Follow your passion, not the money. Money will always follow if you follow your dreams and passion…
Sandra was 13 when she arrived in US from Guatemala. The daughter of a single mother, Sandra was the youngest of 9 children. She helped as much as she could with her work cleaning houses in Del Mar, California. Sandra’s mother worked 16 hours a day to support her kids in this foriegn country now called home. Sandra learned what hard work meant from her mother. Seeing the effort she put in every day inspired Sandra to achieve the “American Dream”.
To her, that meant providing her children with everything she didn’t have. To bring them stability and comfort. She imaginged owning a new big house up on a hill. The house of her dreams had a pool and home theater. She dreamed that some day she could own her own business, and drive a new car. Sometimes she thought about carrying a wallet full of hundred dollar bills, a sum that was to her only of fantasy. She wanted to travel to Europe and the Pacific Rim, and see the rest of the world. Most of all she wanted to call this new country home. She wanted to become a US Citizen.
America gave me opportunity, but my mother gave me the strength and inspiration to get to where I am. Despite all her struggles, she would never give up and never show us she was tired. All the time my mom has been my inspiration and my example.
This all seemed so far away and almost impossible to an immigrant at the age 16. Her day largely consisted of contributing for her family, so it was very difficult to see a pathway to such success. In fact, she had hardly any examples others doing such a thing in her day to day life. The “American Dream” as it were, was for a very long time a bit of a mystery. However, whether by word of mouth or intuition, she knew that the only way to get what she wanted was with hard work. Thankfully, her mother was the greatest example of how to do this she could possibly have asked for. Sandra still highlights her mother as her the biggest factor in her success, “America gave me opportunity, but my mother gave me the strength and inspiration to get to where I am. Despite all her struggles, she would never give up and never show us she was tired. Despite her hard work she would spend time talking to me and every one of us. All the time my mom has been my inspiration and my example.” Sandra applied her mother’s relentless will to provide for her family, to her own will to achieve, for many years. In retrospect, she says, “It’s hard to imagine that sixteen year old’s perpective”. Sandra has attained all the lofty goals she set for herself by the age of 43.
Sandra started her career at construction company. In a man-dominated industry, she was one of the few women doing things that her men peers overtly considered her unfit for. It was a big struggle for her to keep her job where people did not accept a woman to be in that industry.
When I first began in the construction industry I was given a warning by the VP of our company, ‘You are entering this industry with your hands tied behind your back. Being a woman with an accent will present you with extra challenges’.
When I first began in the construction industry I was given a warning by the VP of our company, “You are entering this industry with your hands tied behind your back. Being a woman with an accent will present you with extra challenges. ” I understood the challenge but I have never been a quitter. Eager to prove him wrong, I set out to be the top sales rep at the company. Not only did I accomplish this goal—I went on to become the CEO of my own company.”
After several years of working in the Architectural Concrete Industry, she obtained her Concrete contractor license and opened her own business. The Concrete Group, Inc an Architectural Concrete Company. She became the CEO of a small business that employed 38 employees.
“What I’m most thankful for is my journey from maid to CEO. From earning $45 dollars a week to 6 figures a year. From riding the bus to driving a car of the year.” Says Sandra
The greatest challenge for any female entrepreneur is the balancing act of family and business. “If I could give one advice to women who are up for this journey is to strive for success and do all the great things, but at the same time, not forget to spend time with the family. Spend more time with your kids. The time when they are kids go by so fast. Times are different. It is me now who have the hardest time get their attention.”
She mentions that her biggest business failure was to grow too fast without the financial capital to sustain the growth. “If I had to start from scratch knowing what I know now, I would manage and control the growth of the business much more by not over extending the business resources. Or obtain more working capital to support the fast growth.”
Sandra is 53 now and she lives in Pasadena. She has chosen to work for a company in Glendale, CA and serve families as a Planning Advisor.
In the future, She plans to dedicate herself to the Real Estate market and eventually open another business as The Real Estate Group. “With the lessons learned from life and entrepreneurship I plan to succeed. Because failure is not an option!”
There were many difficult days throughout the journey she took, but bringing the relentless consistency every day is what got her through the bumpy parts. “The most important is always take steps of faith, and magnify the opportunities and not the obstacles.”
“If I was a Mentor” Sandra says, “I would recommend following your passion and not the money. Money will always follow if you follow your dreams and passion. Always support and help others. ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’, as my favorite quote says”