‘Don’t fear failure’ – Stevenage shelf stacker hits the big time in Vegas

Joel Gilberto with impersonator of Alan from hit film The Hangover.

Joel Gilberto with impersonator of Alan from hit film The Hangover. - Credit: Archant

A man who went from stacking shelves in a supermarket to running a successful business in Las Vegas says he puts his success down to learning from his mistakes.

Joel Gilberto grew up in Codicote and went to Hitchin’s Priory School before spending two years working in the frozen food section at Tesco in Stevenage.

“I hated my life,” he said. “It was a trip to Zante in Greece that sparked a change. As I was waiting for the bus to pick me up from the hotel to start my journey back to the UK, I thought about the life I would be returning home to and decided there and then not to go back.

“I stayed in Zante and started working in promotions for the season. This opened up my world and my new-found love of travel.

“After Zante, I worked in Spain for two years and then Australia for two years, working as a backpacker travel agent. I then went backpacking in South East Asia for six months before coming back to England.

“I thought it was time to settle down but I was offered a job in Las Vegas four years ago, which I couldn’t resist, and have been here ever since.” Joel, 29, landed a job as a marketing host for a nightclub in the city, but lost the position after six months, spurring him on to set up his own company.

He said: “I had noticed many internationals were being taken advantage of so I started referring them to individual promoters, hosts and tour operators that I trusted.

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“As more and more people were contacting me, I decided instead that I would become the ‘go to’ for foreign travel needs and use the knowledge I had gained to provide people with the best possible service.

“I’ve always wanted my own business. When I was a kid I was often caught selling sweets to classmates at lunch breaks so I could save up to buy things like a new phone.

“I set up Upbeat Vegas a year ago to give clients VIP bottle service, guest-listing to the clubs, Grand Canyon trips, gun shooting and much more.

“I’ve had so much positive feedback and love helping people have their best holiday.”

Joel, who now has 10 employees, says the secret to his success is that he has learnt from his failures. “Don’t fear failure,” he said. “I’ve failed more times than anyone I know, but I’ve learnt from every mistake and that’s why I’ve managed to create a business where I provide good service for Las Vegas entertainment, which I love. Every mistake is a life lesson.”

He added: “Society believes you should finish school, go to college, get a job, get married and have children, but that’s not for everyone. If it’s not for you, don’t feel that you have to conform. Do what makes you happy. As long as you are persistent and motivated, everything will work out.”