Olivier Grinda | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Olivier Grinda

Background:  

Olivier Grinda is the co-founder and CEO of Home61, a tech-focused real-estate brokerage based in Miami that emphasizes automation. An alumnus of the University of Miami, Grinda previously co-founded a subscription-based retail site in Brazil, called Shoes4You, that offered women's fashion items. Grinda also co-founded a group-buying site called Clickon in Brazil and has served as an advisor for several other companies.

The Mistake:

My perspective in 2008 when I went to Brazil was that I was going to become this kind of superhero entrepreneur. I was going to be extra smart and have tons of abilities and be able to take care of everything by myself — and [thinking that way] was absolutely a mistake.

As a kid, I was influenced by my surroundings and by two key figures in my life: my father, who had several businesses and was managing them all; and my brother, a tech entrepreneur, who brought me into tech and to this idea of creating my own company. I always knew I wanted [eventually] to be an entrepreneur and somebody who would try to change things and push the envelope.

For a long time, as director of marketing [at the company Brandsclub], I ran the marketing by myself and was doing all of the work. At first, the work was good — sometimes great, but very often just good because I had too much on my plate. 

I was working day and night and burning myself out at 22 in my first year of being an entrepreneur.

Even if you founded it, the people you bring together make your company run.

The Lesson:

I talked about those issues with other entrepreneurs who had grown companies from the Starbucks table all the way to 100- or 1,000-strong companies, and their answer was unanimous: I needed help and to rely on my team.

So I started building a team and delegating. I started working and suffering and being happy together with them.

It occurred to me suddenly that even if you founded it, the people you bring together make your company run.

It started quite organically. I first took help on the things that I didn’t know how to do — that I was doing just because there was nobody else.

Suddenly, I was able to find someone who was smarter than me at each different subject so we could really work as a team.

My role changed from operating on a day-to-day basis on a lot of things that were not mission-critical to really focusing on getting at the major issues and getting everybody working together toward a goal.

What was really helpful was to take the advice without any ego involved and not caring about what it said about me — simply thinking about how to take the feedback and become better at what I’m doing.

Whenever I looked later on to advance companies or to build a company, [I realized] the team was more important than my own ability.

You have to find people who complement you and who think enough like you that you can have an understanding but not completely overlap. You don’t have to find your clones.

Olivier Grinda is on Twitter at @OlivierGrinda and Home61 is at @home61exp.

Photo courtesy of Home61