Hello, friends! 👋👋🏼👋🏾 Your workweek is underway. So load up on some lessons on effective entrepreneurship.
Today, Pablo Prahl and Jennifer Herrera Prahl are teaching us all a lesson in the value of humility. They have some great advice in The Tip Jar on perfection and adaptability.
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BE PREPARED - FOR ANYTHING
One minute, things are moving along swimmingly. The next, an accident can throw everything off.
It’s worse if you have a family business where everyone plays a critical role.
“Pablo had an accident running with one of my kids… And when he fell, he broke… both arms and two ribs, plus the Achilles. And, so, he had only one leg and… he couldn’t use anything else.”
BE WILLING TO ADJUST
Jennifer Herrera Prahl didn’t know how they were going to adjust now that her husband, Pablo Prahl, was recovering in bed. He was in charge of sales.
If there were no sales, there would be no income.
THE TIP JAR (tips provided courtesy of Pablo Prahl and Jennifer Herrera Prahl)
Pablo: “Find your passion. What is it that you really want to do? And get the basics and go... It’s never going to be perfect. Because I see in business that, [when] they’re starting out, they want to have their website perfect, their branding perfect, their business perfect. No, it’s not going to happen. Even 12 years later, I’m still making changes and tweaking.”
Jennifer: “From the very beginning, be professional.”
She adds, “If you’re going to work from home, always wake up and dress up like you’re going to work. That helps you have your mindset ready for work. And [you’ll] be ready to go out whenever they call you.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career):
Jennifer: “Be coachable. I think that’s very important in your career. You already started and, now, you feel you have everything under control. But you know that you don’t have everything under control. So, be open for coaching.”
Pablo: “[Have] a mentor. Coaching group. Mid-career is critical because it’s where you can [make] a lot of mistakes and you can keep spinning your wheels in the same place.”
“I have one of my mentors that says, ‘Businesses are not 20 years in business. But they do the first year 20 times because, sometimes, you keep doing the same mistakes over and over again.’ And you’re thinking that you’re making improvements because you don’t have someone from the outside to tell you you’re doing it wrong.”
Pablo: “Don’t let anybody tell you it’s too late. Because it can be super interesting doing it at 20. It can be super interesting doing it at 60.”
Jennifer: “[Be] open to the change… “You still need to learn. You still need to get educated… And also tap into the resources of that new industry.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN:
Pablo: “My advice would be, don’t make impulsive decisions. Every single time that I have done that in my business, [it] explodes in my face.”
Jennifer: “When somebody calls me and tells me, but you need to make the decision right now because this offer is for right now only - no."
She adds, "If I don’t have time to investigate - to see what is happening – then it’s not good...”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE:
Jennifer: “My dad always said to be real… “Be your personality. Be real in front of everyone. Do not pretend to be something else. And people will appreciate you more for who you are than for who you are pretending to be.”
Pablo: “I was raised only by my mom. My father died when I was just a baby. She always told me… ‘The way I see you is the way I treat you.’”
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: “For me, [it] has always been important in my career to have a clean car [and] a clean office. The way I talk, the way I present myself… has been super important.”
BE POSITIVE, BE RESOURCEFUL
The Prahls' business, A & G Marketing Group Powered by PROforma, had to go on.
Jennifer thought to herself, “Now what is our plan? He cannot move. He cannot do anything. He can’t use his hands or anything like that.”
And just two weeks later, there were back-to-back hurricanes.
She credits Pablo’s positive attitude and their resourcefulness for finding a solution. “He asked me, ‘Can you dress me every day as if I was going to work?’”
So she dressed him, brought a desk over and sat him in front of the computer. When he could only manage to type two emails a day because of his injuries, Jennifer came up with another plan while Pablo was stuck in bed – communicate by video.
“I told him, okay, you talk to your clients with videos. You send them the message with a video. And, then, if I need to follow up, I’ll follow up with everything else.”
And that’s how they got through the crisis.
That was 2017. They both learned a lot from that experience.
Pablo says he learned to be vulnerable in business. “Have that openness of saying… 'This is what’s going on in my life. I really want to help. But can you give me two more days?'”
He says people love to help when you just level with them. “It’s much better than trying to come up with a horrible excuse.”
Jennifer points to the value of being humble. “When Pablo said, ‘But how do I look in the video? I’m all swollen right now’… And it was like, it’s not about that. People want to see… you… That’s what they want to see. And people understand better when they understand what is happening.”
The Prahls’ business recovered because they realized early-on the value of humility and being teachable.
Pablo explains, “For me, [it] was kind of the ego coming from Guatemala and thinking that being an entrepreneur there is going to be the same as being an entrepreneur here. And, very fast, I learned [that] was not the case.”
He said it was difficult for him for the first couple of years because, even though he knew some English, English for business was different.
BE PART OF THE COMMUNITY
“That was one of my main goals – to learn the language and be part of the community.” He didn’t want to only sell to Latinos.
“I love being Hispanic. I love speaking Spanish.” But Pablo knew he had to focus on English so they could truly “belong to the community.”
And that’s exactly what he did.
Jennifer stuck with her “can-do” spirit.
She says, “I consider myself very adaptable. So, if you tell me, you need to learn this. And this is what we need to do, I’ll learn it.”
BE WILLING TO ACCEPT HELP
Now, they’re teaching the lessons to their two sons, 19-year old Adrian, and 17-year old Gabriel, who are also involved in the family business.
BE MINDFUL OF THE PRESENT
More than anything, the Prahls have learned, “Today is the day that is important. It’s not yesterday. It’s not tomorrow… And trust God… he’s never going to leave you alone. So, keep moving and do what you need to do.”
INDUSTRY: Printing, Marketing & Promotions
STARTED BUSINESS: January 2011
Pablo: Born in Guatemala, Parents are Guatemalan
Jennifer: Born in Guatemala, Father is Guatemalan, Mother is Colombian
Jennifer: Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Guatemala) – Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Nutrition
Pablo: Attended Universidad Rafael Landívar (Guatemala)
DREAM JOB AS A KID:
Pablo: “I wanted to be a soccer player. I always dreamed [of] people [chanting] my name in a soccer stadium.”
Prahl also wanted to be a singer, even though he admits he doesn’t sing.
Jennifer: “A teacher and a doctor. Those were the two things that I wanted to be.”
BIGGEST GOAL YET:
Jennifer: “Get a team that we can fully rely on and that gives us also more flexibility of freedom of time.”
She says she’d also like to volunteer for a children’s non-profit.
Pablo: “My biggest goal is to really live free, like financially-free, and to have this for me and for my family.”
He says he’d also like to live a bit north in North Carolina or Virginia and continue to grow his business.
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
Start Your Business
I appreciate it when people put things in easy-to-follow steps to help me learn something. If you do, too, you’ll want to take a look at the SBA’s “10 Steps to Start Your Business Guide”. The link below outlines what you need to do. What I like about it is that you can do a deep-dive on each step or easily jump around to the parts that interest you. Plus, the SBA provides sample business plans, links to resources and tells you about all kinds of funding sources.
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
Success Through Strength
Want to hear an inspirational live interview with a successful female entrepreneur? Find encouragement and a connection with other entrepreneurs during this FREE virtual webinar that spotlights a woman who was able to achieve success in her business.
SBA (Small Business Administration)
“Strong Women, Strong Coffee”
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
9:00 a.m. EDT – 10:00 a.m. EDT
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
Becoming an entrepreneur, like learning a new skill, can be quite the humbling experience. Many people go into it thinking success in other jobs or in the same industry will translate into success when they become a small business owner.
As many people have learned, including me, that just isn’t the case.
How many of us are willing to admit that our way may not be the best way? How many of us are willing to seek help - or learn from someone younger than us?
To be successful at any new venture, a good dose of humility is needed to realize we don’t have all the answers - or that others may have better answers.
That’s what struck me about Pablo and Jennifer Prahl: their willingness to admit they needed help and then to follow through on the advice from various organizations and people.
Keeping that “coachability” can serve us well in other aspects of life, not just in business. It also keeps life interesting.
So, whether you’re thinking about launching a business, recently opened a business or have been in business for many years, it’s worth keeping the lesson in mind. Sometimes, we’ll get a lot farther, and faster, if we just admit we don’t have all the answers and are willing to seek out help – with humility.
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🌴Cover Photo: Andrew van Tilborgh