Q&A With Dennis Agalli: Inside the Mind of an Entrepreneur

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Getting to know Dennis Agalli? In a Q&A session, I shared my experiences on what it’s like to be a successful entrepreneur, having built my businesses from the ground up. I spent some time with InquirerUSA for an exclusive interview and Q&A, which I am sharing again here.

Q&A With Dennis Agalli via InquirerUSA

Read below and enjoy the highlights from our session:

Q1: Where are you from?

Answer: I’m originally from Europe but I’m a New Yorker 1000%!

I came to the U.S. at age 16, finished high school in Ohio and then moved to NYC where I attended Manhattan College and earned a B.A. in Finance with a minor in Economics.

Q2: What are some of your hobbies?

Answer: I love to collect unique modern art. I also enjoy traveling and recently went on a trip to Turkey. I love free diving and scuba diving.

Q3: What are you working on currently?

Answer: Currently, I’m working on expanding my retail businesses in Miami, Florida. I’ve also gotten involved in advocating for solutions to the affordable housing crisis that is hurting Miamians now due to the high rents.

Q4: How did you come up with this idea?

Answer: I’ve always had a passion for pizza and coffee growing up. So, it was a dream for me to start working in restaurants and hospitality. As for my affordable housing initiatives, as a local business owner, high rents affect our communities and cause longterm residents to leave so it’s a major problem.

Q5: How did you get your start in business?

Answer: I started my career working for others but it’s always been my goal to run my own business. I began at Merrill Lynch then for JPMorgan Chase Private Clients with a focus on global wealth management. Through that time, I was still working in restaurant jobs and bartending in order to learn the hospitality business.

Q6: How is your particular brand of entrepreneurship unique?

Answer: There are many successful Millennial entrepreneurs. However, some of them have taken on a “cut-throat” mentality, meaning that they are doing anything to get ahead, even if it hurts them in the long term. I don’t think that this is the right way to do business at all.

I’ve decided to take a different approach by always staying true to my personal values and integrity. Being a successful entrepreneur is not about prestige, but about leading and giving back to the people who need it most. Giving back is the key to happiness and true success.

I’ve made millions and have enjoyed a good lifestyle. However, what has made me feel the most happy and fulfilled? Serving others. That’s what true success is, not material things.

Q7: What keeps you motivated?

Answer: Love and family. Those are the two most important things in my life and I don’t want to let them down. Also, I enjoy inspiring others and showing them that anyone can become successful if they really want to be and are willing to work for it.

Q8: What do entrepreneurs need to know to become successful?

Answer: Fear is the main cause of self-doubt. It keeps entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential. However, there is a way to break through fear. Understand that without failure, there is no success. When you fail, you receive feedback on how you can succeed next time. In addition, a failure might cause you to pivot and reveal new opportunities that you might have previously considered before. Just by pushing through, you’ll become more successful over time. It’s a formula that always works.

Q9: What should entrepreneurs focus on?

Answer: Entrepreneurship is about growth and development. Figure out how to improve your business continuously while staying true to your personal values.

Q10: Thanks again for your time, Dennis. One last question. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Answer: I believe that you should work on becoming the best version of yourself. You should create things that matter and encourage others to do the same. Get started by prioritizing your to-do list and stay the course. You can win if you are persistent.

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Dennis Donato Agalli, a leading force in hospitality and real estate, drives change by spearheading affordable housing initiatives that positively impact communities, empowering families and transforming lives.