What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Passion for the industry you are working in, good planning, excellent networking, solid vision, knowledge about your target market, and willingness to establish the “mastermind alliance”.
What did inspire you to start your business?
I had a very prestigious position as a senior reporter at La Opinion and my stories frequently made it to A-1 over the fold, but the turning point came in 2000 after Nuestra Gente national magazine assigned me to write an article about wedding planning for Latinos for ‘ciberespacio’, the column I used to penned, and to my surprise I found very few available sites in Spanish and no Spanish-language bridal magazine in the US so I immediately registered the website www.bodasusa.com and started to do the research about my target market and wedding industry. But it was not until 5 years later that I left my reporting job to launch the magazine. That same year I attended the first Hispanic Magazine Summit that took place in Puerto Rico.
How did you finance it?
From the monies we made from the consulting and PR jobs at Jimenez Communications Inc. We have a fortune 500 company as a client for public relations and consulting and also provide services for various California Community Colleges. The revenues from the public relations and consulting jobs have financed our publishing business.
Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Being Hispanic is the foundation and the heart of my business. Our motto says it all: Tu Boda, Tu Cultura, Tu Idioma (Your Wedding, Your Language, Your Culture). Bodas USA La Revista prides on the motto.
Equally important is speaking the language and having knowledge of the differences among the many Hispanic cultures is a distinguishing mark of our new magazine. The editor is from Costa Rica and has decades of experience as a journalist here in the US, I was born in Mexico and raised in the US, and the reporters, contributors, columnists and freelance writers are US Latinos of many countries from Latin America and that reflects in the editorial pages but nevertheless we make it appealing to any Hispanic. We make sure that the terminology will be understood by a Cuban as well as by a Mexican. The articles are written in Spanish, they are not translations.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I think about the many organizations that are behind me, the many successful Latinos that are lending a hand with their know-how as my Board of Advisors and remind myself that I quit a prestigious reporting job to be successful as an entrepreneur.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Being turned down by a top New York public relations agency who stated their client would very unlikely be interested in buying advertising in a Spanish-language bridal magazine or any Spanish-language magazine for that matter, when their client prides on offering the Latino market services in Spanish.
I’m determined to change their mind with a top quality editorial magazine and to make Bodas USA La Revista, the Spanish-language bridal magazine of choice for any advertisers who wishes to reach the Latino consumer that the future bride and groom represent.
I welcome the challenge to attract and retain advertisers and that is why I have applied for ABC audit membership, because I want the advertisers to know that we are committed for the long run and that we are a credible publishing company with a great and innovative product.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Delegate more. I need to start working for my business more and not in my business. As a former journalist and editor it is very hard to start wearing the entrepreneur hat from one day to the next and leave all editorial matters to the great team I have assembled nationwide. I’m working on it though!
What was your childhood ambition?
My dream has come true. I always wanted to be a reporter, for Television or Newspaper, would go around the house pretending to have a real mic and interview everybody in my family about their daily activities or goals, etc. When I broke a story along the Washington Post in 1995 I knew then that I had achieved my childhood ambition.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, CEO of Lulu’s Dessert, for making history in her industry for her ready-made gelatins many years before Jello entered them into the market.
Leila Cobo, Executive Director of Latin Content/Programming, Billboard. I met her in 1995 when I covered City Hall in Los Angeles and I have seen her become one of the most influential Latinas in the music industry.
Christy Haubegger, founder of Latina magazine for making history with the first bilingual magazine. I have read almost every Latina magazine since it came out.
For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
The time away from my two girls and my husband. I was in tears when I finally closed the magazine and sent to printers and my both my girls gave thanks to God that night during our bedtime praying for “allowing my mom to finish the magazine so that now she can spend more time with us,” the younger one echoed her sisters wishes. It is tough being a professional Latina mom and entrepreneur.
What is your favorite quote?
Cesar Chavez Sí Se Puede.
I chanted it a couple of times, when we finished uploading files to printer of our premiere issue. It felt so, so good.
Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No. As a reporter you always strive to break news or be the first to report on something, and the conventional way will not lead you there. I would page people at airports, track them down, until they granted me an interview and they respected that.
Now as a magazine publisher, we are unconventional in everything we are doing because we are the first Spanish-language Bridal magazine. I think being unconventional is good when you are respectful of others.
Biggest mistake made?
I have made many, but tell myself, lessons learned, move on. That is why I rely on my board of advisors so I won’t make the same mistakes. I’m also a client of the Orange County Institute for Women Entrepreneurs (IWE) and they help me stay focused on the important aspects of growing my company from an established publishing company to a successful national publication.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why
Yes. We are making history as the first Spanish-bridal magazine in the US and the reviews we have received so far indicate that we have surpassed many people’s expectations and that makes the whole editorial team feel proud to be part of a great and innovative editorial product.
Contact Lilian at www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/jimenez/bodasusa_2008spring/