Michael J. Gabrielli is an American Internet Entrepreneur, inventor, philanthropist, and humanitarian.
He is a co-founder and chairman of WeRunAds, a technology advertising agency whom has generated over $20 million dollars in online revenue and given away $1 million to charity in the process.
Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, Gabrielli’s insatiable fascination with computers and technology became apparent as early as 2 years old.
He was obsessed with video games and the virtual world, and showed a strong natural aptitude for navigating and operating technology – even before he learned to walk.
At the age of 10 Gabrielli was accepted into an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) game-design course which he quickly excelled at.
Far from the usual stereotype of the computer geek, Gabrielli is both charismatic and very intense of a personality – even from a young age.
His leadership ability started showing itself once he began starting companies with his friends in his teenage years.
At 18, Gabrielli moved to Miami to study computer engineering where he claims to have “found more joy in launching and testing new ideas and companies than from studying in the classroom.”
After launching several moderately-successful eCommerce, website, and app ideas, Gabrielli finally dropped out of college at 21, where he co-founded what would soon become WeRunAds, a technology advertising agency specializing in empowering new entrepreneurs by teaching them how to market, advertise, and sell their products with big returns.
Although advertising is far from video game development, Gabrielli’s passions as a child have not left him.
His real goal behind the “ad-man” persona is to utilize his resources and skill-set to advance the field of robotics and AI (artificial intelligence). He is currently quietly pursuing investments in the space, believing that if we properly utilize robotics and AI we can greatly enhance life-extension, human efficiency, and education allowing mankind to grow in power and eliminate the negative obstacles holding us back.
In addition to his primary business pursuits, Gabrielli has a strong obsession and passion helping mankind specifically by empowering children.
He believes his accomplishments were largely shaped by the positive and empowering environment his parents created for him as a child, and wants to help create that for others.
In the past year Gabrielli has donated over $1 million to charity, mainly related to saving and empowering children.
I had the fortunate opportunity to sit with Michael and get this exclusive Future Sharks interview because he is leaving normal behind, becoming the best version of himself, and creating things that matter.
This interview is packed with incredible marketing value.
Here we go . . .
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What are some of your hobbies:
Reading, Writing, Robotics, Starting Companies
What is your favorite quote?
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. – Elon Musk
What are you working on right now?
Great question! I’ve been running a technology advertising company that focuses on training and coaching new entrepreneurs on how to write and run advertisements.
We also personally run very effective advertising campaigns for a range of different products and companies that are looking to grow rapidly.
It’s been fun! Working with entrepreneurs and helping to launch new products and services into the market is always an engaging activity.
I’m also on the board of a software company that developed a texting product giving entrepreneurs the ability to mass text their entire list, and have personal conversations within, to increase conversion rates and sales.
How did you come up with this idea?
Well that’s a long story!
It all started in 2015. I had dropped out of school at the time to work for Grant Cardone, a world-renowned expert on sales and sales training.
While working for him I must have learned everything that exists about sales! It was great.
Meanwhile my childhood friend and future business partner Steve had also dropped out of college and was out in Malaysia at the time being mentored by a huge Internet marketer.
Steve and I talked on the phone and he told me “I’m learning how to get leads online, and you’re learning sales. What if we worked together and built a company?”
The rest is history.
The funny part: I actually had to max out my credit cards (very low limit at the time) and fly out to Malaysia to start the company!
Steve Jobs is a huge inspiration of mine, and I sort of felt like it was following in his footsteps to go East in search of enlightenment.
I don’t know if I came back with enlightenment but I definitely did come back with a new business.
What’s your dream with your company?
I love my advertising company but my ultimate dream is to utilize this incredible skill-set and network of high-powered entrepreneurs we’ve created to launch large-scale projects into the robotics and AI fields.
I’m a total systems thinker from my computer engineering background, so naturally I love automation. I also love sci-fi so the thought of building robots that can simplify and enhance our lives makes me very, very excited.
Long term my plan is to be a massive catalyst and driving force behind our advancement into robotics and AI.
How do you creatively advertise?
That’s a good question, I love talking about advertising since that’s the subject that really started all of my business success.
I’m going to give you the secrets I’ve used to write ads that have produced over $21 million in revenue in the past year.
It’s actually very simple once you apply the right formula in your advertising.
Someone asked me recently: “Michael, what’s the secret sauce you use to write such powerful ads?”
So I did an analysis of all of my most effective advertisements to determine what the biggest similarities were, and the results were very interesting.
Here’s how I did it …
ALL of my most powerful ads have one major thing in common:
(they are very easy to read and understand, not complicated, simple)
Readability can be defined as “the quality of being easy or enjoyable to read.”
This is probably the most powerful technique you can use in writing effective advertisements – and almost everyone messes this up.
You don’t need to sound like a scholar or a college professor in your advertising.
Many people think that using large vocabulary or being wordy sounds smart and therefore reflects positively on their product, but this is completely untrue.
To advertise effectively, this first major thing you need to accomplish is GETTING SOMEONE TO READ YOUR AD!
A potential customer can’t buy your product or take action if they can’t finish reading or watching your advertisement.
So the first place to start is make your ads very easy to read and understand so they won’t be confused.
To make your advertisement very readable space it out properly so that people don’t get bogged down and confused with large paragraphs.
I would recommend 1-2 sentences per “paragraph”.
Think: “what’s the opposite of how I would write in my college English class?” – and do that.
Here’s some quick tips you can use:
– space out every sentence or every other sentence into paragraphs
– use simple vocabulary that anyone can understand
– if you use large vocabulary or acronyms, define them
– use “hook” lines such as “Here’s some quick tips you can use:” 😉
– give your ad to a 10 year old family member and see if they can understand it
After selling millions of dollars with advertising, I’m convinced that if a new entrepreneur only focuses on making his or her advertisements more readable – they will be able to get tremendous results.
What were your biggest failure? What did you learn from it?
Great question. There’s one failure I can think of that’s very real to me right now…
This one situation is minor compared to some of the big business failures I’ve had along the way, but the lesson is just as real and hard-hitting.
And truthfully this situation is very real to me now so I want to tell you about it while it’s a fresh wound.
Without getting into tremendous detail, there was a person that I was suppose to have a conversation with – but I delayed the conversation because I was waiting for a more perfect opportunity (instead of just taking immediate action).
I had six months to prepare for this conversation, but even so I thought I needed more time when in reality I was totally ready. I only delayed the conversation by a matter of days, but in that small window of time some very bad things happened which are completely my fault for hesitating.
It’s a lesson I’ve learned and been reminded of over and over:
TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW. DO NOT WAIT ANY LONGER.
No matter what you’re doing – whether it’s launching a product, forming a company, reading a book, or preparing a pitch to raise venture capital, take action immediately.
Adding time to a decision is your enemy!
Time will give your mind space to create excuses, to not do what you need to do.
One of my mentors told me: “just like wood is fuel for fire, time is fuel for your mind to make up reasons not to make the decision or take the action you need to take”.
It’s an interesting phenomena because I’m often told by my business partners and friends that I’m one of the fastest action-takers they’ve ever met – and it’s usually true.
But even now I notice myself hesitating on some actions or decisions I need to make, and I am able to see the direct negative effects it has on my business and life.
The other interesting part is when I’m planning a product launch or a new idea I want to create and I simply TAKE ACTION even when it feels like there’s a million and one things I need to get done first, I always have an incredible response.
One of the traits all of the top billionaire entrepreneurs share is they don’t hesitate, they don’t wait for a perfect moment, and they are simply not afraid to fail. It’s like the “be cautious” switch is turned off in their brains. They move at the speed of light and starting creating their products, their visions, and their dreams – and they let nothing stop them.
Implement this in your own life. Think right now of some action you need to take and have been putting off, and do it right now. You’ll feel incredible, you probably will get it done more effectively than you ever thought possible, and your productivity will go through the roof.
What is best entrepreneurship advice you have …
You’re going to love this.
The BEST advice I can give any entrepreneur is summarized in one sentence:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
How can you apply this?
Well one step further would be this “Your bank account is the average of the bank accounts of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
I bet that really hits home for you.
Think right now about the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Actually, even better write it down on paper. Who do you talk to the most? Hang out with the most? Text the most? Watch on YouTube? Is it your family, friends, coworkers, a virtual mentor… who is it?
I’m completely obsessive and passionate about studying, reading, and learning about Billionaires. One reason I do this and advise all of my students and employees to do the same is because if you can replace even one of those 5 people with a billionaire, imagine what your bank account or life would look like!
Most people have the same friends from high school, college, childhood, or their family who (while they could be great people) maybe don’t have what you want or help you towards your goals. You have to look past the person and look at how they affect you and your business.
What is the best formula you can share with us right now?
I’m going to give you a formula you can use to start building tremendous wealth.
I remember so clearly one of my early mentors telling this formula to me and I didn’t even realize it’s power until I was applying without thinking!
It’s a theme you’ll see many billionaires and the top companies on Earth apply.
The formula has to do with a phrase you’ve probably heard before:
HOW TO BUILD MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME
Now, if you haven’t even built your first stream of income and feel overwhelmed, don’t panic!
This formula is going to simplify the steps you need to take to start building a business, and multiply that business and wealth many times over.
Here’s the formula, and then I will explain it:
1. Find something you are really good at (sales, sports, teaching, etc) and build your first business around this subject. Focus on this ONLY until you are making money from it.
2. Build this business to the point where you can comfortably pay all of your bills and also have extra money to invest into new companies, advertisements, and ideas (for me this was around $12,000/month income).
3. Build new businesses around your first business.
4. Keep building and branching off of your first business until you have 9-12 different ways to get paid all stemming from your original idea.
Ok! Got the picture?
One of my mentors told me very early on that in order to have multiple streams of income, you need to build one large stream and then many other streams all based upon the first large one.
Visualize a river flowing through the countryside.
Usually what you’ll see in nature is one massive river with waterfalls, turns, and bends stretching hundreds of miles.
Then you’ll find many other rivers that branch off of the first river, but typically aren’t as large. This is how you want to treat your businesses and income.
Build one business until it’s paying you enough money to live, pay bills, grow your business, and also have extra left over to test and invest in new ideas.
Let me dispute one piece of misinformation you may have heard, that might be holding you back:
You’ll hear people say over and over “do what you love”.
Now, I’m definitely passionate about doing work that makes me happy and is fulfilling, but you need to focus on “doing what you love” as the END GOAL, not the start unless doing what you love is making you money upfront.
If I love teaching basketball and hate sales, but I’m good at sales and it pays me more money, would it make more sense to do sales until I have enough money to teach basketball for the rest of my life…
… or teach basketball in hopes of making money, so I can “do what I love,” when in reality that won’t pay me for a very long time?
I’d take option A over option B every single time.
You’ll notice this is what the most successful people on Earth will do.
And that’s actually what I did myself.
I hated selling on the phone but very early in my business, I got an opportunity to sell on the phone and make more money than I had in any of my early start-ups.
I chose to take the opportunity, used that money to build my first business, and from there I’ve scaled many different businesses.
My most recent software company is VERY different than phone sales, but it all started back then with that first opportunity.
Instead of “doing what you love”, “do what pays you now” or “do what you’re good at” until you can eventually build a life around doing what you truly love.
So find something you’re really good at and can get paid for doing – start your first business around that subject.
Grow that business so you have positive cash flow and extra money to invest and test in less guaranteed-to-work ideas (these ideas will be closer in the direction of what you love), and start building new companies around your first one.
Keep following this pattern until you’re receiving checks from all sorts of different companies, products, and ideas.
Always think with the end in mind and do whatever it takes today to get there.
What holds most entrepreneurs back and how can they get through it?
Thanks for asking – I love this question.
The single biggest obstacle I see holding most entrepreneurs back is, like I mentioned before – the people they surround themselves with.
It’s MIND BLOWING the effect that other people will have on your life without you even realizing (both positive and negative).
Let me give you an example …
Let’s say you’re a brand new entrepreneur.
You have an innovative business idea, some capital to start running advertisements and product development, and you have some great business partners to grow the business with you.
You launch your product and everything is starting to take off!
Money is coming in, and you’re having successes.
Sounds great right? Well, think about this… (and keep in mind this is most people’s situation)…
Outside of work, you have a friend from college who you see and talk to frequently.
He followed the usual path of going to school, getting good grades, and getting a steady job working 9-5 for someone else.
He’s very unhappy with his life because he’s not making a lot of money, he’s stuck working for someone else, and he feels like your success is making him insecure because you’re the same age but you are accomplishing more than him.
He may not verbalize this to you, but here’s how you can tell…
While you talk about success, or are sharing stories that make you happy about your victories at work, he invalidates you by pointing out potential problems you could face, telling you to “be realistic”, or any other communications that could make you focus on failing instead of succeeding.
He may say this from “a place of caring” that he’s looking out for you, but in reality he’s just jealous of your success and insecure about his lack of success, and thus acts this way.
Now, here’s the vicious part…
This person has been your friend for years – and because you’ve been friends for so long, and because you are also not trained to notice this behavior, you let it slide and keep spending time with him.
Slowly these thoughts about problems, being “realistic”, or general negative thoughts sink into your mind and start affecting you at work.
Maybe you start achieving less.
Maybe you feel like you’re at a plateau.
Maybe your conviction about your product gets lower.
This cycle is unfortunately extremely common and also very, very dangerous.
Most entrepreneurs (or people in general) simply never scan and control their environment, and these outside influences will create total chaos in their business and life.
Also keep in mind, this could be your family, your spouse, your girlfriend… you name it.
You need to be very aware of who you spend time with, and allow only those influences in that will make you grow and succeed.
A simple test you can run to find out if someone is hurting you is this:
Does this person mainly offer solutions, support, and increase your thinking (make you dream bigger than you thought possible)?
Or does this person deal in invalidation, negative remarks, problems, and focus on the negative versus the positive?
Anyone that tells me “I’m being realistic” is clearly suffering the problem of not thinking big enough.
In my own life and business, I am ruthless when it comes to vetting my close friends, family, and business partners to ensure they are helping me and not hurting me.
I can go into a lot more detail on how to apply this to your life, but for now just because you’re aware you will be much more protected from other people’s malicious influence on you.
This really is one of the most difficult subjects for an entrepreneur, or anyone for that matter, to confront.
If you find someone who is negatively affecting you, here’s what to do:
First you want to talk with them and tell them that you simply will not tolerate their negative remarks or behavior.
Explain to them how it is negatively affecting your ability to grow your company and be an entrepreneur.
See if they change.
If they continue to negatively affect you, you’ll need to take more drastic measures: i.e reducing the amount of time, energy, and conversation you have with them.
You need to control your environment and what influences you allow into your life.
Before you become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you need to be the CEO of your own life and your own space!
Do a quick assessment now of the people you talk to the most, and I guarantee you’ll find one or two people who sound exactly like what I mentioned above.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
How to be a Billionaire – Martin Fridson
10X Rule – Grant Cardone
Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
1984 – George Orwell
48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
What do the words ‘Leave Normal Behind’ mean to you?
Leave Normal Behind is a powerful phrase and it’s very significant to me.
To start, the definition of Normal is: “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.”
Leaving Normal Behind for me means to leave behind ANY idea of living a “standard, usual, or typical” life.
I’m a big-thinker by nature and I enjoy creating tremendous wealth, opportunity, and abundance for myself as well as those closest to me.
Years ago the baton was passed to me, when an early mentor of mine freed me from “normal” thinking by showing me what was possible for me to create when I put my mind to it.
After taking those business lessons and more I’ve been able to build a life previously unimaginable to myself, my friends, and my family.
I’ve been able to give money to charity and help more people than I ever dreamed possible years ago when I was sitting in the classroom thinking of becoming a computer engineer.
Well, thanks to those lessons I was able to learn early, I’ve made it my life’s mission to help free others from normal thinking and allow them to reach their full potential.
That’s why it’s been a huge passion of mine to study billionaires, learn their secrets, and teach them to you.
Because billionaires… they don’t think in “normal” terms.
They dream big, shoot for the stars, and accomplish tremendous tasks others would deem impossible.
Do you want to Leave Normal Behind? I’m going to tell you one sentence that will shatter your reality on what is possible or normal.
Here it goes…
If you’re a billionaire ($1,000,000,000), you’re only .1% of the way to becoming a trillionaire ($1,000,000,000,000).
Think about that for a moment. Wow.
What are your social accounts for us to follow?
Sure! Here are the links to my Facebook and Instagram profile.
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Michael shared incredibly useful knowledge.
He gave step-by-step instruction on how to level up in your life.
As I always say, “You must grow apart from people who do not grow”.
If you surround yourself with 5 winners then you will be the 6th winner.
If you surround yourself with 5 losers then you will be the 6th loser.
Reclaim your space.
If there are people in your life who are giving you negative energy then confront them and solve this issue.
As Michael says, “Before you can become the CEO of your business, you must first become the CEO of your life!”
If you or anyone you know deserves to be featured by me because they are leaving normal behind then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give your reasons why I should write the article.