Latinas are the group that is opening the most start-ups and businesses in the US. There’s a reason for this. “We are given responsibilities from a young age and raised by women who have high expectations of us,” stated Tondreanna Esquilin (model, social media strategist and event planner). I believe this gives Latinas the strength and persistence to pursue an entrepreneurial career. For entrepreneur, fitness trainer, and content creator Samantha Ortiz-Young, coming from a Latinx family played a crucial role in her attitude toward career and business. She said that her parents taught her the importance of hard work and goal setting. “This gave me confidence to start hustling and following my dreams.” For Afro Latina beauty influencer Farah Pink, it’s a matter of inherited perseverance and representation. “As we get older, we see more of the possibilities for us and have more access to the resources needed to make it all happen.”
Younger generations need to see success stories like Macy’s beauty founders and Latina designers. We asked three influential entrepreneurs and Latinas to share their top tips and tricks to help Latinas reconnect with their inner jefa mentality.
Be specific about your goals
Samantha Ortiz Young found that the old pen-to paper method worked wonders when setting goals. The fitness trainer suggested that you write out your ideas and set dates for them. This will help you keep track of your progress and make it easier to stay accountable when building your business.
Breaking down the larger goal into smaller tasks will help you reach it with less fear and even without thinking too much. Farah Pink said, “Creating small actions items and completing them one at a time really gives you momentum to continue moving forward.”
Tondreanna Esquilin suggested looking at the competition if you have an idea for a new business or project. First, identify your competition and ask questions such as “What are they doing well?” and “What are they not doing well?” What could you do to improve your business? Next, create a target audience and poll your friends to determine if they are interested in what you have to offer. “An idea begins with you but a company is built by others.”
Forget about the impostor syndrome
Many women find imposter syndrome to be one of the most difficult aspects of starting a business and becoming entrepreneurs. It is the unshakeable feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, and unworthiness. It’s like, no matter how hard you try, it won’t be enough. Esquilin believes it is about continuing to do the things you love, even when doubts arise. She said, “You need to see past all of this and recognize that if people show interest in what you are doing or if there’s a market for it, then there is a chance for success. So keep moving forward.”
Get inspired to take action
Do you still remember your first job? Or what was the worst job? You can take a moment to think about that experience and the lessons you have learned. This little exercise will help you feel motivated. Farah Pink said, “I was 16 when I worked in a clothing shop. It made me fall in LOVE with putting together outfits. This is something that I am still passionate about.”
Even if your first venture into entrepreneurship was a helado stand from your childhood, like it was for Samantha Ortiz Young, there is always something you can learn from it. She said, “This taught me to take responsibility, to be resilient, to learn how to network, to be grateful for my sister and parents for supporting me in this amazing experience.”
Each experience can give you insight into your personality, help you find new career options, and teach you valuable life lessons that you can use in any industry. Esquilin says: “My high-quality work ethic was based on my experience as a food service worker at a hospital in high school. During school, I would commute from volleyball practice to school and then straight to work. In the summer, I worked at least five days per week and would often work 12- to 14-hour shifts. Serving people in need and sick teaches you empathy.”
Javas can help you in every area of your life
Whatever the industry, nearly every Latina who is successful in her career cites their mami, Tia or Abuela as their primary inspiration. We can only say that they know everything. Samantha Ortiz Young, trainer, said that her mother Aileen is the ultimate jefa in her life. “She has always encouraged and supported me to be self-confident and believe in the power and manifestation of dreams.”
Macy’s Latina-owned businesses are great examples of las Jefas living their truth. Macy’s launched the Workshop in 2011 with the aim of helping entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds become partners with Macy’s Inc., other retailers, and thereby fostering growth in the next generation merchandise suppliers. Macy’s Inc. partners with several Latino- and Hispanic-focused organizations such as the Hispanic Federation to fund programs that provide digital skills training and classroom instruction.
This Hispanic Heritage Month, shop the collections of previous Workshop at Macy’s graduates and other Latina-owned brands available at Macy’s that have made an impact on their community, to empower your inner jefa.