Hi! Welcome to another issue of Generation Si! 👋🏼
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In today's Tip Jar below, Lourdes Mola has some great advice about the importance of strategy, structure and strengths.
First, let's get to know the Founder and President of Lourdes Mola Solutions.
THE COMFORT ZONE
Picture this: You have your corporate job. You’re in your comfort zone. And you’re swimming along nicely.
There’s not much incentive to risk going out on your own, is there?
“It’s hard to walk away from a big job… and the security that comes with it.”
Why would you? Why rock the boat, especially if you have a family and other responsibilities?
But something was missing for Lourdes Mola.
She’d spent several years working at the Walt Disney Company in various departments, including the Minority Business Development department. Before that, she'd worked in corporate for various cruise lines.
One day, she turned to her husband and said, “I think this is the time.”
For her, it was the time to go out on her own. So after giving three-months’ notice to Disney, she took the plunge. She became a consultant.
She started her business development and marketing business, Lourdes Mola Solutions.
INDUSTRY: Business Development, Marketing & Public Relations (Consulting)
STARTED BUSINESS: Summer 2015
LATINO/HISPANIC CONNECTION: Parents were Cuban
Stetson University – Master’s degree in Business Administration
Nova Southeastern University – Bachelor’s degree in Marketing
DREAM JOB AS A KID: “I wanted to be [one of] Charlie’s Angels. I wanted to be [in the] FBI.”
BIGGEST GOAL YET: “I want to get to that next threshold. From a financial perspective, you know, growing the base of the business.”
Mola says she wants to grow more in the digital space.
“We’ve intentionally stayed in Florida. We may want to look at some of those… different areas, as well. I get a lot of requests for Texas. So growing into Texas, especially now that so much has gone remote.”
GETTING OUT OF THAT SAME BOX
The problem was that, when she started her business, Mola kept getting work that had her doing the same thing she was doing at Disney – issues management.
She didn’t want to do that type of work anymore. She wanted to branch out and focus on helping entrepreneurs get business from corporate giants.
So she says she ended up turning down a lot of work or just “… changed the conversation.”
But I brought up that, for many people, it may not be so easy to decline work, especially when they’re just starting out as small business owners.
FINDING A WAY TO BRANCH OUT
She suggests, “Maybe you take a couple of contracts, if that’s what you do – if they’re going to make the money. You diversify, right? You say… I’m going to take this big account and this is going to be my… rock. And I will take everything else that I really enjoy. So you have an anchor… which is the one that pays the bills. But then you’re growing the other side of your business, which is where your heart is.”
WHAT ABOUT THAT “OTHER” BOX?
There’s the problem of that “other” box, too. Being pigeonholed as “Hispanic” or “Latino” – as if you only fill that box or requirement for the job.
Mola wasn’t having it. And she was intentional in making sure she didn’t fall into that trap of checking off only the box labeled Latina.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY
Here’s how she got around it. Hint: She described herself differently.
“’I’m a professional, first and foremost. I happen to speak Spanish, which is a skillset.’ But, you know, a lot of times, people go out and say, ‘I’m a Hispanic professional.’ No. To me, I’m a professional that happens to speak Spanish.”
Mola says she’s been able to do a lot and cross over into many other disciplines just by purposely phrasing who she is and what she offers differently.
ABOUT THAT DREAM
There is one thing she didn’t do. She didn’t become an FBI agent. She wanted to become an FBI agent, after being inspired by the TV characters from the ‘70s crime drama, Charlie’s Angels.
Note: For those of you who aren’t familiar with Charlie’s Angels, the hugely-popular TV program showed beautiful women taking on crime-fighting, a role traditionally filled by men.
“But I went to a Catholic school and the nuns told me, ‘You’re Hispanic and you’re a woman. You’ll never be in the FBI.’”
Sure enough, years later, as Mola did conferences for Disney, she would invariably run into people from the FBI. She’d tell them about her childhood dream.
“They were like, we are dying for Hispanic women in the FBI.”
Back when she was in high school, she says women were limited in the careers they were encouraged to pursue.
NOT AS PLANNED... AND THAT'S OK
Still, Mola doesn’t have regrets, even though she was led astray.
She’d tell her younger self, “You have a plan in your life. But God has such a better plan for you. I think that we are so limited, sometimes, in what we’re thinking… we’re going to do.”
Now, the thriving entrepreneur tells her daughter, who is in college, “… there’s going to be so many new areas, so many things to discover… Don’t limit yourself. Be open to the possibilities – because they’re beautiful.”
THE TIP JAR (tips passed out courtesy of Ana Carolina Salazar):
STARTING OUT: “I think building a strategy is critical. Have… a vision in mind of where you want to go with this business… Play it all out.”
“What are your strengths? What is the need of the market? Because you can do really well, but if that market doesn’t need it, you’re not going to make any money. It’s not going to be successful.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career): “I think experience in a company is so important before you become an entrepreneur. Because you know what happens?”
She says you start to understand structure, which is key.
“When you’re in a corporate setting, there’s structure. There [are] processes. There [are] all of these things that you need to be successful as an entrepreneur.”
STARTING OVER: She says there are "...always transferable skills… There [are] always leadership skills that, you know, are critical for an entrepreneur.”
“So as long as there [are] transferable skills, you can pivot and do anything that you have a passion for and that you have a calling for. Just make sure it comes from the right place. You know, you’re not chasing the dollars. I think when entrepreneurs try chasing dollars, sometimes, it doesn’t work out.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN: “I’m a lifelong learner. For me, you know, one of the things, too, I learned are things I don’t want to do… So when I started off, the business wasn’t making that much money. I said, you know, I want to do my own QuickBooks®. Oh my God. I realized so fast, Giovanna, that I am not a QuickBooks® person… The first big check that I got, I hired an accountant. I said, I’m not doing this anymore.”
“Don’t try to be a master of all. You know, you gotta soar with the strengths that you have.”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE: “The older you get, the more you start saying all of your mother’s sayings. You know, I see my daughter. I keep telling her all these things that I thought were crazy that my mom used to tell me. But, now, they make so much sense, like, “Dime con quién andas, te diré quién eres.”
TRANSLATION: Tell me who you hang out with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
MAKING MARKETING MAGIC
You know you need to get your marketing plan together. Need a little guidance? This 2-hour UCF (University of Central Florida) webinar will help you by breaking down the elements of the original four Ps of marketing, as well as the modern Ps. What are they? Find out for FREE and register at this link:
“Marketing for Business Success”
Thursday, February 10, 2022
10:00 a.m. EST – 12 p.m. EST
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
Writing Your Way to Self-Care (Part of a Series)
For some people, writing can be quite valuable in helping work through their difficulties. If you’ve considered journaling, why not learn how it can help with self-care? The Princeton House Behavioral Health’s Women’s Program will be hosting a discussion on just that as part of its special Self-Care series. Licensed Counselor and Clinical Manager Jamie Benjamin, LPC, NCC, ACS will lead this discussion. Here’s the link for more info:
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
7 p.m. EST – 8 p.m. EST
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
When you’re fed up, overworked and/or underappreciated at your job, it’s much easier to decide you’ve had it and want to start your own business.
When you have a stable job, great benefits and ample resources to succeed in a corporate job, the decision to leave it behind to pursue your own business can be much harder.
Lourdes Mola could’ve just stayed on at Disney and ridden off into the retirement sunset.
But she believed there was a better plan and she knew that she had the power to make it reality. So she decided to go for it.
Lourdes told me that, at the time, her mom had just passed away. That made her reflect on life differently.
Because of COVID, many people have used this time to reflect on their lives and have also come to the same conclusion; they wanted to start their own business.
Whether it’s one event or a realization that develops and becomes inescapable over time, the choice is yours.
In our interview, Lourdes also told me she watched a program about Microsoft co-founder and billionaire, Bill Gates. She said he talked about the importance of having a “Think Week” where he goes somewhere alone to read and reflect. I later found out Gates does this twice a year.
Lourdes mentioned that most of us probably can’t afford to take out a whole “Think Week”. But we can likely take a “Think Day”.
Whether a “Think Day” results in a big discovery or change for yourself or not, being able to disconnect and ponder the direction your life is taking is likely helpful.
I hope you're able to take some time for yourself.
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