The term entrepreneur was popularized in the 1800s. It comes from two Latin words “entre”, to swim out, and “prendes”, to grasp, understand, or capture. An entrepreneur is someone who swims out to capture or understand something.
At the beginning of 2022 I swam out to take on the project of full time entrepreneurship with the following goals:
- Create a self-organizing community for financial empowerment
- Build a profitable business
- Allow me to live with full time and geographic flexibility
- Take on an interesting and doable project
- Live into my calling of helping those around me own their power with money and live into their own heart’s desires
Below are key learnings on my entrepreneurial journey so far.
My biggest suggestion for anyone considering entrepreneurship is “know thyself.” Know who you are, what you like, what you need, where you tend to get stuck. Above all, know what you want while being very flexible with the how.
For those of you who know the Kolbe assessment, I am a 7 on Factfinder, 4 on Follow-Through, 7 on Quickstart, and 2 on Implementor. While Factfinder is very diligent and makes thought out decisions, Quickstart is all about gut feelings and following what energizes me. In the past it’s felt like I’m stuck between a tug of war wanting to research everything to death and endlessly adding things I want to research.
This self-knowledge has helped me better manage my career by placing myself in situations where my skills flourish. I love building systems, automating things, bringing them to a pristine shine, and then moving on to a new challenge. I need both variety in the work that I do as well as consistency.
I’ve learned to give myself decision deadlines to reign in my Factfinder tendencies. I also have a “shiny objects” list where my Quickstart nature puts in all kinds of innovative ideas to be reviewed at appropriate times, rather than acted on impulsively while waiting in line at the airport…
My decision making process tends to be slow and conservative with sometimes frustratingly long data gathering. Then, without much warning, there is a sudden flurry of implementation and ideation. I jokingly call myself a slow cooker: you put in all the ingredients, let it sit in low heat overnight, and wake up to deliciousness for days.
This first year as a full time entrepreneur through All the Colors has been a lot about understanding what ingredients I need, having patience with the consistency needed to get results, and cultivating trust that what I'm building will nurture me for years to come.
Because I’m still very much in the beginning stages of my business, it would be hubris to say I’ve succeeded. Yet, I can confidently say that this first year of entrepreneurship has moved my career forward by leaps and bounds.
Know Thy Money Scripts
As of today All the Colors is only able to cover operating expenses, which means that I had to find other sources of income to cover my living expenses. Both of my parents are entrepreneurs and can tell many a horror story of long hours of unprofitable work and financial maneuvering. Thanks to them I understand that lean years at the beginning are not a reason to quit as a new business owner.
Like most of us, my money scripts are strongly influenced by my parent’s experiences with money. While I have never experienced hunger or housing insecurity my dad did as a child and my mom grew up a couple of steps away from it. This trauma my parents went through lives on in me and places me on the financially conversvative end, something I’ve heard from other Latinos.
In order for me to venture into entrepreneurship I've cut costs down by living in Latin America and work part time with Strategy Squad, an RIA focused on social justice principles. Thanks to the dramatic change in my cost of living and the stability of my outside income source I am free to be creative, patient, and have fun with All the Colors. Initially I thought being an entrepreneur would enable me to have geographic flexibility, but it turns out that geographic flexibility made going full in with All the Colors possible!
Make it Easy on Yourself
Going back to my slow cooker nature of wanting to “set it and forget it”, I’ve created clear frameworks for myself: Each day of the week has a theme, I have weekly content deliverables, monthly strategic organizing meetings, I routinely check in with a few other entrepreneurs, and I give myself ONE weekly priority.
Below are my daily themes as of right now:
- Strategic Monday
- Strategy Squad Tuesday
- Content Creation Wednesday
- All the Colors upkeep Thursday
- Venusian Friday
My calendar is open for networking and client meetings only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. This gives me the time I need on Wednesdays and Fridays to be creative with both content and ideas. Fridays are set aside to love on my existing clients by thinking up new offerings and refining workshops and processes.
I love the project of All the Colors, especially the way it asks me to stretch my identity. A year ago I would've never considered myself a thought leader or outsourced things I could do myself as a form of self-care. And now here I am on the other side. This year I’ve been invited to present at three conferences and I’ve started hiring others to do work I don’t love - like video editing and social media management. I look forward to being able to look back on my first decade as an entrepreneur!
Related: “Risk” From a Client Perspective
Diana G. Yáñez, CFP®, RLP® (she/her) is a financial empowerment guide. At All the Colors, Diana facilitates individual and group coaching to help individuals underserved by the financial services industry own their power with money. Beyond financial literacy, All the Colors focuses on financial capability to support participants as they implement decisions to reach their financial and life goals. By providing this service in a group setting participants get to learn from other’s experience in a supportive environment.
Before founding All the Colors, Diana worked as a financial planner, business analyst, demographer, and social worker. She is a digital nomad living and traveling in Latin America, when not visiting friends and family in the United States. You can regularly find her reading, dancing salsa, and swimming in waterfalls.