Gigi Stetler of Davie, Florida nearly lost her life after she was stabbed more than 20 times and left for dead. Today, Gigi is fully recovered and a successful Broward County, Florida business woman. She’s turned her life around, risen to the top of a male-dominated profession, and become an author and keynote speaker after overcoming challenges including the attack, living on the streets as a teenager, and raising her son as a single mom.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
From the time I was 11, I wanted horses but we could not afford them. My mother always told me, “If you want designer jeans, go get a job.” So, I knew I basically needed to be a millionaire to support my habits and hobbies.
Tell us about your business.
I’m in the RV business as the CEO of RV Sales of Broward in Davie, FL. The industry, overall, is completely dominated by men. I’ve been in the business for 30 years and was the first female to run an RV company in the country. We service, sell, and rent a variety of RV’s from basic to luxury.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
We have monthly drawings where we select usually 5 winners and give them a free RV rental weekend. It’s worth coming in to the office to check it out and fill out a form. You might get lucky!
I had a tough life growing up and dropped out of school in 10th grade which is where my “formal” education ended. Despite that, I’ve been able to persevere in the business world to become a top RV-dealer in the country every year since 1986. I’m also an author of a book about my life called “Unstoppable! Surviving is Just the Beginning,” as well as as a keynote and motivational speaker.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Giving the best service and offering better prices to exceed anything my competitors were doing. Sure enough, one by one they started dropping.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Word-of-mouth, developing personal, authentic relationships with customers and potential customers.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
In 2008, we were the number one dealer and up $2 million in sales from the prior year. The most challenging part was to stay there. My competitors quickly knocked me to the floor.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I fought back and never took my eye off the prize to get it all back. I kept my focus on bringing in new clients, giving the best customer services, and focusing on getting referrals. Slowly but surely, things started building back up.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My son and passion for life in general keep me going.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We thrive on servicing what we sell. Most dealers make you wait months for service, for us service is a priority of our business.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Things have a way of working out exactly the way they’re supposed to.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Never give up because you will fail – failure is a stepping stone to success.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
The horse/equestrian industry because I can mix business with pleasure. I supply RV’s for the equestrians while they’re on the road and since I’m a avid competitor myself, I can work and have fun at the same time.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
My own book, “Unstoppable! Surviving is Just the Beginning.” I take the reader through my entire life story which includes a time when I was stabbed more than 20 times and left for dead, being a single mom, working in a male-dominated industry, and much more.
Reminding myself how I’ve been able to overcome all these challenges really keeps me equally grounded and motivated.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Always looking for new ways to gain market share.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our goal is to be debt free before the end of the year. In 2008, for a myriad of reasons, my business was essentially dead and $11 million in debt. We’re closing the gap everyday, down to about $1 million now.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Websites www.gigistetler.com, www.rvsalesofbroward.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/gigistetler, www.facebook.com/Broward-RV-Planet-RV-94358597200
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