Alumni Check In with Ruben Martinez-Raposo of RapososGourmet.com
If you are not already familiar with the gourmet goods from Ruben Martinez-Raposo, you need to check out his online store at RapososGourmet.com. Ruben started the IEM program in 2010, and before his first class he already had a passion for food and wine, and planned to start his own business. His first class with Dr. Callahan, director of the IEM program, sealed the deal and he launched the company the same year. Since his graduation in May of this year Ruben says RapososGourmet.com is continuing to grow. What was a company of one, has now grown to a company of two, enlisting his newlywed wife in the business. Here is a quick update from Ruben.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in starting your business?
A: Getting past the fear of failure. Failure is a part of entrepreneurship. Dale helped me overcome that fear and the notion that I had to have everything figured out on paper first. Sometimes you can’t see or answer every question before you start a business. Dale’s advice of “just do it,” gave me the confidence to get started.
Q: How much has your business changed from your original concept?
A: The concept of my company has not changed, but there were some things I didn’t anticipate. For example, having a retail website means you have to have a lot of content. I was not expecting that. I thought I would just post items and they would sell, because they were great products. I did not anticipate all of the imagery, content descriptions, and recipes to get people interested in the products. You have to build a story around your products.
Q: What is the single best piece of advice you would give others looking to start their own business?
A: Be confident in your idea. In the beginning, you are going to feel shaky, don’t let it hold you back. Again, it’s getting past that fear of failure – you truly have to have the mindset of “so what.” If you fail, you can try something else. Some of the nation’s most profitable companies were built after the first attempt failed.
Q: Do you still work at a full-time job?
A: Yes, I work for McKesson as a product manager in the Enterprise Intelligence division, which I was recently promoted to. McKesson has been a great company for me to grow, learn and expand my professional experience and leadership. I am very happy with my progress at McKesson and look forward to continued growth with the company. I used to be a project manager, but now I’m more into business analytics – it’s a more strategic position and I’m very happy. IEM also played a role in helping me find that direction. I really love both of my jobs, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.
Support Ruben and RapososGourmet.com by “liking” him on Facebook and “following” him on Twitter. They are also a partner on Amazon.com and you can purchase all of his products there as well.