Everything I Know About Entrepreneurship I Learned from My Mom

Lydia Villaronga Staff Writer

Throughout my life, I have always been interested in business. As a kindergartener, I had big dreams of starting a company. To this day, mami loves talking about my first venture, IDC, Inc.— Important Documents Corporation.

She has worked in banking my whole life and never missed a chance to share her world with me. On sick days she would bring me with her to the office and that gave me just enough exposure as a five-year-old to understand that bankers handled a lot of important sheets of paper.

At some point I decided I would compete with Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust in the documents game. On the floor of my bedroom, with the carrying case of a backgammon set as my briefcase and one of my mother’s silk scarves tightly wound around my waist as a skirt, IDC was born. Using the legal pads brought home from the bank, I created dozens of forms for my mother to complete. Little did she know, my early days with IDC would plant the seed of my entrepreneurship dreams.

 

In those early days, my mother made me like feel comfortable in business settings by dressing me in pencilskirts and blazers when I visited the bank. She’d take me around introducing me to her colleagues, and in the process I learned the proper etiquette for professional introductions. By the time I was in second grade, I had a killer handshake.

 

She understood that as a Latina I would need a lot of confidence to forge a path in a world that wasn’t so inviting. She knew I’d need a hardy dose of resilience and social intelligence to succeed in the face of adversity.

 

When I was in the third grade, I started my second business, this time a sole proprietorship in my own name. I had a few classmates whose parents would pack them candy with their lunch. This triggered a lot of jealousy amongst the students whose parents favored fruits and granola bars as dessert options. I saw an opportunity to help my candy-free classmates while lining my pockets in the process. My mother took me around Spanish Harlem visiting candy wholesalers to help me build my inventory with a small, interest-free loan. She showed me the basics of profits and markups and sent me on my way. The business thrived and even inspired the competition of one of my classmates.

Looking back on those early ventures, my candy business was one of the most important financial lessons of my life.

I watched her raise me and my sister as a single parent and believe fiercely in the idea that with courage and persistence we can take charge of our financial lives to pursue our dreams.  Mi Dinero Mi Futuro helps us achieve our financial goals by giving us the tools to make the right financial choices so we can thrive not just survive.