Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sebastian Aroca > www.hispanicmarketadvisors.com

Sebastian Aroca, Owner & Founder, Hispanic Market Advisors®

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
To be an entrepreneur, one needs many virtues and qualities. Among some of the most important for me are (listing four pairs): initiative & commitment, creativity & integrity, determination & focus, and perseverance & assertiveness.

What did inspire you to start your business?
United States is the country of innovation and opportunities, if not here where else to put an idea into motion and start a business? Three things inspired me to start my own business: 1/ the ability to create what I want as a way of self-expression, 2/ the ability to grow at my own pace, 3/ the access to valuable resources for start-ups and small business owners (SBA, Score, Chambers of Commerce, organizations supporting Minority-Owned Businesses, etc)

How did you finance it?
I founded Hispanic Market Advisors ® in 2007. I started translating websites from English to Spanish in the computer labs of Florida International University, in Miami. With a simple desire to grow a niche market by helping brands and small- and medium-sized companies connect with the online Hispanic market.  Six years later, Hispanic Market Advisors ® provides translation and search engine marketing services (Hispanic search engine optimization + paid search engine advertising), to both the private and public sectors, and we remain committed to expanding the company gradually and organically, never sacrificing quality for the sake of profits.

Being Hispanic… Does it have any influence on your business?
Yes, it does. I am proud of being of Hispanic descent, and I see and feel my Hispanic Heritage as a plus, not a minus. Like the Univision video “The New American Reality,” says, Bilingualism and Biculturalism is a Plus!

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
In the face of adversity, what keeps me going is the Vision I set for the company. I want Hispanic Market Advisors® to become the specialized agency of choice from both the private and public sector when it comes to English to Spanish translations and Latino SEO/SEM. At the same time, I want our efforts to also contribute to the Hispanic community by enabling Latinos to become more technologically savvy. Hispanic Market Advisors® is currently designing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program with two other organizations to boost computer literacy among US Hispanics. This initiative, besides the positive social impact, will help our company because the more Hispanics living in the United States know how to use a computer and search online, the bigger the pie will be for our clients, and the bigger the pie for our clients, the more our online marketing services will be in demand…

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
The biggest challenge is to manage the business through growth, transitioning from freelancer and independent contractor to a small business owner. At Hispanic Market Advisors®, after almost 6 years since we started in 2007, as previously mentioned, we remain committed to expanding the company gradually and organically, never sacrificing quality for the sake of profits. However, when we need to incorporate someone else to the team, a new intern, employee or contractor, there are complications that arise, for I tend to find myself overworking during the process and creating work-life imbalance that can be difficult to manage until things settle.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be? 
I would invest more time being proactive and less reactive. One example, I would do more when it comes to building the infrastructure of my business’ operations: would create more manuals, processes, and training videos. In other words, setting up a structure that then can work for me, and not the other way around. Because I am financially conservative when it comes to my business, it’s hard for me to decide to use a loan or line of credit to hire new talent, for instance. So far, I have financed my small business with profits, and the idea of using debt rather than profit to finance growth is a hard paradigm for me to break, but one that I am learning to become savvier about finding the right mix.

What was your childhood ambition?
Creating something meaningful, something that could outlive me. I am on that process: my small business.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
I have many, but I will name three from the technology industry because that is where I am. Guy Kawasaki (The Art of the Start), Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg… and of course, Bill Gates!

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Whatever works. I adapt well. However, if I had to choose, probably breakfast, I am a morning person; besides the sooner I get things done the better for me!

What is your favorite quote?
Our mantra: "We do the impossible everyday and perform miracles for our clients and partners upon special request!"

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
I think to be an entrepreneur one needs to be unconventional to some degree. After all, when one is starting anything, especially a business, there’s an energy that breaks through old patterns and accepted ways of doing things (status quo), whether is through a new product, service or simply a better and more optimized way of doing the same thing.

Biggest mistake made?
In the journey of creating a business, mistakes are unavoidable. The biggest one, probably not having connected sooner with senior business mentors that can provide valuable perspective for having already walked the path I am on. Although I have a few business mentors now, I wish I could have reached out to them sooner.

Do you consider yourself an innovator?
Yes, I am constantly thinking about innovative ways to add value to my clients’ businesses. It’s not unusual, for instance, that when I go to a Business Conference, I find myself focused on discovering ideas that will make my clients’ businesses more successful.

I love the creation process. I like Product/Service Development. Specifically, I like to develop new services that can connect innovative and impactful brands with the Latino market.

About the company
Hispanic Market Advisors® is a boutique company focused on connecting brands with Hispanic Internet users. Our main services are English to Spanish translations and Latino SEO/SEM, and they are geared towards supporting companies of all sizes to tap into (and reap the growth of) the Latin American and US Hispanic market.

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