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entrepreneurs' happiness,

Why entrepreneurs have the most stressful – yet most satisfying – jobs

Ute Stephan, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Aston University shares key insights on entrepreneur stress, happiness, and well-being.

Entrepreneurs have some of the most stressful jobs. They must grapple with uncertainty and be personally responsible (and liable) for any decision they make. They have the longest working hours of any occupational group. And they have to rapidly develop expertise across all areas of management from finance, marketing, procurement, and operations to human resource management in the process of starting and managing their business.

Yet despite all this, research finds that entrepreneurs are happier and seemingly healthier than people in other jobs. So how can we explain this paradox?

To understand entrepreneurs’ happiness, I conducted a comprehensive and systematic review of 144 empirical studies of this topic, covering 50 years. Here are the five key findings that sum up the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.

1. It’s not all about pay

Work on the economics of entrepreneurship traditionally assumed that entrepreneurs bear all the stresses and uncertainty associated with their work because over the long term they can expect a high financial reward for their effort. Yet the evidence shows that entrepreneurs earn less than they would if they, with their particular skill set, were working as employees.

When you ask entrepreneurs how they measure their success, happiness often comes out on top, alongside autonomy. Income features much less prominently.

2. Highly stressful

At the same time, there is substantial evidence that entrepreneurs face myriad stressors that diminish their happiness. High workload and work intensity, as well as financial problems facing their business are top of the entrepreneurs’ stress list.

stress at work

Entrepreneurs face more stress, yet have the most satisfying jobs. Photo created by gpointstudio on freepik.com

Although they diminish entrepreneurs’ happiness, some stressors have an upside. While they require more effort in the here and now, they may lead to positive consequences such as business growth in the long term. Some entrepreneurs appear to interpret their long working hours in this way – as a challenge – and therefore turn them into a positive signal.

3. Autonomy is both good and bad

The autonomy that comes with being an entrepreneur can be a double-edged sword. Entrepreneurs can make decisions about when and what they work on – and with whom they work. Having the freedom to make these decisions is one of the key motivators for the majority of entrepreneurs to start a business in the first place.

But, as the saying goes, there can be too much of a good thing. Recent research into how entrepreneurs experience their autonomy suggests that, at times, they struggle profoundly with it. The sheer number of decisions to make and the uncertainty about what is the best way forward can be overwhelming, especially when the constant high workload means that there is little time to carefully think through decisions. Then there’s the fact that investors and other stakeholders can significantly limit entrepreneurs’ autonomy.

4. It’s not only personality traits

There is evidence that people with certain personality traits such as self-belief or emotional stability are more likely to succeed as entrepreneurs. And, in turn, these personality traits are associated with higher levels of well-being. But studies that consider personality traits and autonomy at the same time are scarce.

Nonetheless, autonomy still seems to be the biggest reason for high levels of job satisfaction among entrepreneurs. Plus, the personality traits that are most characteristic for entrepreneurs are relatively specific and malleable such as self-belief and initiative-taking. This kind of entrepreneurial mindset can be trained.

Emerging research also finds that the nature of people’s work can shape their personalities. This, intriguingly, suggests that people can develop an entrepreneurial personality through their work as an entrepreneur.

woman leading meeting female leadership

Photo unsplash.com

5. An addictive mix

The evidence review confirms that, by any stretch of the imagination, entrepreneurs’ work is highly demanding and challenging. This, along with the positive aspects of being their own boss coupled with an often competitive personality can lead entrepreneurs to be so engaged with their work that it can become obsessive.

So the most critical skill of entrepreneurs is perhaps how they are able to manage themselves and allow time for recovery. Prolonged exposure to work that is as intense as that of entrepreneurs takes a physical toll on peoples’ bodies. Hence future research into recovery strategies of entrepreneurs can help them manage their highly stressful, albeit satisfying, jobs.

Entrepreneurs’ well-being matters

Entrepreneur happiness matters not just for the entrepreneurs themselves, it also matters for their partners’ and children’s well-being. Plus, happy entrepreneurs are less likely to give up and close their firms. They are in a better position to recognize opportunities and be more effective at work, which culminates in more successful businesses.

Many features of the world of work today reflect challenges faced by entrepreneurs – high levels of uncertainty, intense work demands, and personal responsibility among them. So understanding entrepreneurs’ happiness affords us a glimpse into how we all may manage the demands of this new world of work.The Conversation

You might be interested: Stress Awareness Month: Coping with stress at work 


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

immigration

Immigrant entrepreneurs: the barriers they face and how to remove them

Tolu Olarewaju, from Keele University shares insights on how we can remove barriers for immigrant entrepreneurs.

Immigrants often do well in the business world. They are behind one in seven of all companies in the UK, where half of the fastest-growing businesses have a foreign-born founder. In the US, 45% of the largest 500 companies were founded either by immigrants or by their children, including household names such as Apple, AT&T and Costco.

It may be that immigrants make for natural entrepreneurs, because the very act of moving to a new country shows a willingness to take risks – a valuable trait for new business ventures.

But that is not to say it is easy. Apart from the challenges faced by indigenous entrepreneurs (red tape or funding for example), immigrant entrepreneurs have to deal with extra hurdles because of their outsider status.

As a result, their future is much more dependent on what we call the “institutional environment” – the legal and financial systems, and the various levels of government – of a particular country. Our research examined some of the problems they face.

Start-up visa programmes for example, are a good way of attracting entrepreneurial immigrants with the potential to boost a country’s economy. At the moment, Canada, the UK, and Singapore have successful systems in place which allow them to welcome business talent from around the world.

Yet many countries – even the US, where immigrants founded 52% of the start-ups in Silicon Valley from 1995 to 2005 – do not have anything similar in place. This may be one reason why the US share of global venture capital has fallen significantly over the past 15 years – from 84% in 2004 to 52% in 2019.

The EU does not fare any better. While countries in the bloc share a common migration policy for highly skilled employees and researchers from non-EU countries, this is not the case for non-EU immigrant entrepreneurs.

We also found that around the world, immigrant entrepreneurs have a hard time plugging into the financial systems of their host countries. Banks and other lenders are often reluctant to provide start-up capital and ongoing credit because it difficult for them to assess the financial history of immigrants and to conduct credit checks.

Added to this, immigrant entrepreneurs are sometimes vilified and portrayed as unwanted intruders who drive indigenous businesses to the wall and take jobs away from citizens. Donald Trump’s overt hostility toward immigrants has led to the US losing migrant entrepreneurs to other nations. This trend could have long-term implications for job creation in the country.

It is also true that many countries are inefficient when it comes to assimilating immigrant entrepreneurs, who have to quickly learn how to navigate new and different environments, both formal and informal. This includes disadvantages in terms of social capital, as they do not benefit from the support of an immediate circle of family and friends.

Celebrating success

Solving the problems experienced by immigrant entrepreneurs would be highly beneficial for the economic growth of host nations.

For this to happen, our research suggests that start-up visa programmes, like those available in the UK, Canada and Singapore, are necessary, as is the removal of administrative formalities which disadvantage entrepreneurs from abroad. The rhetoric around migrants should also be toned down and the contributions they make to society under difficult conditions celebrated.

global network,

A world of moving ideas. (Photo by rawpixel on Freepik)

Financial institutions in host countries could partner with those in immigrants’ home countries to conduct credit checks and report financial histories. To build up social capital, immigrant entrepreneurs could enter into partnerships with host country nationals and organisations. This could also help them to assimilate and navigate unfamiliar and complex systems.

Finally, legal institutions must be quick to provide impartial judgement when immigrants are wronged (their businesses have often borne the brunt of xenophobic attacks) which will help boost the confidence of immigrants in the social structures of a host country.

After all, people will continue to move around the world, and immigrants will continue to bring new ideas and new business ventures wherever they go. More people than ever now live in a country other than the one in which they were born and the “virtual country” of immigrants is the fifth largest in the world, with an estimated 272 million people. These immigrants could be creating more businesses, more jobs and more wealth, if only the countries where they travel to allowed them to do so.The Conversation


Tolu Olarewaju, Lecturer in Management, Keele University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

5 Reasons to write a business plan 

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, there are many crucial steps toward starting your businesses and ventures. From accessing capital to branding and marketing, there is a lot that goes into launching a business and turning ideas into reality. One important step that should not be overlooked, is writing a business plan. 

A business plan acts as a roadmap for your business and can be especially helpful when you are first starting out. Many new entrepreneurs may shy away from creating a business plan, thinking it is too difficult or unnecessary, but having one can make all the difference in your entrepreneurial journey. 

Since December is National Write a Business Plan Month we are encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs to take that first step and start planning your dream business by writing a business plan. 

5 reasons why you need a business plan

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides various resources to small business owners including advice and services to help you write your business plan. Below are the SBA’s top 5 reasons for why you need a business plan

  1. It will help you steer your business as you start and grow.

Think of a business plan as a GPS to get your business going. A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan like a GPS for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through and detail all the key elements of how your business will run. 

  1. It’s not as hard as you think.

A business plan is a written tool about your business that projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the path your business intends to take to make money and grow revenue. Think of it as a living project for your business, and not as a one-time document. Break it down into mini-plans – one for sales and marketing, one for pricing, one for operations, and so on.

  1. It will help you to reach business milestones.

A well-thought-out business plan helps you to step back and think objectively about the key elements of your business and informs your decision making as you move forward. It is essential whether you need to secure a business loan or not. Keep in mind that the plan does not have to be like an encyclopedia and does not have to have all the answers.

  1. It can help you get funding.

Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Having one in place will help investors feel confident that they will see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you will use to persuade others that working with you (or investing in your business) is a smart decision.

  1. There’s no wrong way to write a business plan.

There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. You can pick a plan format that works best for you. What’s important is that your business plan meets your needs. Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

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

To help you get started, The SBA offers a Business Plan Tool that helps simplify the process. The tool consists of eight easy-to-follow steps to help create a well-prepared plan.

Nicole Mason shares how Lemonade Day builds confidence in youth through entrepreneurship

Nicole Mason serves as the National CEO of Lemonade Day, a non-profit committed to preparing youth for life by instilling an entrepreneurial spirit. For 15 years, Lemonade Day has offered youth K-8 an entrepreneurial and experiential program infused with life skills, character development, financial and business literacy, and mentorship. Their vision is for all children to be introduced to entrepreneurship through the real-world experience of starting their own business – a lemonade stand, the quintessential first business for young entrepreneurs. 

Embracing the entrepreneurial mindset 

As a proud first-generation college graduate, Nicole grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Her parents came from modest means, and yet without a college education, they overcame hardship to build a successful international freight forwarding business. Nicole took the core values they instilled in her, along with the experience of watching her mother persevere through the challenges of running and expanding a business in a male-dominated industry, and used those paradigms to guide her into social entrepreneurism. 

“Entrepreneurship is about much more than starting your own business. It’s a mindset – a way to define yourself, interact with the world around you, and make an impact on your community,” said Nicole. “At Lemonade Day, youth entrepreneurship education is a vehicle to teach essential and foundational skills and values. They help youth develop a mindset critical to navigating all aspects of life.”

Lemonade Day helps youth develop a mindset critical to navigating all aspects of life.

Throughout her nearly 20-year career in non-profit, Nicole has taken her entrepreneurial mindset and connected this to the broader community to do good and be a part of something bigger than herself. Before joining Lemonade Day, she spent 12 years working in the affordable housing and homeless services field. That experience helped shape her belief in how incredibly important it is to teach values of entrepreneurship to children, especially minorities and underserved communities. 

“It is imperative to break the cycle of generational poverty,” Nicole said. “Research shows that for every state that experiences a one percent increase in entrepreneurship, they see a two percent drop in the poverty rate.”

Building confidence through entrepreneurship 

Building an entrepreneurial mindset also builds confidence and provides individuals of any age with the tools to achieve success. 

Nicole learned for herself how the entrepreneurial mindset can help strengthen one’s confidence and self-esteem. As a child, Nicole was bullied and felt challenged to fit in with her peers. This had a lasting impact well into adulthood. 

Nicole Mason, National CEO of Lemonade Day. (Photo courtesy Nicole Mason)

“My confidence and feelings of self-worth were strained. I had to navigate preconceived notions and misguided judgments. Imposter syndrome was often triggered. Over time, I learned how to adapt with poise and gravitas by connecting to people from their perceptions. I can’t change who I am, nor how people perceive me, but I can read a situation and respond to it with a tone and countenance that represents respect, consideration, and understanding. This technique has enabled me to overcome challenges and obstacles and inspire others through my passionate spirit,” said Nicole. 

Traditionally, successful entrepreneurs have been comprised of older, Caucaisan men. As a young woman, Nicole learned to embody her petite size and stature and to harness her bubbly, energetic spirit. She soon developed a high level of confidence in her ability to motivate others. Rather than using her energy to fix her shortcomings and try to be someone else, she focused on developing her strengths. 

“I found my voice to stand boldly behind my convictions and persuade people when necessary, not in a manipulative way, but in an intentional way that gets the job done and keeps people engaged and on board.” 

Despite her ability to persuade others, Nicole constantly reminds herself not to become easily discouraged. She promotes with enthusiasm and stands down with grace. She is not afraid to admit fault, nor does she hesitate to seek counsel from trusted mentors. 

“I align myself with strong women, experienced in their field. I allow myself to be vulnerable and transparent. I connect deeply with people. No connection is too small. You simply never know where it might take you,” she said. 

“This is an entrepreneurial mindset at work. This is me as a minority leader – a creative, passionate, colorful, innovative, problem-solver, who hustles in a meaningful and purposeful way to inspire others and enact social change.”

Lemonade Day’s impact on youth development

Through her work at Lemonade Day, Nicole has seen firsthand the effect the program has on youth development of skill-building, self-esteem, confidence, and future life stories. Lemonade Day’s founder, Michael Holthouse often says, “Attributes of a successful entrepreneur correlate to those of being a successful, thriving human being.”

Brianna Garcia named Lemonade Day’s 2021 National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year. (Photo courtesy Nicole Mason)

Nicole shared the story of Brianna Garcia of Lomita, California, a young girl who embodies this mantra. 

“Named Lemonade Day’s 2021 National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year, Brianna followed our 3-pronged approach to set a goal, make a plan, and work the plan to achieve her dreams. By operating her very own business, she learned the important tenets of our program and was encouraged to spend some on herself for her hard work, save some and open a bank account, and share some with a charity of her choice. 

With each and every activity of the program, you can visibly see her self-esteem and confidence grow. She persevered through every challenge and was incredibly innovative to differentiate her business by making frozen lemonade and incorporating another business venture: her handmade necklaces and bracelets and lemon-scented slime. As Brianna proclaims, ‘Now that I have had the chance to run my own stand and see how great being an entrepreneur is, I am going to continue doing it!’ Brianna is now working with her parents and the Lomita Chamber of Commerce President to secure a real business license and kitchen license so she can operate at local events outside of Lemonade Day.

Entrepreneurs take risks, believe they can realize their dream if they work hard, take responsibility, and act as good stewards of their resources. Today’s youth share that optimism but lack the life skills, mentorship, and work experience necessary to be successful. We at Lemonade Day want to build self-esteem and new mindsets that can propel youth to success they likely would not have pursued otherwise.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs of any age looking to achieve success, Nicole says it is important to first define what it means to be successful for you. Determine how you want to leave a great legacy in life. To achieve your dreams, be sure to align yourself with a purpose and with people who share your core values. 

Leave your heart in each encounter in life, maximize the beauty of connecting with others, and use your talents to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Then rock it like no other with grace, humility, dignity, elegance, and integrity. And don’t forget to have fun and celebrate often!”

 

Sisters Hilda and Sarah Perez Jarrett challenge the status quo as Latina entrepreneurs

Hilda Perez and Sarah Perez Jarrett are the COO and CEO, respectively, of SALUD. Founded in 1991 by their father, Dr. José Rigoberto Pérez Díaz, SALUD has made all-natural, high quality health and wellness products for over 25 years. Today, the two Dominican sisters are continuing to grow and expand the company, challenging the status quo, and crafting their own American Dream through entrepreneurship. 

Latina sisters challenge the status quo 

SALUD grew from humble roots, beginning as a small, Latino-focused mail-order company catering to the greater New York City area via a health food store and nutritional consulting practice. 

Hilda and Sarah’s father started the business with a passion to help his community with traditional knowledge to treat many common ailments. Today, his mission continues: to make natural health accessible to everyone. 

“When we first joined the team, we had the opportunity to expand our father’s dream by launching community health events with local partners and fine tuning our product line,” said Hilda and Sarah. “We also expanded our reach by bringing the small brick and mortar store to the digital and ecommerce age.” 

As Latinas, joining the world of entrepreneurship and business was “no easy task” they said. The sisters struggled at first to find their footing. It took a lot of “grit, empathy, hustle and heart,” but soon they found their way and began carving their own path. Like many women in business, they also faced sexism from colleagues and vendors who doubted their skill and expertise. 

“As a legacy business, we had to learn to grow outside our father’s shadow. Therefore, one of the biggest struggles has been commanding respect from our father’s colleagues or business vendors,” the sisters shared. 

“Dr. José Rigoberto Pérez Díaz is well-loved and respected in our community. He was extremely supportive when we became co-owners of the business. However, we undoubtedly faced  sexism and disrespect from his colleagues or vendors who were used to working with a man instead of two young women.” 

To overcome this challenge, the sisters had to be savvy in navigating relationships and strong willed when commanding respect as they pushed the company’s vision forward. Together, they jumped over every hurdle, receiving support from their father and supporting each other along the way. 

“As a legacy business, we had to learn to grow outside our father’s shadow.” (Photo courtesy SALUD).

Another struggle they faced was creating change within the company. As young women, they knew that to compete with their peers and create a larger impact, the company would need to bring their operations and services to the digital world. Many members at the time were hesitant of this change, scared to shake the status quo and set out on an unfamiliar path. The change would not be easy, either. 

“To make it even more challenging, we had to do this with very little knowledge and resources at the time. It required an immense amount of patience, communication, and professional development,” said the sisters. 

However, Hilda and Sarah were determined to push the business forward and expand its reach beyond the status quo. They joined business roundtables, went back to business school, and participated in certificate programs at Stanford University and Columbia University. They did everything they could to better themselves and deliver the best for their business because they were filled with a passion to grow and make a greater impact. 

“We are happy to say that our company has grown significantly by committing to grow ourselves as owners. We did that by being curious and not being afraid to ask for help. When a challenge came up, we made sure to learn about it, or find the help we needed to tackle it. We believe that curiosity and commitment are a big part of being business owners”

You might be interested: Hilda Mera: “I could break with stereotypes and be a role model for my community”

Finding strength in teamwork and community 

Sarah Perez Jarrett, CEO and Vice President of SALUD. (Photo courtesy SALUD)

Working together, not just between themselves, but with their team, has been one of their greatest strengths as minority business owners. Many entrepreneurs try to go it alone or take on too much, leading to burnout. But Hilda and Sarah know there is strength in teamwork. They believe in creating a team that believes in the greater vision of the company. Their team has become a family. 

“We have team members that have been with us for over 15 years. From celebrating weddings and quinceaneras to welcoming new additions to families. We persevered through recessions, pandemics and mourned deaths together. Despite these adversaries, our core team has remained intact and has remained flexible. We all have enjoyed the entrepreneurial roller coaster.” 

As every Latino knows, community is everything. Community is family. And SALUD’s family extends beyond its team to their loyal community of customers. In 2017, during one of their most difficult times as entrepreneurs, Hilda and Sarah saw just how much their customers valued SALUD. 

“We had a major opportunity to pilot our products with a national retailer. However, our supplier at the time was being difficult and did not want to offer the necessary insurances we needed to proceed with the contract. We then had to move to another lab. When the former supplier was informed, he got so angry at losing out on the contract, he refused to make any of our products! We were in complete shock. Within weeks we no longer had inventory. We were a retail business, with no products to retail. It was a threat to the survival of our business, and above all, for our team and clients that depended on our health products,” the sisters shared. 

Hilda Perez, COO and Vice President of SALUD. (Photo courtesy SALUD)

This dark time seemed hopeless at first. They worried that they would lose their entire client-base and feared what would happen to their business. However, they soon learned one of their biggest lessons. They chose to be transparent with their customers, informing them that the company was moving labs and that it would take months for products to arrive. 

“To our incredible surprise they understood and kept on buying products on pre-order! This was a lifeline and a testament to the loyalty we had with our customers. We learned that transparency is critical and when you have a quality product and strong team, your customers will support you in your hardest moments. That was one key moment that made us know what we have is special; it was poised to grow.” 

Their journey as Latina entrepreneurs has been full of highs and lows, but seeing the impact of their work, challenging the status quo, and watching their company grow has been worth it. 

“Being an entrepreneur is difficult, we won’t sugarcoat it. There are weeks when you don’t know if bills will get paid, if suppliers will pull out of deals. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you also find yourself celebrating an employee who was able to buy their first home thanks to your support. If you have a real passion for what product or service you want to bring to the world, or use your talents to make something better for someone, then go for it!” Hilda and Sarah advise. Start now, and educate yourself with the plethora of free resources out there to make you a stronger entrepreneur.” 

‘Wonder Curl’ founder Scarlett Rocourt shares hair-care secrets to perfect curls 

Scarlett Rocourt is a Haitian-born “Jersey Girl,” an entrepreneur, plant-based vegan, plant mom and gardener. She is passionate about living a healthy life and helping others to do the same. 

She is the founder of Wonder Curl, the leading indie Black-owned, vegan and eco-friendly hair-care line for all natural and curly hair textures. All products are free of silicones, parabens, phthalates, and are cruelty-free.

Wonder Curl specializes in hair-care and has developed a three-step system that simplifies customers’ wash day routine, helping customers embrace their natural curls with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients. Their signature hair-care bundle includes the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser, Moisturizing Hair Pudding, and the Get Set Hair Jelly.

From battling humidity to homemade remedies, Scarlett discovered the secret to perfect curls  

Scarlett’s entrepreneurial journey began unexpectedly in her home kitchen in 2010. At the time, she was living in Florida and her hair was losing a battle against the humidity. After struggling to find the perfect hair gel that would hold up against the weather, Scarlett decided to try her hand at creating her own homemade product. 

‘Wonder Curl’ founder, Scarlett Rocourt began her business in her home kitchen, searching for a hair-care remedy that would battle Florida humidity. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

Originally, she had plans of becoming a blogger and purchased the domain name ‘Wonder Curl.’ After a few weeks she realized this was not the path for her and instead, she found that she had a knack for creating products that helped keep her curls hydrated and defined. 

“I knew that if I had this problem, then other people with curly hair would too,” she said.

Working out of her home kitchen and determined to find a solution to her hair gel problem, she created her first product, the Get Set Hair Jelly. This first product would become one of three in Wonder Curl’s signature hair-care bundle, with  the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser and Moisturizing Hair Pudding later joining the line. 

Her blog domain soon became repurposed as her company name, and Wonder Curl was born. 

Scarlett set out on her mission to create products that would simplify the hair-care process for those with curly hair of all types. “I wanted to take the work out of our hair and I formulated the products, so you only need two products for styling your hair,” said Scarlett. 

Her greatest strength starting out as a minority business owner is that she is also a customer. When formulating her products, she created products that she would want to use herself. 

“My customers have the same issues with their hair as I had. I can relate to them because I am them. I always say that people will buy from who they like and who better than someone who is just like them and understands them?”

With her mission clear in her mind, Scarlett continued developing her line over the following years. She moved from Florida back to New Jersey, got a job in marketing, and kept working on her business as a side hustle. She managed this for over 3 years until her job discovered she was running a whole business while working for them. 

“They let me go and I decided not to look for another job but to pursue Wonder Curl full-time. That was about 2015 and I never looked back!” said Scarlett. 

The magic three-step process to getting those wonder curls

Over the years, Scarlett has perfected her products and now holds the secret to getting those perfectly styled curls with her three-step signature process. 

Made with all natural ingredients known to nourish hair, the unique formulas moisturize and keep hair hydrated for days, improve texture, and enhance natural curl pattern. 

“Those with curly hair know that wash days can be complex and include multiple cleansers, creams, masks, and gels. Even after spending hours on hair, it still may need to be restyled or refreshed within a couple of days. Don’t let all of that hard work go to waste. Wonder Curl has developed a new system that has everything needed in just three products,” said Scarlett describing the process. “The three-step system leaves hair hydrated and defined for days, without refreshing. Not only does this streamline hair-care routines, but it also makes it easier to achieve naturally beautiful hair.”

hair-care, Wonder Curl, Scarlett Rocourt

Scarlett shares the secret to perfect curls with signature three-step process. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

To get the perfect curls for yourself, start with the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser. This product does it all. It washes, detangles, and conditions. The Detoxifying Clay Cleanser was developed to combine all these steps, simplifying the process while leaving hair moisturized and fresh. Many cleansers leave curly hair dry and tangled, but the Wonder Curl formula guarantees hydration.

The second step is the Wonder Curl Moisturizing Hair Pudding, made with shea butter, castor oil, and aloe vera. This leave-in cream hydrates without becoming greasy, enhancing natural curl patterns while increasing the hair’s elasticity.

The Get Set Hair Jelly is the last step that sets hair in its natural curl pattern, without becoming dry, flaky, or crunchy.  

“We know that many hair gels promise hold but fail miserably in humidity. Not the Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly. Hair will have a flexible hold that is perfect for every curl type and is humidity-proof. It is also great for eliminating frizz and elongating your curls,” said Scarlett. 

Healthy hair happiness and giving back

Over the years Scarlett has helped countless people through her products. Starting out, she began attending hair events in NYC to promote her business and putting on workshops. Her hair demonstrations often gather crowds wherever she goes. 

“It’s so important to always give back,” says Scarlett.(Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

I was giving at a natural hair show in Philadelphia once. It was at a hotel, and they gave me an auditorium. I showed up a few minutes late and it was standing room only which I was not expecting,” said Scarlett, sharing a favorite memory. “I was demonstrating my products on my hair model, who in all fairness already had great hair, so one of the women in the front row who had tightly coiled hair asked ‘But will it work in MY hair?’ I responded, ‘I will do your hair next!’ So, after I was done with my hair model, she came on stage. I wet her hair and applied my products and as soon as the products touched her hair you could see her curls form beautifully. She was so happy.” 

Later, after the demonstration, Scarlett would find her booth mobbed with people from the auditorium who had seen the demonstration and were eager to try Wonder Curl for themselves. 

“We sold out of the products and even had people asking to buy our demo products!”  

These live demonstrations are one of Scarlett’s favorite parts of her job. “This is where I shine the most. I love the look on people’s faces when they see what their hair looks like using my products. They can’t believe how soft and defined their curls are.” 

A decade after starting her journey in the world of hair-care, Scarlett started the Healthy Hair Summit in 2020 to help others to grow their healthiest hair through proven expert tips. She never imagined her personal hair-care journey and homemade remedies would lead her here today. 

To other aspiring entrepreneurs, Scarlett shares one more secret

If you are looking to gain success or grow in your career then you should seek out 3 different types of people. 

The first is someone who is where you want to be. This is the person who has achieved most of their goals and will give you valuable business advice. They don’t have to become your friend, but someone you can text/call every so often when you come across an obstacle. 

Second, is someone who is where you are now and trying to achieve their goals. These are the people who will be struggling or have had a similar struggle as you. This is also the person who talks you off the ledge. 

Finally, the third is someone who wants to get to where you are. It’s so important that we always give back and help the next generation come up.” 

For more information, visit wondercurl.com or follow Wonder Curl on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Hilda Mera: “I could break with stereotypes and be a role model for my community”

Hilda Mera is the co-founder and CEO of S&A Auto Repair. As an Ecuadorian immigrant and woman in the auto industry, Hilda has learned to navigate the many challenges of entrepreneurship and being a woman in a male dominated industry.

She has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in management and business operations and in 2016 she was notably honored as VIP Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women. Most recently in July 2021, Hilda was awarded as one of The Top 100 Leaders in Transportation and Automotive by the International Transportation and Automotive Summit.

Navigating obstacles as a woman in the auto industry 

Founded in April of 2013 by Hilda and her husband, Jose Masache, S&A Auto Repair is a family-owned business located in Newark, New Jersey providing honest and professional auto service in the areas of mechanical, electrical, and diagnosis. 

Their journey as entrepreneurs began after Jose grew tired of working as a mechanic for someone else. The couple began searching for a place where they could start their own garage. After an unsuccessful first try, a friend pointed them in the direction of a rental space that would soon become their business. 

The rental space needed work. It was “a mess” as Hilda described it. But they were determined to make it their own by fixing it up and giving the space a fresh new look. 

S&A Auto Repair, founded in 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo via Instagram)

As they embarked on their journey, they soon learned the many obstacles and struggles of owning and running a business. Not only was everything was new, they lacked the knowledge on how to start and run a business and also lacked the capital. 

“It was hard because we had no money and a lack of knowledge. We took the risk of our lives going into business. We did not have a lease, (we were month by month for about 5 years). Today, I realize how dangerous it was and that we could have been asked to leave the auto shop at any time. However, we never, even thought of giving up,” said Hilda. 

Despite these great challenges starting out, for Hilda, the biggest challenge has been being a woman in the auto industry, an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men. However, this challenge has also become one of her greatest strengths driving her toward success. 

“I do not fix cars, but that does not mean I can not manage/run a business. It does not mean I can not learn to understand my car. Becoming an entrepreneur has been one of the best things that could happen to me. This way I feel I can leave a legacy for my kids, be a role model for women of my community, and break with stereotypes,” said Hilda. 

 

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Another strength Hilda draws upon in the face of challenges is her faith. As a woman of faith, Hilda is positive, honest, and determined. “I believe that everyone has a purpose. I have found mine, therefore, I ask God for wisdom so I can accomplish it. Every time I work on a project or  strategy to make my business grow, I put it in God’s hands.” 

Her faith and positivity make her confident, even when things don’t always turn out the way she wants, she still looks at every situation with a positive outlook. 

Now, Hilda feels grateful for everything they had to go through because it taught her so much about running a business. Like all challenges, overcoming them makes people stronger.

“I learned how important it is to have the social and working capital to succeed. I learned to overcome any obstacles that we have encountered during these eight years in business. I learned that with faith, discipline, consistency and honesty everything is possible.” 

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Women empowerment through knowledge and education  

As a woman in the auto industry, Hilda is committed to using her business to empower the community, especially women, through educational auto workshops. 

For Hilda, trust and education are important. According to the American Automotive Association, 66% of American drivers do not trust auto mechanics. Customers are often overcharged, do not trust their cars are being fixed properly, or recommend unnecessary repairs. Women are also often taken advantage of due to a lack of knowledge about cars. 

Hilda shares a story about a past client’s experience and how it inspired her to create her own educational auto workshops for women. 

S&A Auto Repair Woman’s Seminar, March 2020. (Photo source)

The client came into the shop looking for a price for a transmission. Hilda offered to give an estimate but first wanted her husband to check and see if that was what the client really needed. 

“They both went and took a ride. When they came back, my husband put the car in the lift and showed her under the car. The noise that she was hearing and the reason she was told that needed to change the transmission was metal that was hanging under the car. She got really upset. That got me so upset and I talked to my husband about doing something to help women,” Hilda recounts. 

That day, she made the decision to empower herself in the industry so she could empower other women through educational workshops. 

“I like the fact that I am a woman working in an industry that is mainly dominated by men, therefore, it makes me feel stronger and capable of accomplishing anything in this life.” 

Knowledge is power, especially in industries where women are underrepresented. For women looking to start their own business or advance in their field, Hilda recommends gathering the necessary knowledge first, then go for it and take every opportunity given. 

“We are strong and smart enough to accomplish anything we want in this life. We are capable of overcoming any obstacle, because the only limit is oneself. Be honest and consistent all the time.”

Marcela Berland, a pioneer in working from home, combines work and maternity

Marcela Berland is the President and CEO of Latin Insights, a strategic communications firm  that focuses on the Latino market and Latin America. LI bases their strategies on research and digital and AI tools and develops digital and marketing strategies to help clients achieve their goals. LI’s clients include political candidates and heads of state, corporations and nonprofit organizations. 

Building a successful consulting firm from the ground up

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela Berland eventually came to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship and began working in New York in strategic communications and polling. At the time she did not expect to launch her own consulting firm and embark on her own entrepreneurial journey. However, life circumstances would soon steer her onto this path.

It was 1996, after the birth of her daughter, Isabella. Marcela asked her then-boss for five extra months of maternity leave so she could work from home taking care of her newborn. She had done the same before when her son was born so Marcela did not expect to be told “No.” After her 3 months of maternity leave, Marcela announced her resignation. 

Marcela Berland, Frank Gomez, Latin Insights

Marcela Berland and Frank Gomez. (Photo by Max Canovas)

“They realized then that they needed me. Many of my clients wanted to work with me so, they agreed to let me work primarily from home.  Now, too little too late, I positioned myself as an external consultant and negotiated a higher salary for fewer working hours. They agreed to all my terms.  However, I was very disappointed at the whole situation and had already made plans to consult for other clients,” said Marcela. 

After three more months, Marcela left for good, showing them that it was possible to work remotely from home and be effective– even in the late 90s! 

In 2000, Marcela decided it was time to launch her own firm. As a Latina, she had a unique perspective to bring to her company, understand the multicultural market in a deeper way, and she was already committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in addition to women’s issues. 

The brand new entrepreneur began to plan and gather as much information as possible. She was nervous to set out on her own, fearing failure, but determined to try. Soon, she reached out to someone she admired to help her build her business: communications, media, and political expert, Frank Gómez.  

“At the time, Frank was working at a corporation but thinking about retiring. He not only gave me great advice, but he ended up leaving his job and joined me as a partner. I was thrilled. And that’s how Latin Insights started, just the two of us at first,” said Marcela. 

Conquering the fear of failure and following your dreams 

After over 20 years, Marcela’s venture has become a success. She now serves a variety of clients that include political candidates and heads of state, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. As a successful Latina, she is also often the only woman in the room when working with Presidents and political candidates in Latin America. 

And she has proved that working remotely from home and being successful is possible. This was especially evident this past year during the pandemic when Marcela and her team worked remotely on a presidential race, developing a successful and highly effective strategy that ended with their candidate winning a very tough election. 

Despite her successes now, the early days of her entrepreneurial venture were full of doubts and fear of failure—a common fear for many new entrepreneurs. 

“The first obstacle I faced was overcoming my fear of failing. I was doing very well just consulting on my own, but starting a new company, becoming an entrepreneur had a completely different meaning. What if I didn’t make it? How could I sustain a business? Take care of all the financial and administrative needs associated with it?” Marcela shared. 

Like all newcomers, she soon learned the antidote to this fear was knowledge. Now, whenever she feels doubts, she takes this as an opportunity to learn and come back stronger. 

Latin Insights Founder and CEO, Marcela Berland. (Photo courtesy Marcela Berland)

“During my career as an entrepreneur, I learned that you need to reinvent yourself, adapt to the ever-changing times and take risks. It is the only way to grow. Learn from your mistakes. You need to be open and humble enough to admit that you made a mistake and change direction. Also, become associated with people who share the same values and mindset. I was very fortunate to find Frank early on. We sometimes disagree, but in more than 20 years, we have never had an argument.” 

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With over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, Marcela has found that success is not about winning alone, it is about making a difference. Additionally, each success is made all the more enjoyable because she loves what she does and loves helping her clients. For her, the work is more than just work, it is something she is passionate about. Having that passion pushes her to “go the extra mile” because she believes in delivering the highest quality service for her clients.  

To aspiring entrepreneurs, Marcela urges that you follow your dreams and go for your passion. She shares her pillars of advice for new entrepreneurs: 

First, be well prepared. Have very clear goals of what you want to achieve and develop a product/service that distinguishes you from others. Next, find the right partners/team to support you and ask for help from the right partners/associates/mentors. Check for resources that can help you and also make sure you help others on your way to success. Don’t give up even when you fail. Network strategically. Raise capital if needed (many organizations can help you with this task).

Finally, never stop learning; make sure you learn something new every day if possible, and always honor your values, treating others with respect. 

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. 

entrepreneur, leadership, mentor

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.” 

business, leadership, mentor, storytelling

“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. 

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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