What I Wish Everyone Knew About Launching An Authentic Business
When I (finally) decided to launch LEAD Media back in January 2020, I had changed my business plan at least eight times. I knew that I wanted to do management consulting because I had been doing this as a "sidle-hustle" for several years, but I wasn't sure what else I wanted to do. For years I had struggled to find mentors that looked like me and understood the issues that Latinas in the workplace face every day. Latinas continue to have the largest wage gap in the United States (2019), and this gap gets bigger the more educated we are. But it wasn't just that I was earning less than most of my white counterparts. My friends were all going through the same issues.
For years I had struggled to find mentors that looked like me and understood the issues that Latinas in the workplace face every day.
We were burnout, managing more projects than anyone else at the office, stuck in mid-level positions with no growth opportunities, and fed up. It's not just Latinas, women of color continue to be affected disproportionally in the workplace, and businesses with CEOs who are women of color receive less business funding than white men (2018). When I tried to find leadership books for Latinas written by Latinas, I couldn't find them. There aren't many books written by us that help you develop a path to grow in your career and business. And I understand and respect that the Latina community is very diverse. But most leadership books are written for white women by white women where they ask you to "lean in" or "raise your voice". These phrases are unrealistic advice when women of color requesting anti-bias training get told they are asking too much.
When I tried to find leadership books for Latinas written by Latinas, I couldn't find them. There aren't many books written by us that help you develop a path to grow in your career and business.
Over the years, I have mentored and coached many Latinas, and when my husband encouraged me to pursue coaching as a career, I did the opposite and started a podcast. Still, I was connecting with Latinxs professionals at work and in business daily, and my friend's group chat had the same questions every other week: How do I prepare for an interview? Should I apply for that management job? What else should I do with my career? How do I start my business? Do I need a LinkedIn account?
(A beautiful website that didn't represent LEAD Media's story and mission because I was too scared)
The Latinx professionals in my community weren't finding answers online aligned with their values or went beyond bullet points. How do you explain to Google that you were taught by your Abuela to be thankful for any job and stay quiet during meetings? I went from coaching my team at work to hopping on Zoom calls after 5:00 PM and scheduling weekly brunches to help people in my network with their career questions.
How do you explain to Google that you were taught by your Abuela to be thankful for any job and stay quiet during meetings?
My 15 years in the human service and education field have given me the tools to run programs, launch fundraising campaigns, and write strategic plans, but it also allowed me to manage employees, develop coaching programs, and establish small businesses.
When I sat with my SCORE mentor, Peter, for the first time in February 2020 and he asked me about my ideal client, I thought of my Latino Leaders Fellowship cohort and how we were all searching for Latinx executive coaches but couldn't find any. I left that meeting with a clear understanding of my client, and after weeks of market research and interviews, I knew that I wanted to help Latinx professionals take the next level in their careers. Do you want to know what happened between that meeting and the official launch of my website? A COVID-19 hospitalization and a lot of impostor syndrome. When LEAD Media LLC became an official MA business the day before making my website live, I changed my Latinx focus to a business focus. After years of helping professionals build a brand and launch enterprises with their clients in mind, I couldn't do it. I was scared.
After years of helping professionals build a brand and launch enterprises with their clients in mind, I couldn't do it. I was scared.
Working on LEAD Media's brand was daunting. I needed someone's objectivity to help me put Google Docs and thoughts into one cohesive message. I met Martha Garza on a Facebook group for Latina entrepreneurs and after 20 minutes speaking to her, I asked for a contract. There's something magical about working with another Latina who understands you. She worked with me for weeks, and when I opened my brand book, I cried for about an hour. Everything was there. She translated my thoughts, my passion, my purpose, my research, and my mission.
(The first page of my brand guide honoring my Puerto Rican roots and my Abuela with my personal logo)
LEAD Media LLC 2.0 is now ready to be unveiled to the world and our Marketing & Brand Consultant (and amazing husband), Jafet Martinez has done a beautiful job. During these months, I have built a sustainable business during a pandemic. I have done talks for national Latinx online communities, have secured writing and consulting contracts, have shared my story in different podcasts, and have met the most extraordinary leaders from all fields. My "why" has been everywhere I go to except here, on LEAD Media's website and social media, but not anymore.
If you were wondering, this is who we are:
LEAD Media helps Latinx professionals gain confidence, clarity, and a personalized leadership plan to take the next step in their careers.
Are you ready to join us? Sign up for a complimentary discovery call.
Paulette Piñero is the owner of LEAD Media LLC, a leadership coaching and management consulting firm that helps professionals of color get the confidence and skills they need to take the next step in their careers.