If the Americas had tribes, the Cardones would be one of them. And they would be one of the dominant tribes of Florida.
Monica Cardone is the wife (read: multiple jobs as a mother, cofounder, and CEO) of Gary Cardone, the Miami-based entrepreneur best known for his real estate ventures and twin to Grant Cardone from the 10X conferences that are seemingly always packed.
We caught up with Monica for her perspective and the scoop on growth on both of Florida’s coasts.
- For those who still don’t yet know the Cardone clan, tell us about your ethos.
I live by a few simple words: “Don’t wait for a solution, create one.” That’s ultimately what led us to create Chargebacks911.
Of course, you have to back that up with hard work and a willingness to collaborate with others, too. Having a mind for innovation is very important, but your ideas won’t get off the ground if you can’t collaborate, or you won’t put in the necessary time and energy. And, trust me, if your idea is worthwhile, it’s going to take a lot of both!
- You’ve had your own interesting early entrepreneurial history. Share that.
Definitely. I’ve built and scaled several organizations in different fields, from a furniture rental service when I was in college to an eCommerce business. In fact, it was while my husband and I were operating an eCommerce business that I got the inspiration to start Chargebacks911.
We were having trouble with chargebacks; specifically, with a kind of chargeback known as “friendly fraud.” I was thinking, “this can’t be a problem exclusive to us.” Sure enough, a lot of other merchants were having the same issue.
I started Chargebacks911 in 2009 as a little consulting operation I could do on the side. However, demand for this solution was so overwhelming, we eventually founded a formal company in 2011, and it’s grown to over 350 employees spread all around the world.
- You’ve invested time in both Miami and Tampa. How does those markets differ for business?
I’ve found both metropolitan areas to be really fertile ground for business and entrepreneurship. Miami has a bit of an advantage, as they’re further along in their push to attract existing businesses. However, both cities are interested in fostering new business development and promoting themselves as hubs for innovation. Especially in Tampa, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth in just the last few years, so there’s incredible momentum there.
Our company is based in Clearwater, right across the bridge from Tampa, and just 15 minutes north of St. Petersburg, another medium-size city. That central location enables us to pull a talented, qualified, and driven workforce from all over the bay area.
- You’ve called for greater diversity in FinTech as recently as 2018. Where have you seen the most progress for women since the turn of the century?
I think we’ve done a great job at promoting a more diverse workplace and bringing women into the office. That said, we’re still lagging far behind in terms of fostering new candidates in fields like engineering and IT.
The key is not just to demand greater diversity. We need to put in the work and actually provide the opportunity for young women to succeed in fields like FinTech. We can do that through advocacy, mentorship, and getting girls interested in technical ideas at an early age.
- How does your family contribute to your businesses?
I run the company alongside my husband Gary, so family is already integral to everything we do! Beyond that, my family is a key component in our business. And, for me personally, my two daughters play a role in every major decision I make.
- Why should more women start businesses?
I’m a firm believer that, if we want to see more women represented in positions of power, we’re going to need other women to help make it happen. More women entrepreneurs open up new opportunities to mentor and inspire younger, aspiring leaders.
However, before we can do that, we need entrepreneurially-minded women to take the first step. I won’t lie: becoming a successful entrepreneur is one of the most difficult, nerve-wracking things you’ll ever do. However, there is no way to describe the satisfaction you feel when watching your ideas and hard work develop.
- A frequent speaker, where can people see you in action next?
I haven’t really done as much public speaking in the last few months. We’re going through some incredible growth, expanding to a larger office space in the US and developing the European front of our organization over in London. I’ll be involved in more speaking opportunities soon, though!
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Grit Daily. He is a multi-media tech journalist on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur. He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.