Ups and downs are normal parts of running a business. Having a 40-year-long career as a businessperson is plenty of time to give way under a down. It’s clear that Roberto Maggio never did, if not from the fact that he’s still in business than from the fact that he’s referred to as “the man who never gave up.”
Question: What have those 40 years meant to you?
Roberto Maggio: A long experience. It allowed me to collect anecdotes and teachings that can be useful, or at least of interest, not only for those approaching the business world but also for those who are simply intrigued. I am also lucky enough to enrich this knowledge with new experiences. I get them from my travels around the world, which I document through the lens of the camera.
Q: Is that how the Other Places project got started?
Roberto Maggio: I created a website to host a collection of my photos. I also launched a message on social media to collaborate on the project via the hashtag #otherplacesnet. The feedback from all over the world was phenomenal, so I decided to gather photos made by other professional and non-professional photographers. The idea is to put it all in a photo book and make it available on Amazon. In September/October the Other Places book will be presented in my photo exposition in Rome, Palazzo Bonaparte in Venezia square – Rome.
Q: That sounds like the next best thing to traveling and meeting people in a world where opportunities to travel are limited.
Roberto Maggio: My motto is “I travel, therefore I am,” and it comes from my passion for travel which, in turn, is linked to my other great passion, photography. The motto stems from an observation: if I don’t travel for a long time I start to feel bad. Traveling helps me to live, so I changed Descartes’ “Cogito ergo sum” into “I travel, therefore I am.”
Q: Speaking of mottos, business people are often asked about their motivations and mindsets. Do you think the mindset is as important as people believe it is?
Roberto Maggio: For an entrepreneur, mentality represents 50% of his work. I am what I am today thanks to myself and my mentality. To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to have a mentality that combines the courage to take risks with perseverance in the face of problems, but also the ability to change direction when you realize that the undertaking is leading nowhere.
Q: How about when dealing with customers? What kind of mentality is helpful there?
Roberto Maggio: It takes great humility to listen to customer feedback and suggestions from your collaborators with an open mind. The ability to demonstrate excellence helps, too.
Q: You mentioned that you can thank yourself and your mentality for where you are today. What’s your workday like?
Roberto Maggio: I dedicate almost 20 hours a day to my company, every day of the week and all year round. It’s only thanks to this dedication that I can make sure that my collaborators are all motivated and that the projects are carried out in the best possible way and on schedule.
Q: It seems like you value your collaborators a lot.
Roberto Maggio: My team is one of the key points of my success. I choose the best who are also the hungriest, give them the right information they need to do their job, and leave them autonomous to achieve their goals.
Q: Finally, what would you recommend to new entrepreneurs, thinking about gathering a team and offering a service or a product?
Roberto Maggio: I’d tell them to ask themselves, if they were a customer, would they “fall in love” with the service or product they want to offer? If the answer is yes, find the best place to start the business and the best possible team that can support the endeavor.