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Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia tells you how to leave a secure job to launch your dream business

Jennifer Garcia is a multi-faceted business professional and leadership coach with a passion for empowering people and transforming businesses. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Latino Business Action Network (LBAN), a collaboration with Stanford University driving research, providing education, and cultivating a growing ecosystem of 800 scaled Latino and Latina entrepreneurs across the United States and Puerto Rico, who contribute nearly $4.9 billion in annual revenue. 

Jennifer Garcia, founder of Fluential Leadership. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

Jennifer is also the founder of Fluential Leadership, a business and leadership consulting firm focused on elevating small-to-medium-sized business performance through developing and executing growth strategies, recruitment, and retaining talent.

Cutting the ‘golden handcuffs’ to start business from zero 

Like many entrepreneurs, Jennifer was driven to start her own business out of a desire to pursue her passion and make an impact. For fourteen years, Jennifer worked in the finance industry and in a variety of leadership roles at Bloomberg, a global financial data provider. Through her work, she recognized her strength in developing people, transforming teams and departments. 

Her work at LBAN has also allowed her to continue elevating Latino businesses to the next level by creating growth pathways. Jennifer’s passion for helping women and Latino business owners and leaders grow is what ultimately led her to launching her dream project, Fluential Leadership in 2018. 

Jennifer wanted to make a greater impact and use her expertise as a leader and consulting coach to help others achieve their own career goals and dreams. 

“I positioned myself to equip business leaders and elevate small-to-medium-sized businesses, which are the driving force in the U.S. economy,” says Jennifer. “I have a unique perspective with a long corporate career, first-hand experience as a business owner and a birds-eye view supporting businesses through LBAN and Fluential Leadership. I’ve learned that there are systematic challenges and barriers for women in professional careers, and in entrepreneurship.”

Launching Fluential Leadership was the first step for Jennifer was both exciting and challenging. She was stepping into the unknown and leaving the comfort, certainty, and stability of her career. 

“I stepped away from a successful career, a secure job inclusive of all the benefits provided by a top-tier corporation. I often describe it as the cutting of ‘golden handcuffs’.  The challenge was going from zero to one, building from scratch, doing the role of a CEO, CMO, CFO, content writer, content deliverer, and much more,” says Jennifer. 

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Jennifer Garcia mentoring at an event. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

However, these initial challenges only helped to further fuel Jennifer’s passion and determination. Launching Fluential Leadership afforded her the opportunity to pursue something she was passionate about and build something that was all her own. She says there were many long days and nights, but she put in the time and effort, determined to make an impact and follow through on her dream. 

“Each of our journeys are unique, our entrepreneurial dreams or careers are personal, and so is the price that is paid for it,” she says. “It’s important for me to understand my ‘WHY’. Why am I doing this? Why am I putting in the long hours, why did I step away from a secure career?  It is that understanding that sustains me through the season.  And I do remember that seasons change.”

Owning your story

Like the changing seasons, life can be unpredictable. However, change is good and necessary for any progress or growth. Every entrepreneur is on their own personal journey and that journey becomes your story. Where you started from, how you worked to get to where you are today, where you stumbled and failed, and where you succeeded. 

“My story is my unique strength, and so is yours,” says Jennifer. “It is my story and experiences that shaped who I am today, how I approach business, and the lens in which I propel other business leaders. I grew up selling Christmas trees and firewood on the side of the road with my father, not around the dining room table discussing stocks and bonds or venture capital. The conversations and the work I do today with my kids, with women professionals and business owners, has the ability to empower and elevate leaders, creating exponential and generational impact.  Regardless of my starting line, my purpose is consistent and that is to move the needle for women, business leaders and the Latino community.” 

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“Don’t mute your story. Let the world know!” (Photo courtesy Jennifer Garcia)

For entrepreneurs, both established and aspiring, embrace your story and own it. Your story is what will set you apart from others. Your story is uniquely yours. 

“Don’t mute your story,” says Jennifer, “let the world know!” 

Writing your story, telling it to the world, and following through on your dreams can be daunting and even downright terrifying. But the alternative is never trying, never sharing, never starting. Jennifer took a chance on her dream, stepping away from the comfort of a corporate job to build something new. 

You might be interested: Employees are quitting in record numbers to start their own business

To the aspiring entrepreneurs looking for that final push, Jennifer says, “Go for it! Jump and grow wings on the way down. There will always be logical reasons why today is not a good time to start your business or aspire for the new career move.  I’ve found that opportunity doesn’t always present itself in opportune times and we just need to embrace it.  Learn what you can from the season.  To borrow a few lines from the powerful poem by William Arthur Ward:

Believe while others are doubting

Plan while others are playing

Begin while others are procrastinating

Work while others are wishing

Persist while others are quitting

Employees are quitting in record numbers to start their own business

You may have heard about the “Great Resignation” in recent months, in which more and more employees are leaving their jobs in a mass exodus, no longer satisfied with their work. The movement has been brought on by a variety of factors according to a survey released last week by Digital.com. 

The survey cited many concerns that have influenced employees in their decisions to leave their jobs including desire for better pay/benefits (44%), focus on health (42%), finding a job they are passionate about (41%), and the desire to work from home indefinitely (37%). Additionally, one-third (32%) of respondents expressed the desire to start their own businesses and be their own boss. 

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The Great Resignation: Why employees are quitting in record numbers. (Map photo created by rawpixel.com on freepik)

Employees are reluctant to give up their “new normal”

COVID-19 pandemic completely changed our way of life and how we work and how work is valued. As we all adapted to the changes, many grew to enjoy the freedom of working from home

The pandemic showed us a different way of life, one where work could still be accomplished without being chained to a desk in a drab cubicle for eight hours a day. The flexibility of remote work is something many are not eager or willing to give up. Workers are prioritizing themselves more since the pandemic began, focusing on both their physical and mental health. As COVID-19 variants continue to spread, some worry about their health with the return to in-person work. Others are putting their mental health first, finding more joy in working from home. For these individuals, returning to the confinement of the office is a deal-breaker. From these concerns and desires, more and more employees have embraced The Great Resignation, finally putting themselves first and prioritizing their needs. 

In a Bloomberg article, one employee shared her story, in which a six-minute meeting drove her to quit her job. Portia Twidt, 33, said that this meeting was the last straw, “I had just had it,” she shared. 

The six-minute in-person meeting was one that could easily have been a remote video call. Instead, Twidt got dressed, left her two children at daycare, and drove to work just for a brief chat. 

In recent months, this scene has become more and more frequent as bosses attempt to return to the pre-pandemic “normal” and reign their workers back into the office. However, many employees are just not willing to go back to the inconvenient ways of years past. Remote work has allowed many to achieve a greater sense of work-life balance, spend more time with their families, and just feel better in general with the option of working from the comfort of their home, a park, or anywhere in the world. The Great Resignation has highlighted just how important these values are to employees who are now opting to quit their jobs rather than endure unsatisfactory conditions. 

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Many are not willing to give up the comfort and convenience of remote work and their “new normal.” (Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash)

The Bloomberg article highlighted that a big part of the push to return to the office is due to the generational gap between bosses and employees. “There’s also the notion that some bosses, particularly those of a generation less familiar to remote work, are eager to regain tight control of their minions,” the article states. 

Twidt added, “They feel like we’re not working if they can’t see us. It’s a boomer power-play.”

Gen Z and millennials, being more tech-savvy and adaptable, are no longer interested in the old ways of working. In an article by CNBC, Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said, “Gen Z and millennials are the most mobile participants in the workforce for a number of reasons. They aren’t making as much money as their older, more senior counterparts, so they’re more eager to find higher-paid jobs, and they tend to be more technologically savvy, so they’re in a better position to take advantage of remote work opportunities.” 

“I want to be my own boss” 

Not only are younger employees interested in working from home indefinitely and increasing their pay and benefits, many are also turning toward entrepreneurship. 

According to the survey conducted by Digital.com, one-third of respondents revealed they are interested in starting their own business with 62% of those stating they want to “be their own boss.” Additionally, 60% state they are interested in starting their own business to “pursue an idea they are passionate about.” 

The Great Resignation is inspiring more and more people to start their own businesses. Photo by rawpixel.com – on freepik

The pandemic served as the perfect time for many aspiring entrepreneurs to work on making their dreams a reality. The survey found that 60% of aspiring business owners used their free time during the pandemic to educate themselves on starting a business. Others were able to use the stimulus money they received to help fund their ventures. 

Currently, the three main areas in which people are starting businesses is computer and information technology, retail, and personal care services. The key for many, is following their passion and doing something they love. 

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Infographics: Digital.com

Startup consultant and small business expert Dennis Consorte, said on Digital.com, “Many people believe that business ownership means setting your own hours and answering to no one. The truth is that for many business owners, a half-day is twelve hours, every single customer is your boss, and you have to hustle to stay afloat. However, by pursuing a passion, work won’t feel like work, but will instead give you purpose, which is far more valuable than the dollars earned.”

Consorte also highlighted the importance of having an online presence as a new business in 2021. The world has become increasingly more digital in the past year, so even “brick-and-mortar” shops need to consider their online presence as a crucial aspect of their business marketing. 

“New small business owners need to develop some kind of online presence. Social media is a good start, and a website will give you a lot more control over your database and marketing options” Consorte advised. 

You might be interested: Cloffice: The latest work-from-home trend to transform your workspace

It’s unlikely that we will ever return to the pre-pandemic “normal.” The Great Resignation has shown that people are not willing to go back to the old ways. Our new normal is now one that is digital, remote, and independent. Employees have learned to value their time and labor. Others are venturing out on their own to follow their dreams. The pandemic helped put it all into focus and re-prioritize what is important: freedom, health, and financial stability.