Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in language services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Flor Castellanos Sanchez, Founder of Speakworthy Language Services, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Speakworthy, we provide interpreter training and language justice consulting. Our customers are individuals looking to be trained as professional interpreters or organizations that need assistance developing interpreter training curricula, assistance with language proficiency assessments for employees, or are interested in getting trained on how to work with interpreters.
Tell us about yourself
Six years ago, a mentor encouraged me to become an interpreter as an option for supplemental income while I went through graduate school for a degree in educational psychology. I considered this suggestion seriously and decided to get trained as an interpreter. I enjoyed interpreting so much that after finishing graduate school, I got licensed as an interpreter trainer and accepted a job training refugees as interpreters with a local non-profit. At the start of COVID, I lost my job - as did many other people in the non-profit sector at that time. That was when I realized I was too passionate about my work to let it go, and I decided to continue doing what I was doing. That was the start of Speakworthy. Since then, I have expanded my work and made it available to anyone who is interested in these services across the U.S. It is very rewarding to help individuals pursue a fulfilling career and to know that with every interpreter and organization we work with, we are one step closer in helping individuals in the U.S., regardless of their language of origin, access important services in our country.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I know I'm not the only one with this story, but honestly, starting a business during a pandemic and growing and continuing to grow since then has been huge for me. The fact that I was able to pay my bills and keep moving forward at a time with so much economic unrest was more than I could ask for. I know I owe it to all of the individuals and organizations that have trusted me with this work.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest part was starting off with no team. You don't realize how lonely you can get until you have no one to help you make decisions. I've had a great supportive community around me from the beginning, but it is not the same as having co-workers who are just as invested in the same work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find the right balance for you. It is easy to overwork or to take too much time off. Find a balance between work and play that you're comfortable with and that matches your goals.
- Invest money in your business, and don't be afraid to contract work out. This is hard to do if you want to save every penny and think you can do it yourself, but in the long run, that investment will keep your business going and yield a better return.
- Find a community of like-minded individuals who have gone down the path you're on. People are very open to sharing resources and helping new entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes. All you have to do is ask and remember to return the favor in the future!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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