Meet The Experts: Gabriela Gandolfini, Influencer & Digital Creator for Gabigandolfini
The ALL by MAMA Network has a whole host of experts handpicked to help you with your business. Today we would like to introduce you to our Influencer & Digital Creator Gabi
Tell us a bit about yourselfHi, I'm Gabriela! I moved to the UK from Brazil 15 years ago, married a Brit 5 years later, adopted a dog called Cookie Monster a year later, had Joseph 5 years later and then had Natalia 3 years after that. The rest is pretty much all on the grid! Now for the interesting stuff:
- I was studying law back home and realised it was not for me. I left uni and came to the UK for what was meant to be 3 months while I decided what to do next. I'll never forget my mum's reaction when I broke the news that I was not going back...
- I ate toast, and only toast, for weeks in those days as I had no money for anything more.
- I wanted to have a degree for my own sense of achievement. I felt a lot of pressure for leaving uni as in Brazil you are nothing without a degree or three. I studied Business Studies with the Open University and it took me 7 years to graduate through working full time and having a baby. I feel this is probably one of my greatest achievements in life.
- I worked in theatre my entire UK life. I started as an usher in the West End as ended as a deputy director at a large theatre after being promoted while on maternity leave, with great career prospects. Two months into the new role I quit my job as I simply couldn't cope with working a high pressured role and having two kids. I really struggled with my mental health after having Nattie and the job element didn't help. Not many people understood how I could leave a job I worked my entire career to get. That's ok that people don't get it. It's not their journey, it's mine.
- I've been working freelance as a business coach and trainer / facilitator since. But between you and me, my mind is not in it anymore and I'm still struggling the freelance career as now I also have very limited childcare. So... I have some business ideas bubbling up. Watch this space. Or not as I have no capital (or change since I quit my job!). Let's see!
- All you have to do is look at my socials to know I love Disney. No, I will never be too old for magic. Watch me wear my Minnie years on Instagram when I'm 85. That is if Instagram is still alive by then.
- I also love Bon Jovi. Like, completely addicted since I was 13. I'm still convinced they launched their first album when they did to celebrate my birth.
- Once I helped Val Kilmer with his oxygen mask. Don't ask.
- I share a birthday with Julie Andrews. Mic drop.
What inspired you to start your business?I have always loved photography. I did a few courses before having kids and my DSLR was always in hand. I even photographed (professionally!) two weddings. So although most of my photos are taken on my phone nowadays, I still love photography, hence why I Pinterest and Instagram are my favourite social media channels and hence why I suck at Twitter. One day I realised I was gaining followers at my personal Instagram account and thought "maybe I could try to do this properly". I was on maternity leave with Nattie and Instagram helped me have a focus on the positive side of life when I felt pretty low. Sounds weird, as people often talk about social media as as an evil, buy actually it can be great. When I was feeling low, taking wonderful photos of my kids, editing them, writing a positive caption and creating a lovely motherhood post helped me shift, even if momentarily, my thoughts from dark to light.
Describe your typical dayNattie goes to nursery only 2 days a week since I quit my job as that's all we could just about afford. On those 2 days I work non stop to get everything done as I know I only have two days. So I plan, write captions and edit photos for IG for the week, I shoot and edit content for any collaborations or pitches, I wrote a blog post and/or shoot a YouTube video, I do all my business coach work, including having to go into central London for meetings sometimes. I also try to clean the house and do the ironing in those two days as it's hard to do those things with my 2yo around. And life adm when I can. The other days are a mix of taking the kids to swimming classes, karate classes, going to the park, going to Tesco and getting stressed about the school runs and bed time.
Name three words that describe success for youI can't just do three words. Did I mention I suck at Twitter? How do people say it all in 280 characters is beyond me, How about some phrases:Family time. Feeling confident in my craft. Enjoying the craft. Making a living. Not compromising my values. Adding value.
Name three business tips that you would give to yourself, if you were starting out.If we're talking about social media:
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. 2 years ago, Instagram and the age of Influencers were peaking and everyone was talking about how it was here to stay. Now people are talking about how Influencers are declining and everyone is panicking about the massive decline in engagement on Instagram. It's a VERY fast-paced world the social media one. Invest time in a few platforms not just the one in order to future proof your online presence. I haven't been great (or even good!) at doing this but it is on my own business plan for the rest of this year.
- Don't get over excited with wins. Last Christmas I got some great collaborations and did some amazing adverts for brands I love, and made a decent amount of money to basically pay for Christmas. I thought I had it nailed. Then January came...insert tumble weeds.
- Not everyone knows what they are talking about. In the beginning I found it shocking how the people in marketing teams and PR agencies didn't really know a lot about the workings of social media and still, they were there giving me briefs and approving or declining my content. It made me angry that I'd get content declined and see them approving other content from other people who didn't even meet the brief. The truth is, not many organisations have in-house social media experts. It can often be the intern who has been given social media because they are young so they must know everything about it. And I know this from experience in my previous many day jobs. But once you feel more confident in your craft you can talk to brands on a different level about your ideas, or you can simply choose not to work with them.
How do you juggle work and play?I don't play much. I mean... I play with my kids, but I don't think you mean Lego here. I have no family in this country and my husband works unsociable hours, so I'm on my own with the kids all the time with no childcare. Me-time is pretty rare nowadays and my evenings are pretty much only me and my laptop or me cleaning, I don't even get to watch Netflix anymore. BUT I know this too shall pass.I know one day both my kids will be in school and I'll have more time to work during the day, or even go back to a "normal" job meaning my husband can work less. And then at this point I'll miss having no me-time but having the kids around. It's just life.
What would be your plan B?Plan B is to look for another job and go back to a "normal" job. I'd of course keep Instagram but my aspirations for it would be put to the side probably, and so my possible business ideas bubbling up. This might still happen depending on our financial situation come the new year, but I want to give all the plans in my head a good go before then so I don't have to. Once you leave "normal" is very hard to go back to it.Website: www.gabigandolfini.comEmail: email@example.comInstagram: www.instagram.com/gabigandolfiniAmazon Store: www.amazon.co.uk/shop/gabigandolfiniFacebook: www.facebook.com/gabigandolfiniTwitter: www.twitter.com/gabigandolfiniPinterest: www.pinterest.com/gabigandolfini