Once a school drop-out and nightclub rep, a 37-year-old man from Hertfordshire has become a high-flying Las Vegas businessman.

Joel Gilbert attended school in Hitchin as a child, where he claims to have been "written off" and told "I'd never amount to anything".

Joel, who now owns a tourism business, said: "I don't think i was even what you would call a naughty child, I just struggled to concentrate and asked a lot of questions.

Watford Observer: Joel rubbing shoulders with Joey Essex.Joel rubbing shoulders with Joey Essex. (Image: Upbeat Vegas)

"I was suspended a couple times and put on a 'report' where I had to check in with the head of year every day, but nothing too bad to be honest.

"My dad left when I was two and I never saw him again, he never contributed to child support either, so my mother had to work multiple jobs and I was always dressed in hand-me-down clothes, toys from friends and cousins until I was a teenager.

Watford Observer: Joel Gilbert with Floyd Mayweather.Joel Gilbert with Floyd Mayweather. (Image: Upbeat Vegas)

"I got my first job at 12-years-old painting lines on football pitches and selling sweets to kids at my school."

In his GCSEs Joel achieved one D, with a number of Es and F grades and one U.

After leaving school, he started a job at Tesco, where he feared he would become stuck.

Joel continued: "It was painful, having to catch a bus an hour into town in the freezing cold six days a week, to then have to work in a freezer for most of the day.

Watford Observer: Joel, growing up in Hitchin.Joel, growing up in Hitchin. (Image: Upbeat Vegas)

"I've nothing against the job though, there were plenty of people my age there and it kept me out of trouble, but it's not somewhere I wanted to be for the rest of my life.

"The fear of "what if I end up here" was always on my mind. As well as the scare tactic of 'you wont get a good job without qualifications', which although partially true not something you should drill kids with."

Joel soon became disillusioned with life in the UK and landed a job as a holiday rep in Greece during a lads holiday.

Watford Observer: Joel Gilbert with 50 Cent.Joel Gilbert with 50 Cent. (Image: Upbeat Vegas)

This led to holiday rep jobs in Ibiza, Tenerife, Australia, Asia and then finally Las Vegas –where he witnessed many British tourists "going to dodgy places", getting "ripped off", losing money and having bad experiences.

He continued: “Working as a nightclub rep, I talked to so many tourists. We all love The Hangover movie but things can go wrong here.

"I developed a great knowledge of life here and all the dos and don’ts so I created Upbeat Vegas to save tourists time, hassle and money — 10 years later we have thousands of happy clients.

"We have the inside knowledge and provide people with luxury five star experiences at industry prices.”

Speaking of how his life has turned around, Joel added: "It’s funny how life can turn out.

"My teachers labelled me as naughty and drilled it into me that I would amount to nothing without qualifications.

"I ended up believing that, but was determined to prove them wrong — and prove my Dad wrong for walking out too.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I’m hanging out with stars such as Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent — it’s crazy!"