How did I go from employee to entrepreneur?

Since I set foot in the corporate world, I promised myself that I wouldn't end my journey there. Devoting my life to working for someone else wasn't my desire.

Since I set foot in the corporate world, I promised myself that I wouldn't end my journey there. Devoting my life to working for someone else wasn't my desire.

In 2005, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. At 22, it was challenging to start working in the manufacturing industry, a field mostly dominated by men.

Being both young and Latina, I felt the need to exert extra effort to prove my capabilities. I'm sure you, as a reader, can understand what I mean.

Early in my career, I recognized my ability to work with people, gain their trust, and achieve results through teamwork. My leadership was acknowledged from my first engineering internship.

Throughout my career, I held various positions: Quality, Continuous Improvement projects (known as Lean Manufacturing), and Operations.

Yet, I felt that the corporate world wasn't my place. Meanwhile, I learned how to pivot and become my own boss, dedicating myself to learning and accepting challenges that would help me grow professionally.

My vision was to dedicate 15 years to my career, not more than that. It was sufficient time, in my view, to gain experience, pay off my student loan, and change my course.

During those 15 years, I attempted entrepreneurship several times without success, from franchises to network marketing. However, I still felt that I was generating money for someone else, and it wasn't enough to leave my career with a six-figure salary. I desired to have my own personal brand

To cut a long story short, in 2020, I launched my own online coaching company in Nutrition and Fitness, precisely 15 years after entering the corporate world, but without keeping in mind the 15 years I had set as a limit in that industry

When I realized that I had successfully left engineering as I desired in 2005, with my own brand within the maximum timeframe I set for myself, I was filled with excitement and pride. I could validate that when you don't lose sight of your goal, the power to attract what you desire is real.

In this article, I want to share how I managed to transition from the corporate world to being a Latina entrepreneur and how I achieved success with this venture. May this serve as inspiration for you, as it is possible to achieve what you desire with effort and perseverance.

From Engineering to Fitness

In my 20s, I struggled with being overweight, reaching a point of weighing 200 pounds on two occasions. My frustration was significant because I had tried everything to lose those extra pounds, but despite losing weight with each attempt, I couldn't sustain it.

Finally, in 2013, I tried again, and this time, a passion for exercise grew in me, leading me to study personal training in 2014. But, I quickly realized that working in a gym wasn't enough to leave my salary job.

I continued independently, training and learning until 2019 when I found business mentors specializing in teaching how to create your personal brand, precisely in the field of online nutrition and fitness.

There, I knew it was possible to replace my engineering career with what I was passionate about and still generate six figures. I filled myself with hope and completed certifications in personal training, nutrition coaching, hormonal health, and mindset coaching.

I didn't hesitate to hire them to help me create my own brand, but I didn't quit my job yet because I wanted to do it when I could validate that it was stable.

Already prepared to start my entrepreneurial journey, the pandemic arrived, affecting the whole world. However, as my plans were to work online, I continued with the plans confidently. The pandemic confined us all at home, causing my nutrition and fitness coaching services to gain great momentum. I launched my personalized program in May 2020 and, in one month, managed to generate $3,000 part-time as I was still working full-time.

I won't deny it was tough. I had a leadership position in my full-time job with much responsibility, living in California with my daughter, and almost all my free time was dedicated to my business.

So far, 2020 was the busiest year I've ever had, but every lost hour of sleep was worth it. It helped a lot that during the pandemic, I had to work from home, allowing me to dedicate many hours to creating a solid foundation for what is now my full-time company.

Today, I want to share four key points that helped me succeed. I dedicated long hours to working on these four points so that today, my business runs smoothly and profitably.

  1. Clarify Whom You Serve: The best way to make your audience respond to your content is to deliver the message directly to your ideal customer. It's essential to define who this person is, their desires, challenges, and current knowledge about achieving what they want. In my case, that person was me ten years ago. This strategy is excellent because you've personally experienced the problems they face and have the tools to help them achieve their desires. Speaking about something you haven't personally lived would be more challenging. Ten years ago, I was a professional mother struggling with diets, repeatedly attempting programs to lose the same 20 pounds. Mastering quick weight loss advice but failing to recognize the lack of sustainability kept me relying on external help every year. Experiencing this weight loss difficulty was familiar to me, and once I learned to sustain my results, it made me feel capable of helping other women in the same position. As my first business coach, Erin Dimond, says, "When you speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one." This phrase made a difference in how I convey my message.I can definitely help anyone, but each person has particular needs and problems. A professional mother doesn't have the same challenges as a single woman. That's where my community of Mamacitas was born. A word that sums up what every professional mother wants to be, which is what I can offer with my experience and knowledge. I was able to create that identity before I had my first client and that's why today my followers, my community and customers identify with my brand.
  2. Create a Value Proposition: Once I was clear about whom I wanted to serve, I could create an offer that clearly communicated to my ideal customer how I could help. It also helped me communicate what I do directly to those who ask about my profession. The content I share, both on social media and with my subscribers, aligns with my value proposition, making this step essential in turning your followers into customers.
  3. Establish Effective Systems to Successfully Serve Your Niche: The difference between an employee and an entrepreneur is that an employee exchanges time for money, while an entrepreneur creates ways to generate passive income, allowing their business to function without constant attention. Initially, your business will require more working hours than you bill, but once you have your processes and systems implemented and validated, you'll gain more flexibility. Having a defined process helps create stability and predictability, providing the foundation for continuous improvement and team growth.
  4. Validation and Continuous Improvement: This is the most crucial aspect of any business, big or small, often overlooked by many business owners. Every growth level in my business required reviewing and adapting processes. In my two years of operation, I've worked with three mentors, each helping me reach the next level. It wouldn't have been possible without defined processes and performance indicators helping identify areas of improvement. As William Thomson Kelvin said, "What gets measured gets managed."

Thanks to my years of working with continuous improvement projects, I could apply the methodology I used for process improvement. The PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act), created by William Edwards Deming, is a systematic method for problem-solving that promotes continuous improvement.

These four points I share align with this continuous improvement cycle. Whether you're starting your business or already established, these four points are fundamental keys to long-term success.

Imagine this as a cycle that needs periodic review as you grow and/or create new offers.

If you're in your transition process and want to start off on the right foot to establish or improve your processes, I want to connect with you. Send me a direct message on my Instagram account or email and let me know your thoughts on this article.

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October 15, 2022

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