Hi, everyone! 👋🏼👋🏾👋Today's story is one of going after YOUR dream and being strategic in everything you do, business-wise.
Indira "Indy" Vega's story is a powerful one.
🌴 Original content
🌴 Practical insights into small business ownership
🌴 Candid conversations about challenges in the Latino culture
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🌴 Info on free webinars
🌴 Sources of help and places to go to to launch or grow your business
🌴 A sense of community filled with positive people (we're all about supporting each other)
🌴 Now, I'd like to introduce you to Indy Vega.
SET YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS
Indira "Indy" Vega understands the burden of not doing what your parents want and expect you to do.
Her dad once told her, “A woman will never be a woman, if she doesn’t bear children.”
“It wasn’t enough for my parents that I went to school. It wasn’t enough that I graduated. They had a path that I was supposed to follow, which was getting married and having children. And if I didn’t follow that path, I wasn’t going to be successful.”
Still, Vega knew she had to take a different path. Her path.
THE TIP JAR (tips provided courtesy of Indy Vega)
STARTING OUT: “I think you need to surround yourself with people that know more than you do.”
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Vega says she was struggling with marketing. So she went to the SBDC (Small Business Development Center).
Guess who they paired her up with for help?
Vega says the person she was matched with was a marketing executive for Pepsi. She couldn’t believe that someone of that caliber would be helping her with her business, especially for free.
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career): Vega believes, if you want to start a business at this stage, you need to be disciplined and set aside time to work on your venture. But be strategic with your time.
“If I had an 8-5 [job], then I would come home and work on my business from 6-9.”
“Dedicate at least one hour for learning. You can never learn enough.”
She suggests you devote the other two hours to applying what you learned in the first hour.
STARTING OVER: At this stage, Vega thinks you need to look at what your potential competitors are doing.
“You learn a lot from what other people are already doing in the field. Go to their websites. See the type of services they offer or the type of products that they are selling. And see if that’s something that you would market in that way. Or, what would you change? What would you improve?”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE: “This is personal, but you can connect it with business. My dad always said that, when you were looking for a partner… don’t look for love only. And when I was younger, I never understood that.”
He said that, sometimes, “What you think is love can cloud your judgment. But you need to look deeper.”
She says you need to ask yourself, is that person a hard worker? Does that person have family values? Does that individual respect you? What’s behind the curtain?
“The way that I can connect this with business is that I’m very strategic with the types of clients that I have. There are times that I start working with a client. Then, I see that I may want to pass on that opportunity because, you know, their values don’t align with mine.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN
“Going to networking events without a purpose… If you’re going to go to a networking activity, you need to study the crowd. Is this a crowd that’s going to be good for you?”
Vega says, many times, people plan to attend a networking event and say, “Oh, that sounds fun. Let’s go.”
But she says you really need to frame it differently.
“Who’s going to be there? A networking event is supposed to be work-related."
She notes that the word "work" is in the title.
She reminds us that a networking event "is not just to go and smile and eat hors d’oeuvres and drink wine. This is to really create an opportunity for your business.”
STRATEGIZE, STRATEGIZE, STRATEGIZE
Vega’s chosen path led her to own a translation and interpretation business, CCI Group.
It’s not that Vega started her business with some grand vision for herself. No, she just noticed an opportunity and then became strategic with all her actions.
That’s what she wants to share with us.
TRAIN YOURSELF TO RECOGNIZE OPPORTUNITIES
“I was a staff interpreter. And I was having a lot of problems with my supervisor at the time. And, at the same time, I was seeing how they were struggling to find professional interpreters.”
Vega started to realize who were the good, professional interpreters.
“So when I went solo, when I started working as a freelancer, basically, I was subcontracting my peers.”
DON’T MAKE IT HARDER THAN IT HAS TO BE
She also doesn’t think you need to overthink what you’re doing.
“I believe in not reinventing the wheel. I believe in making it faster and better and prettier. So that’s, basically, what I did.”
FIND A WAY TO MAKE YOUR COMPETITORS YOUR ALLIES
In Vega’s industry, there’s an association, the Association of Language Companies, that she says encourages cooperation among competitors.
“And every time I have a problem, I send them a message. And these are competitors nationwide. They are companies of all sizes. And we don’t discuss pricing.”
Here’s how the members, and competitors, help each other. She says someone could send a message saying, “I’m struggling with a client that wants A, B, C. What do you guys think?”
She says, “It’s amazing. People jump to help.”
ACCEPT HELP – AND SEEK OUT HELP
Vega has welcomed the help and sought out help.
Her business just celebrated its tenth anniversary and Vega was named the U.S. Small Business Administration's Florida Minority Business Owner of the Year. More than that, she is proud of providing a good living to her eleven employees.
DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF
As for her dad and his differing definition of a woman’s success, Vega says, “I feel stronger and more… in tune with me and the people that surround me and the people that work for me than a lot of people that I know, regardless [of] if they have children or not.”
And that makes her feel proud, accomplished and successful – as a woman and business owner.
INDUSTRY: Language Interpretation & Translation Services
STARTED BUSINESS: May 30, 2012
Vega was born in Colombia
Both of her parents are Colombian
EDUCATION: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana – Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages
DREAM JOB AS A KID: “I always thought that maybe being a flight attendant and being able to go all over the world sounded fun. So I have always been fascinated with traveling, with cultures, with languages.”
BIGGEST GOAL YET: Vega's biggest goal yet relates to her company's 8a certification.
Note: This federal certification is awarded to businesses that are socially and economically disadvantaged. It is good for only nine years.
Vega says that someone told her not to get the 8a certification for her business until she was ready, adding that "'this is a certification that you get once in the lifetime of your business. And if you don’t have a strategy on how to use it, you are going to lose opportunities.' Well, I didn’t listen to the advice. I got the certification, but I didn’t have a strategy on how to use it.”
Now, Vega has one year left and her goal is to use it wisely because it could be worth millions of dollars in contracts.
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
Could Buying a Franchise Be Right For You?
If you don’t want to start a business from scratch, buying a franchise may be the better route to go. Find out in this FREE webinar. First, you’ll learn the foundation of owning a franchise. Then, you take a deeper dive with the interactive portion of the webinar to find out if the franchisee life is a good fit for you.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Orlando
“Franchises – An Easier Way to Owning a Business”
Thursday, June 30, 2022
5:30 p.m. EDT – 7:30 p.m. EDT
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
From Chaos to Calm
Who doesn’t feel overwhelmed from wearing too many hats, sometimes (ok, most of the time)? This is a recorded webinar from 2018, but the lessons are still powerful and relevant to our multi-tasking world. This webinar is designed to help you figure out how to manage the chaos, focus on the important tasks as a small business owner and how to do it in an easy-to-follow strategy that brings some order and efficiency to all those roles you play.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
“Too Many Hats? How to Juggle the Different Roles of Owning a Small Business”
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
I have to admit that when Indy Vega first told me what her father said about being a woman - that “a woman will never be a woman, if she doesn’t bear children”, my eyes widened and I cringed.
I reject that a woman’s purpose on Earth is solely to be a mother. I’m not a mother, and I definitely feel whole as a woman.
It was even more surprising because Indy’s father is an attorney. I think I assumed that someone that well-educated would be more open-minded to women feeling fulfilled in the workforce and as business owners.
I think it’s notable that Indy really wanted me to share her father’s sentiment publicly because she feels that many people can relate to being perceived that way.
The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with her.
Whether we’re offended by it or not, in some cultures, that’s how women are still viewed.
And the Latino culture is no exception.
Sure, things are changing. But don’t kid yourself.
This idea that a woman’s worth is tied to childbearing hasn’t gone away.
It takes courage to go against that, especially when you love your parents and know that they don’t bear any ill will.
That’s just what they were brought up to believe, and they’re not changing.
That’s why I wanted to share how Indy persevered in her goal of becoming a business owner.
We don’t do anyone any favors by pretending that these kinds of views don’t still exist.
And by supporting women who choose a different future for themselves and sharing strategies of success, we are encouraging each other, no matter what that dream is.
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🌴 Thank you for spending a little of your day reading my independent publication. Sending you my very best wishes for a wonderful day! 😻 #theskyisNOTthelimit