A Successful Latina Entrepreneur Doing It All

Lily Winsaft and Soledad O’Brien

A successful small business is rooted in a solid work-life balance.

 

Editor’s note: This is part three of a three part series spotlighting Lily Winsaft a successful Latina entrepreneur and her successful journey. Part one is entitled:  The Anatomy of a Latina Entrepreneur Hard work, a thirst for learning and giving back are the building blocks of success; Part two: A Latina’s Start-up and Business Execution There’s more than one way to start a business.    

Balancing professional and personal lives is a continual challenge.  

In the very beginning I worked almost eighteen hours a day. It was not a pretty sight, to say the least. As the business got more stabilized, actually, as I personally got more stabilized…it became apparent if didn’t work on balancing my life with my work that I would burn out.

One way I made sure to do this was to speak publicly about the importance of work-life balance to any women’s group that would listen. It needed to be talked about it publicly and I had to be that person!

One of my best experiences was while leading a women’s organization in support of Latinas working in various business capacities.

We had a board member who worked for Macy’s at the time. They sponsored a fashion show and we all had a chance to walk the runway and feel special as women.

We were strutting our stuff and showing the world that business is not just about closing deals and carrying a briefcase.

I also spoke to a large group of Latinas with their own businesses at a conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach California. My topic was about “Putting Yourself First” and how important that is in order to have the energy to be there for both our businesses and our families.

Whenever possible I do walk my talk and try to get away on little vacations. My favorite activities  are hiking and traveling. Last summer I spent six weeks in Europe with my two sisters. It was amazing.

When I relocated from Atlanta, I had to say goodbye to Stone Mountain where I hiked pretty regularly. Once I actually ran into a client and took a picture together. I also said had to say goodbye to the Chattahoochee River where I used to trail jog every weekend off at Columns Drive in East Cobb. I really miss both!

Lily Winsafy and client in the woods

Lily Winsaft and client in the woods

Today I focus on jogging at the beach near my home in South Florida. I’m a strong believer in the benefits of exercise. It’s incredibly important to maintaining the proper levels of energy needed to succeed in running a business.

Lily Winsaft in Florida

Lily Winsaft in Florida

The best rewards from own your business

FREEDOM!

I can’t say enough about why and how freedom is so important to me. In order to have freedom it has been worth it to go through all the trials and tribulations that I went through.

I could write a book about it!

One area where freedom shows up for me is in being able to run my business in a way that honors my core values. Especially my love for humanity and my passion for making a difference in the world. These are not things that many corporations will prioritize. What is most important to them is the bottom line.

Latino organizations

Lily Winsaft and adman Dan Vargas

Lily Winsaft and adman Dan Vargas

Currently I am not involved in Latino organizations. However, being active in Latino organizations was key to the business growth we experience in the first ten years.

Over the years I have sat on numerous Latino boards and dedicated a very large chunk of time to empowering and mentoring Latinos. This ranged from providing advice on their career choices as well as managing of their professional lives.

I was fortunate to be the recipient of several Hispanic Leadership awards, including: Business Woman of the Year by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the HABLA Award for Hispanic Entrepreneur.

At a national Hispanic event I once had the opportunity to meet Soledad O’Brien a former  broadcast journalist with CNN and advocate for the Hispanic community.

For many years our company focused on helping companies to hire diverse executive staff through the specific inclusion of Latino professionals. While not an area of focus today, placing Latinos in positions that are empowering to them and help them build on their careers is still highly rewarding for me.

I truly love coaching and helping Latinos get ahead in their game!

Final Thoughts for other Latinos who might want to start a business

Find something you are or can become passionate about and do it! Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you feel love for the work.

If could turn back the clock on starting a business

I would have saved money specifically for starting my business and learned how to create a powerful business plan where I could then obtain funding from a bank.

Here’s what I would NOT have done:

  • I would have not taken out a second mortgage on my home
  • I would have not entered into partnerships with boyfriends, something I did twice.

Yikes!

Having said all this, I have no regrets and feel that everything I did was extremely valuable and had its place in my learning curve, including and maybe even mostly, my mistakes!

My favorite quote:

“Fake it Till You Make It”

This quote has gotten me through every one of the eight or more re-inventions of my life, including becoming an entrepreneur, something I knew nothing about.

Some people think if you fake it you are being ingenuous. I don’t look at it that way. I believe we all have the ability to be anything we set our minds to being; that all the answers to all our questions about life lie within us. The problem is that we don’t often know how to access these truths. By pretending to know what we already know that we don’t know we know, we open the door to the actual knowing. It works every time!

In summary

Starting a Hispanic business is not hard. Running the business so that it succeeds is the challenge. Most businesses do not succeed. So you have to be strong. You have to be confident. You have to be unwilling to let others dictate your fate. You have to be responsible for it ALL.

When you become someone that is responsible for everything in your life, you will increase the chances of being a successful Latina entrepreneur by 100%. You also take being a successful human being to a whole new level.

Good luck!

Related articles: 

Part one: The Anatomy of a Latina Entrepreneur

Hard work, a thirst for learning and giving back are the building blocks of success.

Part two: A Latina’s Start-up and Business Execution

There’s more than one way to start a business.

Hispanic Businesswomen Are Baking Up Goodness

Business is a family affair for two Hispanic businesswomen the owners of Bronxville’s Chantilly Patisserie.

A Latina’s Journey from Dominican Republic to Immigrant to CEO

Starting a family and a medical practice to help an under served Hispanic Community.

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