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Letting Go of “Egometrics” (Tanya Alvarez) Transcript

Making It – Episode 144

Letting Go of “Egometrics” (Tanya Alvarez)

Tanya Alvarez: I’m Tanya Alvarez, and you’re listening to Making It. I run a business called OwnersUp. We help B2B service-based entrepreneurs build a profitable business without the overwhelm, offering structured accountability sprints to work less and live more.

So I believe I was right around nine years old and I realized that I wanted to be a killer whale trainer. I go tell my mom and she’s like, well, that’s awesome, but why not own the Miami Seaquarium? So she got me thinking about, Hey, why not own and be an entrepreneur?

And I love that coming from a first generation immigrant mom; she immigrated from Columbia and raised four kids. Her oldest has this rare disease and I also have the rare disease, but not as severe as my sister. And she’s raising four kids and making it happen. She was a pillar in my life of the growth mindset that anything can happen, that we can achieve anything. So I love that whole power of like, it’s nothing wrong being a trainer, but why not dream big?

It started right out of college. I went to Wellesley and everyone at Wellesley College ends up being a doctor, consultant, lawyers of some sort, right? And it was 2000 and the bubble burst in the internet, meaning all the startups, all the ideas, it was just not going anywhere afterward. No one was hiring, but I still wanted to work at a startup of somehow because I wanted to learn how to be an entrepreneur. I did any role that they would give me. I tried to do everything as much as I can to learn every step everywhere.

And then finally at the age of 25, I went all in. And I remember being so terrified. And then another nugget for my mother, I was like, what happens if I fail? And she’s like, well, you’ll be exactly where you are now, working for someone. And then I was like, true. And I go, but what happens if nobody wants to hire me? And she says, well, you wouldn’t want to work for a culture like that. And she was right. I had nothing to risk at 25. So I went for it and then I started my business and I got really lucky with a lot of hard work and a lot of people around me. I grew that business in one year to over a million dollars.

The first time I hit a million, I was like looking for advice. And I went into this known group where if you do over 1 million, you get in this group and it was generally just white men from the brick and mortar. And I was the only like young Latina and doing an online business. So it was almost like the little daughter kind of advice.

As an entrepreneur, you make tons of mistakes and if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re really not growing. So you have to embrace that. Like a mistake is just a lesson, right? Failure is just failing if you stop. So take all those gems of failure and just learn from it and move forward. The lessons I’ve learned along the way is that it’s a roller coaster. It’s going to be going up and down as an entrepreneur. No matter what level you’re at, you’re always going to go down that roller coaster.

One of the fun little lessons I learned the hard way was a client of mine who was with me for years, all of a sudden it was late on their payment and the payment was $100,000. And I didn’t have entrepreneurs I could bounce ideas off of. So I went to my family, of course, who are not entrepreneurs. And I asked people in there and I said, what do I do? And they’re like, sue, of course, because that’s what you see on the news. And, you know, reading books, you just sue. Well, actually that’s not the best answer.

So I did end up suing them, but suing ends up taking like lots of time, lots of energy. You don’t get that money back. So it’s just not worth it. It just depends, like when you do sue, you have to just think about all, is it worth your time? Do they have money? There’s so much variables. But that was an important lesson of like surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs at the same level as you so you can understand and you can get their feedback.

Common mistakes that entrepreneurs make, but it’s not really their fault is the following. So you come from corporate or you come from college or some sort of education and everything is structured, right? Then all of a sudden, you become an entrepreneur. You want all this freedom, then you have all this freedom. You have all this time. And all this time ends up having you sometimes become a perfectionist, overthink, analysis paralysis. You’re like looking at Google and YouTube and all these engines trying to find out all this information. Now you’re just overwhelmed.

All of a sudden you’re pushing deadlines or not making things happen. So this whole thing with like not having structure, the first thing an entrepreneur should do is set up structure. Structure actually helps you create the freedom you want. And that’s super, super important. And the constraints are actually going to help you think more creative and be more resourceful.

One gift I would love to leave to humanity is helping people realize that they can build their own success team so they can achieve every monumental goal that they ever have. You know, I’ve been defying the odds and not even realizing that I was defying them and I have been granted from my family a beautiful support structure and then later on, just to be able to survive and thrive, creating my own support structure.

So imagine if you had, for every goal you had, a success team to support you in those goals in a way that’s going to move you forward. Because no matter what, no matter how much willpower motivation, it all kind of fizzles out. So you need a team around you and the team could be just three to five people. I would call it a squad, right? For me, I’ve used that for my journey from even starting a business to having two kids because I had a less than 7% chance of having one kid. So I created my own support group around that to encourage me to move forward, to cheer me on, and then also finding my husband. I created a group, accountability group on that one.

If I had to start from scratch, I immediately would go figure out what I’m passionate about. And before you build anything, do not build a website, do not get business cards, do not buy any of that, that everyone always says, or do a business plan. I want you to first just go out to people and start talking to them and then see if it’s actually a problem that people want solved. Like if there’s a demand for it. And then from there, be your first customers. Go reach out to your network.

So that’s what I would do. I would first figure out what’s the problem I want to solve. Is there a demand for it? And then start talking within my network. And then before even building it, I would actually have them buy something based on what I’m saying. And then when I had enough people, I would build it. And build it means just maybe it’s a service, just offering the service. And then from there, once I had the case studies, that’s when I would decide to start actually building the website and doing everything else.

I believe I am making it right now. I am just so involved with being present. And then when I’m working in my business, I’m really working on it. When I’m with my kids, I’m really involved with the kids. Early on in my twenties, making it seemed a little different. I was chasing metrics that now looking back were egometrics, right? Like a certain revenue, a certain like being in certain covers or being interviewed by certain people. It was all these egometrics.

And I think I was still trying to prove myself, right? And then, I had two little kids, my whole world change. Now, making it is really about building a legacy, but the word legacy seems so broad, right? For me, it’s this whole way of looking at like, what am I creating to make my kids proud? And what am I leaving behind? That’s not only like material things, but things that will guide them through their life.

If anything happened to me right now, I know this is morbid, but I always think of mortality because it kind of gives that urgency. I would be happy where my business is and where my kids are and that they’re seeing what a woman can build and provide and then also saying that they’re loved. Your kids will always be talking about you and how you’re raised and the memories. So that’s the most important impact you can make.

The advice I would give to my younger self, looking back at my journey, was not to be hard on herself. And I think that every time I was failing or I thought I was failing, I was actually learning and to just take that and reframe it quicker and keep on going. And I think it’s really hard growing your business because you feel very alone and there’s so many things you’re already hard on yourself, and then when others kind of see it or there’s a mistake, you just feel even worse.

But instead, just learn, knowing that everything just continues and it moves forward. And when I was building my team, I always would tell them that any mistake that they did, don’t worry, I could fix it. And so you have to have your own mentality of like, I can fix it. Don’t worry. It’s just a mistake. People are going to forget it. Five years from now, people are going to forget that mistake. So there is no such thing as failure or mistakes.

I’m Tanya Alvarez and you’ve been listening to Making It. You can find more about me on LinkedIn and Tanya Alvarez or at or find me on Instagram, tanyac.alvarez.

Cassandra Topperwein: Making it is part of the Mirasee FM podcast network, which also includes such shows as Just Between Coaches and Once Upon a Business. To catch the great episodes that are coming up on Making It, please follow us on YouTube or your favorite podcast player. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a comment or a starred review. It’s the best way to help us get these ideas to more people. Thank you. And we’ll see you next time.