Friday, February 15, 2008
Elena del Valle > www.HispanicMPR.com
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Imagination, an original idea, an open mind, a willingness to adhere closely to ethical principals, a desire to make a difference and help others and - lots of passion for what you are doing!
What did inspire you to start your business?
For years my mother had gently suggested I would do well starting my own business. It was a big step. I wanted to make sure I had the education, experience and skills necessary to offer something different and serve my future clients and my business. One day I armed myself with courage and took the plunge.
How did you finance it?
Seed money came from savings, credit and later reinvesting in the business.
Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Yes, because of what I do (providing consulting services for clients about the Hispanic market and hosting a website about Hispanic market issues) my Hispanic background helps me to better understand the issues and facilitate understanding for clients and third parties with whom I interact regularly. I think my Hispanic background also makes me especially welcoming to other groups and culture and helps me empathize.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
The desire to succeed and make a difference helps me hold steadfast. Past successes and future options motivate me to forge ahead even when the economy is weak, competition is tough and sometimes when it’s hard to see a clear path due to uncertainties in the market and media industries.
Every time someone signs up for our updates, reads an article our HispanicMPR.com website, listens to my weekly audio program or purchases one of our expert recordings my efforts are validated and my passion is fueled.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
On the consulting end, tough competition from large national and multinational organizations with competitive advantages like immense budgets, huge referral networks and lower professional standards.
On the publishing end, technology that is ahead of users and the challenges of a changing media environment. At the same time, there are advantages that were unthinkable even 10 years ago.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Considering higher financial leverage.
What was your childhood ambition?
To see the world and learn about other cultures. Thanks to work and personal trips I have been privileged to accomplish my goal in part and hope to continue learning and exploring the magic that is our world over the coming years.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Paul Tudor Jones – a self made millionaire, he finds ways to make the world a better place. For example, he converted a former hunting concession in the world famous migration area of Tanzania in Africa into a protected game viewing area, allowing millions of migratory animals safe passage; and converting the former poachers in the area into conservationists who help maintain and protect the lands they used to poach.
Mike and Alana, owners of Perfect Earth Tours - This determined and dynamic couple are in the process of opening a rare 100 percent ecologically sensitive project. A village of 25 tents will remain open for three months every summer to provide an opportunity for visitors to enjoy all the wonders of nature and the Canadian Yukon have to offer. They believe in the concept so wholeheartedly that they financed it themselves completely and hope to serve as a role model for future projects.
Marci Shimoff – a successful author, speaker and entrepreneur who inspires people to find happiness within independently of financial wealth and social status. She built her business from scratch and wrote a guidebook to happiness.
For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I prefer lunch or breakfast.
What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
At one point I worked full-time and studied full-time. Dedicating all my spare time to completing my masters degree, and later my law degree, while working full-time, left precious little time for friends, family or romance. As an entrepreneur and small business owner my personal life suffers similar challenges.
I strive to provide the best support I can for clients and my business while maintaining a personal and business balance. In addition to national consulting work and speaking engagements, my new project with HispanicMPR.com (short for Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations) keeps me very busy.
Making the website stand out requires publishing unique content, daily articles, and audio and video content, including an hour long program I host with special guests who are national Hispanic market leaders and newsmakers.
What is your favorite quote?
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Bucking the trend or being a trendsetter can sometimes be unwelcome by others. In the end, I measure success in many ways including the positive impact of my efforts on others and how I feel about what I’m doing. I hope that my energy and determination are leaving a positive mark on others and helping in a small way to make our world better.
HispanicMPR.com began as a book project to help professionals across the country, including Hispanics, understand the Latino market and how to reach Latinos effectively with marketing and public relations tools. At the time, there were no books on the topic and to this day it is the only title to address marketing and public relations targeting Hispanics.
I started out writing it with a colleague. After he dropped out early on, I realized that no single individual possessed the knowledge and experience necessary to do justice to the topic. At that point, I began the unconventional job of inviting submissions from colleagues and experts from across the country; overseeing the project, contributing to and editing the book. Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations Understanding and Targeting America’s Largest Minority was the work of 19 authors. It was the first, and until now the only, book in its category recognized as Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine, part of the American Library Association. The book has also been used as the main textbook in several university courses. After Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations was published, we continued the conversation on the eponymous website.
The website is also unique and a trailblazer. Although when we started it there were bloggers on the Hispanic market space and mainstream media publications, no one was publishing unique and original daily articles with email notification to subscribers. HispanicMPR was also the first website to offer an audio program with national experts discussing relevant topics about America’s largest minority.
Biggest mistake made?
I don’t believe much in regrets. I am the result of all the experiences I have had until now. Past experiences, including the ones that seemed bad at the time like not getting a job I wanted, being discriminated against, or being denied a promotion or a leadership opportunity I deserved helped fuel my entrepreneurial desire and grow. They also helped me realize and appreciate that the value of independence and personal fulfillment are subjective.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why
Yes, I like to think out of the box. Entrepreneurs are by their very nature innovators. Innovation in America comes from small business. Small businesses and their leaders have the desire, willingness and flexibility to sometimes do the things others only dream of. Some of today’s entrepreneurs will grow and become the corporations of the future.
HispanicMPR.com was the first website to address the issue of marketing and public relations targeting Latinos with original content instead of collecting content from mainstream and Hispanic media. HispanicMPR.com was among the first forums for weekly audio podcast interviews in English about the US Hispanic market. Recently we added video content and our first 30-second ads.
Almost from the beginning we went out of our way to make things easy and accessible to as broad an audience as possible. By clicking on the play button our audience could listen to the recordings on the website without downloading any special software. We were the first to offer marketing and public relations advice through the HispanicMPR audio podcast program on iTunes and other major podcast directories. And, we were also the first to offer a program about reaching Hispanics with marketing and PR tools to listeners on their mobile phones.
We have come a long way in a short time. Now, we have had repeat guests and soon we will announce the top podcasts for 2007. HispanicMPR.com was also the first website to offer exclusive and unique downloadable and CD audio presentations by national experts on Latino marketing and public relations topics.
Contact Elena at http://www.hispanicmpr.com/
About Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations
Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, also known as HispanicMPR.com, is an open website and companion podcast audio show featuring original content including articles and interviews with leaders, newsmakers and experts on America’s largest minority. Subscribers and visitors are invited to share their comments.
The website and podcast serve as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas on Hispanic marketing and public relations. Our Resources Section is chock full of useful information including a nationally recognized book and 2006 Choice Outstanding Academic Title, guest articles, and audio recordings of presentations and extended interviews with national Hispanic market experts. Sign up for free email updates and visit our Resources Section for exclusive downloadable audio recordings at http://www.hispanicmpr.com./
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