S3E2: Embracing The New Landscape of Latinx Entrepreneurship
S3E2: Embracing The New Landscape of Latinx Entrepreneurship
In today’s episode, we continue celebrating Latinx Heritage Month with a conversation highlighting entrepreneurship for the Latinx community. We sit down with one of the leading voices in global wellness, Millana Snow, founder of Wellness Official, and share her unique journey as an entrepreneur in the wellness space. We dive into the new possibilities for Latinx businesses and ways to break the stigma and barriers as we enter the new future of entrepreneurship.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
MILLANA SNOW is one of the leading voices in wellness, in the US and abroad. She is a trusted source for wellness expertise and resources to a diverse global community of clients, brands, celebrities, companies and even members of the royal family. As a woman of color with Afro-Latina/Panamanian, mid-western and British roots, she speaks to an audience as diverse as her background. As a former model turned wellness entrepreneur and healer, she has carved out a unique and modern path for her mission of deep healing and connection for everyone, everywhere, which she shares through her company, Wellness Official. Millana has spoken at NYU, Syracuse, Summit, PopSugar PlayGround, BlogHer Heath, Soho House and more. Based in LA, Millana is also the model winner of Project Runway, the winner of the "Best Travel + Adventure Show" Webby Award and teaches her own innovative approach to breathwork and energy healing to students around the world.
This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.
Follow Millana and her healing journey here.
Enter the waitlist here for Millana's conscious business course, coming winter 2021.
[00:00:00] Mary: Hi there, happy money people. It's Mary here again, and welcome back to another incredible season of 'Your World, Your Money.' Season three is just now getting started and we are truly excited to be back with all of you. Continuing our celebration of Latinx Heritage month, we are here today to bring you a conversation highlighting Latinx entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the stereotypes, barriers and expectations therein.
[00:00:27] Mary: Our guest today is Millana. She will be sharing with us how she was first inspired to pursue her entrepreneurial spirit, her experiences with her business and its uniquely powerful role within the Latinx community. Millana Snow - also tell me that isn't just an awesome name. Anyway, Millana is one of the leading voices in wellness.
[00:00:49] Mary: In the U.S. and abroad, she's a trusted source for wellness expertise and resources to a diverse global community of clients, brands, celebrities, companies, and even a few members of the royal family. As a woman of color with Afro-Latina, Panamanian, Midwestern, and British roots, she speaks to an audience as diverse as her background.
[00:01:12] Mary: As a former model turned wellness entrepreneur and healer, she has carved out a unique and modern path for her mission of deep healing and connection for everyone everywhere, which she shares through her company Wellness Official. We are here to share this entrepreneurial story as Millana is just one specific example of a demographic of Latinx, small business owners, which the 2020 Latino State of Entrepreneurship report found has grown 34% over the last 10 years.
[00:01:45] Mary: This increase has contributed significantly to the overall growth of small businesses within the U.S. to the extent that entrepreneurship would have actually declined in number, if not for Latinx business owners. Together with Millana, we will dive into understanding the new landscape of entrepreneurship and begin to envision what the future of Latinx businesses can be, regardless of sector, industry, or trajectory.
[00:02:58] Mary: So, tell us a little bit more about Wellness Official and, and the job that you've built for yourself.
[00:03:04] Millana: Oh, yeah. Well, when people ask me, what do you do? I kind of preface it by saying I have a very non-traditional job and it is multi-faceted and it is not what you would think it is on paper. And so, to try to explain some of that, I usually start with, well, I'm an entrepreneur in the wellness industry.
[00:03:26] Millana: And beyond that, over the years, I've built an amazing community of healers and the people who are seeking those healers and teachers. And the brands and, and hotels and festivals that are also seeking that healing and the teachers and healers that facilitate it. And so over the years, very organically, I built a business around bridging those connections and then kind of organically and simultaneously I began my... I guess career of healing, even though it's really been my lifelong journey and path since I was about four years old. And so simultaneously it's been connecting brands like Pop Sugar or Soho House, hotels like the Standard hotels, to healers and mindfulness, meditation teachers and facilitators.
[00:04:19] Millana: And then starting to actually share my own practice of breath, work and energy healing. And that in itself really has taken off and gone in its own unexpected, twisted, amazing, crazy path. So twisted in a good way. Yes, Windy - but, but surprising. And so really being able to build a real foundation for myself, my family and my community through a very deeply healing journey has been really, really surprising for me.
[00:04:53] Mary: Oh, wow. Of course, I want to ask about the entrepreneurial piece, but before I ask that I have to ask since four years old? I felt like I was still learning how to walk at four years old, which might be embarrassing, but I feel like that's where I was.
[00:05:06] Millana: I probably was too. I - it's really interesting. I realized, in the past couple of years that it's a part of my story that I left out for a long time, because I didn't, I didn't notice for a while how unique that was until probably a few years ago. And then would fact check with my family. Like, 'I really have been doing this since I was basically a toddler,' and they're like, 'yeah, you really have.' And it really actually started with my grandmother who one day I remember very clearly at the age of four, it was like nap time. And she said, "come and lay down, lay down next to me. And you're going to just close your eyes. And then you're just going to walk out of your body."
[00:05:47] Millana: "And I just want you to try that." And it was very simple and because I was four, I didn't question it. And so that was my first experience with what's known as astral projection, but in the, the months and years that followed, she taught me how to meditate and how to, to have out of body experiences. And I was so young that I didn't know that was not quote unquote normal.
[00:06:15] Mary: I think that's so incredible. And to think about the path that your grandma helped set you on, that's such a beautiful cultural route to have for an entrepreneurial journey that's been your whole life. And so, one of the things we wanted to get into, and we can jump in now was like the cultural foundation and, and where those influences really came into your journey.
[00:06:39] Mary: And it sounds like that's where it all started.
[00:06:41] Millana: Mm, yeah. Thank you for asking that because, like my non-traditional career and life, I also have a very non-traditional background. I come from a very mixed family. My grandmother that taught me to meditate is actually - her family, and my mother's mother side of the family, were the early settlers of the Oklahoma Plains and were the early white settlers that actually ended up being called the Sooners who took over the land of the indigenous folks that live there. And while I don't think they saw it that way at the time, the irony is that my Midwestern roots - they actually settled there in the late 1800s. And I was the first person of color in the family in the late 1900s. And that happened by my mom marrying my Panamanian father, who's Afro Latino, who was born in Panama as a black Panamanian Latino boy, and then brought to the United States where then I was first generation on my dad's side, first generation American. So, I have kind of these really interesting, contrasting roots because on my mother's side, there's a very self-identified American, which I put, I put the parentheses air quotes in the air because that obviously has way more context and nuance, but a long tradition of white American settlers who have lived in the Midwest as farmers.
[00:08:11] Millana: And then Afro Latino Americans who came in and I'm the first-generation American on that side. So, for me, there was a lot of cultural kind of confluence of many different influences that don't typically meet. And one of those, I think, was coming from my grandmother who was escaping kind of what was very Christian and very traditional American culture and became a hippie in the seventies and escaped to Colorado and started meditating and joining all kinds of somewhat questionable meditation groups.
[00:08:49] Mary: Somewhat questionable.
[00:08:50] Millana: We kind of laugh about it now, but I'm not so sure if it would be so funny if we looked into some of those groups. But but that was kind of the revolution of American culture that my grandmother signified. And then my dad, I actually didn't know him until I was about 25... My mom and dad got divorced and I was three.
[00:09:08] Millana: So, I wasn't able to understand my black American experience or my Latina experience until much later in my life.
[00:09:18] Mary: Yeah, I'm so excited because we're going to ask so many questions about disrupting the status quo, and I think it's so beautiful how much that is a part of you. So, I'm excited to hear some of your perspectives as we get into this. I'm ready for it. Just stepping into the waters and getting into it. Tell us about some of the obstacles that you faced, and they can be any obstacles that come to mind, but you know, just like those obstacles you faced as you started in this entrepreneurial journey, as you continued it, I'm sure the obstacles keep coming.
[00:09:49] Millana: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's so interesting. I just had a really amazing panel conversation yesterday with three other black women in the wellness space, and it was really interesting to kind of talk about our journeys, and it really made me reflect on my personal and professional journey. And I think, you know, I have a unique experience in that um, I was raised by a white family, and I was raised without there ever being a conversation of race. I never was told anything about my identity racially or what I should expect or think about the racial identity of others. And to some extent, that was a huge blessing and an amazing way to look at the world.
[00:10:38] Millana: And on the other side of that, I had no idea how the world saw me. I had, I was completely clueless and because I moved around so much as a child as well, I was constantly in new cultural communities across the U.S. And so, by the time I lived in New York, as a 19-year-old young woman... I came to New York to finish college, to go to school for communications.
[00:11:04] Millana: And then became a model after working at vibe magazine for a couple of years in college, and very quickly realized from just even my modeling days, having the shock that I would be one of the only people of color, let alone black or Latina women in any room that I went into, whether it was a casting or a job and... and was even more surprised to find that that was the case when I became an entrepreneur in the wellness space, or even just a seeker as wellness became more mainstream.
[00:11:35] Millana: And so, I think for me, the biggest thing that I've really realized, especially in the past couple of years, is that the biggest hurdle was recognizing that I was surrounded by people who didn't understand my experience and that I myself was starting to understand my experience as I went along, because I was never told how to frame my identity or my place in the world.
[00:12:00] Millana: And so, a big piece of why I believe it's so important to democratize wellness and democratize every industry is because I very well understand what it's like to have to create and cut out your own narrative, your own connections and your own understanding of what it means to belong.
[00:12:19] Mary: One of the parts of this conversation and the series that we really wanted to share and dive into is how important it is in entrepreneurship to show that any entrepreneurial journey is possible. So, in another episode, before this, we were talking about how we have preconceptions when you hear about a person from a community, starting a business. We think, 'oh, of course, they're going to start such and such type of business.' And that might be a deterrent for young people because they don't want to do that.
[00:12:48] Mary: And so, we want to talk more about how crucial it is to have these people that show, 'no, you can have any kind of business and they can go to any size, and it can speak to any group of people.' So, moving into that space of how honestly, wellness can on the outside and being a little on the inside, it can be predominantly white.
[00:13:09] Mary: Tell us about your experiences there, and then we'll get into a little bit more about the community side of it and how having that ambition and that entrepreneurial spirit is so crucial.
[00:13:21] Millana: Yeah. Yeah. Oh my gosh. You're just lighting me up, hearing you talk about all of that. I love it. Your passion is palatable.
[00:13:27] Millana: Yeah. I mean, it's been really interesting because I often would notice, even in a yoga studio, that I would be the only person of color in the room. And then thinking, 'that's odd' because I studied Hinduism as, as a child. And I remember that it was from India. And just being very confused by that when I was studying yoga in New York.
[00:13:52] Millana: And so, for me, one of the things that I saw was really clear was that there wasn't a very clear understanding around how we can colonize even what we believe is for everyone. And so, there was kind of, and again, like I said, in my own family and in my own blood and heritage, I understand both the colonizer and the colonized.
[00:14:17] Millana: And so, to have to have both of those things flowing through me is quite a thing. And so, to see that then happen within the wellness industry, when people really, I believe for the most part, have the best intentions and really just want to heal themselves and help heal others and the planet. And so, I saw that there was this really interesting kind of intersection of people who had really great intentions but were unaware of how non-inclusive their work was and how it was actually kind of a colonized version of what had originated from people of color and was excluding those same people that it originated from.
[00:14:56] Millana: And so, what I found was really an important challenge, especially being in New York at being one of the most diverse cities in the world, if not the most diverse, was going about making it my job to go and find more representation. And, and it was interesting cause it was like this really interesting line to walk where we didn't want to racial profile and we wanted to have the absolute best teachers.
[00:15:20] Millana: And we wanted to really bring in the most curated, amazing experience that we possibly could while specifically looking for teachers and leaders in the space that were people of color as well as white people and that, so, so how can we really find that beautiful fusion of having representation for all?
[00:15:42] Millana: And so, a lot of my job in the early 2012 to 2015 was learning through that the hard way. Realizing, 'wow. Teacher trainings in New York were predominantly white. 'So, wow. We have to go and find teachers that maybe are not at their traditional teacher trainings, and we have to break the molds around, like what does certification even really mean?'
[00:16:02] Millana: And things like that. And then looking at that as an entrepreneur. Hm. Was a very interesting thing, because I was just telling someone yesterday... in 2012, when I started my business, my first business, there was no such thing as the wellness industry. Now it's over $4 trillion industry. Nobody even used that word, the wellness industry.
[00:16:25] Millana: And so, at the time, a lot of the wellness industry, as it wasn't even known back then was really done as a hobby and as something that people did in their own time privately. And what I wanted to do was find a way to authentically and consciously actually create a real business out of something that was meaningful and also inclusive for everyone. And that was a really tough thing to do because there was no rule book for that. And there weren't a lot of examples of that. Talking to VCs, they didn't really understand the importance of inclusion and diversity. And I find that that's still a huge challenge because one has to individually understand that to be able to understand that as a corporate company or as a private equity firm. But I also found that just in general, doing business in a more equitable way, just wasn't really a thing.
[00:17:14] Millana: And so, I had to really build those two different concepts, diversity and inclusion within the wellness space, but also building a conscious business that brought wellness into a more mainstream conversation and experience that more people could feel was for them.
[00:17:28] Mary: That point, especially, I think is so important because that's what was coming up for me as I was listening. I was thinking, I'm sure just the community, you had this massive work in addition to the actual entrepreneurial side of it. But showing how your entrepreneurial spirit and what you wanted to create could be for everyone because five, 10 years ago, I imagine there were a lot of communities that thought, 'well, this isn't even for me. And if it is for me, it's because it's something that was once actually my heritage that's now been turned into something that is so far and different from it.' And so, as I'm listening to you, that's immediately what comes up for me.
[00:18:05] Mary: You had to literally convince communities that this is actually for you, and you can be a part of it.
[00:18:11] Millana: 100% and that's actually still the job. I think in the past two years, since things shifted in 2020, I've seen a huge shift. I mean, this is something I've been talking about lately. Like I really want us to also celebrate the fact that things have shifted so much in the past couple of years.
[00:18:30] Millana: I mean, even with the invention and huge expansion of social media. Um, when I started in 2012, I mean, I think there was only Twitter and it wasn't, it wasn't used in the same way it is today. Now, you know, to be able to, I mean, there's obviously the double-edged sword when we talk about social media, but thinking about diversity inclusion and being able to see yourself in new spaces that you may not have been able to, or have access to prior, social media and the movement that happened with black lives matter and all the shift in consciousness in 2020 and 2021, I have seen that there is a new arena for us to be able to create our own communities and our own representation. And then for that to quickly be recognized by what was originally kind of the gatekeepers of the press, the media. And so sometimes, you know, I went to school for public relations and an early in my career, I had a lot of press, and it was because I knew how to play that game.
[00:19:26] Millana: But now. The press and that way doesn't matter. It doesn't really move the needle. What really moves the needle is building a real community, both in-person and online and letting that actually be an authentic thing or creating something that's authentic and not just kind of an artifice of a community.
[00:19:42] Millana: And that's how you really move the needle and create not just a more diverse and inclusive message and community, but also how you can really build a solid business. And that's something that I think a lot of people don't realize that businesses like Wellness Official and others in the wellness space have built really strong businesses where not only are we having revenue that's growing month after month, but real profit.
[00:20:05] Millana: And that's because we built a community that actually is inclusive and diverse and global. And online.
[00:20:13] Mary: Mm, you were speaking to something, as you say about moving this needle, that I'm really excited to completely dive into and spend lots of time here. So, Wellness Official to a lot of older millennials and definitely older generations is a, it's a very different business model to them. It's a little bit foreign and it's probably operating in a way that they're not familiar with. But what we're so excited about is this is so close to the future of entrepreneurship. And so, as we dive into this conversation, how does it feel in kind of a fun way and also in a, in a sincere way to be a trailblazer for the new kind of entrepreneurship? This authentic community-based entrepreneurship is where the next generation is going.
[00:21:00] Mary: This is what kind of business they want to experience and also create. So how does that feel?
[00:21:06] Millana: Thank you. Oh my God. That really just touched me. Thank you. I mean, it's such a compliment and I mean, really what I, what I've been thinking. And you saying that is just, 'God, it's about time.' It's about time. Like, man, have we been ahead of the curve for a while?
[00:21:26] Millana: And nobody was listening. Nobody. I mean, truly it wasn't until 2020, did people really get. Just even a piece of what we were talking about, what I've been saying for years. I mean, even just around this idea of being authentic and really caring about your community, and I'm not going to say that we always get it right, or that I'm the perfect human being.
[00:21:48] Millana: Absolutely not. But I do know that I have really gone the long route so that I could ensure integrity throughout my community and throughout my business. And so, what has been really interesting is that that is a longer path it feels like, when people don't get it for a while. But it feels really good now is that now that there is this generation of the gen Z, especially, but also some of the younger millennials and some of the more progressive millennials.
[00:22:16] Millana: Not only do they really get it, but their like faithfulness to the business and to the community and to everything that we launch is unwavering and everything that we do sells out. Everything that we put out is not only received but received passionately. What I'm really excited about is expanding and building the community so that we are reaching even more of the kind of person who really understands authentic connection and understands that businesses actually go both ways. That we're not asking you just to buy from us, but we're actually accountable to you as well.
[00:22:50] Millana: And that us being accountable means that it's a relationship between the customer and the business, and that's why we're a community. And so, I think, it's really exciting to see that real growth. And frankly, Mary, it's really exciting to see that, that actually builds a profitable business and real revenue.
[00:23:09] Millana: Yes. Because I think that people didn't believe us. They didn't believe that we could do that. They're like, 'yeah, yeah. This cute little healing thing that y'all are doing over there.' And we're like, 'oh, just you wait, this is going to be something.' And now it's. Oh, wow. Wow. Look at what's happening here. And we're in the middle of one of the biggest, fastest growing industries in the world.
[00:23:30] Millana: And we really understand it because we've really been in it from the very beginning of it going into this mainstream space. So yeah, it's exciting.
[00:23:39] Mary: Something that you just said resonated so strongly. And it brings me to a question I really wanted to as well, more statement that I want to dive into. So, you mentioned that they didn't believe you. They were like, 'oh, this is going to be a big industry? Okay. Like you can have your niche. Thank you so much.' And you knew, you knew this was going somewhere. It had so much potential and so much incredible value to individuals. And the reason I really want to dive into this is because when I hear that, I immediately think, well, wellness is, it's a very diverse group as a community that consumes now.
[00:24:16] Mary: Like, we're getting more into this diverse space where more young people feel like they can participate, more young people that are more diverse can say, 'oh, this belongs to me. This is a part of me now.' And so, hearing you say that I immediately thought, 'oh, well, they didn't realize that if they don't want to speak to this community, this community is going to get up and they're going to make sure people listen.'
[00:24:37] Mary: And so, I really wanted to talk about the diversity side of it, of course, but also, I just had to pull out that point. Allow us space to jump into it.
[00:24:46] Millana: Yeah. Well, you know, when you say pulling out that part about them not believing me, I mean, I think this is a trend that we find with female entrepreneurs in general. I just saw a stat this morning through iFundWomen and they said that 72% of women entrepreneurs cite a lack of access to funding as being the number one barrier. And I can tell you from having tons of conversations with VCs, that they just don't believe what I'm saying. And I think a lot of it is because there's certain archetypes, if you will, around what a founder looks like and what someone who understands business looks like, and that those then the products that will come from that founder are very specific and spoken to in a certain way.
[00:25:28] Millana: And so, what we're seeing is that we're breaking all of that. And that the founders of today, I mean, my goodness yesterday, I was on a panel with a woman who went viral on Instagram and she's a female entrepreneur and did one video. It was her first. It was like she did three live IGS, like ever. And her third one went viral and got over 12 million hits.
[00:25:49] Mary: 12 million!?
[00:25:50] Millana: 12 million hits and beautiful, amazing young black woman. And her entire business went like this. So, we're talking about, that's a founder. And whoever didn't want to get back, like back her financially missed out on what happened when she went viral. And so, as a social media native company, and as immediate, like an online native company and community, I understand we understand and so many young women and women of color understand that we - because we understand that things are going in a completely different trajectory than where we've been the past 50 years. And because clearly social media and access to each other globally, peer to peer access is possible. It's like, you know what, if you don't want to believe us, we're just going to build it.
[00:26:37] Millana: And we're just going to show you, and we're just going to do our thing our way, because we know that there's enough of us around the world and we know how to get to them. And so, as we do that, that's when you see the network effects of people saying, 'oh, you get me. Oh my gosh, I'm in Hong Kong. Oh my gosh. I'm in Melbourne.
[00:26:54] Millana: I'm in London. I get you, too.' And then that just creates a closer cohesion of a community than it could have been if we were doing it, the old traditional way. It makes sense to get behind us. And so, I'm excited about crushing that I'm excited about breaking those barriers and frankly, and I encourage any female founders that are in this place. I'm not interested in VC capital because we make our own money. We have our own community, we do things that are right for us, our customers, our clients, our community. And so that's really, really important. I think, let those barriers fall to the wayside. We don't need to have the permission of the gatekeepers and the financier. We can do peer-to-peer business now. And that's something to me that yes, creates more accountability to a larger audience, but also creates a feedback back and forth loop where you can understand how to quickly improve whatever it is that you're offering, because you know your people.
[00:27:48] Mary: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. Of course. And these gatekeepers of funding, of entrepreneurship, this old guard, that's what we like to call them, even though some of them aren't very old, just very confused. There's this old guard that holds the keys to funding and to this entrepreneurial platform, they're so slow to realize, at least in my experience to, to understand that just because a product's not out there, it doesn't mean that the community, that product would be for that doesn't mean they don't want it. Of course, they want it. They just haven't been seen or heard yet. So, I could not agree more.
[00:28:26] Millana: Absolutely. Yeah.
[00:28:28] Mary: Well, as we've been talking about wellness official and this community you've created something that I think is so important for us to talk about, and another one of those barriers just kind of knocked down and really get into this space of going through with people is, entrepreneurship isn't this beautiful five-minute-long journey that you see on TV because now they're, they're amazing. And they're this multimillion-dollar entrepreneur. There's a path that gets that person there. It takes time and it takes effort, and it takes failures and successes. And these windy little routes, just like you were talking about before.
[00:29:02] Mary: So, I'd love if you'd share some of the behind-the-scenes side of how you got to this place now with Wellness Official, and how that path kind of took its different routes because for the moment that a lot of people see, like maybe they see Wellness Official and like, 'oh, this, this company is young. It knows exactly what it's doing,' but I'm sure it took you a moment to get to that place.
[00:29:29] Millana: Absolutely. And you know, it's also interesting because like I said, there can be situations with what we're seeing on social media, where your whole thing can blow up overnight, too. And, and I'm, I'm excited about that but I also caution those stories, because I think, one, it doesn't usually go like that. It can, and it's, it's more likely these days than I think it was 10 years ago. But also, there's something that happens when it takes you a long time to really become holistically, quote unquote successful. And I think what it does, is I kind of always joke, I'm like start a business is a great excuse for putting your soul through major evolution.
[00:30:06] Millana: Like you want to know yourself? You want to know what your freaking made of? Start a business and don't quit, because the quitting part is like, it's easy to do. Then be like, 'oh, that was stupid. I don't want to do it.' But how about like, you start a business, and you don't quit. Like you don't stop being an entrepreneur no matter what and say, do that for 10 years and see what kind of person you're going to become. It is hard. I mean, I think I finally understand why there are magazines, like entrepreneur magazine and Forbes, and why we glorify entrepreneurs because the people who can stick with it and then actually succeed on some level... those of us who have been in the game, we understand what it takes. It's a lot.
[00:30:45] Millana: And I think what it really takes is an inner strength to keep moving through our own fears, our own need to learn and our own insecurities and traumas and burdens and things that are constantly going to restrict us and challenge us every single day by us just being who we are uniquely. Even if you are a straight white man, you're going to still have things are going to be hard for you.
[00:31:09] Millana: And yes, it's going to be different than a black woman. But the thing that's really interesting is that it's going to be a challenge no matter what. And so, for me personally, one of the things I've really wanted to share a lot more lately and more publicly, because I, I'm now, I've come out of my financial closet and now I'm telling, you know, people like 'I do crypto, and I buy NFTs, and I invest in the stock market' and things like that.
[00:31:34] Millana: And so that whole part of me is newly born. And I want to share with people that just five years ago, I could barely pay my rent and it was like that for years. The years, I mean, truly years. And it wasn't until the end of 2017, beginning of 2018, did my life shift where I was able to really thrive as an entrepreneur. And I started in 2012. I think I had quite a windy road because I really wanted to try things out. And I wanted to understand how to, to share holistic wellness and spirituality in a different way. And so that had its challenges around how to actually be paid to do what I do. But I think, you know - and also because these things weren't really known to anyone at that time. But in the past four to five years, I finally come into financial independence and then financial breakthrough.
[00:32:30] Millana: But it was a really hard thing to get through that period of an entrepreneur where I didn't have any money and really surviving in the day to day was a challenge on top of having the challenges of being an entrepreneur. Those two things can be one in the same, right? That you need to pay your rent and you're an entrepreneur.
[00:32:50] Millana: You've got to make money. But there are a lot of people that have their family to support them, their partner, or they have financial capital from a private equity firm to back them. And so, I think, what I feel for a lot of women, a lot of young women, a lot of people of color, is that a lot of us really don't have that support. And so, it makes it even harder to build a business. And for me, it literally didn't shift until the end of 2017. And so, I'm very, very, very passionate about how we can really change our mindset and really educate ourselves around what it means to be financially abundant and how to build actual wealth and financial security for ourselves and others.
[00:33:30] Millana: And for me having all kinds of experiences, like co-founders trying to take over my company or people literally stealing money from me. I mean, the list goes on and on and on and on. And in the wellness industry, believe it or not. But what was really, really clear to me was I needed to get myself no matter what, despite all of those challenges, to financial independence.
[00:33:53] Millana: And if I didn't have a backer, if I didn't have a family that could do that, I needed to do it also in a way that was with integrity. And that was tough. That was really, really hard that, and I didn't have that breakthrough until literally five years ago.
[00:34:07] Mary: Very simply. Thank you so much for sharing that. Thank you. I think there's just not enough opportunities and times where people openly say, "this was a path that was thorny and difficult and it takes a minute to get to this goal,' whatever that goal might be, whether it is first financial independence or whether it's money for this part of the entrepreneurial venture. Just full stop. Thank you for sharing that. I think there's so many people that need to hear that and who else is going to tell them that? And I very, very much appreciate that. Thank you.
[00:34:43] Millana: Thank you.
[00:34:44] Mary: Absolutely. Thank you. My goodness. And so, we're focusing, in these episodes, very much on the Latinx community and using this space to celebrate them more than we already do, and to highlight the pieces of this community more than we would, or more than we normally do.
[00:35:02] Mary: And we just want to really dive into it and see what we can learn and see where we can go and what we can incorporate going forward. And so, one of the things that we know super well as a foundation and we harp on it all the time. Especially when we, we have conversations with larger institutions and banks, is that Latinx entrepreneurs are the foundation of entrepreneurship in this country.
[00:35:28] Mary: They are the foundation, the largest portion of entrepreneurs, the largest number starting companies. We come to this constantly. We're like, this is the biggest group. There are so many things that aren't even still available in Spanish, but we won't go down that route. So, we really come to this as a foundation.
[00:35:49] Mary: During the pandemic, the entrepreneurs that were affected the most were women and most commonly women of color and the industries that were affected the most were industries primarily where there was Latinx entrepreneurship. And so, thinking about this, before we get into some of the other questions is what comes up for you hearing that?
[00:36:11] Millana: Um, yeah, it hurts. It really hurts because I, I, so personally have experienced for so many years knowing exactly what that's like. Not just, uh, seeing that and being like, wow, that sucks. But actually, being that. Being a Latinx woman in poverty, actually below the poverty line for years and still being an entrepreneur and not really understanding how to get the resources that I needed to really build my vision and truly why it took me so many years. And, and that's something I had to recognize. I'm sure there's other factors, but really just feeling into that. It's like, there's so many barriers, so many things that people have to overcome. In the communities that you just described, in the Latinx community, in my demographic.
[00:37:03] Millana: So many things that have to be over, like being able to get a bank account. Being able, I mean, most people don't think about the fact that like, not everybody has a bank account. Being able to even safely move through a city without being fearful that you're going to be harmed or deported.
[00:37:22] Mary: Absolutely.
[00:37:22] Millana: I mean, truly like that is a daily experience. One that I have not had because I was born in America, but an experience that my family had. My father's entire family has experienced. And so just understanding that personally, but then also getting that, oh my there's so many barriers that one has to overcome that the average American doesn't understand. And I think assumes like, you know, just, you got to pull yourself up from your bootstraps and it's like, 'they can't get a credit card, even if they're 35, because they don't have a bank account because they have to actually be aware of where they go and how they get there, because they might get pulled over if they don't have their papers together, you know?'
[00:38:05] Millana: And so, um, the barriers are so profound and yet I'm so, so proud of the Latinx community in the United States. I'm so overcome with emotion about the fact that - I actually was not aware that we are the largest, fastest growing population of entrepreneurs. And I'm so grateful to you for helping support our community and people like me all over the U.S. because, because they are championing what's possible. They are the example of what's possible with barriers that most people can't even imagine.
[00:38:39] Mary: Absolutely. And something that you were speaking to that, for whoever's listening, whether it's a big city or not a big city, one of the biggest pieces that you were talking about, like maybe not having papers or, um, being deported. And, and we, we think about those things, but something that I would encourage everybody listening to also think about is even just having to deal with constantly being suspected of that. Just the suspicion of that, wherever you go is enough, that's more than enough for one community to carry and we can help alleviate that. We don't have to suspect people of that.
[00:39:11] Mary: To your point on the financial side. Of course, that's what we do. And that's the space that we operate in, and I could not agree more. So. As, just like a final note, whether it's to the Latinx community or to your Wellness Official community or, or to listeners at large, what would you, what would you share that we can do to push this change continually forward?
[00:39:34] Mary: Like how can we keep pushing us? So, we're having the conversation. What else can we do? What would you want us to do? What would you love to see?
[00:39:41] Millana: Mm, yeah, well, you know, I think the there's two things that come to mind and I think the first is it's going to sound, you know, like of course it comes from a healer, but the first thing is heal yourself. You know, no matter who you are. No matter what you've been through, you can heal. You, you can rise above what the generations before you have gone through. And I don't mean just financially. I mean, from your mental health, your emotional health, your physical health, your spiritual wellbeing, you can thrive in every way.
[00:40:14] Millana: And that will directly impact thriving in this physical realm as an entrepreneur or as a citizen of the world. And so, I think the number one thing that really - when things really shifted for me. And five years ago, when, when things really broke through. It wasn't the financial thing that broke through first, it was actually that I healed myself in a very deep and profound way that year.
[00:40:36] Millana: I really looked at all the things that were keeping me from really being able to believe in myself, to really step into my power and to be empowered, to learn and to be empowered to believe in myself. That was the shift. And then what came from that was the financial shift and the business shift. And so, my number one asset, everyone is seek to heal yourself because every one of us needs that.
[00:41:02] Millana: And then what will directly come from that is every other part of your life will start to rise. And then my second part of that is, don't give up. Like I'm starting to see that people see me in a way that nobody saw me 10 years ago. I think everybody literally was like, 'oh, that's cute. What you're trying to do' back then.
[00:41:22] Millana: 'Oh, so good luck sweetie.' At 25, like you're still broke. Good luck truly. And now it's like this interesting thing where I'm like, 'wow, this has really changed.' And it's because under all of that, what's really real is that I refused to give up. I had a vision. I believed that what I knew to be true was for me to carry out and to serve the greatest good.
[00:41:48] Millana: And so, I was not going to give up until I was able to fulfill that. And so, I ask anybody that's out there struggling right now to know that you, one, deserve to heal and that's a high priority for anything that you want to do in the world. And two, to never give up.
[00:42:04] Mary: And I have to add one piece to that. If you are not the entrepreneur out there, but you know one, or if you're not the person that's having to strive, but you know someone that is, don't tell them that they can't do it.
[00:42:15] Mary: If they're a passionate, believe in them. It doesn't matter what they look like, how old they are, believe in them. I'm so sorry that anybody around you said that the answer should always be hell yes, you can do it. What do you need from me?
[00:42:26] Millana: Oh, you're so sweet. Yeah, thank you. I so agree with you, and you know what, even if you have people that are telling you that it's not going to work, it feels really good when it does. And you don't even have to say anything. You're just like, well, it worked.
[00:42:44] Mary: You know, you hear it, and it's like oh thank you honey.
[00:42:47] Millana: See you in a couple of years.
[00:42:50] Mary: The only other thing that I like to give space for, because I know that many of the conversations we have, I've never experienced. And so, I like to be the person that is always open to creating the space and learning. So, my last thought is always, is there a conversation or a part of the topic that you'd wished we'd had that you were like, you know what, this should have been a part of this because it's so crucial?
[00:43:14] Millana: Oh, well, I guess I would love to just share how people can join our community and how they can take part in some of our offerings and the things that we're sharing. I mean, we have a lot of really amazing online courses and events that we do on a regular basis with myself and other practitioners. And in the new year in 2022, we'll be doing more in person. If all things permit and we'll be doing some more online courses. And one of the things that we're actually going to be doing at the top of the year is a conscious business course for young entrepreneurs who want to start more conscious and authentic businesses. And it's really an amalgamation of the things I've learned in the past 10 years, and all of the things that I wish someone would've told me that I know will help others go faster because that's what I want.
[00:44:03] Millana: I want more of us to be empowered so that we can more quickly make an impact on this world to make it a better place for all of us. So, if anybody's interested in learning about really some of the more detailed, nuanced things of what it's like to start a business, everything from the legals, the accounting, but also just how to actually build an authentic community and customer base that really cares and understands about what you are bringing to them.
[00:44:28] Millana: We have a waitlist that's going to be available in my link in my bio on Instagram, which is Millana Snow. M-I-L-L-A-N-N-A S-N-O-W and on Wellness Official's Instagram, and it will be on the website as well. So, I am really excited about this, and I would love for anybody, if you feel connected to what I shared today, or anything that you see on the Wellness Official and Millana Snow channels, we would love to have you a part of it. And it's really going to, really take things to the next level for us and everyone that we have in it.
[00:44:58] Mary: Oh, hell yes. We'll link it, too. That sounds amazing.
[00:45:00] Millana: Thank you.
[00:45:01] Mary: Hell, yes. Thank you so much.
[00:45:04] Millana: Oh my gosh. Thank you, Mary. What a special conversation. I really appreciate you holding space for me like this today.
[00:45:10] Mary: Always. Absolutely. Always.
[00:45:12] Mary: Thank you for listening in. We hope you enjoy today's episode with Millana, and we hope you feel as inspired as we always do, bringing you these episodes. We are excited to continue bringing you unique conversations with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to check out our entrepreneurship mini-series from season two earlier this year, where you will find some amazing conversations, really focused on entrepreneurship in general. With our entrepreneur friends and financial professionals, we sit down and chat about getting your business started, looking for funding and other entrepreneurship goodness.
[00:45:50] Mary: Next week, we will wrap up our mini-series with a special episode in collaboration with Anu Thomas from Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. We will chat about the monetary realities and costs of immigration for the Latinx community, with real stories from people in the community. We hope to chat with you then. Stay safe and happy money making.