Celebrating 15 years of success: i am ready swim, LLC

No matter what are the obstacles, never give up on your dream!

Every year, we honor the achievements of our clients and their contributions to the local economy at our annual Celebrating Success event. This year we will be celebrating our 15 year anniversary from when we were initially created to improve the technology digital divide in our community to now evolved to help business owners better understand how to run a successful business.  Leading to our big commemoration we have been interviewing a client to highlight their success story each week, 15 in total.

Miranda Melendez is owner of I AM READY SWIM, LLC . Her company offers safe aquatic fun in Austin. She teaches swim lessons for all ages, and provides lifeguards and gate guards for events and neighborhood pools. I Am Ready Swim, LLC plays a huge part in making sure the pools stay nice and enjoyable for all residents.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Miranda Melendez.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: My career has added value to my life by giving me time and freedom to do what I want. The best part is I am busting my butt day and night with the rewarding feeling its for my OWN business. I love that we have impacted so many lives with safe swimming and have prevented so many drowning incidents. We sponsor most of our HOA pools. We give back by throwing Splash bashes for the residents at our pools to give the neighborhood something free and fun to do at the pools with the kids. I also go to local elementary schools and teach about water safety to the kids for their gym classes.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI for about 2 years now. EGBI has helped me in so many ways. They have taught me how to manage my books and actually understand what I am doing. They have believed in me and helped me when not too many people would due to my age. They have also helped me understand how to negotiate contracts with my business partners and expand my business.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: I would like everyone to know that I am a strong believer in prayer and vision boards. I have watched my business grow from just me to 45 employees in 2 years. It has been so humbling to see my hard work finally start to show and I am grateful for every client and staff member I have come across.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: The accomplishment I am most proud of is making the newspaper for my senior project. I had recently lost my mom my senior of high school and decided to honor her by hosting a 5k walk for American Diabetes Association as my senior project for graduation. I ended being the first one to raise the most money for the foundation being a high school student in Texas.

Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself

A: I am also a hairdresser and I love doing hair and making people feel good about themselves. I grew up in a salon so its kind of ingrained in me. I run the swim business in the summer and do hair in the off season. I love to hustle and stay busy.

Miranda Melendez is the 13th of the 15 clients we have shared stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

Celebrating Success Luncheon is a few weeks away on September 6th, 2019. Be sure to reserve your spot as you will not want to miss! If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Celebrating 15 years of success: hair central

Providing the best service to look your best.

Celebrating success is our annual fundraiser and this year we will commemorate 15 years EGBI has helped local business owners become sustainable, profitable, and an asset to the community. Ahead of our big anniversary, we will have weekly interviews with customers to cover a total of 15 success stories. Previously we featured Sitotaw Degefaw.

Brenda Carrera is owner of Hair Central, which has a team of professional stylists dedicated to giving each client the time and attention they deserve while providing the services needed to look and feel their best.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Brenda Carrera.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I always get inspired by my coworkers who are stylists in my hair salon. I give them the opportunity to grow and I can be a good leader by educating them.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI since 2006. EGBI has specifically helped me make a business plan so that I could finish my paperwork needed for a bank.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: I have run my business with four professional stylists for more than 7 years. For my workers, this is not only a job, but also a career for themselves.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I read the book ‘Shine: Stepping into the Role You Were Made For’ which is about leadership and improving a manager to help coworkers. I want to be a great leader for my stylists.

Brenda Carrera is the sixth of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

JOIN US! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Steps to moving forward with your business

By Joni Foster

The first step to starting a business

One of the first questions I ask a new client is, “When do you want to open your business? Tell me a date.”

I often get a blank look from my client. “I don’t know” is not acceptable. We sit together and come up with a date because setting the date makes things fall into place.

Once my client has said the date out loud, she often gets a look on her face of excitement and terror at the same time.  Excitement because it now sounds real. Terror because she doesn’t know how to make it happen. 

Once we make the goal, though, we can start making a plan. We quickly start making a list of what must be done before that date arrives. The list starts telling us other things like what she or he needs to buy and how much money she needs to get started. If we need to adjust the date, that’s okay. We just need to make a goal to get the process started.

Goals

Goals are aspirational destinations. Goals are not what you have to do. Goals are how you know when you have arrived. Goals tell you WHY you are doing what you are doing.

Plans are your best guess today on HOW you will get to your goal. There are many “almost right” ways to get there and almost never “the perfect way” to do it. There are a few “horribly wrong” ways to get there. Horribly wrong ways are often great stories at a party five years from now.

Goals tells you the destination for your journey, but the journey will only be fun if you stay flexible along the way. If this is your first time on this journey, there is so much to see and do along the way. Set up your journey so that you don’t have to be in a rush to get to your goal.

Fail fast, fail often, fail forward.  You can’t start something new knowing how to do it.

Your best advisor is someone who has done it before. They can tell you all their mistakes so you don’t have to make them, too.

It has to be okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn and grow.

Research, plan and go!

My husband and I moved out to the country a few years back. It was a very strange environment for us having lived in the city most of our lives. But together we had dreamed of having our little plot of land and now here we were.  Pretty quickly, we realized we didn’t know how to do all the things that this new environment required. How do we build a chicken coop? How do we fix a leaky roof? How do we keep critters out of the house?

Ten years later, here’s my recommendation for tackling new things:

  • Research: Find local folk who know more than you do; and use the internet to ask questions
  • Plan: Lay out your plan including how much it’s going to cost.
  • Action: Just do it.

The last one has been the hardest for me, being a perfectionist. I don’t want to start something new until I know exactly how to do it. Thankfully, early on, my husband and I made a pact: we weren’t going to let “not knowing” stop us from “doing”. We gave ourselves permission to fail.

I have learned to just start with what I know, make a bunch of mistakes, and do it again. We look around our property today and feel very proud at all the improvements we have made. I can also tell you stories about what didn’t work, but we had to do it wrong many times before we got it right.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Smiley’s Junk Removal & Recycling

Recycling with a smile!

Every year, we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their contribution to the local economy at our annual success celebration. This year, we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of EGBI supporting local businesses so they may become profitability, sustainability and an asset the community through our training, coaching, and support services. Ahead of our big anniversary, we are having weekly interviews with 15 of our clients to share their success stories. If you missed last week’s story, you can read about Silvia Solorzano and Jason McClain HERE.

Spencer Costley is owner of Smiley’s Junk Removal & Recycling, a company that hauls off most junk, trash or unwanted items. His services are both residential and business locations.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Spencer.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: Ever since starting Smiley’s, it feels like I’m living my purpose and making a difference in the world. I’m able to help others and the community by recycling and donating what we can to minimize the impact on local landfills.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI since 2011. EGBI has helped me in numerous ways, from taking care of my bookkeeping, being a mentor, and having access to information to help my business succeed. The staff are always just a phone call away.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: I am proud of the fact that I do have a successful business and grateful for it. I do feel I am making a difference. What I do at Smiley’s helps residents and businesses with their junk or trash problem. I try to donate or recycle as much as we can before items ever go to the landfill.

Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself

A:  I’m a workaholic and stay busy, but I’m creative and I like to smile a lot.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: In my down time I like reading comic books and creating art.

Spencer Costley is the fourth of the 15 clients, we have shared stories about leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we assist.  If you would like to further support these businesses, think about using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Siller preferred services

Creating opportunity through jobs.

Every year, we honor the achievements of our clients and their contributions to the local economy at our annual Celebrating Success event. This year we will be celebrating our 15 year anniversary from when we were initially created to improve the technology digital divide in our community to now evolved to help business owners better understand how to run a successful business. Leading to our big commemoration we will be interviewing a client to highlight their success story each week, 15 in total .

Christina Paz is owner of Siller Preferred Services, an employment agency that specializes in the hospitality and warehouse industry.  Her company works closely with their clients to help them secure and maintain jobs that will allow their workers to grow their financial freedom.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Christina.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I have more freedom, independence, and can support my family. Also, I take pride knowing my business helps workers support their family.

Q: What are struggles you have overcome?

A: Originally I had a partner.  Now I have my business alone without my old business partner. It was hard to start, but now running my business is better.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI for 5 years. I took a class in which Barbra Boeta was an instructor, as a Program Coordinator (now Executive Director).  EGBI helped me successfully establish my business. They gave me a huge help and much support as far as business coaching and we office out of their incubation space. EGBI is always available when I need them. I highly recommend EGBI to others.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: I approach every client with customized advice to fit their situation and I pride myself on treating each client individually. Additionally, I greatly value my employees and create a family environment for the business.

Christina Paz is the first of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP AND March EVENTS

By: Monica Peña

We are consistently encouraging our alumni to increase their circle of influence by attending professional events in the area. We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young ChamberGreater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC)Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has unique opportunities for business owners.

Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

March 20th- Coffee Connection Presented by Rudy’s

March 22nd and 23rd- Asian Eats Night Market

March 28th- Small Biz U

The joy of trying out new recipes

By Hye June Park

The spring is a good time to learn how to cook. I recommend you visit Tye Cooks Austin website which has plenty of recipes.

Tye Lewis, an owner of Tye Cooks Austin loves teaching people to cook a healthy gourmet meal using staples found in most pantries. Her business combines her training as a teacher and her passion for food. She offers highly personalized one-on-one and small group cooking classes. Additionally, she offers on-site team building cooking lessons for organizations in the Austin area. She is happy when her clients realize that they can cook healthy flavorful entrees in their own kitchen.

However, it has not always been easy starting a business. She faced obstacles like developing a clear mission, finding her “client”, and startup funding. She got help from Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI). EGBI helped her learn the basics of how to set up a business from scratch. “Also, the value of insurance, pricing, refining my elevator pitch, and seeing the full value of the service I provide to my clients.” Tye offered. “Now my goals are to expand into more markets here in the Austin metro area as well another Texas city. I am working on publishing a multi-cultural cuisine cookbook geared for those who have food allergies or intolerance.” You can find her own recipes on her website, which consist of ingredients found in most people’s pantries, but also one ingredient that can easily be found in a local grocery store but is versatile. Anyone can try one of the free recipes and building confidence in your own cooking skills.

For more information about the Tye Cooks Austin, visit www.tyecooksaustin.com.

Unity within the community leads to business growth

By Hye June Park

The number of black-owned businesses in Austin is growing. February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. To celebrate Black History Month, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) recognizes two clients that operate an African food mart and a nonprofit that highlights black history. One brings Ethiopian food to the Austin community, while the other helps youth shape their identity and learn from their past.

Sitotaw Degefaw, one of the owners of Selam International Mart & Café on North Lamar, sells imported Ethiopian and East African foods and spices in his grocery store. Visitors can explore East African culture while enjoying traditional Ethiopian food without the need to travel to Ethiopia. Selam International Mart & Café is a place where the East African community in Austin can come and enjoy their native Ethiopian culture, as well as a place for non-Africans to try something new in a very friendly environment. Degefaw’s favorite part of owning his business is meeting new people and having a place where his community can gather.

He started his business with just an idea. He came to EGBI to get the support he needed for his small business, with the idea of starting a slaughterhouse for a particular type of beef important to Ethiopian food. EGBI helped him to understand the governmental regulations around processing meat, and as his idea got better defined, he had the opportunity to purchase a grocery mart that had space to add a butcher shop for his specialty meat.

He worked with Joni Foster, EGBI’s Program Director, through one-on-one coaching sessions. “She connected me to the supplier that slaughters the specialty meat according to my country’s custom,” Degefaw offered. “She worked with me side by side to make my dream happen.” He continues to visit with Joni once a month to talk about this business. For more information about Selam International Mart & Café, visit selamcafe.com

The Living History Foundation was founded in February 2018 when the first group of people sat around the table and called the meeting to order. In the past year, the organization has received its 501(C)(3) status from the IRS and presented three living history programs in Central Texas. Edgar B. Garza, the Board President of Living History Foundation, said, “The mission of the Foundation is to inspire children and the young-at-heart to learn about the contributions people of color made in the building of this great nation from the time before the first Europeans to the present day.

“History is an important part of our personal lives,” Garza continued. “It is the key to understanding who we are as humans. The youth will ultimately develop their own perspective on human life and society. One that is based on stories about ordinary people just like the youth that are in the program. They will also learn from ordinary people lessons in courage, leadership, and constructive protest.

It is the first time for many of the board members to be a part of a non-profit organization, but EGBI meets with directors a couple of times per month to help them put everything together. The board gathered in December 2018 to make plans for 2019, and Joni Foster, Program Director at EGBI facilitated the conversation. Keep a lookout for one of the 12 living history programs the organization will offer in the months to come. For more information about the Living History Foundation, visit facebook.com/livinghistoryfoundation.

Board members of Living History Foundation
Black History
Salem Mart

Chamber Membership and February events

By: Monica Peña

We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young Chamber, Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC), Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has different membership benefits that assist their members increase online visibility and special rates to network/professional development events.

I always encourage our alumni to visit each chamber or visit with chamber staff to see which organization would best fit their business needs. Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

February 21st- Power Networking Breakfast with GAHCC

February 27th- Leadership Talk with Minoj Saxena who shares his entrepreneur journey with GAACC

February 28th- Meet, Greet, & Give Mixer with the Austin Young Chamber

Be sure to visit each of their web sites for more events and information about the chambers. Please let me know if you are an alumni and have any questions concerning the chambers as we are active with each of them.

Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney?

What is a Real Estate Attorney?

There are two types of real estate lawyers.

  • Residential real estate lawyers can help you buy a home, deal with foreclosures, and resolve landlord/tenant disputes.
  • Commercial real estate lawyers deal with construction and development projects, as well as zoning issues. If you don’t own a business, you probably won’t ever have to deal with a commercial real estate lawyer.

Real estate attorneys specialize in the particulars of real estate law. Their job is to preside over proceedings in any way a client requires. An attorney brings experience that takes a level of risk out of real estate transactions and can aid all parties in understanding the associated legalities.

You should consider hiring a real estate attorney if you need help with:

  • Creation of documents such as deeds, rental agreements or purchasing contracts
  • Proper filing of deeds with local government offices
  • Negotiating terms with banks and brokers
  • Establishing a business
  • Doing a title search to determine if there are any liens or encumbrances associated with a property
  • Reviewing a sale before it becomes final to check for potential legal problems
  • Mortgage and trust deed foreclosures

Benefits of a Real Estate Attorney

Working with an attorney who knows Texas real estate law makes buying or selling your real estate less overwhelming. In every transaction, having an attorney guarantees that all legal requirements are met. This includes wording on deeds or contracts and any specific regulations regarding rentals that need to be included on leases.

As a seller, hiring an attorney frees you from having to juggle paperwork while trying to clear out your home and show it to prospective buyers. For buyers, obtaining the services of an attorney can make it easier to understand local rules and regulations and recognize any potential problems. Business owners or investors looking to purchase new property may benefit even more from the services of a real estate attorney. Running a business and preparing for a move or expansion is hard enough without trying to understand everything about real estate law.

 

 

 

 

Law Office of Roberto A. Ramirez

ramirez@rmz-law.com