Ana Flores is a well-known blogger, entrepreneur and a recently published author of the book, Bilingual is Better which she co-wrote with Roxana A. Soto about raising bilingual kids. She’s one of the most beloved personalities in the Latino blogosphere, always open to support other women by making sure not only that their voices are heard but that they are compensated for their writing. Something a lot of people have given up on when it comes to writing online.
Tell us how you got to where you’re now with Latina Bloggers Connect.
Latina Bloggers Connect was something that happened very naturally for me and was a succession of events that made it clear that I had to launch it. Back in 2010 the group of Latina bloggers was still relatively small and very few of us were actually making money out of it. My other blog, SpanglishBaby.com, was a year old and was barely starting to receive attention from brands in the form of compensation, but it was still minimal. We knew a real industry existed because there were a handful of blogger networks creating sponsored campaigns for bloggers, but there wasn’t one that was creating strategies that were culturally relevant to Latinas, much less in Spanish.
By then I was consulting for a couple of major brands on how to craft culturally relevant campaigns and to help them identify who the Latina bloggers were. At the same time, I was very entrenched within my community of bloggers and we had created private online groups to help elevate each other and learn together. A very influential mom blogger who was not Latina, noticed this and urged me to create a blogger/brand network and make it a business. So I did. Within three months I had launched, all on my own and with zero financial backing, what is now Latina Bloggers Connect. We were the first ones in the space to start creating campaigns. From day one we embraced Latina bloggers from every niche. We launched in November of 2010 with a brand ambassador and a bilingual Twitter party campaign for Sprint and followed up with Clorox.
Two years later, our network has grown incredibly, as has the Latina blogosphere, and our client list includes mostly Fortune 500 companies, with most of them coming back for repeat campaigns.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a woman entrepreneur?
I don’t think too much of my challenges exist because I’m a woman. My biggest challenge is actual financial and business acumen. I’m always thinking that I should have listened to my mami when she urged me to compliment my Bachelors in Communications with a minor in Business Administration. I was way too necia and had a huge fear of numbers. I wished I would have just embraced that fear back then!
What advice do you have for other women who have unusual (or challenging) career goals?
To ask for help. Always ask for help and learn to delegate from day 1. When you launch something all on your own it feels good to get those first checks and want to cash in on them because you most likely need them since you’ve been investing your own. I learned that since I’m bootstrapping my business, I have to continue to reinvest in hiring more people, outsourcing what I can, and grow.
Give us an example of how you’re currently helping other women advance professionally or fulfill their career goals.
I’m a connector by nature. When I know that someone is looking for a job or a specific opportunity and I can see their qualities upfront, I somehow always end up making a valuable connection for them. Many times the key has been that these women have swallowed their pride and have asked for specific help. That puts them front and center for me and I’m better able to help them.
Also, when I launched LBC it was amazing the amount of emails and comments I got from bloggers that had never made a penny from their blog and how great it felt to get that first payment from us. They finally felt validated and that was a huge motivation.
Could you mention one or more women who have helped you get to where you are now?
So many! My SpanglishBaby partner and friend Roxana Soto for embarking on the crazy blogging journey with me. Jennifer James, responsible for giving me that initial push to create LBC.
Natalie Judd for believing in my talent and giving me my first social media consulting gig.
Ana Roca Castro for creating a space for Latinas(os) to have a powerful voice.
Susan Stipcianos of The Dream Team Agency for being a friend forever and opening doors.