Friday, June 26, 2009

Mariela Dabbah > www.latinosincollege.com


Mariela Dabbah, Owner, LatinosinCollege.com

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
I think you need four key things:
1) You need to have a passion for what you do because that passion is what will drive you forward.
2) You have to be immune to rejection because no matter what you do, you will have to “sell” yourself. Everything is about relationships and this is never truer than for an entrepreneur.
3) You have to be perseverant in the face of challenges, rejection or closed doors.
4) And you have to have the ability to live with uncertainty as you will be creating your own income and sometimes, you won’t know where your next check will be coming from.

What inspired you to start your business?
The desire to make my own decisions and have control over my schedule and over what projects I get involved with.

How did you finance it?
Because I’m a writer, a speaker and a consultant, I didn’t need too much money to start. But in the beginning I asked my parents to help me out until I could get my first few clients.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
Everything I do is to help Latinos improve their lives and navigate the American system successfully, so being Hispanic gives me the understanding of the culture needed to develop books and programs from the perspective of the audience I’m addressing.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I have a positive outlook on life so when I face adversity I call my friends and colleagues and get advice on how to move forward.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
To launch a nationwide public awareness campaign to help increase the number of Latinos who graduate from college in February 09 when all everyone is talking about is the economy!

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Nothing, I really love what I do and it’s going well!

What was your childhood ambition?
To be a writer.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
I’ll just mention one for now: Mariebelle the founder of Mariebelle Fine Chocolates because she took a product like chocolate and turned it into a unique experience by combining excellent quality with some fabulous branding.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Whatever works for everyone involved. I think being flexible is part of having a winning attitude.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
For several years I had no life! No vacations, no weekends, no holiday breaks… but it all paid off and I always enjoyed what I did so much that I didn’t notice. (Well, maybe I did notice a little…)

What is your favorite quote?
I don’t really live by quotes but I enjoy the expression of a famous Argentine comedian: “Whenever it has rained, it has stopped.” It helps me get over difficult times as it reminds me that at some point everything comes to an end.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I’m not sure. I guess this is part of my personality so for me it comes easy. What is hard is to come up with new ideas that work in the market.

Biggest mistake made?
Not having focused on my work in the media earlier.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I think I do. I’m constantly coming up with new ideas that I am able to implement quickly. I tend to be ahead of the curve which is at the same time exciting and very challenging because when you do that, you have to educate your market and that takes a huge effort.

About the Company.
As an author, speaker and consultant, the focus of my company is to help Latinos navigate the American system successfully. My areas of expertise are: education, parent involvement in education, job search and career advancement.
www.tuvozentuvida.com


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