Because I learned early on that giving up doesn’t count. Because I fight passionately for my goals and aspirations. Because I don’t expect any free rides in my life. And because no matter how high you’ve climbed or how low you’ve fallen, you should always stay human.
I know what it means to be flat broke, and I appreciate my failures because I’ve learned a lot from them.
I’m unconventional, easy-going, creative, and always on the lookout for uncomplicated decisions.
I hate unnecessary babble, and I avoid circular discussions like the plague.
Much like a punker’s green mohawk hair, my visions and the businesses that grow out of them stand out from the crowd. I’m not ashamed of my mistakes; on the contrary, I own up to them as I try to set them straight. I stand behind my opinions without being a smartass about it, and I’m unconditionally motivated to get things done.
“Work hard, play hard” isn’t just some trope for me. My business is my life!
It’s a punk-rock philosophy, but for business. Business Punk.
Have you answered 'YES' to one of the above questions?
Contact me immediately!
I will gladly share my experience with you, advise you, encourage you and together we will fix the problems!
I charge reasonably, I work quickly and I am reliable.
It's worth having me in your team!
You'll soon see that 100% of your success is not enough for me.
Born: During the 80’s in the small working-class town of Beuthen in Upper Silesia, Poland. Came to Germany at the age of three. Mom is Polish, dad is German.
Raised: In Märkisches Viertel, Berlin’s “troubled neighborhood” in the north—a place notorious for poverty, crime, and social decline.
What makes me so special? If you ask me, nothing at all!
Except maybe that I’m not afraid to defend my opinions, that I shun conventions, and that I appreciate working with like-minded people.
I developed my first business plan at the tender age of 16.
That’s right: as early as my teenage years, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur!
I began my career in direct marketing. Firmly convinced I could do a better job than my boss, I joined forces with a partner and founded my first company, a small outbound call center that was marketing office supplies.
A friend financed our furniture and first rent payment, and in return he got shares in our new firm.
Along the way, I studied business administration at a distance-learning university…
…and dropped out after a time. I only studied as long as I had to, that is, until I felt like I had acquired the necessary skills to get going. I didn’t have patience for anything else.
My first business enterprise suffered a searing defeat: I was unfocused, not ambitious enough, too foolish, too young, too inexperienced, when a slew of non-paying customers dealt us the final blow.
I was left with debt—and a lot of experience.
In the immediate aftermath of my first failed startup, I found myself at times utterly penniless, unable to afford even the most basic items at the discount supermarket. It was a brutal time that taught me what it means to have nothing. My circle of friends suddenly became very… manageable ;) People would say to me, “I won’t lend you five euros because I don’t know if you’ll ever pay me back.” That sort of thing left a deep mark on me, it cut to my core.
I’m not embarrassed to admit that I often cried during that time. I was deeply ashamed, because despite having two healthy hands, I was unable to afford my own meals.
But to give up? No way! More than ever, I was proud and ready to keep going.
Following a recommendation from one of my friends in the call-center industry, I opened up a telecoms marketing agency. “Dude, all you need is your sales talent.” This statement from my friend was what pushed me to try again—and it was the only solution, since I had no money and wouldn’t even have been able to afford a ballpoint pen. This meant that other business models were out of the question. So I picked up the phone and started calling: “Do you need a DSL flat rate?” That phrase haunts me in my sleep to this day, seeing how I used it as my opening line dozens (it felt like thousands) of times per day.
This was the beginning of my first success story. Several mobile-phone shops were to follow under the label “telephonique”.
Even back then, I had recognized that efficiency was only truly possible through the internet, and so I joined forces with two developers to develop an SaaS solution enabling retailers to activate sales orders and mobile-phone cards directly at their point of sale.
Before that, every telecommunications retailer in Germany had to fax their request to the appropriate telecoms provider and wait an average of two to three days for activation.
My solution made this possible within 15 to 30 minutes.
I never anticipated what happened next…
Our distribution for retail and direct sales literally exploded.
At one point, we were the third-largest player by revenue in the telecommunications industry. We achieved this in the span of a few short months.
In retrospect, it was an amazing time.
Because our office space was so limited, we had to recruit people on the street and, during especially turbulent times, sit them down in internet cafés to help us stem the tide of new contracts. This was the only way we knew how to deal with the enormous sales volume.
By the end of it, we had seven branch stores of our own, 271 partner shops, 67 call centers, over 300 sales reps, and more than 1.2 million euros in revenue.
I was able to divest telephonique to a larger competitor for a lucrative price, which paved the way for fresh challenges.
It still gives me goosebumps to think back on that era, when we were at times clocking over 1,000 new customers per hour—bloody brilliant, to this day!
While it’s true that I earned more money on that company than ever before—or ever since, for that matter—that was never (and still isn’t) the important thing for me. What I miss is the explosive growth that we achieved, and that’s what I reminisce about above all else. Once the DSL market was saturated and any real competition among the telecommunication firms ceased to exist, I went on to found kommunikationsWERK, an agency for communication concepts, in an effort to practice my greatest passion: sales, storytelling, communication. Many successful marketing strategies carry my signature, and I was also the driving force behind several good ad campaigns. Things went pretty well.To be perfectly honest, I needed a little break after my telecoms business.
But just working in the background to forge successful concepts for other people?
Nope! In the long run, that’s pretty damn boring.
One year later, I was back to the drawing board: I wanted to be the mover and shaker again!
I founded beraterWERK, a financial consulting agency I hoped would allow me to impact unique projects. I was convinced that young, straightforward, fresh businesses should be given a chance in the infamous and very challenging field of finance and insurance. (Things turned out differently than expected, and I’ve since wound down that company.)
It was my second defeat—not as painful as the first, but a loss is a loss.
I was hungry for more. The internet had always helped me achieve success in the past, so I wanted to harness it more consistently. What followed was a series of internet startups and investments.
Since 2012, the internet is pretty much exclusively my home, not as a theorist but as a maker, a supporter of startups, and a hunter of success for my own online companies.
Mistakes were made and several projects failed, but thanks to an unbending will to succeed, a few very prosperous ideas have turned me into a millionaire.
These days, I no longer have to worry about the future. This is something I cherish, and I’m infinitely grateful that I was able to achieve such a breakthrough.
To find out which internet companies I’m successfully backing today, come find me for a chat over an energy drink at one of the industry events I regularly attend as a visitor and sometimes as a speaker. Let me just say this: you might be surprised to learn about all the places where I’m now successfully involved.
You can discover some of my projects and investments at www.punk.team, my successful company builder headquartered in Poland.
This has been my little story: where I’m from and where I want to go. I’m hungry again, and I want to achieve much, much more. This is just the beginning!
The moral of the story:
Never forget the taste of failure and success!
Never forget who extended a hand in the hardest of times; who kicked you while you were down; and who just stood idly by, anonymously passing judgment on someone they barely knew.
I’ve had the privilege of many lessons learned throughout my 12 years as an entrepreneur, and I’m happy to claim that as a part of who I am today. More than once I peered into the abyss, where there seemed to be no more way forward, but I always managed to keep going through sheer force of will. I never suffered the final blow, because a defeat isn’t a defeat until you give up. Stand up, man! Your fate is in your own hands: only you can turn the tables, and with that extra dose of ambition, determination, and fighting spirit, you can do anything. But you have to be prepared, like me, to take things one decisive step further than your competitors.
That’s me in a nutshell, with all my imperfections and adornments!
Am I good, bad, or just whatever? You decide.
Thanks for taking the time to listen to my story.
Waldemar Ariel Gala
Skalitzer Straße 33