Lessons learned from my father - Stories from 3 Latino entrepreneurs.

by Janny Perez November 07, 2018

It takes a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur, freelancer, or contractor.  I know, I've been all three.  The uncertainty of tomorrow, the desire to take action and go after your dreams, the rejections, the highs and lows are all things we have to deal with.  Our mothers and fathers had a huge impact on us as children.  Whether they were positive or negative influences, many times we carry those influences into adulthood.  You take what you've learned and you want push harder, aim higher, and go farther, why?  Maybe because you are now a mamá or papá.  Maybe you want to make your familia proud or maybe you simply want to break a cycle and prove that yes you can.  Whatever the reason, there are lessons that you can learn. 

These are the lessons that I learned from my father.

Jesus Ruvalcaba, Creative Director and Owner of Paper Tacos

"What I learned the most from my dad is the meaning of hard work and hustle. For the first 13 years of my childhood, we grew up in labor camp housing in Castroville, California, better known as the Artichoke Center of the World. During that time, I remember my dad would leave for work before sunrise and come home after sunset.  I remember I would be woken up by the bright kitchen light and the smell of meat filled burritos that my mom would prepare for his lunch. After a long day's work, my dad would come home tired and ask me or my sisters to help him take off his work boots.  They were muddy from the long day work in the fields. He did this up until retirement. "

Jesus Ruvalcaba Paper Tacos

"He is a hustler and has an entrepreneurial spirit too. Apart from his day job...he played in a band for weddings on the weekends, he started a wholesale furniture business, he owned his own trucking business, he rented some land to farm his own crops for sale and always does odd jobs here and there...even in retirement."

Paper Tacos Father's Day

"My dad's work ethic has had a huge influence on how I approach my work today. And I thank him for it."  Jesus Ruvalcaba creates these amazing Latino inspired greeting cards available at:  papertacos.net  I love these, I'm a big fan.

 

These are the lessons that I learned from my father.

Krys Lukasavich, Personal Stylist and Fashion Expert

"My abuelito (grandpa) was my father figure growing up and because of him (and my mom of course!) I never felt like I was missing anything by not having my father around. He never bought me any gifts, he didn’t even understand the concept of birthday or Christmas gifts because he had never been able to afford those luxuries as a child or when his children were growing up. But my abuelito (grandpa) showered me with so much love and I just adored him!"
 
"When I was little I would always say, 'abuelito, te quiero mucho,' (grandpa, I love you) and he would always respond with a, 'gracias mi hija.' (thank you my child) One day, as little kids often like to do, I corrected him and told him he’s not supposed to say 'thank you!' he has to say, 'I love you too!' From that day on he always responded with, 'y yo te quiero a ti mi hija.' (I love you too my child)

Krys Lukasavich
 
"After he passed away my mother told me that he had never said those words to her or my aunt or even to my cousin that he raised. He had never heard those words as a child so he never thought to say them. Yet he said them to me all those years just because I asked him too."

Krys Lucasavich Personal Stylist 


"In hindsight, I realize we both taught each other something.  He taught me how to show love by caring for someone and being there for them, and that meant more to me than any material gift I got from anyone else as a child.  And I in turn, I taught him how to say those words that he had always felt but had never known how to express verbally."

 Krys Lukasavich is a New York based personal stylist, fashion expert, and mom of girls.  I met Krys through a photography group we're both a part of and she was like an old friend.  Her style is easy and effortless.  Check out her range of services and blog at stylingbykrys.com.

 

These are the lessons that I learned from my father.

Janny Perez (me), Founder & owner of Mi Legasi

My father was a strict man.  Being in the Colombian military and the youngest son of many siblings, he grew up poor, working in his parent's cafetales (coffee plantations), with no formal education.  He had dreams to see the world and though he was ridiculed for having such dreams, through hard work and devotion, he did.

1970's Pilot

He taught me that it doesn't matter what your job is, do it with dignity, and do it well and people will notice.  He started working as a janitor at an airline company in Colombia and befriended all of the pilots and flight attendants.  When they asked him what he wanted to do with his life, he said, "I want to do what you do, and fly."

Mi Papa

He taught me that with persistence and dedication all dreams are possible.  My dad eventually got educated, became a flight engineer, and later piloted many airplanes around the world.  He's always told me that I need to be "berraca," an almost untranslatable Colombian word that means tough, genius, fearless, legend all combined into one.  I am a little berraca but I can't even compare.

Mi Papa

But out of all the lessons mi 'apá (my dad) has taught me, the one I value the most is that there is always room to better yourself, it's never too late.  My dad had a very hard life and because of that he was hard on everyone around him including his family.  Through the years we saw him change, soften, and show us that he loves us more than he can ever say.  As a mom and wife, I try my very best, but sometimes I may not be my best.  I know that I don't need to be perfect but that there is room for improvement and there's always room for an "I'm sorry" and "I Love you."  Gracias 'apá.

Mi Legasi is a bilingual subscription box and online shop for Latino kids and families to help them Connect, Create, and Carry On.

Final Thoughts

Dedicated to all those papás, daddys, pops, father figures, grandpas, abuelitos, and mentors and your life lessons. Feliz Dia del Padre.  Happy Father's Day. <3

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Janny Perez
Janny Perez

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