Hi again!👋👋🏼👋🏾 Happy Easter, Happy Passover and Ramadan Mubarak to those who celebrate the respective holidays.
Today, you get unconventional advice on mentorships that human resources consultant, Jessica Rivera, provides in The Tip Jar section, as well as her thoughts on the power of collaboration.
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Now, here's more on how this HR professional was able to capitalize on society's shift to tech. It just might give you ideas, no matter your industry.
A NON-TECH BACKGROUND DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN'T BE IN TECH
Jessica Rivera of No More Mondays studied psychology and human relations in college, not engineering or another tech-related discipline.
But here she is, savoring getting approval from Apple and Google for the new employee handbook app, In.Hand.Book, she co-created with her sister, Elda. Elda Rivera is also her business partner.
Jessica is a veteran of the Army and also worked for elected officials following her service as a sergeant in the military. She then worked in the private sector. After that, she was ready to go out on her own.
THE TIP JAR (tips provided courtesy of Jessica Rivera)
STARTING OUT: “You don’t have to do it alone. There is a lot of power in collaboration.”
“You may have a great idea, but that doesn’t mean that you have the skills to develop that idea.”
Rivera urges first-time entrepreneurs to do an assessment of their skills to see which skills they’re lacking to turn their idea into reality.
Rivera says, “Then, go collaborate with other people that have the skills or resources that you need to bring that idea to fruition.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career): “I think, when you are mid-career, [you] forget how important mentorship is. I always tell people, and I remind myself, how important it is to have not only professional mentors, but also spiritual mentors - whatever your spiritual practice may be. I think mentorship is crucial. We all need that sounding board, regardless of the stage we’re in.”
STARTING OVER: “You have to do an inventory of your skills and understand how you can transfer the skills and knowledge. It’s oftentimes that I think people know more than they think they [know].”
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: “I think that, often, we link our experience to jobs we’ve done. But we forget about internships. We forget about volunteering opportunities. Perhaps you were the one who managed the accounting at your church or at your kid’s club. So, really, I think people often shortchange themselves.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN: “I think that it’s okay to say no. And it’s also okay to think over and evaluate opportunities… In the beginning, I was just saying yes to everything. So, as a result, I was working 7 days a week. And that’s just not a sustainable way to do business.”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE: “I think that, one of the things that mom always said to me was…’My prayer is that you will always be surrounded by good people, like people with good values.’ And I have to say that, when I think about my success as a professional and an entrepreneur, [it] has a lot to do a lot with that.”
A PROBLEM, A SOLUTION AND A TREND
As a business owner, Rivera realized a universal problem and a way to fix it.
“It always comes back to the same thing: employers spend countless hours trying to develop policies, procedures, standards. But they’re not communicated to the employees. They always end up in a shelf, collecting dust, particularly the employee handbook.”
That, along with the fact that many of us are glued to our phones, sparked Rivera’s idea for the app.
Sure, she does the usual human resources consultancy-type of work. And she worked on human resources while in the Army.
But her psychology background has helped her gain insights into entrepreneurship.
DON'T LET YOURSELF BE PRESSURED
One of them came from a pesky question she kept hearing over and over again.
People kept asking her, “When are you going to grow your business?”
Rivera says, “I think that there is a misconception that growing your business is all about hiring more people or renting a bigger space.”
She’s had her business for about nine years and her concept of growth has evolved over time.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT MEASURES OF "GROWTH" & "SUCCESS"
Now, instead of feeling the pressure to show that she’s added employees or expanded the physical location of her business, her idea of success has changed.
“Now I equate growth with sustainability.” She says being able to keep the business going for the long haul relies on other factors.
“I think you have to have a clear understanding of your values as an entrepreneur, your product and how you can truly help your clients.”
NETWORK - WITH FOCUS
She’s also realized that many entrepreneurs are networking all wrong. Instead of casting a wide net, she recommends taking a limited, but more personal, approach.
She reflects on what she did wrong in the beginning. Rivera says she felt the need to attend every single event and to join every networking group she could.
“Just by paying the membership of the organization or showing up and distributing your business card, because you’re in a hurry, or because you have to go to the… next event, it doesn’t give you the opportunity to talk to people, to get to know the needs of others – to allow others to understand your business or your service. All you’re doing is you’re showing up.”
EVENT ATTENDANCE IS ABOUT QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
She reminds us of the value of time. There’s only 24 hours in a day. So she suggests you become more practical and targeted with your efforts.
“Instead of you becoming a member of 10 different organizations or five, be very honest about how much time [you] can dedicate to this group or to this organization.”
GROW ROOTS IN THE GROUPS YOU'VE TARGETED
And then she says you need to grow roots.
“You have to spend time. And that’s what I mean by growing roots. You have to also invest your time and give to those organizations. Make a contribution to those organizations. Because a lot of times, we’re only going to these places thinking about what [we] can get from it.”
ANSWER KEY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PARTICIPATION IN EACH GROUP
Instead, to grow roots she says you should ask the following questions in relation to the networking group you’ve joined:
“What are my skills?”
“How can I help?”
“How can I make a contribution to this group?”
“How can I help the other members of this organization?”
MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS TAKE TIME
She cautions that it can take more than just a meeting or two to make a difference.
“You have to stick with it. You have to earn the trust of other people. And that doesn’t happen overnight.”
Rivera and her sister have been able to grow the business on their terms. They're piloting their employee handbook app and continue working to set up their business for success for the long run.
REFERRALS ARE THE KEY TO LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY
“What I have found is that… one client will bring the next. And that next client will bring the next client.”
And that’s why the small business owner who equated entrepreneurship as something coming from left field, says growing roots has been the winning formula for growing her business.
INDUSTRY: Human Resources and Tech
STARTED BUSINESS: 2013
Born in Puerto Rico
Parents are Puerto Rican
Master’s degree in Human Relations – University of Oklahoma
Bachelor’s degree in Psychology – University of Puerto Rico
DREAM JOB AS A KID: “A teacher. And I think that that will be my retirement job. I love to teach adults… That dream is like something that is still in my heart. I actually would love to teach something related to human resources.”
BIGGEST GOAL YET: “To better my golf game.”
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
Figuring Out Your Social Media Strategy
You know social media can be huge for your business. But how do you do it right? Do you have a plan, the time or know what’s the best way to go about it? In this FREE webinar, Certified Social Media & Community Manager Donna Amos will share with you the proven strategies for business, as well as the easy stuff that you can take on without much fuss. Register for the virtual class at the link below:
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Social Media Strategies That Generate Results
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
1:00 p.m. EDT – 2:00 p.m. EDT
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
Getting Past the Fear
Do you know how to get over the fears that are blocking you from business success? Brett Farmiloe has compiled a top 10 blog list for SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) of what he calls “business blockers", with examples of how various entrepreneurs got over these psychological hurdles. From overcoming a fear of failure to a fear of rejection to a fear of no funding, this is a great read on how to psyche yourself up to face the challenges many entrepreneurs grapple with when going out on their own for the first time. Take a look:
Top 10 Business Blockers To Overcome As a First-Time Entrepreneur
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
You notice how, once you’ve been dating someone a while, people unintentionally try to rush you along? They’ll ask, “When are you going to get married?”
Then, as soon as you get married, people are ready to graduate you onto the next traditional phase by asking, “When are you going to have a baby?”
No one lets you just enjoy the various stages without pressuring you. Similarly, I was interested in exploring the pressure that entrepreneurs face regarding growth of their business.
Jessica Rivera used that psychology degree to really evaluate what worked and didn’t when it came to business growth.
It reminds me of my dad always telling me, “It’s not how much you make. It’s how much you keep.”
Rivera has refocused the measure of success regarding growth in terms of the most important thing for many small businesses: is your business built to last?
In other words, is the foundation there so it will be around in the long-term?
I think it’s a valuable lesson to consider as you start or try to “grow” your business.
🌴Did you get something out of this article? By all means, share it (share button is at the top).
🌴Looking forward to bringing you more insights into entrepreneurship in my next issue. In the meantime, a big thank you and, again, many blessings for those of you celebrating Easter, Passover or Ramadan.