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Wise Words From My Papa-A Self-Made Entrepreneur

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

In 2018, I experienced a lot of resistance. I learned a LOT about myself, and how hard it is to let go of my ego. I had to learn how to let go of my own agenda to serve my papa, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and was given a year to live. He ended up passing away in October 2018.

It has been difficult to process the death of my parents who both passed two years within each other. It made me realize that each day is a gift of it's own and there is so much to cherish. Now I think of life as what if this was my last day, how would I want to treat others?

While I was serving my papa, I also wanted to learn his story as much as possible. I longed to have a deep relationship with him, that father-daughter relationship. Although it didn't happen the way I wanted it to, I know he loved me and tried his best. To have that deep relationship with my dad, I thought of creative ways to connect with him. I knew that he loved sharing his story on how he came to the US and how he started his business.

He came to the US when he was 24 years old to seek a better life for his family. He made the decision to come to the US after he watched a movie about Mexico's future economy and realized that it wouldn’t be so great.

So one night I interviewed my dad, he started his wholesale produce distribution business in 1984. I wanted to learn more about how he stayed motivated and focused for so long.

What motivated you to start your business?

"Cual motivación? Fue la pinche pobreza los chiquillos no tenian zapatos." What motivation? It was the f’n poverty, my kids didn’t have shoes." Those were his exact words. I was let go of my job as a tractor driver in the fields where I was making $2.50/hour in the 1980s. I was let go from my job and I started looking for work, but I didn’t find anything. This is when I started selling oranges for $2 for 8lbs. I would take my wife and my kids and we would go door to door selling them. I did this for about two years, then I switched over to the "money maker" melons. I started selling these at the stores, and this is where I got hooked on selling produce. I was making $15-30k every three months. This ended in 1987 when the laws changed on selling melons in bins because people were stealing them from the fields. For two years I didn’t know what to sell, and I wasn’t making that much. I was selling watermelon and onions but that didn’t go so well. By the third year I went to Dinuba, CA to look for peaches and an older man started selling them to me wholesale. I then learned about different seasonal fruits and started selling them as well.

Q: What kept you going during the times you had doubt?

A: I would tell myself “ Yo Puedo”

Q: How many times would you tell yourself: “Yo Puedo?”

A: "Un chingo de veces" - A lot of times

Q: If you were given the chance to give a public speech about how to run a business what would you advise the crowd?

A: Be honest. Don’t be shady because if you are te vas a quemar solo. If you’re honest your clients will appreciate you and will remain loyal. If you’re "largo" people will dislike you.

Three Tips He Recommended For Running A Business:

1)Learn How to Make Strong Decisions: You need to learn how to make fast decisions

2)Confidence: You need to plan and know what you’re doing. When I got in to this business I got into it as if I knew what I was doing. I had confidence and believed in myself. You have to BELIEVE in yourself.

3)Valor(Be brave): You need to learn how to take risks. You can’t be afraid of losing money.

These are wise words and advice from my beloved papa who I miss so much. I hope this helps you in your entrepreneur journey.

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