Headshot photo of Luis Baez, sales coach and entrepreneur, standing outdoors in front of cobblestone steps.
June 19, 2021

Take Pride: How to Build a Business You're Proud of, with Sales Coach Luis Baez, Silicon Valley Expert

June 19, 2021

Take Pride: How to Build a Business You're Proud of, with Sales Coach Luis Baez, Silicon Valley Expert

Headshot photo of Luis Baez, sales coach and entrepreneur, standing outdoors in front of cobblestone steps.
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Meet Luis Baez, Sales Coach for LGBT+ Entrepreneurs

Omaralexis Ochoa: Today, I'm really excited to introduce you to Luis Baez. He is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and self-described optimist who is dedicated to helping others build their own business that they can be proud of. Luis has over 14 years of experience in sales and marketing for renowned organizations like LinkedIn, Google, Uber, and Tesla.

He identifies as queer and is also a Hispanic first-generation college student and business- owner. He is passionate about empowering intersectional minorities like himself to build confidence and success in entrepreneurship.

Luis, thank you so much for joining me today.

Luis Baez: Thank you very much. My friend, I am so thrilled to be here, Lex, and to connect with you. And I appreciate this opportunity to connect with your audience.

What was it like working at the world's largest companies?

Omaralexis Ochoa: Yeah, definitely. You know, when you had reached out, I was very impressed by your business background. You clearly have an expertise in sales and marketing, and you have the experiences at these renowned companies like Uber and Tesla that people dream of to prove it.

So, one thing that I want to know just to really get the conversation started -- you mentioned often times you were the only one in the room at these companies, whether you were the only Hispanic or LGBT person in a room full of straight, cis, white decision-makers. So let's start by telling me a bit of what that was like at those big organizations.

Luis Baez: That's an excellent question, Lex, and I appreciate you asking it. It was on the one hand, a really amazing moment to have worked so hard on myself and to have developed the courage and the knowledge to earn that seat at the table. So that was a really remarkable moment. Not only for me, but for my family, for my tribe, for everyone, that's like really supported me and guided me in this process.

So, it was a milestone. It was a milestone to get a seat at the table. And my entering the industry was very intentional because I, prior to moving into tech and moving into advertising, I worked in law, which was a super conservative space where I worked a lot harder to negotiate my identity.

And so you know, I, I joined the space because there was this promise of being able to show up as your whole self in the workplace and be optimally productive and have your ideas welcome. And so that was, you know, the, the, the promise of all that, the reality is that the promise fell a little short and it's not to discredit the work that's being done. It's not to dismiss the contextual background of everything that's happening. I don't want to make this a conversation about being, you know, sourpuss. I would really emphasize that I learned a whole lot in my experience and that it really shaped me in who I am and how I do business, but it was disappointing because at times I had to, beyond the scope of what I call self-advocacy or self-promotion, I really had to step in and defend my knowledge and my credibility and my expertise. And that was the part that for me, was so disappointing because I thought I had a seat at the table because my ideas were welcome.

What was your favorite or least favorite experience?

Omaralexis Ochoa: When you talk about that sort of defending your position and to some degree being that representation for people like yourself, you know, you mentioned your tribe and your family you know, it was both a very proud moment then also, seeing that kind of disappointment once you're at the table it's really, really kind of a big let down -- one thing that I think is really unfortunate to hear, because a lot of people really aspire to work at these sorts of organizations. So what would you say during the past 14 years was either your favorite or least favorite time at one of these companies?

Luis Baez: My favorite time was my time at LinkedIn. And I was part of an organization that was a sort of startup within this bigger company that was no longer a startup at the time.

And so I had that opportunity to be an intrapreneur, someone who stepped into a business and helped to build another line of business. And I loved that. I loved sinking my teeth into these new problems, you know, really elevating my position in my career by taking on projects that really shook me and scared me in very good ways and helped me develop all new sets of skills and confidence.

So that was the context for it. And also while at LinkedIn, I had the space to do something about the experience One of the things that I really advocate for anyone that inspires to work at companies like these or any sort of Fortune 500 company is: look for companies that invest in employee resource groups. ERGs are typically executive-sponsored groups of professionals that have common interests or lived experience.

So while I was at LinkedIn, a colleague of mine, and I founded the Latinx, in collaboration with the existing LGBTQ ERG, parenting ERG, veterans ERG, etc. And so I think that you, you have to find not only that confidence to advocate for yourself, but the network that's going to commit to amplifying your contributions and your visibility in the organization to make sure that you thrive. And so that I think was my favorite experience being in a place where I was building a business, but also helping to set precedent for other people to thrive and then collaborate in distributed resources.

What would you say to professional who are struggling with being the only diverse person in the room?

Omaralexis Ochoa: I'm really glad that you mentioned ERGs. This is something that is a really great resource for people of color, as well as LGBT intrapreneurs to really make your voice heard.

I myself work as the chapter lead for the ERG at my company, but one thought that I've had relating to how ERGs operate is oftentimes these ERGs, they do go a long way to promoting D&I, whether it's in the community or internally, but many times, it's kind of like as the only Hispanic or LGBT person in the room, you're also picking up the slack and leading these organizations.

So what would you have to say to people who are maybe struggling with being the only person in the room at their companies who have to do the extra work of driving forward these D&I initiatives that really falls on them as people of color?

Luis Baez: First of all, I wanna acknowledge that this is exhausting. It's exhausting to be in that position. So I want to hold space for that. I also want to remind anyone that's listening to this and is in that position that you didn't create this problem. And it's actually not yours to solve. I think that as you approach how you deal with this or how you navigate these sort of situations, number one is fine alignment with, people in the room who value the things that you do who value your contributions and would also appreciate more inclusive thinking at the table. And those people are typically easy to find in the room. Those are the people that you enjoy conversations over the water cooler (pre- pandemic.) And during the pandemic, you're having break off rooms in Zooms or texting during the Zoom meetings. And, you know, having those asides right?

There are people that are already in your corner. So think about how can you create a precedent for reciprocity. How can you start amplifying the things that they do and encourage them to amplify the things that you do so that you start to create more visibility? Then think about cross-functionally reaching out to someone in another department who might be in the same position as you, who might be experiencing the same anxieties as you, and think about inviting that person to virtual coffee, virtual lunch, whatever it might be or whatever it looks like these days for you, but think about forming those alliances internally.

It's really important that you find space where you are reminded that you are not alone, that you are not crazy for feeling what you're feeling or experiencing what you're experiencing. And you also for yourself need to think about building your own sort of "board of directors", if you will. So having these relationships cross-functionally is, is putting yourself in a position as an intraprenuer, as a boss, as a leader to have these kinds of folks advising you, advocating for you and amplifying you.

What were your ERG experiences like at other companies?

Omaralexis Ochoa: Yeah. And I think that's really, you know, what these ERG sort of aim to do. So, as you mentioned with as exhausting as it seems, you know, doing, doing that work is really about creating this space. Not only for yourself to sort of decompress and realize that you aren't alone but also creating that space for other people.

So during your time at LinkedIn, you cited the fact that you were able to build this from the ground up and create the space from the ground up because they were sort of in that early stage of developing, you know, certain ERGs that weren't there before. Were you not able to get that opportunity when you were working at other organizations like Uber and Tesla?

Luis Baez: You know, I, there were opportunities, they were different experiences. As far as the demands of my time, my energy, I mentioned Uber, for example, that was, you know, I wore seven different hats in my role there such that I just had no time left over to really build these alliances that I mentioned to you.

There was very little time for that. While I was at Tesla, I connected with people who already started doing that kind of work. But again, it was a situation where I was covering the North American territory. So physically it was really difficult for me to plug into the work that was being done. So different contexts, but the need was definitely there.

The experiences were the same, you know, in terms of me showing up at the time. Presenting my ideas presenting the data and still being dismissed. And so, you know, that, that those, the work was necessary. Those organizations I was very happy to know that the work was being done and that they existed.

And there was an opportunity for me whenever I could to plug in to the work that was being done, connect with folks during meetings and during gatherings, because that visibility is important and it's very, very important. And having that executive sponsorship is also.

How did you handle being treated differently?

Omaralexis Ochoa: So when you were in say like a boardroom at one of these organizations where you mentioned you present the ideas and maybe they aren't as validated simply because you're viewed differently for your background or viewed differently for your cultural or LGBT representation, what was your first experience in that? And how did you handle it?

Luis Baez: Yeah, that's an excellent question. So I, in the roles that I had at the time, this company has worked with teams of people that had different functions relative to how we serve clients. So I was the sales executive. I was the face of the team, but I had people that worked alongside me who were responsible for, anything from analytics to implementation design, etc.

And I would roll into these meetings with my whole team. And rather than being the know-it-all that holds the mic the entire time and runs the entire meeting, (which is how I started my career.) I thought I had to step into the room and be that person that was just like on it, on it, on it.

I took that pressure off myself. Because number one, no one admires a know-it-all. So for me to have my identity in question, my integrity and intelligence in question, and also be the know-it-all in the room was the recipe for total dismissal. So I learned to, again, bring the squad with me and amplify that. Because it really struck confidence with the client in the room that not only did I know what I was talking about, but that I could also enlist the support of people internally to get the job done. And that I think is really how I was able to gain trust in those conversations, bringing other voices, bringing testimonial and examples and case studies and numbers and everything to back up the recommendations.

But that had to really shift the way that I thought about what it meant to be an executive, because of course there is this pressure of when you're a leader in a corporate setting, you know, being the one that has total competency and is in total control of the conversation situation, right?

Like you have got to be willing to be that kind of servant leader and inclusive leader to not hog the mic. So I had to shift the way that I showed up to yield the kind of respect that would get things done.

Omaralexis Ochoa: Yeah. And you mentioned servant leadership. That's something that, you know, I think is very in the hot topics right now, related to how organizations are trying to drive their leadership to manage the business.

But it's something that doesn't really come naturally to everyone, you sort of grow up with a prototype in your head about what a business leader is. And oftentimes that's the person who knows everything, knows how to get it done. But to some degree, you know, being a servant leader, is delegating as well as elevating others to a position where they're able to take on that spotlight and, and build that confidence in the spotlight as well.

This doesn't really come naturally to people. And especially you, yourself, having been a first-generation college student, as well as a first-generation business owner, you know, to some degree, did you ever feel like there was a cultural disadvantage or socioeconomic disadvantage from where you sort of started from, in that, you know, you didn't have people in your family who were business executives that were able to teach you these things when you became one yourself.

Luis Baez: You know, early in my career, I definitely had that kind of narrative in my head about like, you know, I'm the first one out here. I'm out here. Trying to be like the self-made person. I'm asking for the help. I'm looking stupid. I'm asking the stupid questions, right? Like I have to do what I've got to do in the vein of advocating for myself.

As I matured in my career and as I progressed and as I started to have seats at the table I really saw my background is a huge advantage, right? Like when I show up at the table I can speak "exec," I can speak "tech," I can speak "customer service," right? I can also cross-functionally and cross-culturally contribute to the conversation. I can bring perspective to the room that isn't there. And so in my career, I grew frustrated with the fact that not only was my bicultural-ness my bilingualness, like a huge culture-add to the table, but it was being dismissed. It was being disregarded. My ideas weren't appreciated. And yet, from my perspective, I feel like I should have been commanding more because I was contributing more to the conversation.

So, and that took a while for me to develop that kind of perception and then self-worth and self-value because for a long time, And, you know, I, I really tried to play into what the game was, you know, I tried to be that super buttoned up executive, focused and playing up what was required to succeed and thrive and modeling the behaviors of the top performers.

I really started to get away from being myself and I was miserable. I was miserable being in a place that didn't appreciate me no matter how I showed up. And then I was miserable trying to put on a facade. And so I just stopped doing that. And I just started showing up as my whole self for better or for worse. In some instances it was highly valued, highly appreciated. And it's something that definitely moves the needle as far as business was concerned. Right. When we're talking about the bottom line you know, I definitely was a cultural add as well as the revenue add. But you know, it's, I have to say it's. It's exhausting.

It is exhausting. It is very, very exhausting to, to be in that position of you know, just not, not being valued. So I just, I want to hold space for anyone that's listening to this and feeling the same way. You know, and just, I want to, I want to just recognize you. I want to recognize what it is that you're going through.

And so that is how my, you know, my approach sort of shifted. I just, I realized that no matter how I showed up, I was going to be up against something, some kind of criticism, some kind of person trying to knock me down and pull the rug. And so I just showed up as my whole self and there were instances where I was "othered" and there were instances where I was taken off of projects or where the work that I did, you know, "mysteriously" started getting deleted from shared online drives and things like that would definitely, yeah. It's a cutthroat environment. It's a really cutthroat environment. No one talks about that piece of it.

But you know, I found my alliances. It's like in those moments where I felt really like degraded or deflated or disillusioned, I had other people to turn to, to talk it out with to remind me that I wasn't the problem.

How have your experiences prepared you to become an entrepreneur?

Omaralexis Ochoa: So it sounds like, with all of these sorts of trials and tribulations, over the past 14 years, you really took that and really used it as a crucible to develop yourself into this professional who has gone on and decided to start his own business and help other people start theirs.

So, how have these experiences prepared you to take on the task of working for yourself?

Luis Baez: You know, I don't think anything can honestly prepare you for going into business for yourself. And I say that because I really will own my naivete or my arrogance or entitlement, because, well, I came up out of these experiences and I went into full-time self-employment. Like, you know what, after all of these like battle scars after everything that I've been through, like it, it should not be that hard for me to get out of here and start shaking hands and tell them my story. But no one had heard of me, no one had heard of me, right. It's one thing when you walk into the room and you're selling a product suite from a Fortune 500 that everyone wants or has heard of, but it's another thing when you're like, "Hey, I am someone you've never heard of, but I've got credentials that I promise you would be of interest or value to you. So, it took a lot of relearning and repositioning the way that I approached things. So relative to sales, for example, I used the same processes and frameworks that I've learned in doing enterprise and corporate sales. But I adjusted it for this audience that I'm serving, working with coaches and consultants and creators.

I had to figure out, you know, how is it that I take these big company, enterprise-type strategies and make it applicable for smaller businesses, micro-businesses, online businesses, solo. And that also in the process of going down this path of entrepreneurship, I started to realize I was experiencing some of the same symptoms that I experienced in my corporate life and also feeling like I was the only one in some of these conferences that came from my lived experiences or had these sort of like intersectional experiences.

And so that really puts some fire in my belly and to say, you know what, I want to be someone who runs a business that is all the way accessible and transparent. And I want to be here to serve people that are underserved and underrepresented. And that includes women. That includes people who are LGBTQ as well as BIPOC.

And so the work that I have done has been very intentional around taking these big Silicon valley strategies and helping smaller businesses see the same kind of success so that they can also create amazing customer experiences that we all deserve.

What has been your favorite part about working with QBIPOC entrepreneurs?

Omaralexis Ochoa: With your experience, you know, like you mentioned these battle scars, putting together The Sales Huddle for these underserved communities, you've gotten to work with quite a few clients who are LGBT, who are BIPOC. So what would you say has been your favorite experience in running and owning your own business, helping these people?.

Luis Baez: You know, for me, it's always that "Aha!" moment that people have when they reach that moment of clarity. Whether they've been mulling over how to express what they want to do or how to package their idea into a service or product, or just even having that moment of self-reflection and valuation. I work with people who similar to me, worked full-time for someone else and faced degradation and that dismissal and othering in the workplace. And that's traumatizing. And we have to hold space for that. We have to hold space for someone that hasn't had a moment to see their own shine or their own power outside of that corporate context. )And so I love sort of initial conversations with clients where we do what I call "inventory check." One of the exercises I encourage people to go through is: blank paper, pen-to-paper. (I am all the way an analog guy living in a digital world, as much as I can talk about systems and automations and tools all day long, I love pen and paper, and there's just no replacement for it.)

So when we need to brainstorm where we need to get clear, we've got to remove all the distractions of the notifications and the puppy videos, and we gotta be with ourselves and with our thoughts. We also got to get things out of our minds and turn them into tangible things that we see on a page. That's how you start the manifestation process.

And so I encourage my clients from the onset to open up a notebook, blank page. Do not put your name on it, but start listing all the things that you bring to the table. Credentials, qualifications, experiences, certifications, education, revenue impact, community served, countries you've worked in, traveled to, books read, seminars attended, etc. Put it all on the page in no particular order, but just get it all out there, size yourself up, size all your contributions up, and then step away from the page, grab some tea or whatever your favorite beverage is and come back to the page and look at that page and ask yourself, "Is this someone that I would be excited to work with? Is this someone that I would trust to guide me, to figure out the problem, to figure out the solution to my problem?"

And if your answer is "Yes," then you have got everything you need, my friend. And I also encourage you not to put the name on the page. You can look at these things objectively. You've got to see yourself the way that other people would see you, because I can't tell you how many times (and especially working through that trauma of being a full-time corporate employee) where sometimes I don't see what I bring to the table. But other people, a process or something that I do very simply, which is nothing to me is super valuable to someone else.

But I don't see that because it's all in my head. But when I stop to do inventory on paper, I see myself very differently. So I that's where I like to start the conversation.

Any advice for crafting your very first offer?

Omaralexis Ochoa: I think that's an incredible exercise that really reminds me of an exercise that another one of my friends does. He himself is a consultant that very similar to you works with, smaller business owners, solopreneurs, etc and I think that's a really great exercise to take in that oftentimes, it's a question that I've asked myself: "What do I have to offer that would add value? What do I have to offer that people would be willing to pay for or people would be willing to entrust me with?" and I think that's a really powerful way to just take inventory, but what if you take an inventory and you realize, you know what there are quite a few gaps, there's still a lot of questions about things that I would like to refine. What is your advice for people who still have a lot of work to do towards developing something that they would feel confident putting their name on as "my new business," or "my new offer?"

Luis Baez: That's an excellent question. So first things first, you don't have a whole lot of work to do. I think that the important thing to recognize is that you can be of service to someone else if you just happen to be two steps ahead of them. If you can be that person, who's just right ahead of them that says, "Hey, watch that step. Hey, watch that pothole. Hey, watch that. Don't step on that, right?" You add value to that person.

And so I would say if you do inventory and you're seeing gaps and you're feeling disappointed about not feeling like you bring everything you wanted to the table. Number one: where are you two steps ahead? That's where you add value. And number two: what are you going to commit to, to fill those gaps? Are you going to commit to doing the work? Are you going to get the life coach, enlist the therapis, do the online trainings, go out and attend the seminars, enlist a mentor, etc? Like what, what are you going to commit to? Where's one place that you're going to start? I think that we need to really simplify this process and take the pressure off yourself, be two steps ahead, and always be learning and you will always thrive.

Omaralexis Ochoa: Yeah, I think that's excellent advice and it really ties into what my consultant friend has said to me. Cause you know, I've gone through similar processes with him for things like this podcast, especially to just really understand. Okay. Where can I add value? And one thing that he said on the subject of simplification is that I like many other people tend to over-complicate things, you know, I'm sort of the person that thinks, oh, well, you know, if I can't be a full service marketing agency that does packaging and distribution and all of these other aspects of it, then, you know, why should I even start with this one little piece that I know I'm good at when there's so many pieces? And, he says: take it one step at a time, offer what you can and then outsource what you can't.

I'm not sure if you align to that particular suggestion, but I think it's a good way of looking at what you bring to the value without over-complicating things. A lot of people run into the wall of, "Okay, well I want to offer EVERYTHING versus offering one thing."

Luis Baez: Absolutely. I have that conversation multiple times a day. And I think that that just is a symptom of, we think that more is more when less is more. We don't trust that less is more because there are a few sort of examples in our immediate circles around that, but we can look at other big businesses that really hang themselves on a signature product. Or something that they're really well known for or something that everyone admires them for.

And I encourage people to think about like, what would your business look like if it was that simplified? And you know, what if instead of trying to build an agency that helps a lot of people. What if you became obsessed with helping ONE person at a time and making sure that each person has a remarkable enough experience to go out and tell their friends about it so that you're never worried about where your next client is coming from.

I think that is where folks really need to tune in. And one of the things that I teach in The Sales Huddle is a "Business Order of Operations" or a "BOO." So I tell everybody at the top of the month, "Hey guys, let me introduce you to my boo." These are my, my operational priorities for the month. And what I do is I look at the four main quadrants of a micro-business, of the solopreneur business or a business of 10 employees or less, and that the core of it, and this is going to sound very oversimplified but you'd be surprised at the apple that falls on many people's heads.

First things first, we got to look at product, you got to have something to sell. And that thing needs to be something that is reliable, dependable, as far as what the solution delivers, it needs to be repeatable. And you've got to really sit down with that product or that service package or that online course, or a group coaching experience and make sure that it can deliver on your promise. Then as you think about: "Okay, I've got this product in place now what's the next lever?" Most people go to marketing, they go: "Oh, I've got a coaching package, so let me get on Instagram and blast this."

But what you actually need is a sales strategy before marketing, because you can sell something without a website and without an Instagram account. That is the mindset shift where people are like: "Wait, you're telling me that not only do I have to let go of doing all the things and focus on one thing now you're telling me to let go of Instagram for right now?"

Yes. Yes. I am inviting you to consider what your business would look like if you were out there inviting people to have conversations with you. Rather than being, self-promoting and getting out there with all the selfies and all the infographics off the bat. Because here's the deal, you gotta have something to sell.

You gotta have a process for selling it. And then the next order of operations is around your operations. You've got to have a plan in place. To support your customers to make sure that all their questions are answered. All the things that you promised on are delivered. You've got to get the kinks out of your process. You got to get the integrations for all your tools worked out. You've got to do all of that setup and implementation, right?

And then once you have something to say, you have a strategy for selling it and you have all the processes to support your sales, then you're ready to work on your marketing. At that point is when we can start talking about your Instagram strategy and everything else relative to how it is, you're going to promote your product over and over.

And so that compulsion of getting all the things done all at once comes from getting very focused, putting pen to paper, make the quadrants: Product, Sales, Operations, Marketing, and in each quadrant, no more than three priorities for them. So, I don't want you doing all the things either, because the way that you start to build momentum and see the value of this flywheel that I'm proposing for you is by not doing all the things at once and also seeing on a page or on a board, or what have you, where you need support.

So you mentioned delegation. This is where the magic starts to come in, because once I've got all the things laid out on my Business Order of Operations, once my boo and I have sorted out, how it is that we're going to get along for the month, then I start to look at my priorities and I go, "Hmm, I don't have time to master the copywriting skills in this quadrant. So I'm going to enlist a copywriter because my priority for this month is a launch or a series of podcast interviews, or wherever it is. And I'm really focused." So I started to look at my goals for the month and go, "Hmm, whose support can I enlist?"

Because as an entrepreneur, my success is ultimately measured against two things: number one, driving revenue and number two, creating jobs, opportunities, and collaborations. So I have to delegate because that is part of my responsibility as a business owner.

How do you overcome failure and iterate on an offer?

Omaralexis Ochoa: Wow. So I feel like at this point everyone's probably taking notes. I know I did. Just talking through this with you and getting an understanding of how you built your business and how you've helped other people do the same, that's just very inspiring. And I'm definitely going to be taking a few listens through this conversation to just make sure I've got everything down.

But another question I have for you is when it comes to being a business owner and putting together these offers or these products, people need to be unafraid to also fail, especially at the beginning. So how would you recommend that people go about iterating when maybe they're at this point afraid to take on a client and potentially fail or not deliver?

Luis Baez: Yeah, that's an excellent question. I think one of the things that I see top performing solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, creatives, who are really killing the game. These folks have all figured out a framework or a process, right where it's like A then B, then C, then D and then they go through the exercise of spending maybe let's say their first few years in business, teaching that framework one-on-one. And then they take, you know, once they've gotten the kinks out of their process, then they take that and they scale it into an online program where they can teach multiple people at once. And then, you know, the online course where anyone can learn anytime.

So I invite people to consider, what does your business look like if it evolves over time. And what if you gave yourself that grace to just really engage directly with people? And think about what it looks like to beta your service or your product at first. So if you're concerned about introducing it to market or selling it to someone or presenting it to someone because it's not perfect and the kinks haven't gotten out of it I just want to invite you to consider my friend that you will be in beta for the rest of your entrepreneurial life.

Because if you have really dialed this in, then you will build a process for gathering feedback from your clients at every turn. So whether that's on a monthly basis, you're doing, let's say monthly business, core business reviews or quarterly business reviews, where you're sitting down with the client, you're going through the work that's been accomplished, etc. That is ultimately how you want to be thinking about showing up for that person is guiding that conversation that way and being prepared so that you're not scrambling to retain their trust. You're not scrambling to collect that feedback. You're opening those conversations. You're creating those conversations and those opportunities. And I invite people to do that directly when you're working with the client one on one.

As you start to grow and you work with multiple clients at once, you can think about whether that's a monthly or quarterly survey where you solicit feedback from people, but you want to be asking questions directly, not being, making iterations or redoing things based on hunches, but real direct feedback from your clients by asking them, creating opportunities for conversations, inviting the conversations to open up feedback.

And then think about not overwhelming yourself with like, all right, every time I going to be something back, I'm going to reiterate. No, you want to just once a month or once a quarter, but do it consistently when you're updating your content, getting the kinks out of your process, your framework.

So allow yourself that grace and that space for things to improve over time, because we improve over time as human beings, whether it's in our intellectual pursuits or our fitness pursuits, right. We don't just wake up one day and run a marathon. That's something that we train for. And so then you want to take the same approach with your product.

Allow yourself the space and the grace to be messy when you're getting started, because guess what? We are all messy throughout our entire experience as entrepreneurs. You might admire someone because you think they're buttoned up, but they are crying in bed and all in their feelings about not enoughness, whatever that looks like for them, because that's just our experience as ambitious people.

How do you build confidence and get 'okay' with failing?

Omaralexis Ochoa: Wow, this is all really fantastic advice. And I feel like it really just hits the nail on the head in terms of how other entrepreneurs and people who are just very ambitious and looking to build something from the ground up, tend to feel. And I'm sure that, it's taken a long time for you to sort of get to this point over the course of your career and, and connecting with different mentors throughout your life.

So as a final question for people who want to get to this point of just understanding how it works and you know, where they need to be okay with trying and failing. How would you say people can develop that in their lives, whether it's through mentorship or coaching and how did you get to this place of sureness and such confidence in your business?

Luis Baez: That's an excellent question. So let's just be very clear. I'm still developing confidence. I am still a work in progress and I'm not afraid to admit that. I think that actually admitting that is what gives me my power. And so I want to encourage you to do the same and now I want to give, you know, give yourself that grace.

I think that the thing that really was a gamechanger for me as far as the inflection point in my business was my ability to find a community to connect with. I think that everyone makes that initial and (I'm not putting any judgment on anyone because I did the same thing. I think we all do the same thing.) We start our business and we announced it to our network and we're expecting folks to like really applaud us and celebrate us. And it's very, you know, you talk to any entrepreneur, like if you were to post a promotion at a job, well, I'm Director of Whatever you're going to go like 50 likes. But if you go, "Hey, I started a coaching business." you might get like, seven likes. And don't people just don't get what you're doing, right. So you've got to get in where you fit in.

You've got to find community, you've got to find a tribe, a squad. You've got to find like-minded people who are out here with the same commitment, to the same types of goals as you. Who are going to uplift you and amplify you, hold you down, have recommendations for you when you need them, remind you that you're not insane for going down this path, remind you that you are enough. And, that you deserve the things that you're pursuing.

So you've got to find that, that group. And so I encourage folks as soon as you can, if you're working full time and building on the side, you definitely have disposable income. If you are working full time and doing things for yourself, think about where you can adjust your budgets.

But as soon as you can. Invest in joining some kind of group coaching, find your tribe, find your squad, find someone who is building a business. That looks just like the one that you want to build for yourself. Find a group that's out here doing the same and join them, you know? Out here, you know, training for let's say a triathlon.

If you were out here training for it, you know, that's three different sports. You will find a coach. You would find a group to train with to hold you accountable. My running group, my swimming group, my biking group. You find a way to create a structure around getting this done, getting the training done. So I invite you to think about doing the same thing.

Signing Off

Omaralexis Ochoa: Well, that was all very fantastic advice. And I know I'm definitely going to be taking a lot of this away. Is there anything else that you wanted to just give as a final takeaway to the audience or anyone listening that might be struggling with getting started on their business or diving fully into their business?

Luis Baez: Yeah, I would say that no one's going to build your business for you. And so you've got to be really willing to show up and be vulnerable in the process. You know, that's going to be very important. And I think the other thing is I want to remind you for anyone listening in that you will never fail when you bet on yourself, when you really, truly believe in yourself and show up all the way. Even if you don't have someone building with you right beside you, even if you don't have a huge crowd applauding you as you go. But I promise you that as long as you're betting on yourself you won't lose.

Omaralexis Ochoa: Awesome. Well, thank you very much, Luis. If you would like to hear more about Luis or see any of his fantastic work, you can check out his website at LuisBaez.com and also check out his coaching program, The Sales Huddle, which I definitely think will deliver tons of value just based on this conversation alone. So thank you so much. I really appreciated your time.

Luis Baez: Thank you, Lex. I appreciate this. And to everyone listening, I appreciate your time as well.

Photo of Omaralexis Ochoa, host of The Gay Pro, and author of this blog post.

Omaralexis Ochoa

Data analyst, podcaster, pasta-lover... I'm many things, but above all, I'm a creator. I created The Gay Pro because I love sharing stories of queer success, with the intention of empowering and inspiring other queer leaders.