Hope your weekend has been amazing!👋🏼 Get your workweek going with some small business tips and inspiration right here with Generation Si!
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Advice in Today's Tip Jar section is coming from Ana Carolina Salazar, founder and CEO of Bold Digital Marketing Studio. She tells you about a different kind of grant that could be super useful to you. You'll find the names of a couple of organizations that you may want to tap for start-up help, plus Salazar shares whom she thinks you should approach to get your sales pipeline going.
First, let's learn more about Ana Carolina Salazar.
NO MORE PRETENDING
“I used to go to… meetings and got home with a headache… I told my dad, ‘Hey, you know, I feel like I was faking [it] the whole time.'”
“It wasn’t me.”
Ana Carolina Salazar had had enough. She couldn’t bear to pretend to act a certain way anymore.
“It was at the point where I decided, this is my brand. This is who I am. This is how I’m going to dress. I don’t care that I have an accent.”
The founder and CEO of Bold Digital Marketing Studio felt liberated breaking free from society’s expectations of how she should be acting versus just being herself.
INDUSTRY: Digital Marketing
STARTED BUSINESS: 2019
LATINO/HISPANIC CONNECTION: Ana Carolina: Born in Venezuela
Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona - Master's degree in Digital Marketing & Communications
University of Central Florida – Bachelor's degree in Advertising & Public Relations, minor in Psychology
DREAM JOB AS A KID: “I wanted to be a flight attendant because I wanted to travel. I remember I also wanted to be an astronaut. But, then, I think when I was in high school, I wanted to be an entertainer.”
BIGGEST GOAL YET: “I have so many.”
“I’m working with an organization that is called Count Me In. And their founder is Nell Merlino. She is the one that created Take [Our] Daughters to Work Day… and she has helped thousands of women to own their businesses. And one of the things she [does] is to help these women achieve their million dollars in revenue.”
“For me, it’s, I think, double the challenge… because I’m [a] woman, but [also] because I’m Hispanic. Double minority… For me, it’s not about money. It’s just the fact that it’s equality.”
Salazar had a resistance to trying to fit in long before. Salazar’s mother died when Salazar was just fifteen years old. So she and her sister, who was 13 at the time, had to move to the U.S from Venezuela to live with their father, who had a new wife and son.
“So we came here to a [totally] different family. New language. New culture. We didn’t have our mom.”
Salazar was reluctant to adapt. She actually avoided speaking English whenever possible. But in college, she had no choice.
One day, she had to do a presentation for her advertising and PR class.
WHAT ABOUT THE ACCENT?
“I was afraid of doing that presentation because of my accent.”
But the accent didn’t matter.
She made an impact with her creativity.
The professor told her at the end of her presentation that it was the best of the entire class.
Then, a job as marketing coordinator for Prospera (formerly HBIF) opened her eyes to what was possible. The nonprofit helps Hispanic entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
IF THEY DID IT...
As she helped with videos and interviews of other entrepreneurs, she thought to herself, “If they did it, maybe I can do it?”
She went to Spain for her Master’s degree, but didn't have any luck finding remote work there.
Salazar had no choice but to return to the U.S.
And that’s when she realized, she was already doing digital marketing work for friends, but for free. Why not start her own business?
So she opened Bold Digital Marketing Studio - but with a twist.
“Bold is [a] company that works completely remotely.” And that was her idea before the pandemic - when remote work was uncommon.
Salazar also wanted to fulfill a specific dream of hers with her company.
“I offer jobs to other people – mostly immigrants. You know, people that had to leave their countries and start a new life.”
The turning point came from a business coach who asked her what she offered that was unique. The coach wanted to know, how would she stand out compared to other agencies?
That’s when it all clicked.
“I need to embrace what I thought… was my weakness. It became my biggest asset, which is having my accent. Having the knowledge of other Hispanic markets in the U.S.”
She had the answer that would propel her business forward.
THE VALUE PROPOSITION IS CLEAR
“The Hispanic market is growing in the U.S. and companies need to… [have] their content in Spanish, the website in Spanish, their social media [in Spanish].”
She also told the business coach that companies need to create campaigns to target the Hispanic market in a culturally relevant way, not just with the Spanish language.
And that’s how Salazar learned to embrace who she is at her core and use it to stand out in business.
EMBRACE YOUR DIFFERENCES
She says, “At the end of the day, it’s your brand. And people are going to respect you for that because you were there to not just be like the cookie-cutter like everybody. No, embrace what makes you different.”
In other words, no more faking it.
THE TIP JAR (tips passed out courtesy of Ana Carolina Salazar)
STARTING OUT: “The first thing is just reach [out] for help.”
Salazar recommends contacting organizations like the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and Prospera.
She suggests you seek out grants. But she’s not talking about monetary grants. With these kinds of grants, “... if you need your branding, if you need legal advice, if you need Quickbooks, these are organizations that pay professionals to help.”
STEEPED IN SKILLS (mid-career): “When you are mid-career, you already know what you love – what your passion is.”
Salazar thinks, at this stage, you should research what the need is in the market that's not being served.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: “In my case, it was digital marketing… I remember I read an article that said the future is going to be digital marketing… So when I read that, I’m like, okay, this is the way to go. And I even changed my Master’s [degree]. I was going to do events and tourism. I specialized [in] that [digital marketing instead]. And I opened my business when I thought that I was confident and that I could provide value… to other companies.”
STARTING OVER: “Be bold - because that’s a bold decision to, you know, to leave everything that you have maybe worked for.”
“When you’re starting, reach out to your friends first… You’re going to have lots of friends that, you don’t know, maybe need the service that you’re going to provide or the products that you’re going to be selling. So reach out to your friends. And share it on social media… Celebrate it! Just make it a huge celebration.”
I’LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN: “I think your heart and your body [speak] to you. And if you feel good about something, say yes. And if you don’t feel good about something, say no… I wouldn’t say yes to everything.”
BEST ADVICE FROM “LA CASA”/BEST “HOUSE” ADVICE: “When I started, I used to get phone calls from my clients at any time..."
She thought she had no choice but to take every call.
Salazar said, "These are clients and I have to help them. I remember my dad told me, 'Ana, don’t do that. Don’t answer the phone past 5 p.m., 6 p.m…. because if you allow that today, you’re going to allow that all the time. And with everybody. And right now you might have two clients, three clients. But then it’s going to be 20. Are you going to answer the phone for the 20?'"
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
A Different Kind of Pitch
You’ve heard of having an “elevator pitch”. But these days, with more tech startups, it’s necessary to be ready with your VC (venture capital) pitch, if that’s a needed source of funding for your business. If you need help with a pitch deck and how to craft a powerful story to get investors on board, register for this online webinar. You’ll also learn about the various types of investors and what they’re looking for, plus much more. The link and details are below:
"Developing a Winning VC Pitch Webinar"
Tues, February 1, 2022
1 p.m. EST – 2 p.m. EST
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
De-stress – And Eat Chocolate!
Chocolate? Wait! What? This class teaches you tools to de-stress AND part of the assignment is to bring chocolate? Sign me up!
This FREE webinar teaches you how to train yourself to be more resilient through mindful eating. Besides the chocolate part that, of course, got my attention, the instructor will share strategies for decreasing stress and sharpening your focus.
I call that a win, win, win! Here’s how to register:
"Small Business Resilience – How to Sharpen Your Focus and Decrease Stress"
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
1 p.m. EST – 2 p.m. EST
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
How many times have you said you would do something, if only you had the money to do it?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s donating to a charity or getting a new degree or starting a business that involves your passion.
But, somehow, we convince ourselves that, if we’re not rich or at least have a certain amount of money, we have to put off the action and the happiness or enrichment that comes with achieving that goal or desire.
Why? Why can’t we achieve those goals, if necessary, on a much smaller scale?
Want to help animals? Volunteer.
Want to get a computer science degree? Start by taking one of those introductory online classes, executive education programs or see what your community college offers.
Want to sell your legendary (okay, maybe they’re just legendary in the family) chocolate chip cookies? Start by offering to sell them to your friends and people in your social media network for the next holiday to test the market.
Just start. Get the ball rolling.
Ana Carolina Salazar wasn’t about to wait. She wanted to offer jobs to immigrants who, because they moved to a new country, were frequently not able to practice the profession they studied for in their native countries.
Helping others can’t wait.
Helping yourself feel fulfilled or challenged by a new adventure that warms your soul or nourishes your mind, even on a limited level, can’t wait.
In Part Two, I’ll share how Ana Carolina Salazar confronted a particular difficulty of entrepreneurship and fulfilled another passion of hers. Don’t miss it!
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🌴Sending you positive vibes. Hope you have your best week yet!