My grandpa was an entrepreneur at 5 years old. He was a child living in Puerto Rico when he took a few of the many chickens from their backyard and put them in a sack over his shoulder. He then went through the neighborhood selling them.
When he got a little older he bought a trailer and filled it with snacks and drinks to sell down at the beach to the tourists.
Moving to the U.S. he married my grandmother and started a jewelry business, aware that the markup was more than 50% for profit. He was a successful businessman through the 1950s while raising a family of 10 children and becoming a homeowner in one of the better neighborhoods in the area where they lived.
Eventually, he sold the jewelry business and went into furniture, again because of the profit margin. My grandpa was never one to take instruction from others, preferring to give directions. He wasn’t afraid to put himself out there, even when his decisions were met with resistance from others.
My uncles and dad followed in their father’s footsteps, owning and running their own businesses on their own terms. Now 4th generation entrepreneurs, two of my cousins and I each have our own businesses.
By nature, choosing to embark on developing one’s own business is risky. There is no consistent paycheck, no vacation pay, no medical benefits, and no guarantee that the time and effort you put into a project will result in a predictable profit.
So why do it?
Perhaps a sense of pride?
Though it does go hand in hand with a healthy dose of fear.Some of my favorite success stories is those who succeed against the odds.
So you can imagine that by being a woman of color and seeking my own version of success as a business owner in one of the U.S.’s most financially competitive states, is a challenge. I’ve always been a dreamer with a vibrant imagination and a tendency to be creative.
Making decisions about which direction my business will go next is incredibly energizing to me.
When I allow myself the spaciousness to dive in and capture my thoughts and ideas, inspired and fueled by my own causes and beliefs, it feels like anything is possible. I can’t help but feel like I’ve been led to this moment in time spiritually.
To have been born and raised here in California, loved and embraced by my extended family while simultaneously encouraged to become independent and openly expressive.
Giving myself permission to do this in my unique way without feeling ostracized by my cultural background or the fact that men have tended to be the main breadwinners, business leaders, and center of attention in the realm of being “Successful”, has been my biggest challenge. Feeling a lack of resources or support in my ability to try and fail and to continue to try as a part of my path to my success as I grow and learn as an entrepreneur which has always been par for the course of those most acknowledged in the past.
As a Latina, or rather, a woman born of native decent combined with European and Islander influence, I feel a particular connection to the land. I feel that my ancestor’s bones make up the soil and hence the plants and trees which feed the people and animals that thrive on it all. I feel a sense of stewardship and also that I have a responsibility to allow it all to speak through me as a representative so-to-speak. The story of The Lorax comes to mind…
There is a great imbalance right now. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I want to do my part. To speak up. To put my fear aside and express what I feel and understand from my unique perspective. I feel blessed to have been raised by young parents who encouraged my playful spirit. When I made unwise decisions, my parents allowed me to feel into my own process without trying to change my mind or direct me towards what they thought would be the right one.
I believe it was this freedom given to me at a young age, that has given me the privilege of seeking my truth regardless of the consequences. I look forward to a time when the vision in my heart matches the evidence of existence out in the world. Until then, I will continue to show up with joy and imagination. With a desire to connect authentically with the hearts and truth of others to understand things I am still learning. To bridge those things that feel opposite, believing we can all integrate the pain and experiences of others with compassion and patience over time.
I have always been inspired to gather women for such explorations they feel uniquely called to from a place within themselves.
Join me for The Courageous Joyful Empowerment Journey– a mastermind group for women exploring their own rite of passage. Sign up for our newsletter for details on the upcoming retreat led by myself and other Women Up to Amazing things!