The Right People Can Make or Break Your Business
Brazilian entrepreneur Monique Fernandes shared with us what she learned the hard way: a key to success is choosing the right people to work with. She learned firsthand that having the right people involved in your business – from your partner, to the right employees, and the right client (who will connect you to more clients!) can make or break your business.
1. Tell me a little bit about your background – how did you get to where you are today?
MF: I always had an intention to become an entrepreneur, but I never had the chance until a few years ago. I’m a journalist and I have worked in public relations since my first job. I also did my post-grad work in marketing. In 2011, a friend asked me if I wanted to do PR for him. I knew this was my opportunity to start my firm. At first I had a partner, but it wasn’t successful, so I quit that firm and founded Tagarela, in 2013.
2.what made you want to be an entrepreneur?
MF: I have saw entrepreneurship in my own family. My dad is an entrepreneur, so I saw all the difficulties of entrepreneurial life. He also had problems with his first partner.
3. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned running your own business?
MF: The biggest lesson is if you choose the wrong people to work with you, your company can fail. I chose the wrong team, and I almost lost my company. It was a difficult time in my entrepreneurial life, but I’ve learned how to hire the right people.
4. How do you get clients for your PR firm?
MF: I got my first clients from the friend who gave me my first PR job and encouraged me to start the company. He knew so many people and talked to them about my work. I also started to organize an event for startups and entrepreneurs. My company was the PR firm of the event. From this point on, it was easier to get clients.
5. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now? What’s the hardest?
MF: The hardest thing is to deal with egos. We always need to deal with egos because PR involves television, photos, newspapers, spotlights. All of this is hard to work. But, the greatest thing is how we are changing the working methodology and things internally at Tagarela.
6. How to do you manage your schedule with having your own business and your life, doing the things you want, taking time for you, etc?
MF: In the beginning it was really difficult deal with it. I’ve started two firms, so the “beginning” has lasted a long time! The first two years I worked all the weekends and holidays. Then I broke up with my boyfriend and I started to work even harder.
But since last year, my body started to complain about this pace so I decided to rearrange everything and seek ways to separate my personal and professional life a little more. I established some rules for myself. For example, I make sure I schedule time in my agenda for personal meetings or a medical appointments. When I come home at night, after work, I try to empty my mind. I watch television programs and talk about other things other than work, or even go out with friends. Now I almost never work during the weekends, even at home – only when extremely necessary. Weekends are for my family and friends. I’ve learned not to answer the non-urgent phone calls and messages during the weekend. Last year, for the first time in four years, I took vacation. And I like it. So, I’ve decided, to try to do this once a year.
7. What advice would you give other women in Brazil who want to be an entrepreneur?
MF: Nowadays it is a little bit easier to start a business, because we have so many more women leading companies. But we still have some prejudice. My advice is: never let a man or someone else tell you you can’t. And do not feel guilty because you believe could be paying more attention to your children. If you are an example, they will feel proud of everything that their mother made. Keep going and never give up!
8. What trends are you seeing in Brazil right now for working women?
MF: In Brazil, women tend to be in the beauty industry, fashion industry, in the food industry – gastronomy, opening restaurants, boulangeries (French bakeries), or a confectionery.
9. WHAT OR who inspires you?
MF: My Dad always been my inspiration.
10. What is your goal for yourself and your business?
MF: My business goal is: Be in the best place work-wise that I’ve been in life. I don’t want to be rich, I just want earn a reasonable amount to have a comfortable life.
My personal goal: Entrepreneur a family. Hahaha…I really want to marry and have babies. And this will be a new personal challenge: to conciliate family and work.
Follow Monique on Twitter.