Kike Sarasola is the founder of Room Mate Hotels which has its business around the world. He is now one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in Spain. He is also a four-times-champion of horse-riding in Spain. He has competed in Olympic games twice. It is not exaggerating to say that he was born to be a leader. So, let's learn from the mindset that he has.
-----First of all, for those who are not familiar with you, let us know more about you. What kind of personality you had when you were a child?
I’ve always been very restless, when I was a kid I told to my father that I wanted to be a business man because I loved the way he worked. Besides, because of his work, I have always travelled a lot, so my passion for travel comes from there. Later, I started to devote myself to horse riding, I was present in 2 Olympic Games and there I learnt what effort, motivation, persistence and passion mean … I still use those values in my day to day life.
-----Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur? Did it naturally happen or did you have a specific reason for that?
I’ve been starting new businesses all my life and I have failed many times, I’m proud of it, because it taught me to stand up and try again. Room Mate Hotels concept began after a trip to New York with my husband. The city was full of tourists on that date and we had to stay in a hotel far away from the city center and it was very expensive. We didn’t like the experience at all and we realized that there was no hotel concept that we enjoyed: nice, well-design, in the city center and affordable. Then, Carlos Marrero, my husband, and our friend Gorka Atorrasagasti, created our first hotel in Madrid, Room Mate Mario. Nowadays we have 20 hotels all over the world and we are opening 10 more in the next 15 months.
-----When you face with some serious difficulty, how do you emotionally tackle with it? How do you control your emotion?
Being an entrepreneur means working 24/7, of course there are tough moments, there are things that don’t let you sleep, many people depend on you and you must learn to live with that. It is impossible to stop and think, to reflex, to maintain calm and be guided by the common sense.
-----For you, what is the definition of success?
For me both “success” and “failure” are ephemeral words. One day you can be on the top of the game, and next day you are in a dark hole. That is why I think is better if you do something you enjoy, something you feel passion for. I love my work, for me it is like a hobby. What else can I ask for?
-----What has been changed as you get more successful and what has not been changed?
Time management has changed, in the past I had more time for myself and my family and friends. That is something I could miss, although I don’t miss it a lot because, as I told you, I love what I do and I have adapted my life to it. Now we have a daughter that makes us so happy, and we always try to travel with her.
-----It is often said that 5 people you hang out with determine who you are. Do you think it is true? and why?
I guess that if those five are part of your circle (apart from your family) they can be you friends, or even you colleagues from work. I have another family, and that is my Room Mate colleagues “roomies” as I like to call them. They are such a big part of my life.
-----What is the biggest difference between people who realize their ideal reality and those who do not?
Normally, people that fulfil their dreams are those who are not afraid and don’t accept a “no” as an answer. There is one very important ingredient to fulfil a dream: the passion. You need to be passionate for what you do because if you don’t, it doesn’t work.
-----What do young people have to know before they turn 30 years old?
Everything is achieved through effort and work. Dare to have ideas, even if they are crazy, don’t accept a “no” as an answer and try to make them a reality no matter what; learn languages (English is mandatory) and follow your dreams. Be aware that you will have to work very hard to achieve them… And show passion in everything you do!
-----If you can make a call to 20-year-old Kike Sarasola, what kind of advice you would give to him?
When you are involved in high-competition, all your world is limited and surrounded by it and it seems like there is nothing else. And of course there is! There is a world to discover, millions of things to do and ideas to develop. I’d also tell him that he shouldn’t be afraid of trying, there is no problem in failing, no big deal. I have learnt failure after failure. Everything is not invented, you just have to adjust your point of view.
-----If you can leave one message to make the world a better place, what would be your message?
Let’s smile! I love a smile and I have tried to spread it to everyone who is working at Room Mate Hotels and BeMate.com. Smiling makes work easier and people around you happier. For me, it is a must.