Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sheilla Vidal, a Dignity Planning Coach based in Vallejo, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a licensed financial service professional helping divorced women, widows, moms, and daughters of parents with caregiving needs to be financially confident and equipped with the knowledge and a plan for addressing life's what-ifs like - What if I get sick, how will I pay my bills? What if I die too soon? How will my loved ones get by? What if I live a long life? Will I run out of money?
I specialize in income and retirement insurance solutions so women can provide for those who matter most and enjoy a life of dignity, ease, and grace.
Tell us about yourself
I am a physical therapist from the Philippines. As a Physical Therapist, I learned the many nuances of health care and health insurance coverage. My patients taught me a lot; among them was that illness does not discriminate among social status, wealth, age, gender, timing, etc., and it can be financially devastating. As an immigrant who wants to have a good life in America, I have always been interested in managing money and the different ways to build assets. I met my husband, got married, and had my daughter. With the 2008 market recession and the investment losses we've had, I took a hard look at our family finances. I know I had to be knowledgeable to make the right decisions for our family moving forward and not repeat my mistakes. So I made it a priority to learn financial concepts, vehicles, and investments. But my biggest concern was ensuring my family would not suffer financially if something happened to my husband or me. I have seen patients even in their 30s suffer an unexpected long-term illness or disability, which significantly lowered their quality of life and financial disposition. I knew it would help to be prepared, so I made it my goal to save as much as possible, which meant taking additional work outside my main job as a home health PT. This led to tremendous stress and the loss of two pregnancies. I was undoubtedly at the lowest point in my life.
After the loss of my 24-week-old Liezl, I took a break and thought long and hard about how I wanted to live my life. With another baby on the way, I wanted to have the freedom from financial worries but also the time to take care of myself and my family. In other words, Time and Financial Freedom. I wondered if it was possible to have both. God answered my prayers when I found out about the living benefits that will pay out a lump sum from the policy in a diagnosis of a severe illness like cancer, heart attack, stroke, and many more. I learned about real clients getting checks in hundreds of thousands of dollars from their policy upon a diagnosis.
And I learned about their program for helping people build a business as independent agents. I found that it not only gave me the solutions I was looking for, but it also allowed me to help other women who needed them. And so, I began my rewarding journey as a licensed agent, and I'm honored to serve clients gained through word-of-mouth referrals all over the nation. Knowing I make a difference in the lives of others and that I protect families, women and their children is what motivates me every single day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being able to design my business around my life, and according to my purpose, my mission, who I am, and who I want to become. I love that I can choose who to work with and when and where I want to work. The freedom of time and money to do what I love and pursue other things I've always wanted to do, like writing, has been truly rewarding for my family and me.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Overcoming my self-limiting beliefs and fears, learning to stop caring about what people will think of me, and getting out of my comfort zone. Learning how to find a balance between my business and the other important things in life like God, family, health, and self-care. Giving myself grace when I don't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Grow your network; you need all the help you can get. Surround yourself with people because business is made up of people. Be of service. Be interested instead of being interesting to your prospects.
- Just do it. You have done your homework; now it's time to act. Have faith in yourself and God, who is at your side, and jump in. Many business owners put off the needed action because they feel they need to learn everything first. The most valuable lessons will be learned as you go on your journey.
- Stay the course and celebrate little wins. Be a marathoner not a sprinter. Keep taking that step forward. Keep working on yourself, improve yourself.
- (Bonus) Know and accept that sales will be involved. There is no business if there are no profits and no profits if you don't have sales. There is no going around it. So my advice is to embrace it, love it, and celebrate it. And learn to be good at it! One of the biggest things I had to overcome was my negative thoughts about selling. If what you sell helps people, go out there and sell it!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I've seen other business owners miss the point; they forget the people who they built the business for and why they even started a business. They forget to take care of the ones who matter most. They forget that if something happens to them, the people they love and care about will lose a lifeline. Having systems that will take care of you and your loved ones when something unexpected happens to you or your business is really important.
I help business owners be prepared for the what-ifs: What if I want to retire and I can't sell my business? What if I pass away or become disabled and can't run my business? They need a solid retirement plan and sell the business, not just "My business is my retirement."
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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