Business “Fairy Godmother” Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda Releasing Spanglish Guidebook For Latina Entrepreneurs

Author and Business Coach Ashley K Stoyanov Ojeda | Image by Karen Khoun Design

According to insights from the 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report, Latino-owned businesses are becoming the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. small business ecosystem. And as Victoria Arena from Latinas in Business, writes, much of the growth in the number of new businesses among Latinos has been driven by women.

“Latinas represent 40% of all Latino business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20% within the last five-year period of data available. As part of the gender wage gap, Latinas earn 54 cents on the dollar relative to White non-Latino men, trailing women of all other racial and ethnic backgrounds, which might be one of the driving factors leading to Latinas exiting the formal labor market to start their own businesses,” she writes.

While there is still clearly a lot of systemic change that needs to happen, there is also a lot of ground for opportunity. For up-and-coming entrepreneurs, going from idea to creation can be a matter of what support, financial opportunity and community you have around you to help you get the resources and encouragement you need.

One Latina entrepreneur who is paving the way in this regard is Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda. The Queens, NY native is a business development coach, a socialpreneur, and now the author of a groundbreaking book called ‘Jefa In Training’, which is already hitting #1 on Amazon’s Newly Released in Hispanic Studies, Nonprofit and Starting a Business categories, and is the first “Spanglish” business book for Latina entrepreneurs and creative women.

‘Jefa In Training’ cover

Born to a Mexican mom and French-American father, Ashley’s career started in the music industry in 2012, working at major record labels, publishers, and venues. After relocating to Portland, OR post-college, she created her own network for local womxn songwriters, now a national organization that has been featured in The Recording Academy, called #WomxnCrush Music. Since the rapid growth of her organization, she has dedicated her career to creating opportunities and developing businesses and communities of underrepresented entrepreneurs through her coaching and consulting, and has become known as the Business Hada Madrina (Business Fairygodmother).

Ashley joined The Mujerista team in 2020 to help create and grow The Mujerista Network, a digital network dedicated to empowering and celebrating the next generation of Latinas making an impact en la cultura.

Endorsed by award-winning actress and director Eva Longoria, who calls the book a “much-needed guide” and a “blueprint to becoming a successful entrepreneur”, Ashley’s mission with ‘Jefa In Training’ is to see the growth of countless more Latina entrepreneurs with this book.

In this intimate conversation with a special tribe of first-generation Latinas, Latina immigrants, and women of color in financial, media, entrepreneurial, and creative spaces (including Ana Flores, founder of We All Grow Latina and The Mujerista Network’s Marivette Navarrete) , readers will get to explore a more complex view of Latinidad that covers everything from imposter syndrome to bilingualism. Taking the budding entrepreneur from conception to post-launch, ‘Jefa in Training’ invites you to let go of your fears and finally launch that blog, business, project, or platform.

We had the opportunity to speak to Ashley ahead of her book to get a sneak peek of what readers can expect from ‘Jefa In Training’, and why representation matters!

Author and Business Coach Ashley K Stoyanov Ojeda | Image by Karen Khoun Design

Before we dive into your book, can you tell us about your own entrepreneur journey, and some of the challenges you faced along the way? 

My entrepreneurial journey started when I was beginning my career in music, first as a singer-songwriter, followed by being the founder of an international non-profit organization (#WomxnCrush Music). Through both experiences I had to learn many new skills and go through many hoops. 

The main challenge I faced was not knowing where to look for resources on how to grow my business and not having a proper support system to turn to. That’s why co-creating The Mujerista Network in 2020 (the sister online community to the digital publication The Mujerista), was such an important project for me and ultimately led me to writing Jefa in Training. It was the perfect combination of community + access to resources that I had sought out when I was first getting started and that would have made a huge difference along my journey. 

Latinas are among the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the United States today (alongside Black Women). Can you share why it is so significant seeing more women of color leading the way like this?

With one word: REPRESENTATION. The more we see people like us doing what we aspire to do, the more we see what’s possible! It is incredibly inspiring to see so many of us no longer waiting for a seat at the table and creating our own spaces instead. More of us paving the way is what will create real change within majority white, male-dominated fields. 

While there is exciting growth happening, Latinas still face additional discrimination when it comes to unequal pay, and the number of women of color receiving VC funding is still really low. How are you working to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs despite the status quo?

A lot of these entrepreneurs don’t have access to the information and tools that can help them stand out when pitching investors and building growth strategies – and my goal is to be able to provide more of that through my book, my blog, my coaching, the Mujerista Network and in the future, investing in these businesses myself. 

I’m also building my own network of angels + VCs that I’m able to stay in touch with to see what they’re looking for and how I can connect them to who I’m working with.

How did the idea for ‘Jefa in Training’ come about? What made you want to write this book?

When I started #WCM, I was hungry for information on how to grow this project that started purely out of a passion for meeting like-minded people and wanting to create opportunities for them. I spent so much time Googling and reading self-help and business books and while some of the content was helpful, I struggled to find resources created by people who had similar backgrounds to mine. The more I worked with members of The Mujerista Network and realized they felt the same way about the lack of relatable content, I felt that as one of the leaders of this community, I had to bring this book to life. 

What are some Latina-owned businesses we should be paying attention to right now? 

There are so many out there but I’ll list a few of my everyday faves! 

  • Cadena Collective is truly changing the fashion game by helping more people bring their culture into their wardrobe all while elevating the work of Mexican artisans. 
  • Hello Updo is breaking through the beauty + hair care industry to advocate for all hair textures by creating silk hair scrunchies of various sizes and more! 
  • Bonita Fierce Candles is bringing Latine-inspired scents to the masses with her sustainable candles (ex: see her Cafecito Con Leche candle and more!). 
  • The Mujerista is creating a safe online space to amplify the stories of Latinas and create powerful connections. 
  • We Are Suma is becoming a trusted source for the Latine community through their content and virtual experiences to help them both overcome current financial challenges, and better prepare for a more prosperous future. 

Can you tell us more about your Mexican and French heritage, and how this shaped your career? 

Being of mixed backgrounds has shaped my perspective around the power of community. My dad is first gen + my mom immigrated to the states when she married my dad and it was very inspiring to see my immigrant grandmother being a homeowner and see my mom get through her culture shock so that my brother and I could have a shot at being successful.

Both of them taught me to be strong, grateful, give back and to never give up. That is what shaped me into being a resilient, resourceful and community oriented business owner and leader.

You talk a lot about tapping into your community, and why this is important as an entrepreneur. Can you expand on this? 

Community is everything. As an entrepreneur (especially as a first-timer), it’s helpful to have a network of like-minded individuals to not only help you navigate the challenges of being a business owner, but to also help you celebrate the wins – even the small ones. The more time that passes the more I realize that these relationship’ I’ve built over the last few years not only support me, but they also inspire me to keep going.

And now that I’m the point in my career where I’ve accomplished starting and growing businesses, writing a book, etc. I’m looking to give more back to the community that helped me get my start too. The more we can work together to elevate one another, the more impact we’ll be able to create. 

For the most part, the business and entrepreneur world is still very male and white-dominated, although it is slowly changing. Leaders like you are encouraging entrepreneurs to embrace who they are, rather than confirming to old standards. How can going against the tide help to change the landscape of entrepreneurship?

Knowing how to identify what makes you different and use it as a strength in your business is a total gamechanger. There’s a chapter in my book called “Ser Diferente Es Ser Fuerte” (Your Differences Give You Strength), I say: 

“You have a unique perspective; therefore, you will create a unique business and product. It can be intimidating to see everything else that is out there, and you may even experience a bit of imposter syndrome, but you do deserve a seat at this table—the entrepreneur table, la mesa de las jefas. 

No matter how different you think you are—perhaps because you are not doing business in your native language, didn’t go to college, or started out with a career in a completely different field—you have strengths that are going to guide you through this process and help you stand out and build reputation in your industry.”

Remember that no one grew up exactly the way you did, no one had to overcome the exact obstacles that you have, no one has had the exact experiences you have—and no one communicates, does business, or creates content exactly the way you do. No one else is you. 

We know you help empower so many women, but we’d like to know: What makes YOU a powerful woman? 

My superpower is my ability to genuinely connect with people. Sometimes they’re inspired by me, and I’m always inspired by them. Finding little things to be inspired by everyday gives me true power to fulfill my mission. 

Pre-order your copy of ‘Jefa In Training’ by Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda by clicking HERE.

Author and Business Coach Ashley K Stoyanov Ojeda | Image by Karen Khoun Design

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