Welcome, friends! 👋👋🏼👋🏾For some of you, having your significant other as your partner in business sounds like a great idea. For others, not so much.
Today, you'll get the perspective from Jeannette & Richard Coronado, a married couple who are also business partners. Learn how they split up duties. Plus, in the Tip Jar section, find out the questions they think you need to ask as you embark on your entrepreneurial adventure.
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And, now, I present to you Jeannette and Richard Coronado of JIRACOR:
“Something that’s key to our success is the mix of skills,” according to Richard Coronado.
Richard and Jeannette Coronado are partners in life and partners in a defense contracting business, JIRACOR.
That means they’ve shared the good and the bad.
In the beginning, being partners in their business meant sharing a desk. That’s right. The first office they had contained only one desk.
So as Jeannette Coronado describes, “… we took turns” using it.
While most people understand that starting a business likely means they won’t collect a paycheck for a while, the Coronados also waited quite a bit to be able to pay themselves.
INDUSTRY: Defense (Contracting)
STARTED BUSINESS: 2011
Jeannette Coronado – Born in El Salvador, parents are from El Salvador
Richard Coronado – Parents are from El Salvador
Richard – UCF - Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering & Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering
Jeannette – University of El Salvador – Bachelor’s degree in Education
DREAM JOB AS A KID:
Richard – “I didn’t know what field or where, but I knew it was something around business administration or engineering, or a mix of that.”
Jeannette – “Well, in my case, I wanted to be a dentist… Also, I like kids. I always wanted to work with kids and, you know, teach them new things. I love it!”
BIGGEST GOAL YET:
Jeannette: “More employees. I mean, we feel very happy whenever we have to hire someone and we can offer, you know, all that they are looking for – medical, dental, vision, with the 401K.”
She adds, “Right now, we’re at about 30 employees. So, probably when we get to 50 [employees], we’re going to be more successful.”
WAITING FOR A PAYCHECK
“It took us probably three or four years to be in a position where we could, you know, hire ourselves,” Richard explains.
He handled the engineering and business development part. She handled the administrative, human resources and marketing portions of the business.
He adds, “Jeannette probably emailed hundreds of people, like a hundred emails in a day.” And, sometimes, he said one or two people responded. Sometimes, nobody replied.
I asked them why they didn’t give up.
Jeannette said, “Because we believed in ourselves. We knew that we [could] do the job. We knew that as soon as we [got] the first contract, more contracts [were] going to start coming.”
Richard chalks it up to “vision and passion.”
LOTS OF HELP - FOR FREE
They spent four years as part of the University of Central Florida business incubator program.
“We were there incubating, getting trained, going to matchmaking events, meeting people at the PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center), SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and SBA (Small Business Administration). They were like our coaches, our mentors and our cheerleaders…”
They also say that getting their first government contract, a $2 million deal, was the turning point. That’s when Richard turned to Jeannette and said, “I think this is going to work.”
But he’s quick to point out, that happened in 2017 – six years after they started the business.
BEFORE THE BIG CONTRACT
So how did they survive before that?
Jeannette says, “We were working with other businesses as a subcontractor. Not as much as we wanted, but, you know, the cash flow was there.”
In terms of opening their eyes to the possibilities, a family friend who worked in construction made the Coronados see small business ownership as a route they needed to explore. That was back in the 1990s.
MAKE MONEY WORK FOR YOU
The family friend told them, “Don’t work for money. Make money work for you.”
Richard admits they really didn’t understand that at the time. He says it took him 10 years to figure out what their friend meant.
Jeannette says what also opened her eyes to entrepreneurship was the best-selling business book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, by Richard Kiyosaki. She says, “After you read that book, it [makes] you think.”
From the time they actually started preparing to open their business to actually doing it took about six months.
SAFE ROUTE VS. SELF-EMPLOYMENT ROUTE
Richard believes many people aren’t really aware of Latinos’ contributions in business because older generations, at least in his parents’ case, preached taking the safer route – getting a job and staying at it for 30 to 40 years until retirement.
His friends didn’t really encourage entrepreneurship, either.
ARE YOU COMING BACK?
“I even run into old friends that I used to work with when I worked at the large company and they ask, ‘How are you doing? Are you okay? Are you sure? Are you coming back?’”
Nope. Richard isn’t going back to his old job. Neither is Jeannette. If they can help it.
AN AGELESS PARTNERSHIP
The two met when they were just 18 or 19 years old. They expanded a personal relationship into a business relationship, as well. But they’re still complementing each other’s skills.
Jeannette says, “We try to go home and forget about it. That’s impossible. We keep talking. Even when we dream, we are dreaming about work.”
But she adds, “I can be working here till 12 midnight. And I am happy because I love what I am doing.”
THE TIP JAR (tips passed out courtesy of Richard and Jeannette Coronado)
Richard: “Probably do some research and see what they can offer.”
Next, he says it’s key to answer the question, “Who will buy it [product or service]?”
Jeannette: “Educate yourself.”
She recommends going to workshops at the SBDC, which are provided for free by the government.
Jeannette also adds, “Get information… You have to learn about your clients.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career):
Richard says you should ask yourself the following questions, especially if you have a family or other responsibilities:
“Do [you] have a good plan? Because planning is everything.”
He also says you need to ask if you really want to do it. Do you “… really want to sacrifice [your] career at company Y to be an entrepreneur?”
“What if this fails? What am I going to do?” In other words, have a plan B.
Finally, Richard reminds you to never close the doors to your current job. “You know, like, tell your boss, ‘I’m gone. Goodbye.’ Always leave the door open because you never know. You might want to [go] back.”
Jeannette: “And another thing I would say is, keep learning more about what you do. Maybe it’s time to change your business plan. You know, maybe it’s not working. Or, maybe you can add something else. Or, as soon as you start working with the clients, [if] you see they need something else, maybe you can add it to your business plan… Even when you’re successful, you have to keep educating yourself.”
Richard: “If they don’t have the passion to do it, don’t do it.”
“They should surround themselves with a good mentor and a good coach. Somebody that’s done it before.”
Jeannette: “Look for help. Don’t think you know everything.”
She suggests you go to places like the SBA and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“They can help you create a business plan, a marketing plan…”
Jeannette also says workshops are key for accounting duties. “You cannot mess up personal banking and business banking… They have to be totally separated.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN:
Richard: “Something that we probably wouldn’t do is just guess on a document and just faithfully sign it without reading [it].”
Jeannette: “Or read it and [not] understand [it].”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE:
Jeannette says the best advice came from Richard’s late father. “He used to say, ‘Todo va salir bien. Todo va estar bien.’” TRANSLATION: Everything will turn out well. Everything will be just fine.
PRACTICAL EXAMPLE: Jeannette points to a time when she and Richard worked hard on a proposal. “We didn’t sleep for three days. And we didn’t get it [didn’t win the bid]…
“Okay. Everything will be just fine. Next one. Let’s go to the next one. We keep going. We didn’t give up.”
Richard agrees wholeheartedly.
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
Most professional conferences I’ve attended in my life were not free. But this one is FREE. It’s the 2022 Hispanic Women’s Conference. If you are driving distance from Fort Lauderdale, you might want to attend this one. Not only will you learn valuable advice and tips from Latina business owners in South Florida, but it could be a great opportunity to network and find out about help available to you to start or grow your business.
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
9:30 a.m. EDT – 12:30 p.m. EDT
2022 Hispanic Women’s Conference (Broward County Chapter of SCORE – Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Alvin Sherman Library
3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
Contact: George Gremse, Chapter Chair
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
Mindfulness and Bringing Balance to Your Life
“Mindfulness” feels like it’s become a buzzword the last few years. But businesses are catching on that a way of helping their employees achieve balance in their workplace and at home is to help them through mindfulness. Whether it’s helping to alleviate stress or helping you deal with physical or emotional pain, check out this FREE workshop from the London School of Mind. Even if you can’t attend the online webinar, click on the link below. You’ll be glad you did. That’s because you’ll find 10 tips to help you with mindfulness, courtesy of Ezgi Demir:
Mindfulness for Leveraging your Business & Life
Saturday, March 12, 2022
2 p.m. EST – 3:30 p.m. EST
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
Many couples go into business together. Some will tell you it’s too much time spent together. Others think it strengthens their personal relationship.
I searched statistics on how many married couples also become business partners. The figures were relatively old, so I didn’t include them here. But I’m really curious to know what those stats will look like from the pandemic when many people decided to become entrepreneurs.
Because we see this kind of partnership in business, I wanted to profile a couple to see how they made it work. I wanted to know what the difficulties were that they encountered and to provide a look at the dynamics of a relationship like that.
In my family, my parents have been in business together for decades. It strengthened their relationship. Some people wonder how they can spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week together, personally and professionally, for so many years. But it’s worked.
Of course, my parents, like the Coronados, met and married at a young age. I wonder if there’s a difference if the couple married later in life?
I’ll have to find that example for a future issue.
I also related to Jeannette mentioning the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki as having made a big impression on her and Richard. I read that book many years ago and thought it was profound. I know many people agree. It’s a business classic.
I remember, at the time, the person I was dating (who also read the book) asked me to repeat parts of the book to him as I was reading it because the book inspired him so much. He read it and said it was the kind of book that made him feel like his life would never be the same again.
I guess he was right.
He went on to start multi-million dollar businesses.
Somehow, I think that would’ve happened, regardless.
But there’s no doubt that certain books can really provide a breakthrough in your thinking. That’s why I like to include them in my newsletter, whenever possible.
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