Girlboss Insider with Bloguettes Founders: Lorena and Sakura
Bloguettes is an awesome Phoenix, Arizona company that offers national workshops, informative webinars, tutorials, beautiful stock photos and more for those that wish to elevate their digital presence! It is co-owned by two girlbosses - Lorena Garcia and Sakura Considine.
In a digital age where everyone is exposed, many see overnight successes, and lots of girls strive to be a "girlboss" - what does it really take to own a successful business? What's it like when you need to expand the team? And how truly glamorous is it to be a girlboss? Lorena and Sakura share their experience with us and tell us why their business partnership works, some of the biggest lessons they wish they knew from the start, how they practice self-care, and more!
Initially, Bloguettes started as a once a month traveling workshop until you both realized that it had the potential to be what it is now! When you made that decision to turn Bloguettes from a monthly thing into a full-fledged business, what did you each sacrifice to put your full focus on Bloguettes?
Lorena: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a sacrifice. When we started doing the workshops, I discovered what I really loved and that’s why we decided to focus on it. However, I think the biggest sacrifice that we made, at least for me, was taking the risk to pursue what we wanted because in the end, we didn’t know if it was going to work or not. I took a risk by stopping what I knew was already working, like my real estate ventures and other things like that. While it wasn’t necessarily a sacrifice, it was definitely a risk to focus on something that we were unsure of the outcome.
Sakura: There was never one big moment where we decided that we were going to make it a full-time thing. It just became gradually that way because we were doing workshops, but then we were listening to our audience and we were realizing that there were so many things we were missing out on if we didn’t take the opportunity, like webinars. All of these little ideas that we had in addition to the workshops eventually became our full-time business. It happened gradually, and it grew gradually, which made us feel safer because it definitely was scary.
Like Lorena mentioned, our workshops were originally going to be a side thing. I was going to move to LA within that next year with my boyfriend and we were going to keep doing our workshops as something to keep us close! I saw it as an opportunity to get to work and travel but again, Bloguettes is something I love so it was easy for me to see pursuing this amazing opportunity, making it grow, putting our name on something and putting moving to LA on the back-burner.
When you started to expand the B-team, was it hard for you two initially to let go some of the responsibilities and tasks into someone else's hands? I feel like at the start of things it’s hard for the self-employed to let go and trust others with their business/vision.
Lorena: I think it still is!
Sakura: That’s what I was going to say! I think it still is hard for us and I think we’re going through growing pains right now. Little by little with the right people, we’ve been able to let go, even in different areas with one another, too. As we’ve grown, we’ve been able to determine who’s in charge of what and we’re still doing that! An ever-evolving thing when you have a business is figuring out who’s responsible for what as the company grows. Letting things go is something that we struggle with today, but with the right team it’s given us the ability to let go way more than we were before.
Lorena: Yeah. I feel like when it’s your thing, it’s hard to completely let go. However, you’re never going to grow if you don’t hire the right people because you can’t do everything. I think it’s still something that (especially when you have two A personalities that want to lead) is hard, but hiring the right girls has made it easier for us to do so.
In this entrepreneurial, business ownership journey you have taken on, what is something that came up and caught you off guard? Something you perhaps weren’t expecting to be a part of the journey.
Lorena: Entrepreneurship - I love it and I think we’ve done so much with Bloguettes, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so much hard work and there’s a lot you put into it. It’s about working smart and working hard, but I think it’s also so important to be strong emotionally. When you have a corporate job, you know exactly what’s going to happen, right? You know exactly what to do and how to act. However, when you run your own business and you’re an entrepreneur, there are emotional factors that you don’t expect because as you start hiring you have a lot of people relying on you. This is something not a lot of people get to experience unless they own their own business. I had never done that before, so having a lot of people rely on the decisions that Sakura and I made was different. I think that was a surprise for me - the emotional part that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Sakura: I have to agree with that. Your core business, the products and services of your business, is something that you have to focus on and something that you have to grow. On top of that, like Lorena said, there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. Making the business work and managing the emotional aspects of whether or not someone is the right person to bring on is so important. Hiring is a lot more difficult than we thought!
Also, we can’t just focus on what’s going on right now. We always have to be two or three steps ahead and pay attention to what’s coming in the future. That’s why I think it’s a constant battle between making everything great right now, making your business work, but also keeping up with what’s going to be happening in two to three years. It’s a never-ending thing and it’s exhausting, but I think we get a little joy out of that too.
How do you practice and make time for self-care in the midst of the busyness that comes with owning a company?
Lorena: Sakura and I love staying busy all the time and we tend to overbook things. At one point, it became complicated to have that work/life balance because we were over-scheduling ourselves. From my perspective, what I’m doing now to achieve that balance is that I (sounds so simple but it’s made such a difference) schedule everything, even time with my son. For example, when I go and get a manicure, I’ll put it in my calendar. Just being able to organize myself and really schedule everything has made a difference and has allowed me to do some personal stuff that I wasn’t doing a year ago or even a couple months ago.
Sakura: Like Lorena said, we do tend to say yes to everything, but I think that we also just don’t want to miss out on things going on in the industry. It’s hard for us to miss out on opportunities that come our way. Something that we’ve been doing a little more is that we’ve been trusting one another, which we always have, but trusting one another to just take that meeting or that call. Before, we were used to taking everything together to represent Bloguettes because it is both of us. But I think as we’ve grown we’ve noticed that we can’t do everything together. We can’t take every meeting. She’ll take a call for me, she’ll take meetings for me and represent both of us and vice-versa. So, that’s freed up our schedules a bit more. Also, learning to leave work at work is important and understanding one another's schedules too. If Lorena chooses to check her email at ten p.m. and start emailing at that time, that’s perfectly fine, but she’s not going to expect me to respond. Finding that balance and being understanding of one another’s schedules is so important. Being able to leave work over the weekend has definitely helped out a lot, and we’ve been able to do this by structuring a lot of things. For example, scheduling out our social media posts. We also make an effort to be sure everything gets approved so everything’s good to go during the weekend. We’re doing everything we can to find that work/life balance as best as we can.
What should people look for in a business bestie?
Lorena: We have a lot of things to say about that, but from my perspective, you need to look for someone you can talk to. Sakura and I have talked about this many times. I think you need to find someone you can actually be open with and be completely honest with. Also, finding someone that’s not exactly like you. Sakura and I are very similar personality-wise (we have a lot of similar interests and passions) but we have different talents. We excel at different things. We enjoy some things in common but also enjoy some things separately. This has allowed us to have different focuses in our business and that has allowed us to not step on each other’s toes. Personally, we’ve become best, best friends but in addition to that, we’re both very understanding and respectful of each other. We have the ability to talk like I said in the beginning. I think those two things are incredibly important.
Sakura: Everything that Lorena just said. Respect is a big, big, big thing. It’s literally like a marriage. You have to be compatible with your business partner. I don’t think people say that enough but I can’t say that enough because, again, you can be best friends with someone for years and know them inside and out but it’s so different in a business setting. You’re going to have to talk about things that you don’t want to talk about and you’re going to have to make decisions on things that you don’t want to. Sometimes, you have to let the other person win. You give and take. It really is like a relationship.
One thing that also works for us is that we both love entrepreneurship and we both are workaholics. I think that’s a big, big thing because we both work really hard. I see a lot of business partnerships end because one doesn’t put in enough work and that’s not the case with us. We met coincidentally but the friendship built on both of us loving entrepreneurship. We would meet up together and talk about business, talk about the tech/marketing/social media world and where it’s going. We were talking about that all the time and that’s how our friendship grew. Then we decided to start a business and grew Bloguettes. We didn’t know all the ins and outs about one another but we learned as we went and we built our relationship. We knew that we trusted one another, we were both workaholics, and we had a passion for something. That’s something that worked really well for us. Again, communication is everything because I can communicate with her without her taking offense to something. She can speak her opinion on something and I’ll listen and let her win this one. We never have bitterness. It’s really hard with girls I’ve learned, but I think it’s all about being open. It’s worked really well for us, fortunately. We both have gone through business partnerships that didn’t work in the past, so we understand where it does and doesn’t work and what a difference it makes in productivity and in the company when it does work!
Being a girlboss is all the rave! But what are some things that come with being a girlboss that many may not see or realize?
Sakura: I would say that it’s definitely not as glamorous as you think it is. It’s a lot of hard work. That’s one thing that I didn’t realize was how hard it would be. It takes a whole lot of passion and patience. If you have that, then it’s going to be great! I think that’s something that I learned - it’s definitely not as easy and glamorous as people think it is. It’s a lot of hard work and you’re going to have to deal with and learn a lot of things that you actually don’t really want to. Not to discourage anyone to be a girlboss at all, but there’s a lot of emotions that go into things and you do have to have a thick skin. It’s not something that you’re just born with. Lorena and I are not very confrontational people. We’re very aware of everyone’s emotions and we’re very easy going. We’ve gradually had to learn how to build thick skin when it comes to certain situations and that’s something I didn’t think I would have to learn.
Lorena: I think nobody realizes that the way you portray yourself is a responsibility. You’re influencing other entrepreneurs out there and you’re influencing other people. Now being in the internet world where everyone is exposed, you’re trying to work hard on your business but you’re also trying to work hard to get exposure. Going along with that, I think everybody sees overnight successes but all these girls that are defined as girlbosses now are not an overnight success! They have worked so hard behind the scenes! That’s something people don’t see that comes with it. Yes it’s fun to be interviewed, yes it’s fun to own a company, but there’s a lot of work behind it to get to where a girlboss is today.
How do you each define success?
Lorena: I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’m a little bit older than Sakura, and I’m older than a lot of the girls on our team. When I graduated college, I thought that success was just making a ton of money. I think that’s what society defines as success nowadays, being a millionaire before thirty and accomplishing all these things. So, that was the definition of success that I understood but as I’ve grown up, I think a successful life is a happy life. You are successful when you get to do what you like! For me, success really comes from the tiniest things like pushing yourself to do something new everyday. I’ve learned to define success through smaller things in life versus having just one solid vision. Being happy, pushing yourself, and doing what you love, that in itself is being successful.
Sakura: I completely agree with that. Just having the ability to do what you love and live the lifestyle that you’ve always wanted! To have a family and have a job where you can do both. To have that perfect balance of being a mom, having a family, and owning a business - that’s always been a success for me. I’m not at that point yet, but being a mother is something that I’ve always wanted to be. Lorena does have her baby now, and that’s always been a success to me - having a business that’s standing, that’s great, that I can be a part of everyday, that’s continuously growing, and yet, I can also live the lifestyle of having my job, my family and having flexibility. As well as stability, of course.
Lorena: To add to that, I think there’s a disconnect right now (I feel like an old person saying that) with young people and their definition of success. Everybody defines success as being a millionaire before thirty but I think that’s why there’s so much unhappiness in people. All of a sudden they turn thirty and they haven’t achieved the goals they’ve always had in their mind. They want to achieve them quick and they’re not willing to work as hard for them. However, financial success takes time. There’s very few people out there like Mark Zuckerberg that get rich very young. It takes time and a lot of work. Forming a vision of what success means to you while you’re young is important to avoid a lot of frustration.
What is something each of you are still working on to get better at?
Sakura: We’re still working on that work/life balance! (laughs) We feel guilty for things when we shouldn’t feel guilty for things.
Lorena: That’s exactly what I was going to say! Dealing with guilt in our personal and business life.
Sakura: We feel guilty when, for example, Lorena and I want to spend three hours or even a half day outside of the office for ourselves to be together and to discuss things. We feel guilty for being outside the office, yet we are together working on something. We’re still at the point where we feel like a small company, and we are a small company, but we’re doing so much! So we feel like we still have to be super involved and hands-on.
If you feel comfortable sharing, could you tell us what was one of the biggest hiccups you’ve experienced and how you overcame it?
Lorena: A big hiccup that we had last year was when my son had just been born and we had a lot of workshops coming up. We had some problems with our events director so by consequences, like with anything, she had to leave the company. We had to deal with an event in Chicago that wasn’t as great as our other workshops had been. With me being gone, Sakura having to take care of a lot of things, and our team changing, we couldn’t do our Chicago workshop as amazing as we had done the other ones. I think, especially for me, I had it in my head that not being able to pull that workshop off as amazing as we did the other ones was a hiccup. We definitely learned so much from that experience. It helped us hire the right people and it helped us reflect on what people really valued from our products. It wasn’t anything terrible that we couldn’t come out of, but I think that’s a recent one that affected us for second (but then turned out to be a good thing).
Sakura: There’s two for me. One was one of the workshops we had when we first started and we decided to partner with a company. Two or three weeks prior, they decided to pull out of this partnership and it was actually our very first out of state workshop that we were super nervous about because we weren’t super connected outside of Arizona. We had originally partnered up with them to help bring in people, bring in sponsorships, and basically everything, and they pulled out a few weeks before. We had to scramble to make it happen and thank goodness it worked out, but that was big hiccup for us because we felt like we couldn’t rely on people anymore for something like that, which isn’t necessarily the case. We should’ve done things differently, but it’s just a learning curve!
Another thing is that our website is a constant challenge! Before our current website, we worked with multiple web developers. It’s been a constant evolvement with one, our business and two, an investment on our website and larger things and things not working. It’s always a struggle, but we learn from everything!
What would you each say is a huge lesson you’ve learned in this business journey that perhaps you’d like to remind yourself of in the future or wish you could’ve told your younger self at the start of Bloguettes?
Lorena: For us, at the beginning we were trying to get Bloguettes to work so we were doing so many things. In the beginning, I didn’t value what we were doing enough because we were new. It’s still hard for us is to say no sometimes, but in the beginning it was even harder. Aligning yourself with the right people, the right partnership, is crucial to do from the start. Advice that I would give my younger self is to be patient and keep calm because things are going to happen. If you keep working hard, the partnerships that you want are going to come and you don’t have to take partnerships that you don’t want (which I don’t think we did a lot). In the beginning, it was just hard to say no because we were really wanting to make a name for ourselves. So, if I were to tell something to my younger self it would be to be patient, keep working hard and things are going to happen. I believe in luck, but also I believe in hard work, and nothing is a coincidence. You make your life happen! Your job doesn’t find you, you make your job. You make your company what you want it to be.
Sakura: It’s always been engrained in my head, although I’ve always been a workaholic and have always been super busy with a lot on my plate, to “work smart, not hard.” That’s something I’ve always heard and thought, “Yea easy money!” But again, one, it’s not about the money and two, you do have to work really hard. It doesn't matter if your business plan is smart. No matter what your business model is, you have to work hard to make it work. At first we were both thinking, “This is a great idea! Just the two us. We’ll travel and have minimal travel costs. Just once a month and we would charge x amount per seat and divide it between the two of us. What a great profit and we get to travel together!” That’s kind of how the business started. As we’ve done things, it became more and more, but it’s also helped Bloguettes grow so much. No matter what, it’s always going to be a lot more work than you think it is and I think that’s when people give up, because they didn’t realize how much work it is.
Lorena: Going along with what Sakura was saying, I think a big mistake would be to start a business for the money, because it takes a lot of work. If you don’t like what you do, you’re going to give up. I think that’s why so many small businesses quit, because they did it for the wrong reasons. If you love what you do, financial success is going to come after some time. If you don’t like what you do, you’re not going to have the patience to work hard for it.