said, even when traveling his mind was at his businesses.
This summer I went only in Croatia several times, to Spain, Slovenia and Italy, I was really busy because we were in the high season for my luxury villas rental business. Winter is usually the period when I travel the most, this year I went to Lebanon, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Russia, United Kingdom and Bosnia.
Now let’s talk about vacations but those in the Madagascar sea that your family owns.
Madagascar is a gem and the two resorts we own are located in the best spots, one in Nosy Be, the most touristic island of Madagascar while the second is in Nosy Iranja a natural reserve in the middle of the sea where many tourists go to see animals and go snorkeling.
We are usually fully booked and business is booming as we have one of the best restaurants of the island, a swimming pool and really nice wooden lodges furnished with an Africa taste. But words cannot explain how beautiful it is.. www.lezahir-lodge-nosybe.com
You are from Italy, what made you move in Montenegro?
I’m originally from a city called Modena, a marvelous place where you can breathe entrepreneurial energy at every corner, it’s famous for the ceramic industries, textile, medical, gourmet and automotive. You might know Modena for the best restaurant in the world, for Aceto Balsamico, Parmesan cheese, Ferrari or Maserati, that’s the city where I grew up.
The only two problems are that it’s at least two hours away from the sea and located in a country where it became impossible to be entrepreneurs, the only two options are to be a multinational company or be set to fail. Therefore I decided to leave my country and make a list of the suitable countries, somehow I liked the idea of living in Montenegro so I took the impulsive decision to move here, and it worked out beautifully.
How’s the lifestyle over there?
It’s great, I live in Budva which is chaotic during summer but very peaceful all year long, ideal for a person that needs to work a lot. In addition food and the people are amazing, it’s like Italy in the 80s! Few features I really enjoy are the sea, I live 800 meters from the beach so I swim a lot which is a great way to relax, not much traffic and clean, so that the kids can run around and be free, organic food and it’s a country with a lot of potential, so being here is not only good for the companies but owning the apartment building where I have my offices is also a great long-term investment.
I asked him about his typical day and it’s just work work work…
I usually wake up early, get in few hours of work to do the most urgent tasks and later on I go to the gym. By 8am we have breakfast at home than I go to the office. From when I arrive to the office till late night my working day is very variable depending on what I have to do, but the important things are:
–I always try to take at least a 1 hour break to spend with the family and spend some quality time with the kids
-Never check emails before noon, so that I can focus on my agenda and not on others people agenda
-Rarely I work less than 15 hours, if you want to be successful you need to work hard
-I try to eat the meals with the family every day and put the kids to sleep, Business is important but if you neglect the family you’ll be an empty man
-Usually I never give more than half an hour for meetings, anything longer than that is wasting my time, so I interrupt the meeting and continue by email
As you can see I don’t have a typical day, but many rituals that I try to follow daily. If all days looked the same I would take a job as an employee, at least I would know that at 5pm I’m done! You need to live and breathe work to be an entrepreneur, and the entrepreneurial spirits lays in the variables of the job.
I couldn’t resist without asking the most typical and silly question someone does to an entrepreneur: How rich are you?
I consider myself wealthy because I could retire today without having to think about the future. But most importantly I’m able to do what I love every day, have and provide for my family at 25 years of age and have the freedom to decide for my present and my future, which is the most valuable asset we can have.
Here’s an example of how you get started, taking risks and trying to make it happen and Ruben did it. Take notes 😉
Wall Street International was a project my father was doing with a partner, and at the time they were at the embryonic stage. This was five years ago and at that time I had just left my job at an investing firm in London and went back to Italy trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. I was tired of working in the corporate world and ready to start my own adventure.
They suggested me to get involved with the project as in one of my previous jobs I was in charge of the IT team and Social Media, but my speed of actions scared the partner. They worked on the WSI three years before I joined them and in only a couple of months I got the website and Magazine to be ready for launch. Few days before the actual launch the partner dropped out, so we had to take the decision of continuing on our own or close the Magazine, not being a quitter the decision for me was clear, therefore I bought all the shares of the partner and I became the CEO of WSI Magazine shaping it to what you see today.
Did you take any notes? Do you need any more motivation to go and follow your instinct? Just give it a try and never stop, because as Ruben said :
the moment you sit it’s the time you lose the battle.
More on: www.rubenvergaram.com
Follow me on: