In our series Selfmade U, we’ll tackle the most common questions and pain points that come up for business owners with tips and tricks from Selfmade, a virtual business coaching program, founded by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and sponsored by Office Depot OfficeMax. We’ll hear from Selfmade members and business coaches on what it takes to run a successful business and make it as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship can be demanding, challenging, unpredictable, and deeply satisfying. The wins, big and small, help you rise above the challenges and there are so many perks to being your own boss (set your own schedule, do creative work you love, work from wherever, to name a few). But sometimes you can find yourself stuck on a problem – with nowhere to turn.
“I didn’t really feel like I had a community around me here in Maryland. We moved after the pandemic to be closer to my husband’s family,” says Lucia Diaz, a first-generation Colombian-American and the founder of LUCIA DIAZ, a Latina-owned business dedicated to empowering and honoring Latinas through illustration. “My artworks are a reflection of my commitment to provide cultural representation and instill pride in mujeres poderosas.” That is, powerful women like her.
Lucia turned to Selfmade, receiving an Office Depot OfficeMax scholarship to the program, to help her connect with business mentors and other female founders. “Being the first one in my family to build a business of this magnitude, it's really comforting to have mentors, especially of color or who come from first-generation immigrant families,” says Lucia. “The Selfmade Community is just an outpouring of love and just lots of great women who understand what you're going through and help put you in the right direction with the right resources.”
Lucia has had a banner year, her third in business. She has partnered with major fashion and beauty brands, like Tiffany & Co., Chanel, and Estee Lauder, and has curated a show of 100 LatinX artists at the The Oculus Center in NYC for Hispanic Heritage Month. We caught up with Lucia before she was heading out to NYC to speak at the United Nations Science Summit about the digital art exhibit.
Here’s Lucia’s day in the life!
6AM I start my day early, doing a lot of journaling, meditation, giving my cats some love and attention. My Selfmade mentor was like, “You can't just get up and go and just read emails. You have to do something for yourself first!” I've noticed that once I do my morning routine and just really focus on myself first, I tend to have a much better day.
7AM I head to the gym and listen to one of my favorite audiobooks, “I Will Teach You to Be Rich" by Ramit Sethi or "Wealth Warrior" by Linda Garcia, running at my own pace (AKA not super fast!). This is something that I established this year. I feel like I'm much happier now and I feel so grounded and connected to self.
9AM I record two The Art of Representation podcast interviews. Today's interviews were withAlyssa Reynoso-Morris, an Afro-Latina author, and Vero M. Estrada, a life coach. I use Zencastr to record the episode and then I'll use Canva to automate my podcast bookings. To collect guest information, I'll use Google Forms, which will help me create the blog post for fearlessyaya.com. Finally, I'll prepare the podcast links and content for social media. To save time, I'll also schedule social media reels in advance.
12PM I enjoy a lunch of my mom’s amazing beef and potato empanadas. Whenever I visit her, she'll always pack me some empanadas even though I tell her to rest now that she’s retired.:) I am from Colombia and I always feel connected to home through food.
1PM I answer emails and work on my United Nations speech for next week. I'm researching every panelist and just really digging through their history, so I can ask them specific questions.
I'm super honored that my friend Sandy Martinez selected me to be the first moderator. I remember being a little girl presenting a book report and being so nervous. Now I'm presenting to the UN and it's crazy. It's a dream. When I told my dad he teared up and my mom was bawling. She's like, “How is it that we migrated to this country and now you get to speak to delegates from not only all over the world but delegates also from Colombia.” So it's really powerful.
The main thing that I will touch on is the work that I've been doing with an orphanage in Colombia called CASA HOGAR NAZARETH. For the last seven years, I've been able to donate proceeds. Last year, I was able to donate a whole collection’s worth of proceeds to the orphanage because I had a really great year. My grandfather, Manuel, was an orphan. He raised 12 children, was a rural farmer, and became a leader in his community and made sure to take care of others. That's what he instilled in me. If there's enough for me, there's enough for everybody. We can make it work.
3PM I Zoom with some of the artists to help them upload their artwork for the exhibit. I want to make sure they can all participate. They are artists from all over Latin America, from the Caribbean, from Venezuela and Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and some don’t speak English. I want to make sure they have their chance to show in NYC, many for the first time.
4PM I edit my podcast episodes using Final Cut Pro. I have a passion for video editing. I also create eye-catching thumbnails for YouTube and social media using Adobe Photoshop. My workflow involves scheduling episodes two months in advance, which I attribute to my detail-oriented nature – perhaps it's my inner Virgo shining through!;)
6PM I have dinner with my husband. He is the one who encouraged me to take the leap and start my business. He’s been so supportive.
7PM After dinner, we like to walk by the creek. It’s something my mom and dad used to do. In Colombia, there are a lot of waterfalls and little lakes and places that you would go and reconnect with nature.
8PM I work on my artwork. Fridays are my days for my own art, where I illustrate and I draw for myself. I don't have an agenda. Sometimes it is personal illustrations. Other times it's illustrations of incredible women in the Latin community. I don't take meetings on Fridays. I'm not posting anything on Instagram. I'm not answering any phone calls or emails. I literally hide my phone in my safe and I asked my husband to change the code [laughs].
Lucia also started a stationery business and uses her printers from Office Depot to support her print business. “Aside from my services, I develop greeting cards and stationery and work on showing how through stationery we celebrate the holidays and milestones in our Latinx community.”
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Illustrated by Daniela Jordan-VillavecesBalance the creative and business aspects of your business with help from Office Depot OfficeMax. We help you organize & save time with a suite of business services & solutions to help you accomplish more – from signs, posters & banners to get your business noticed to marketing materials to help bring your brand vision to life.