Is Work-Life Balance a Myth For Entrepreneurs?

I think this is a subject I’ll explore in more detail in my upcoming LinkedIn series (more on that later!), but a few posts I’ve seen this week triggered this thought, so I wanted to write about it at least on a surface level.

The saying goes something like “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s a simple enough concept that implies that when you enjoy what you do for a living, it doesn’t feel like a chore and you do it happily. Many of us who decide to leave Corporate America and start something of our own (or work on our “passion” after hours) go into it with the mentality that we want to be our own bosses and be in charge of our destinies, but the illusion of freedom that comes with owning a business quickly devolves into the reality that we are now more than ever tied to work, it’s just OUR work.

Do What You Love

This Instagram post from @bymarieandrew was one of the things that triggered my stream of thought on this

Everyone wants to be a celebrity or a YouTuber, but when push comes to shove, many give up. Or as the Marines say “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” No one creates a successful business overnight, and I think we’ve all become obsessed with seeing the final packaged result that gets curated on social media or TV, because not many people show or talk about the actual journey that got them to that point.

At first, it’s exhilarating – you’re the captain now, you get the talking stick, you make all the decisions, and because it’s your passion, it’s all you think about. And then, reality sets in: you ARE the captain now. It’s ALL you think about. EVERY decision is ultimately up to you, no matter how many opinions you ask for, and depending on the scale of your small business, it’s your face/name/reputation on the line every.single.time.

Another post that I read this week that was very much in line with this idea was one from a college friend who is a trained pharmacist and is currently building a brand around his expertise. Inspired by Gary Vee (because who isn’t?), Richie decided that in order to turn his ambition into reality, he would dedicate the four hours after he gets home from his job until he goes to sleep (#10to2), and would invest them into working towards his brand and business. Again, simple concept, but one that requires a solid vision and some serious discipline. He admits to many lifestyle changes and sacrifices, but it’s something he’s happy to do in order to see his vision come to life – and it works for him. I’m really invested in seeing his journey, reading his articles, checking out his podcasts and videos, and I can’t wait to see the results that his dedication will yield!

At the end of the day, I really don’t need to look too far to see how entrepreneurship takes years of around-the-clock dedication before you can really sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. My parents started a business (and went into bankruptcy pretty quickly with it) the year I was born. It took them about seven years of constant work (weekends? holidays? what are those???) for us to go on a family vacation, and once their business really solidified, we were all able to reap the rewards of their tireless and admirable work ethic. But those work-work-work-work-work-work years are the key, and it’s wild because from the outside, people don’t see the struggle and just focus on the summit at the mountain, not the arduous journey to the top.

Entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing, but when it comes to work-life balance you can expect to have a lot more of the work, and a lot less of the life – at least for a few years. And that’s ok, because as my friend Gary likes to say “you have to love the process.”

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Friends & Family: Karen – Brush Strokes & Chef Goals

KarenIn my never ending list of talented cousins, the next one at bat is Karen! And as you may have seen from my previous Friends and Family posts, I write the corresponding blogs around the subject’s birthday to kind of pay homage to them in some way. Karen’s birthday just passed this Friday, so happy birthday prima!

By now, you guys probably all know that I enjoy pretty much all areas of crafting and creation of things, and I’m versatile with my hands, but if there’s one specialty I haven’t been able to master is cooking. I can sometimes get baking right, since everything is measured to a T, but unless there’s a military grade recipe to follow, there’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll mess it up. This is one of the reasons I admire Karen so much, because she not only crafts her heart out and can do just about any craft there is, but she can also cook amazingly well, and actually graduated just last year with her degree in culinary arts!

Karen has always been able to paint and draw fairly well, but she found her niche in the kitchen, and this has actually become her business endeavor with her sister Lizeth (her feature will come around her birthday in September). PKL “Un Mundo de Detalles” (A World of Details by PKL, PKL being their roommate Paola, Karen and Lizeth) was born in the Spring of 2017 as these three crafty and business savvy women came together to execute a plan for a full-service party decoration and gift basket company. From the beginning, they have explored multiple revenue avenues with gift kits or special holiday themed baskets, party planning/decorating services, catering and desserts. On their feed, you will see all kinds of creative cakes decorated in fondant for customers with all sorts of interests, whether they’re doctors or sports fans, their cakes are a clear (and yummy) reflection of their personality. And Karen is behind all of that.

She is a great chef, an avid baker, and a jack of all trades for crafting. With limited resources and in a very hard market, they have managed to get off the ground and grow the business little by little, and are in high demand for their work all around the city, and even beyond.

Whether she’s using a brush on a canvas or on a marinade, Karen is a tireless worker and always delivers on her promises. Her work is detailed and her professionalism in such a hard industry and 100% customer-facing role is admirable.

Here are some of my favorite Karen pieces:

 

She imitates Britto, but with her own twist, incorporating the culture and folklore of her native Colombia. She uses all mediums fearlessly and creates one of a kind masterpieces, every single week. For this and many more reasons, Karen is my Friends & Family feature this week, and I hope you follow her on her journey as she continues to grow and succeed.

Felicidades prima ❤

#TravelTuesdays – 24 Hours With Kathy in Miami: My First Blog for Nytro!

As part of my introduction as a new Nytro team member, I was asked to write a blog-style guide to living in Miami, and I really like how it turned out! Please check it out and give it a like 🙂 Here’s an excerpt to get you excited:

Home of the three-oh-five (305) area code, the strongest coffee known to man, and millions of Latin-American expats, Miami has also been home to me for the past 15 years, so I think I can give you a good virtual tour of the city. I’d say “Shall we?” but this also happens to be the birthplace of Pitbull, so a more fitting “Dale!” is in order.

Want to read more? The full blog is here. Come check out Miami with me! This is how fun I am 😀

Kathy at PAMM

Friends & Family: Francis – Little Jack of All Trades Who Packs a Punch!

FrancisFor today’s Friends & Family feature, I’ve selected my younger cousin Francis, whose birthday is coming up on the 29th so let’s wish her a happy early birthday from the WCB crew!

When I think of the Shakespearean line “and though she be but little, she is fierce,” it is literally personified by my cousin Francis. Short in stature but with the personality and strength of the Empire State building, this little tycoon has never had it easy, yet she manages to always have a smile on her face, and tackle any challenge that comes her way head on.

Francis, my other cousin Cindy and I hung out constantly through our childhood, and they probably influenced me more than they know. With the years and with the circumstances in Venezuela, we were far from each other geographically, but never in spirit. We always stayed in touch through the early stages of the technology boom of the 2000s, and every chance we got to reunite, we milked every second.

I won’t go into detail about her early life, but I will say that she was the most independent seven-year old you could’ve ever met, having lost her dad at a young age and fending for herself without any fear. A few years ago, Francis’s boyfriend moved from Venezuela to Minnesota to pursue a college baseball career, and asked her to come with him. She would study English, and depending on her visa permit, she’d work part time. By work, I mean she literally managed to cross every possible industry off the bingo card, doing the oddest, most physically demanding and out of her comfort zone jobs you can imagine. Upon her arrival, she started off as a server at a Mexican food restaurant. Can you imagine working as a server without speaking the native language? I remember being terrified for her. But she did it. From there, the road has been a roller coaster, to say the least. She worked at a corn factory canning corn, from 6:00pm until 6:00am. She worked in a car factory assembling parts. She worked at another factory building window frames, burning her hands constantly. She worked at an attorney’s office as a part-time assistant. She was a nanny. Any opportunity that came her way, she took.

Through all of that, there was one thing she took on that kept her sane and gave her an outlet for her creativity: she started making and selling jewelry.

 

This was probably one of the few things that kept her sane. She really enjoyed letting herself run with ideas, learn a new method every day, and proudly selling her work. And I SO commend her for that.

Today she’s going to school and working as a bank teller. When you look at the definition of uphill battle and the “American Dream,” this is it. I believe her dream is to be a dentist and I know if she sticks it out, she will get it done.

So Fanchi, I am SO proud of you for all you’ve gone through, all you’ve accomplished, and all you have yet to do. The sky is not the limit for you, but rather the beginning. Feliz cumple cosita ❤

A Corporate Meeting With a Taste of The World Cup

As you may remember from this post in the beginning of the year, I have the opportunity to be the Hannah Montana of Corporate America and crafting, because I work on corporate matters during the day, and I get to bring in my crafting life to corporate at night.

My old SAP colleagues love to reach out with out of the box and exciting requests for me (and for them) and this one even brought me a new experience in a new medium!

The last team I worked for at SAP was the Global Content Team – a group of seriously smart and out of the box thinkers who find new and innovative ways to tell the SAP story in written, video, infographic, or any other form they can come up with. Because most teams at SAP are comprised of employees from all over the world, they tend to meet in person at least once a year to evaluate their performance and decide on their strategy for the months to come. This year’s offsite meeting took place in Budapest, Hungary, during the World Cup. Because of that, my colleagues reached out to me asking to create some fun props and maybe a concept for a team-building exercise that incorporated the sporting event in some way. That was really all they asked for, which gave me carte blanche to run with the idea, but was also an extremely broad canvas that I wasn’t sure where I would take.

My thought process was the following: they would have a Welcome Dinner on the first night, followed by a day of team-builders, ending in a Closing Dinner. So I could make three sets of props, or something of the sort, one for each of the days. They also mentioned they were going to get the team members soccer jerseys of their corresponding nationalities, which made the idea light bulb go off for me to round out the concepts:

  • Day 1, Welcome Dinner: to start things off, I pictured a sort of Venn diagram situation, where on one circle I had World Cup related props, on the other one I had props that represented the roles of the team members, and in the middle I put the country flags of all the team members, which was also the common ground that connected the World Cup props with the team member roles. Here’s what I mean:

Welcome Evening

  • Day 2, The Team Building Exercise: with having such a global team, the number one issue is probably having everyone on the same page, when they’re not even remotely on the same time-zone. This was the light bulb that went on when I found out they were using shirts: even though the team is spread all over the world, they are still one team, and they have the same goals… “One Team, One Goal.” SCORE! So I designed a banner, using a soccer ball as the O for “goal”, with spaces for their pictures (laminated, like the ones that are used in the Panini albums), and the exercise would be for each team member to get up and grab someone else’s picture and describe how their strength matched a soccer team position.

Team Builder

  • Day 3, Farewell Dinner: for the last day, after a jam-packed agenda and I’m sure lots of serious talks, I figured this was the perfect time to encourage letting loose and having fun with some off-brand corporate sayings (and a few World Cup ones as well to keep the cohesiveness of the theme throughout). I was inspired from a few different sets of props online, and came up with this bunch:

Farewell Evening

I heard feedback that the team loved the props and really had their fun with it all, and that the One Team, One Goal exercise with the banner and position-matching was a breakthrough moment for the team, and it definitely accomplished the goal it set out to do, which made me incredibly happy! There was also an HR business partner on site, and they reached out to inquire about other ideas for possible work in the future – and so the double-life continues 😉

Here are the pictures of the final product come to life – isn’t it cool how similar it all looks in person versus the digital proofs? Also, check out the thickness of the props when they’re stacked? Hand-cutting those brought back a lot of memories

What do you guys think of the props and concept? I had a lot of fun doing this, and even though I never thought I’d do the sturdy props again, my hands were a lot less hurt this time around!

It’s All About A Mouse

I’m coming back from a week where I lived in two of my worlds: immersed myself in the corporate, tech setting as I attended the SAPPHIRE NOW conference put together by SAP every year, which brings roughly 22,000 people to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. And at the end of that three-day conference, I headed to meet my new colleagues at Nytro, who were also gathering in Orlando to discuss strategy and goals for the upcoming months. I’m just here, re-defining two for ones, one week at a time.

One of the activities that inspired me the most was one where the team got these Disney quote cards (fitting, since we were in Orlando) at random, and we were asked to interpret them in a way that made sense to Nytro or our roles. The card that I got was:

It all started with a Mouse

I know this is extremely specific to Disney, but when you think about it, it can really be applied to anything. Thinking of the Disney enterprise – the characters, the parks, the movies, etc. it’s hard to understand and remember that it all came from an idea in one guy’s head. Walt Disney, like many of us, had an idea, the talent to translate it to paper so that others could visualize it, and the drive to see it through. And that’s the same basic formula for most successful people/companies today: Bill Gates/IBM, Jeff Bezos/Amazon,  Steve Jobs/Apple, Elon Musk/Tesla, etc. They had an idea, and they got to work on it. Everything that informs how society works today came from needs that led to thoughts for solutions, that in turn became ideas – which are a reality today. They all faced obstacles and failures along the journey, but they kept going and now they are industry leaders who have shaped our lives and will continue to do so for the future.

Check out this profile on Walt Disney – his childhood, how persistence paid off for him and the unusual path that led him to create one of the biggest empires to date. It wasn’t easy and he failed many, many times, but he made it happen, and it was all started by an idea. We all have ideas, every day. It’s up to us to fight for them and keep fighting until we succeed. The next big thing could come from your head, because – why not?

Some food for thought for you all from my Nytro team! Get your ideas going 😉

Say Hello to the Newest Member of the Nytro Marketing Team!

Hey guys! I have some news for you 🙂 I know most of you are here for my craftventures, but this blog is named “Work-Craft Balance” after all, so I like to share parts of the W when they come to be.

When I started working for SAP, I met some cool people from a marketing agency that put on pretty big events for the Latin America region. The employees were the nicest, most accommodating and badass group of humans that ever existed. I loved getting to see them every time events came around, and we built great rapport over the years. In 2016, the CEO and top employees of that company decided to start over and build a new agency which they called Nytro Marketing, and we stayed in touch through social media as well as seeing each other at another annual SAP event, and both on different capacities as well. They were pitching customers, and I was now working for a global team. In those annual encounters, we’d always talk about what we were up to and we’d joke about me joining the Nytro team… until this month, when the joke became a reality!

Their business has grown exponentially over the past year, and they came knocking to see if I’d be interested in working with them since I have years of SAP experience, and they were looking for someone with my profile, based in the U.S. Check and check! Just when I had been thinking about what my next step would be, they found me ❤

I am so so so happy to join the Nytro team on a Project Management role, getting to leverage my experience but on a capacity where I get to learn and grow so much. I’ve already started to join calls on some big projects coming up, and I’m excited for the challenges ahead. I will be their only Miami-based lead, working remotely with a team spread across countries and time-zones galore.

Katherine Capeluto Doodle

All Nytro employees have a “doodle” on the website which describes their skills & passions. This is mine 🙂

This is especially a cool setting for me because after working for a massive international company of 90,000 employees, and later launching my own micro-business, this seems like a nice “midpoint.” 😉

Welcome to the journey. Here’s to #TheNytroExperience!