Almost one year ago, Aya Lanzoni reached out to me and asked if I would create a small business magazine with her. She had this great idea, and even had a title in mind, but needed someone to help her pull it off. As I thought this over, and wondered where in the world Aya came up with a name like No Cilantro, PleaseTM, I realized she was onto something pretty special.
In the months that have followed, Aya and I have poured so much of ourselves into this endeavor. Yes, a lot of time and energy, but even more so, we have woven our identities into the fabric of this magazine.
Through No Cilantro, PleaseTM, I’ve been able to speak with other Jewish writers and working parents from around the world, Aya has been able to connect with other entrepreneurs of color, and we’ve both discovered so much about navigating the world of small business as millenial women.
The No Cilantro, PleaseTM community grows larger every day. We now have readers in 25 countries, on every continent except Antarctica (2023 goals). No matter which corner of the globe they are from, every business owner and freelancer we talk to seems to draw inspiration from their identity as well.
In this issue, you will meet Maribel Francisco and Aditya Raj Singh: born almost 10,000 miles apart, they both work to provide culturally competent financial advice to people in their communities. You’ll meet Kitty Wu, a health coach who helps women of color overcome childhood trauma to achieve their professional goals. You’ll meet Tetyana Denford, an author who channels her pain as a Ukrainian living through an unprovoked war to create and educate others about her culture. You’ll meet Majesty and Elize Gayle, real estate innovators who work tirelessly to uplift fellow Black families in Atlanta through affordable housing. You’ll meet Matthew Rafferty, an anmial rights activist who created a group of vegan restaurants in Philly. Everyone in this issue has experience and wisdom to share about looking inward for inspiration.
We are in awe of the entrepreneurs who embrace their identities and use that power to make the world a better place, and we are grateful for those who have chosen the pages of our magazine to tell their stories.Alison Rochford
Editors& Aya Lanzoni Designer
Cilantro, Please™ Magazine © 2022 Tinydragon Bytes, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, is forbidden without written permission from the publisher.
permission to reproduce any article in this magazine, contact email@example.com.
over 20 years of experience in the field
experienced website designer, Kyle has branched out into the field of Entrepreneurship,
his MBA in
Micah Brown is a writer and photographer who lives in Brunswick, Maine with his family and myriad of animals. While he may love all things dark and creepy, he is passionate about small business success.
Tetyana Denford is a Ukrainian-American historical fiction author, poet, and translator for Frontline News. She has been featured in The Telegraph and The New York Times. Her first novel, “Motherland,” was longlisted for the Reader’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. She hosts a YouTube Series called “The Craft and Business of Books,” about writing and publishing books.
Liana DeMasi is a fiction writer and freelance journalist living in Brooklyn, NY, with bylines in The Boston Globe, i-D Magazine, Poynter, Atmos and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram @lianademasi.
Riley Fortier, M.Ed. is an educator, urban farmer, and plant enthusiast in the greater Philadelphia area. When not writing for No Cilantro Please, Riley can be found drinking the freshest coffee or rollerblading in an empty parking lot (although not at the same time).
Victoria Goldiee is a freelance writer and journalist with a keen focus on headlining untold stories of the underrepresented communities in media. She explores the intersection between right, wrong and an appearance of rightness, her writing skills include women, lifestyle and culture.
Ces Heredia (she/her) is a Mexican Jewish writer based in a small beach town in northern Mexico. When she’s not writing you’ll probably find her treating herself to yet another pair of shoes, trying to get through her endless pile of books to read, or hanging our with her Rottweilers.
Chidinma Iwu is an independent journalist and content strategist who has covered some of the biggest topics across feminism, tech, business and culture. With an extensive portfolio of both online and print work, she has been featured in the Daily Mail, Paste magazine, Timeout, the Daily Dot, Black Ballad UK, The Business of Business, The Luupe and more.
Eddie Velazquez is an award-winning journalist based out of upstate New York. When he is not writing about local news, labor, or fair housing, he is probably writing about arts and culture. You can follow his work on Twitter (@ezvelazquez) or on his website (www.edvelmedia.squarespace.com).
f e a t u r e s
Our Wealth Matters
A Financial Literacy Coach on a Mission to Empower Immigrant Women & FamiliesCes Heredia | Contributing Writer
Whether we like it or not, we all need money to help us reach our goals. We need to understand how to get it, how to save it, how to invest it, and how to spend it wisely. As entrepreneurs, we often even need to spend money to make money. Not everyone grows up learning financial literacy, and this is especially true for immigrants, people of color and certain minorities, like Latinx people, some of whom consider talking about money to be tacky or even disrespectful.
Maribel Francisco is on a mission to change that. Francisco is the 29-year-old founder of Our Wealth Matters. She’s the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Michoacán, México (home to some of the best avocados in the world, by the way) and a personal finance coach who specializes in helping immigrant families and women understand the American finance system and build wealth.
For more than 10 years, Francisco worked with immigrants in the United States as a certified income tax preparer. For the last four years, she has worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, most recently, managing a multimillion-dollar international business unit. Now, as a bilingual money coach, Francisco combines her knowledge of the U.S. tax system, her international business degree, her background in corporate finance, and her research in personal finance to better serve a wider audience of immigrants.
Francisco set down the path of financial literacy when she had to figure out her own 401(k), but her relationship with money began long before that. Growing up, Francisco’s mom started her own business as an income tax preparer; at 18, Francisco became licensed to do the same. She got her degree and ended up in the entertainment industry as a financial analyst but quickly realized that’s not what brought her joy. Personal finance, however, did.
Savings and Stigmas
Francisco started her company, Our Wealth Matters, with one very clear goal: she wanted to help women and first-generation immigrant Spanish-speaking families avoid the negative experiences she had to go through growing up. After her dad got deported when she was a child, her family lost their main source of income.
“We ended up sleeping in our car for a while,” she says. “The main focus of Our Wealth Matters is to help other people avoid situations like that...Immigrants don’t get a welcome packet or pamphlet. They come here to work and that’s all they care about at first.”
She admits that part of the reason why she also focuses her business towards young immigrant women is because of her own experience with handling money as a Mexican woman. “We’re taught to not talk about money, to just save it under the mattress and hope for the best.”
I also grew up hearing things like “don’t worry about money, it doesn’t buy happiness,” from my Mexican family, and while the sentiment behind that famous saying might be a nice one, it also prevents people from talking — and learning — about money. Of course money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can definitely provide safety and stability.
“I want to help people like me, who don’t have experience or knowledge, build wealth,” says Francisco. “I want young immigrants to know what to do when they start earning more money than their parents, and what steps to take when there is no financial family knowledge to be passed down on the specifics of how this country works.”
The United States is a country built by immigrants; one that to this day continues to rely heavily on immigrant labor, but there are still not enough tools to help them settle in and build a decent life there. When asked what tools are available to teach immigrants about finances in the U.S., Francisco said, “There are not a lot of immigrants talking about immigrant issues. Some do but only do it in the down-low.”
“I want young immigrants to know what to do when they start earning more money than their parents, and what steps to take when there is no financial family knowledge to be passed down on the specifics of how this country works.”
Unlike some others who work in personal finance, Francisco is aware of the important role social media plays in her finding new clients. “Social media makes a big part of how I get clients,” she says. “It’s low-cost but high maintenance, though. I find it easier to connect with people over Instagram or Facebook. They’re already looking for what I’m offering”.
Her brand is so specific, that when you land on her page you know what to expect. It feels a bit more personal and it gives potential clients the chance to “get to know her” before they meet her. It’s a way to market herself without being “on” 24/7. “It takes a lot of time, but we’re on our phones anyway.”
What sets Francisco and Our Wealth Matters aside from others in her same line of work is that she’s not afraid to ask the “hard” questions when it comes to helping and advocating for her clients. Francisco has a huge advantage: “I have the privilege of citizenship. I can ask the hard questions when contacting banks and financial institutions, so I can ask these
hard questions on [clients’] behalf without a problem.”
More Work To Be Done
Francisco says there is still a lot of financial illiteracy, even among those who dedicate their lives to personal finance. “I’ve talked to people who have worked for 30+ years in this industry and some of them had never even heard about ITINs (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), so it just shows how little information is being shared about the topic. People in wealth management don’t know about these things, so it’s all the more important to talk about it and share the information; even the information available online needs to be updated.”
This is why she created a Quora account and spends a good portion of her free time answering or reanswering personal finance questions, however old they may be. “Personal finance isn’t taught in schools, and even when it is, it’s not immigrant-centric so sometimes these forums are all people have.”
Maribel Francisco, Founder, Our Wealth Matters, a personal finance business aimed at helping immigrant families and women understand the U.S. tax system and build wealth. All photos, including cover photo, courtesy Maribel Francisco
Find her online: IG: @ourwealthmatters Twitter: @ourwealthmatter www.ourwealthmatters.com
Mixed Asian Media
Above: Alex Chester-Iwata, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, MAM
Mixed Asian Media is a quarterly publication that celebrates and fosters community among people of mixed-Asian descent.
Pictured: August 22, 2022 issue featuring half-Korean K-Pop star AleXa.
Previous Page: Lauren Nakeo Winn, Creative Director; Sam Tanabe, Managing Editor and CoFounder; Alex Chester-Iwata, Co-Founder and Editorin-Chief, MAM.
All photos credit Lauren Nakeo Win, Creative Director/ Photographer, Mixed Asian Media
Being half-Japanese and half-caucasian has always been an internal paradox for myself and my racial identity. I grew up not fitting
in with the white kids because I was not fully white but also not exactly fitting in with the Asian kids either, because - you guessed it - I’m not fully Asian.
This always felt pretty isolating until I learned of the term “hapa.” Hapa, which is short for hapalua, is a Hawaiian word meaning, “half.” While its origins hail from racism and derogatory meaning, many half-Asian individuals have started to embrace the word and take back its meaning. As author Alex Sujong Laughlin mentions in her NPR article, “‘Half Asian? “Half White?’ No - Hapa”:
“In identifying as hapa, I’ve found a way to normalize my in-betweenness. Having a specific word for what I am connects me to a larger racial demographic in which I perfectly fit — and more than that, it makes me remarkably unspecial. Among hapas, I’m no longer a biological curiosity, just a product of this country.”
Use of the term ‘Hapa’ has been controversial for years. While some people disapprove of the word due to its origins, others, like myself and Alex Chester-Iwata, Co-Founder and Editor-inChief of Mixed Asian Media, embrace it.
Mixed Asian Media (MAM) started in 2017 as Hapa Mag with only nine mixed-Asian writers. Just three years later, it was recognized by the Nielsen Asian American Consumer Report, making MAM a leader in the mixed-Asian narrative. With the ongoing controversy of the word hapa however, Hapa Mag made the decision in 2021 to rebrand into Mixed Asian Media and according to Chester-Iwata, “people just got it.”
For our entire Zoom interview, Alex ChesterIwata emits passion, love, and inclusion for the mixed-Asian community. I was fortunate enough to have an hour of her time, and we broke down about all things mixed-Asian-related, and how important it is for mixed-Asian voices to be heard.
Lanzoni: What is Mixed Asian Media all about?
Chester-Iwata: MAM is an online media outlet for mixed Asians and Pacific Islanders. All of our articles are written by those of mixed-Asian heritage. It’s a lifestyle magazine, but focusing heavily on the entertainment side. We focus on what it means to be mixed, the nuances, intersection nationalities, etc. We feature celebrities, do celebrity photoshoots, feature small businesses, and up-and-coming leaders in the community.
What’s your mix?
I am half Japanese, half Ashkenazi Jew.
Why was MAM created?
MAM was created because I was so sick and tired of not seeing myself and people like me reflected on mainstream media. In 2015, we saw “Aloha” with Emma Stone and she was playing a mixedAsian character, and she’s not mixed. That was incredibly frustrating. We also had “Ghost in the Shell” with Scarlett Johansson - complete Asian erasure. I was so fed up of just not seeing other mixed people on the screen, and having come from an entertainment background, and constantly being told that I was ‘not Asian enough’ or ‘not white enough’ for a role…One: it [expletive] with your head, and two: it was so frustrating.
I was so over it and so over being put in a box, not being able to just be me, and having to prove my Asian-ness, or prove my Jewish-ness constantly. And so I wanted to create a community base where people like me could just be. We could tell our stories, connect, and communicate, and start healing the trauma of the constant narrative of not being enough of our identities.
Absolutely. Being mixed Asian myself, there’s definitely a sense of imposter syndrome, where we don’t really fit in with the Asians, or fit in with the white people.
It’s been interesting to navigate. Even just going to events recently and speaking to monoracials, they’re like, ‘Well, you don’t look Japanese!’ and here I am saying, ‘Well, what’s a half-Japanese person supposed to look like?’ We’re still dealing with this in today’s world. Really?
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all through a loop. How has everything been going? Have you had to do any type of pivoting when it came to the magazine itself?
For MAM, we switched to hosting online events, or activations as we like to call them. During 2021, we hosted a lot of online activations and we partnered with Blasian Project, Loving Day, and Lunar Asian Jews, utilizing Clubhouse and IG live. Everyone was really hungry for connection and we aimed to give a voice to our community, especially during the rise of AAPI hate. Many people in our community felt like they couldn’t speak up because they’re “not Asian enough.”
We wanted to create a space where people felt like they could unpack this and talk freely without the judgment of monoracials saying, “Well, you can’t have an opinion because you don’t present in this specific way.” Within the space, we also acknowledge that some of us do have privilege who don’t present as Asian or full Asian. I think in a way the pandemic really did help Mixed Asian Media. Suddenly, everyone was out of work and had all this time on their hands,
engaging with us a lot more, reading our material, attending our online events, our online festival last year…2020 was definitely a turning point for Mixed Asian Media.
How do you feel like MAM has helped to amplify mixed Asian voices?
We feature people on our platforms. If someone wants to write an article, an op-ed piece, or interview a celebrity like a mixedAsian politician, we’ll highlight that on our website. We’ll also do Instagram Lives of mixed-Asian people and open it up to the community and get their specific platform or business out there.
For sure. I mean, it can be lonely being a mixed Asian where you just don’t know or meet other people like you, except for family.
I was an only child so I didn’ have any of that support. So it’s been really cool to see just how large our mixed-Asian community is. We went from a staff of nine writers in 2017 to a current staff of 24.
That’s amazing! So let’s talk about MAMFest. What’s MAMFest all about?
Mixed Asian Media Festival [held Sept. 16-18 of this year] is a three-day festival for mixed AAPI celebrating everyone through a creative lens. I wanted to create something where yes, we can talk about the trauma, yes, we can unpack this, but also let’s celebrate being mixed by celebrating our wins and creativity.
We have stage readings, panel discussions, short films, comedy nights; workshops with the mixed space, film competitions and non-competitions, and more. There’s also a virtual portion of the festival if you aren’t able to make it in person to the event.
I think most people don’t realize that being mixed is one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States, and we really are an untapped demographic. I feel like consumers and major companies need to start engaging this untapped network of people.
I really do feel like we are often left out of BIPOC and Asian American spaces, and in 100 years people are all going to be mixed, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to engage the mixed community and really make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, because that to me is diversity inclusion.
Do you have any tips/tricks/advice for mixed Asian individuals?
I highly recommend that if you want to reach out, I’m highly responsive. I really believe in if you don’t see it, create it. That’s what I did and I’m one person! We’re a good group, we don’t bite!
‘The Tesla of Housing‚
Affordable housing and eco-friendly living are in increasingly high demand, especially in Atlanta’s booming real estate market. Majesty and Elize Gayle are emerging leaders in these spaces through their business Evo Group Holdings. The couple strives to deliver affordable, sustainable housing to the Atlanta area through the use of shipping containers and flipping of neglected properties.
This project has helped address housing insecurities in the form of modern, cozy living spaces that are made with shipping containers, and recycled materials. They are built with speed, quality, visual appeal, and utilize renewable energy sources.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Majesty and Elize Gayle about building their business and the impact they have had on the Atlanta community.
Goldiee: How did you decide you want to start a business together?
Majesty Gayle: We decided that we wanted to start a business after working in the real estate business for a while and learning enough to venture into it ourselves. We saw that gentrification was at a high rise and strived to find a way to curb this while aiding members of our community. We like to think we’re the Tesla of housing as we’re forward-thinking people with innovative ideas.
What did you both do for work before starting the business?
Elize Gayle: I left my job doing marketing for a credit agency in Atlanta to join [Majesty] to build our first consulting business before getting into real estate by way of one of his mentors.
MG: I was working at a fintech company in 2017 but due to some regulation issues, I left the job and we decided to venture into real estate where we were successful headhunters for real estate companies.
When and how did you meet?
EG: We actually met each other on Tinder in 2017. He saw that I was a marketing executive and the first message that he sent me was to hire me for his business. We’ve been working together since the day we met. It’s been a combined marriage and partnership with both our skill sets coming into full motion.
What was it like starting a business as working parents?
EG: It’s 24/7 all the time. We’re never off the clock. We just merge the two parts of our lives even if it means we have to include the kids. We believe it serves as a healthy early exposure for them to the entrepreneurial world so they have core skill sets to help them in the future.
Why do you use shipping containers in your construction?
MG: We use shipping containers because of its multiple advantages. They’re saturated, easily accessible, and popularly known as one-trip containers. Their durability also comes in handy as it makes it easier for us to create these homes in-house.
Pages 22, 24: Majesty and Elize Gayle of Evo Haven create affordable housing units out of recycled shipping containers.
Left: Majesty and Elize Gayle at a ribbon cutting ceremony surrounded by family and friends.
Photos courtesy Evo Haven
Find them online: www.evohaven.com
TikTok: @majestyelize Instagram: @evohaven
What has been your biggest challenge in starting Evo Haven and what has been the biggest reward?
MG: I think our biggest challenge so far was Covid-19 as everything shut down and it was challenging not knowing what to do. It also affected our rentals as a resident got sick and we had to quarantine people and deal with the situation, but we’ve been able to adapt.
One of our biggest rewards is that we’ve been able to work with Black businesses and create a community of like-minded people. So far things are looking good as we’ve grown so much in this experience. Navigating the landscape as African Americans Millennial entrepreneurs has been tough but rewarding.
How has your business impacted the families you work with?
MG: We have a non-profit fund that we use to aid the community and a mutual relationship with grocery chains that allows us to redistribute food back to the community. We also offer clothing and
services for senior citizens to rebuild their homes. Basically, we try to uplift families in whatever way we can while fulfilling their dreams of customized housing.
How has your business grown since its beginnings?
MG: Our business has grown due to our hard work and staying focused in challenging situations.
EG: We take a lot of things for granted because we’re so busy building that we don’t look back but early on in our careers, we were headhunters looking for deals for funds. Now, we’ve single-handedly created our own funds. I’ll say that’s a sign of significant growth.
What are your goals for the future of your company?
MG: The goal is to build a master-plan community that has housing and supporting services like groceries, laundry, healthcare and continue to do this across the country and the globe.
The Child of UkraineTetyana Denford | Guest Writer
I am a first generation Ukrainian immigrant, born to a family who escaped Soviet and German occupation during WWII. I am an author, a business owner, a translator, part-time journalist, and full-time activist. I wear a lot of hats, as you can tell.
I’ve always been a writer hell-bent on creating a career for myself. As a teenager, I wrote poetry and stories and entered competitions. In my 20s and 30s I began a blog (as was the trend back in the day) and eventually started writing for different magazines and blogzines. Once I gravitated to joining social media channels, it became a daily practice for me to caption pictures thoughtfully and share my work. It felt like I was on a path to creating not only a world for myself within my art, but also a way for me to share my family stories, my Ukrainian language, my heritage, my thoughts, my passion for so much of the world I wanted to learn about.
I self published my first novel, “Motherland,” at 43 years old. Although it was an imperfect story, it was an epic one based on a true story of a family secret that I’d only recently learned about. It was the veritable bandaid that I had to rip off to really immerse myself in my work, my voice, my creative vision as a writer and author. It allowed me to take pride in the heritage and language that I grew up with, and to empower myself as an author.
At first, I wanted to traditionally publish my novel, so I finished and presented my manuscript as best I could, and I crafted a query letter that was both compelling and professionally engaging.
The responses I received from agents within the first two months were overwhelmingly supportive and positive. I held my breath, but eventually those emails became rejections, and one after one, I began to see a pattern: 1) My writing was beautiful and full of talent, but the manuscript needed more work. 2) Publishers didn’t think a historical fiction novel about Ukraine would sell well. It’s a business after all, and agents are human beings with jobs to do.
After about eight months of submitting in earnest, I decided I would research the best way to selfpublish, in a way that was not seen as lazy or second-rate, but where I could help my book stand on its own next to other traditionally published works. I saw it in my head, I set my intention, and I wanted to make it a reality. That meant learning about the self-publishing industry, self-editing, finding a freelance graphic designer that could take my vision for the book cover and bring it to life, and raising funds to be able to pay for all the upfront costs (thanks, Kickstarter!).
I spent most of my time going back in and lineediting, deleting chapters, writing new ones (even really bad ones, but hey, you can’t edit a blank page). I carved out hours in the morning and in the evenings, writing emotional scenes and in tandem researching things like ‘what color lamplight gives off’ and ‘how did people brush their teeth in the 1930s in Ukraine.’ It was absolutely thrilling, but yes, exhausting. Hardest thing I’ve ever done, to be honest.
By the time the release date of my first book rolled around in 2020, I was nervous and exhausted and I knew that there were probably typos in the book that I’d missed (yep, lots!) but I felt more empowered than I’d ever felt in years of freelance writing. I made myself an author with my own two hands and with a mountain of self-belief. It was an incredible experience, but not for the faint of heart. I pedaled every single day, battling self-doubt and impostor syndrome to push my book out on all the social channels I could, and then I self-published three more (smaller) books after that.
And then, Russia launched a war in Ukraine. My world exploded, reformed, and collapsed all at once. Not 12 hours later, once I spoke to my parents and got a handle on what was actually happening, I turned the fire in my heart into a creative drive; it was my very own war effort: reaching out to news outlets, using my social media channels as a tool for creative and political education about Ukraine, partnering yet again with Frontline News (I had translated for them during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity), making sure that people knew exactly who I was and what I stood for as a Ukrainian creative.
What I didn’t realize is that over the years that I’d been setting my intentions of making sure I wrote articles and self-published books that I was proud of, people had started paying attention. I’d become a woman who people turned to, who people trusted to have transparent content, the woman who had always been a proud Ukrainian but who now had a bigger cause to use her voice for.
Shortly after that, I received an email from Bookouture, a digital-first imprint of Hachette UK, from an agent who wanted to amplify Ukrainian stories; specifically, my Ukrainian story. I was thrilled, but I wanted to make sure that this was the right home for my novel and how I wanted my work to be promoted. I wanted to make sure that this part of my career wasn’t just about my own stories, but about being an author who wants to amplify immigrant stories and unheard voices.
I guess you could say that all unfortunate global events have the potential to be a watershed moment; a moment of learning, of conscientiousness, of accountability. Sadly, that isn’t the case very often. We bear witness, and then eventually, we move onto the next tragedy. But for Ukrainians, this is a very clear bookend for how we have been treated for hundreds of years: and we have had enough. We are now using our creativity, our art, our industry, to use this moment to change the narrative not only now, but for our future, and for the world’s future.
Our creators have gathered in a massive collective wave of support and activism. We are creating architectural plans that will help us rebuild Ukraine with more glory than before. We are using our filmmakers to document new stories about Ukraine, and change so much of how the media has misrepresented us historically. We are
“I made myself an author with my own two hands and with a mountain of selfbelief.”
Tetyana Denford depicted surrounded by Ukrainian authors. Clockwise from bottom left: Vasyl Stus, Lesya Ukrainka, Taras Shevchenko, Nikolai Gogol, Lina Kostenko, Nataliya Kobrynska, Ivan Franko. Graphic by Alison Rochford. See page 26 for individual attributions.
Denford’s debut novel, “Motherland,” was re-released in 2022 by Bookouture under the title “The Child of Ukraine.” Photo credit Bookouture
Find “The Child of Ukraine” on Amazon, or request it from your local bookstore. Denford’s next historical fiction novel comes out Summer 2023.
Find Tetyana Denford online: www.tetyanadenford.com
IG & Twitter: @tetyanawrites
More Resources for Writers:
The Craft and Business of Books: Tetyana Denford’s YouTube channel about navigating the creative process of writing a book and understanding the publishing industry.
Tech Tools for Small Business: Scrivener, page 54. Micah Brown breaks down the popular word processing and organization tool designed for writers and authors.
using our words to decolonize our literature. We are using our businesses to make sure that we are more inclusive than ever when it comes to all sexual orientations, creeds, and religions.
We have chefs in London like Olia Hercules who went into overdrive being an activist to raise money for Kherson, her home village, after it was brutally attacked, co-created Cook for Ukraine, and now she was named as one of Vogue UK’s 25 most influential women. Then there are translators like Kate Tsurkan who are trying to amplify the community of writers who can translate Ukrainian pieces into powerful English articles about who Ukrainians are. There are also writers like Serhiy Zhadan, Ilya Kaminsky, and journalists Oleksiy Sorokin and Bohdana Neborak who keep the lens trained firmly on the future of Ukraine and the truth of what we need to rebuild. And then, we have young activists like Maksym Eristavi, Valeria
Voschevksa, and Anastasiia Lapatina using their words as a battleground, standing on the front lines of journalism and resistance. It’s incredible.
This, to me, is an empowering and scintillating moment to be a Ukrainian, and to be raising future Ukrainians. Despite the harrowing sacrifices that so many of us have had to endure, this is a moment where we train our lenses very sharply to the kind of future we want to create, the kind of future that the world might even emulate. History and the future are being rewritten, and they’re being written in Ukrainian.
“History and the future are being rewritten, and they’re being written in Ukrainian.”
Self-Awareness & Success
Meet the Holistic Health Coach Who Works
With Women of Color to Achieve Their DreamsCes Heredia | Contributing Writer
When your business’ success depends solely on how much work you put in, and you find yourself playing the roles of social media manager, CEO, customer service rep, and warehouse manager at the same time, it can be hard to make the time to look after your mental health. If we constantly forget to prioritize health, how can we ever be ready to face whatever terrifying task or daunting meeting our iCal throws at us the next day?
“Stop getting in your own way. Business is a game of self-awareness.„
That’s where Kitty Wu, holistic health coach and founder of Kitty Wu Coaching comes in. She was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to the U.S. with her parents when she was just two months old. She and her family lived just outside Philadelphia, but Wu grew up with strong ties to her Asian roots: “I had Asian friends, went to an Asian church, and had dinner with my family every night.”
Being part of a minority group with a different culture than the one around her made her stand out, and it was something she was reminded of often. “As women of color, we have a unique set of experiences around growing up a minority, being treated differently, and having a different ethnic cultural identity from the majority of the culture around us. I believe that to step into our full potential in our health we need to identify and heal any limiting unconscious beliefs around these unique experiences,” says Wu.
Her career took a few different turns before finally realizing that holistic health coaching was her calling in January 2021. Since then, she’s dedicated her time to helping women of color heal any unconscious limiting beliefs they might have in order to manifest their healthiest potential. “Pain will show your superpowers,” says Wu. She works hand-in-hand with her clients to help them integrate all areas of health into their daily lives, however busy those might be.
Need help building a fitness plan that fits your busy lifestyle? She’s got you. Need help establishing clear goals for your personal growth and your business? Yep, she can help with that, too. Wu has built her platform and successful business by helping entrepreneurial women of color achieve their goals and overcome anxiety and burnout, but her own career path wasn’t always so clear. After doing the painful and hard work of healing her own trauma, she realized what brought her joy: helping others achieve their own goals. Working through the pain and trauma of her childhood helped her become the best version of herself, so that’s exactly what she’s trying to do for her clients.
“Most entrepreneurs have a certain level of selfawareness and discipline,” Wu writes on one of her Instagram posts, “but arguably the hardest part of the business is still ourselves, specifically getting in our own way.”
I’ve experienced it with my own business. Realizing that I won’t meet the goals and numbers I had planned for any given month sends me into a panic, trying to fix a month’s worth of work in a few hours. Instead of my usual panic, though, Wu recommends slowing down and listening to our intuition in times of deep stress.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the all-or-nothing mentality and the never ending feeling of needing to do more, but it is important to learn how to take a step back and acknowledge the emotions that we are experiencing in times like these, according to Wu.
“We react emotionally as a defense mechanism when our ego feels threatened. Most people attempt to step back from the situation and suppress their feelings in order to avoid reacting emotionally, when in reality, analyzing those feelings can present some of the best opportunities to learn more about ourselves,” she says.
Despite the fact that much of her work revolves around mental health and healing trauma in order to achieve our goals, Wu is very clear in one thing: “coaching isn’t therapy.” They can complement each other, but a holistic health coach’s job is to help with things like breathwork, meditation, journaling, and dealing with emotions. “Therapy is a healing process, while coaching provides clients with guidance and direction in their lives,” says Wu.
When asked what are some ways she recommends entrepreneurs start their own journey of healing, Wu suggested finding a job or business venture that aligns with one’s calling. Taking the time to figure out and develop whatever natural skills you might have will pay off in the future. “Stop getting in your own way,” she says. “Business is a game of self-awareness.”
On Skincare, Single Motherhood, & Starting a BusinessChidinma Iwu | Contributing Writer
hen Esiri Ukueku-Uduaghan launched a skincare business from her home in Lagos, Nigeria, she had no idea that she would quickly gain a large international customer base. Just three years later, however, Tjaimi Essentials products can be found in more than 10 countries around the world.
“Personal skin care means a great deal to me and for people around me,” Ukueku-Uduaghan tells me via WhatsApp voice note. In the past, she battled acne and countless breakouts, and just wanted to see her skin heal and clear up. She went on an extensive research journey for products and skincare pointers which would help her struggling skin. After trying a number of dermatologically tested products that proved unsuccessful, she put some skincare solutions together that actually worked for her, all from natural resources and herbs. This phase of her life defined her path into skincare and helped form her career.
“I can relate with my customers and understand their experiences. The passion drives me to find solutions. Even when they’re not within my product line, I still go the extra mile to make sure that I find a solution that would work for a particular skin type,” she says. With every solution she finds, Ukueku-Uduaghan creates a new product. This is what keeps her skincare line going.
Speaking From Experience
Long before modern creams were introduced to African countries, there were a number of natural skin remedies that Nigerians and other Africans alike used to treat and maintain their skin. These resources are the backbone of Ukueku-Uduaghan’s brand - from essentials like shea butter, tea tree oil, and coconut oil, to native plant herbs like aloe vera and peppermint.
Because Ukueku-Uduaghan found her own personal skincare solution using plant extracts and organic powders, she knew these would become the foundation for her products and brand. Ukueku-Uduaghan tells me that her brand doesn’t thrive on the use of harsh chemicals but instead, mild, natural resources.
Tjaimi Essentials also focuses strongly on a skincare regimen, not just individual products. Ukueku-Uduaghan strives to educate her clients about the root causes of skincare issues “Results go beyond just products. It also matters what you ingest and that’s why we encourage our customers to take a lot of water and fruits,” she says.
Ensuring Quality & Consistency
Ukueku-Uduaghan also aims to maintain her customers’ trust, and to balance their needs with the needs of her business. Even though Nigeria’s present inflation and unforgiving exchange rates have affected her income, she still guarantees her customers affordability to the maximum extent possible.
“One way of keeping my prize steady for a long period of time is by buying in bulk. If I buy my materials in bulk, I know that I can use that for a long period of time and make a substantial amount of profit from it,” Ukueku-Uduaghan tells me. Her longtime customers expect consistency, so even as her own costs increase, the quality of her products never wavers.
“At the end of the day, if the customers really appreciate the quality of the products that you’re selling to them it’s a big win,” she says.
However, in unavoidable situations, UkuekuUduaghan increases the price upfront, although within reasonable measure and tries to make her customers understand the connection between cost and quality. “Once you can get them to see it from your angle, in my experience, they tend to be willing to pay. They are not too worried about the cost and they’d pay because it is meeting their needs.”
On Working as a Single Mom
As a single mother of two boys, running a home-based business is incredibly taxing for Ukueku-Uduaghan. Asides the intense hard work required, single mothers are one of the most stigmatized and discriminated-against groups in Nigeria, according to UkuekuUduaghan, following a long trail of patriarchal ideologies prevalent in the society. UkuekuUduaghan has always tried to find a balance between business, family, and rest.
“One thing that works for me is to ensure that I run my business out of my personal home,” Ukueku-Uduaghan says. “When my working space became really small, I rented a bigger apartment and created a workstation area away from my living area, but they are both in the same place. It allows me to be a mom and a business woman.”
‘Tis the season! The season of revenue changes for a lot of small businesses, of course. For some businesses, such as pumpkin farms and apple orchards (if you’re from the northeastern U.S. like I am), autumn is the most lucrative time of year. But what about food trucks? Many food trucks see a large disparity in revenue depending on the time of year. I sat down with Matthew Rafferty from Algorithm Food Truck, a plant-based food truck local to Philadelphia, about how revenue looks for him and his small business throughout the year.
Rafferty got his start in audio engineering, while also working in restaurants as a short-order cook and in cafeterias in college to help pay the bills. Shortly afterwards, he got an interview in NYC for an entrylevel audio engineer position.
On the morning of September, 11, 2001, Rafferty took the train to NYC and arrived around 9 a.m, confused and unaware, just as police were shutting down all transportation in and out of the city because of the plane crashes that had just happened not even an hour before.
This day was pivotal for a lot of Americans, Rafferty included. He began to reprioritize, and rethink his life and career goals. He decided he no longer wanted to be an audio engineer, and thought there was no future in it. Simultaneously, he was also pursuing restaurant jobs to have both cash in the bank, and, subsequently, alcohol in close reach.
Fast forward to early 2020: the pandemic had just hit and the world had no answers on how to continue from there on out. Rafferty was 40 years old, living in Virginia, sitting on this idea of a fast-casual vegan restaurant that would somehow also support local producers, artists, and animal-rights activists. He figured he didn’t want to be 80 years old and “not give it a whack.” Later that year, Algorithm was born.
Originally, Rafferty dreamed of opening a fast-casual restaurant, but then quickly pivoted to a food truck for financial reasons. He applied for 12 different
loans, and was rejected from all because he had no historical data to support him being able to pay them back since he had never owned a food truck before. Finally, a company in Colorado said yes, and he was able to start this new venture.
Shortly thereafter, Rafferty needed two disks replaced in his neck. He calls this time in both recovery from surgery and recovery from alcohol the “small window” and “short opportunity” to get things done, refresh, recover, and get the ball rolling on finally opening his food truck. He laughs when he said one of the main reasons he opened a food truck was fear: fear of what this meant for his career, fear of the unknown timeline of the pandemic, fear of continuing of what he had been doing his whole live, fear of it being a failure since there are already a large amount of vegan restaurants in the Philly area.
Nonetheless, Algorithm Restaurants Food Truck opened in September of 2020.
Right away, Rafferty knew that opening a food truck at the end of summer was not ideal. With winter approaching, his initial revenue would be quite minimal. Regardless, he was encouraged and hopeful that it was the right time to start a local business using local producers given the uncertainty of the food supply chain.
In the two years that Algorithm has been open, Rafferty has learned some things about maximizing cost and revenue. When Algorithm first opened, there were a lot of options for customization on the menu. For example, the customer could choose their protein and toppings on sandwiches and tacos. This proved to be too labor-intensive for a 128-square-foot kitchen. Now, the menu includes pre-fixed toppings and proteins. Customers can still substitute items if needed, but not giving an option for that on the menu has greatly reduced this from happening, and has allowed operations to run a lot more smoothly. The Algorithm team has also considered logistics over the last two years. The truck started out in one singular park five times a week, which worked out well initially. But Rafferty didn’t want to saturate the same hyper-local area. He then started testing out different areas of Philadelphia where people mightFood
want vegan food. He expanded Algorithm’s radius to other parts of the city and settled on a rotating schedule in December of 2020, meaning on Mondays they’d be in one area, Tuesday’s they’d be in another, etc. This way, customers knew where to find them on any given day.
This was really another turning point for the business. This ended up being very valuable for their schedule because it expanded their reach and attracted more guests. Insteading of saturating one area, they were able to gain traction for a larger guest base for the future.
Changes in Seasonal Revenue
When asked how he manages and plans for the dip in revenue throughout slower months, Rafferty is only semi-joking when he says he “freaks out.” But along with that freak-out, he has some concrete ways to try and offset the slow seasons, which is generally just pushing sales through different channels:
Catering - Algorithm offers catering “drop offs” with family-style dishes for weddings, parties, festivals, etc. This increases their mobility and reach.
Wholesale - Local small businesses, like Batter and Crumbs, a vegan baked-goods company in Philadelphia, sells Algorithm’s breakfast sandwiches out of their storefront so customers can get both a sweet breakfast treat from Batter and Crumbs, and a savory breakfast from Algorithm in a one-stop shop. Grubhub, UberEats, DoorDash - Opening up online ordering channels allows for a larger clientele reach as well, because folks who are on the opposite side of the city from where the truck is parked that day can still order their food and have it delivered to them.
Pop-Up Events - Implementing pop-up events with a tent and a scaled-down menu, while the truck is in use selling food at another location or catering event, allows two sources of revenue at the same time.
These channels help increase revenue through different channels, which increases the reach and mobility of Algorithm’s food. At the end of the day, however, it’s still a numbers game. Small businesses like Algorithm expect less revenue during certain parts of the year, depending on their business. The
cost of goods, the cost of fuel, the cost of menu items, deciding where to set up the truck, etc. all play a part in the larger plan of trying to at least match the costs to the revenue throughout the year.
Other ways that Rafferty manages his finances include saying “no” a lot. He says there isn’t a lot of money laying around or to pull from. This requires him to be flexible, patient, and protective of finances because a penny for him is much more valuable than a penny for a big box corporation. On a personal level, Rafferty explains that he can’t just go out to dinner whenever he wants or on a regular basis because he doesn’t have guaranteed income coming in, and he will always prioritize his staff, making sure they get paid.
The Future of Algorithm
September 1 marked the two-year anniversary of the Algorithm food truck opening for business. To celebrate, Rafferty announced the opening of their first storefront location in Queens Village in Philadelphia sometime in the near future.
When asked what the future of Algorithm holds beyond that, Rafferty immediately says “scale.” He wants to scale up the business by hitting other cities and being able to keep “the purchasing power of local purveyors alive and well.” All in all, the Algorithm team will continue to strive for animal rights, utilize hyperlocal producers, and support others that support animal rights. Rafferty says, “If I can do anything to contribute to the city and to animal rights, that’s all I can ask for in life.”Matthew Rafferty, Owner, Algorithm Restaurants
the wunder kind
Eddie Velazquez | Contributing Writer
At just 20 years old, digital marketing specialist Aditya Raj Singh has already created a name for himself in his industry.
The wise-beyond-his-years New Delhi businessman founded his first financial marketing agency Stallion Cognitive at the age of 16, but his entrepreneurial spirit was born years prior to that when Singh saw an opportunity to make YouTube tutorials for video editing software. From there, he became a video editor for other content creators.
“Then soon after that [some content creators] wanted a website, so I started learning about website design, and I started building websites for them,” says Singh. “Long story short, I ended up starting my own agency.”
At a Crossroads
Running a business parallel to his education soon proved to be a challenge.
“I was doing commerce with computer science,” Singh said of his schooling. “That wasn’t something that I was interested in, but I had to do it because of my parents.”
In 12th grade, he flunked out of school. “I was so into business that I failed. Because of that, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to drop out altogether,” he said. “I took a few years off to focus on my business.”
In time, Singh had learned how to code, how to grow a business, and how to interact with clients. Through Stallion Collective, Singh helps financial businesses with online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and website maintenance.
“I never had to actively market my services,” he says on his website. “I just kept getting referrals and even had to keep expanding just to keep up with the demand and new clients.”
That has changed now, as Singh continues to expand his agency.
“This year I’ve actually started working a lot on growing the agency,” he said. “I’ve actually migrated from client acquisition more toward talent acquisition. Just this month, I’ve hired a copywriter and an SEO specialist. All the cash flow that my agency was generating, I’m not taking my profit out of it, but I’m just pushing it toward growing the agency.”
An edge Singh sees over his competitors is his ability to host a client’s website through his second venture, Acrux Cloud.
“It kind of acts as a leverage and it puts us in a better position than other agencies, because the clients know that we have a dedicated hosting company as well,” he said.
Culturally Conscious Financial Advice
All of his work in the worlds of finance and marketing have provided Singh with the experience and foresight of a trusted advisor. He fulfills this role in his blog Namaste Finance, where he shares financial insights for people across India.
“I write about the basic financial knowledge that everyone should have, talking to an Indian audience in particular,” he said. “A majority of Indian people are really just stuck with the mindset of fixed deposits.”
Fixed deposits, according to India’s HDFC Bank, typically involve putting a lump sum in the bank for a fixed tenure at an agreed rate of interest. At the end of the tenure, according to the bank’s website, depositors receive the amount invested plus compound interest.
“I write about some basic things, such as investing in stocks, mutual funds, and how you should budget,” says Singh. He also hopes to bring attention to
401(k) plans, Roth IRA accounts, and other resources available. “These are all things that are very basic, but yet so out of reach for some Indian people.”
The blog, Singh noted, has content in both English and Hindi, taking some cues from other popular finance YouTubers. Part of his strategy to strengthen financial literacy also includes posting inventive Instagram reels.
Riches Are in the Niches
As for some advice he could provide young entrepreneurs, Singh said businesses should find their niche.
“Riches are in the niches,” he said. “I really live by this quote. Initially, I was trying to offer my services to everyone. I was doing it in two wrong ways. Number one: I was trying to appeal to everyone. Number two: I was trying to offer all the services that I could think of in digital marketing.”
Beyond focusing on a specific field or industry, Singh also stressed the need to find a space.
“Even though you may have a niche and a very particular service, you also have to pick a very specific location that you can expand on,” he said.
The most personal advice Singh can provide is the one he would give his young, 16-year-old self.
“I still think that I’m not experienced enough. When I look around at other investors and people who I know are in this business, I can sometimes still feel somewhat inferior,” he said, noting it can be hard to gather the confidence to advise himself. “I would tell myself to invest more in the business in the initial years.”
Investing further into the business, Singh said, would free up some valuable time that can be spent innovating.
“When I actually started the business, 50 percent of my focus was to actually save a lot of money, which now I think was a bad idea,” Sing added. “If I were to invest money into business, I would be able to hire more people, and in turn give me more time to focus on growing the business. The more you invest into your business initially, the better that pays off in the long run.”
What’s the Deal With White Labeling?Liana DeMasi | Contributing Writer
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, it probably seems like the “To Do” list gets longer every day. So much goes into building a successful small business. A large part of that process is procuring or creating inventory and establishing your brand. But what if you simply lack the time or labor power to develop more products or services? And what if selling other company’s items goes against your goals or image? These same reasons are why businesses - small and large - have been opting for white labeling for years.
Credit: Kali Joseph
What is White Labeling?
Simply put, white labeling is when one business purchases a service or product from another company, with the intention of selling said purchase with their own company’s name and logo on the packaging. This is often done when the manufacturer signs off on branding their products with a different company or buyer’s name. You might be thinking: This sounds like the makings of a lawsuit. The practice is pretty common, though, and with transparency and proper contracting, there’s nothing illegal about it. Instead, one company gets to sell more of their services or product, and another is able to put it on their shelves under their own name.
You’ve probably purchased a white label product as a customer before. Big box stores, such as Target, Walmart, or Costco have their own brands, but so much of what is labeled as such on their shelves are actually made and packaged by third-party manufacturers.
Why Do Businesses Opt for White Labeling?
While white labeling is most often associated with large companies who require mass-production for their goods and services, small businesses might find a myriad of benefits as well.
Say for example that you started a small information technology (IT) business that offers computer repair, troubleshooting services, data management, and cyber security. About a year into starting, your company is doing well, but you’d like to expand to website development and email marketing based on customer feedback and desire. Unfortunately, your employees are already too overwhelmed with their current workload and it doesn’t seem possible to develop the services yourself. This is where white labeling comes into play. By finding a different company that offers their services under white label marketing, you’re able to fill the gaps in your business model.
This might also be the case for, say, a CBD or hemp company that wishes to add more products to their inventory but is unable to develop their own due to knowledge, time, access, or monetary limitations. They would seek a white labeling business to help propel their own brand forward.
It’s not impossible to break into a business sector that’s unknown to you, nor is it impossible to further develop your goods or services if time, money, or knowledge is an issue. Even better, it can all be done under your small business’s name and logo, creating a sense of familiarity and trust for your customer base.
How to Choose a White Labeling Business
When making the decision to purchase white label goods or services, the most important part is choosing the right business to partner with. When doing so, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
Values and Quality
Customer relations is a critical aspect of any small business, which is why choosing a white label business is about so much more than just slapping your label on any given product. Consumers turn to you for certain goods and services because they enjoy or rely upon what you have to offer. If there are suddenly items on the shelves that range in quality or are misaligned with your values, that customer base is let down. When searching for a white label business, make sure to test out their goods and services before making the final decision.
When embarking on any type of partnership, there’s a lot of ongoing conversation. If you or your employees don’t enjoy communicating with the team at a potential white label business, it’s probably not the one for you. Because a small business is so much more than the goods and services it offers, you’ll want to ensure that any partnership you sign off on aligns with the relationships you already have.
Experience and Knowledge
Since there’s a chance you’re seeking out a white label business to fill a gap in your own experience or knowledge, you’ll want to choose one that can meet those needs. Even if the company is fairly new, consider who owns it. Does this person have an extensive background in the field? Take a look for any case studies that they have on their website or testimonials from companies similar to yours. This will help you gauge whether or not they’ll satisfy your customer base as well, since they - and you - come first.
Advertise with us
No Cilantro, PleaseTM is a quarterly digital magazine that celebrates small business and the diversity of entrepreneurship through food and lifestyle discoveries.
Your advertisement supports our female-owned-and-operated publication, and allows us to highlight brilliant entrepreneurs worldwide.
Please visit www.nocilantroplease.com for our rate card, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
Tech Tools for Small Business
The Scoop on ScrivenerMicah Brown | Contributing Writer
No matter what type of writing you’re working on, organization is the key to success. From academic writing to fiction, and everything in between, Scrivener can meet the needs of all types of writers without compromising features for anyone.
Scrivener is writing software from Literature and Latte. It isavailable on both macOS and Windows, and provides an incredible amount of customization and flexibility. While there are other software titles that provide a similar feature set, most of those are subscriptionbased, whereas Scrivener is a “buy it and own it” software. This does mean that when there are major upgrades you need to purchase the newer version if you want the feature set, but if you already own it, they generally discount the price by about 50% - and it is still far less expensive than paying a subscription fee.
Upon opening Scrivener for the first time (or any time you want to write something new), you are greeted by a window that gives you options for the type of writing you are planning on doing. Within each of these categories, there are multiple selections you can make based on what you’re about to write.
As somebody who spends most of their writing time on creative endeavors, I typically use a template from the Fiction category.
Templates are extremely flexible and provide a basis for how you want to work on your writing. If you’re especially picky about how you want things set up, you can use a blank template and build out all the parts and pieces that you want to make use of in the software.
When you first sit down to use Scrivener, it can feel overwhelming because of all the features that are suddenly available to you, but the great thing about Scrivener is that you get to pick and choose which features you use. The ones that you don’t use, don’t pop up and insist that you use them, they just fade into the background, allowing you to customize the software to meet your needs as a writer.
On the left, you can see the Novel with Parts template, and on the right you can see the standard Novel template. The software is flexible enough to add and remove Parts as your writing evolves.
If you make a mistake and delete something you didn’t mean to, it all goes into a trash file within Scrivener until you empty it (I never empty the trash file in a project, but that is just me – you will figure out your own flow).
For those who want to write scripts or screenplays, then there are templates that are specifically designed for those ventures as well, even separating out UK Scriptwriting from U.S. Scriptwriting.
There is no need to purchase expensive screenwriting software, as the features within Scrivener are more than enough to keep your screenplay correctly formatted and ready for submission to the big studios, so you can get your millions. (When that happens, please let me know so I know where to sell mine!).
If non-fiction is more your speed, there are templates that are ready to create Chicago Style Essays, work with LaTex, create papers in MLA and APA, and more. The possibilities of Scrivener are seemingly endless and can be tailored to your needs.
It is important to note before we go any further that every Template, with the exception of the Blank Template, offers a short “How to use this template” instructional document at the beginning of every new project. Once you’ve learned from that, it can be deleted in every subsequent project you create.
Aside from the file structure that allows for the separation of chapters and parts, sections of a chapter can also be separated from each other by using a new text file within the chapter folder for an unlimited number of chapter parts.
There are a multitude of reasons this could be handy for an author, but the way I tend to use this feature is to move chapter sections around either within the chapter itself, or even move sections to different chapters entirely just with a click and drag, instead of having to cut-and-paste.
Instead of having separate software titles for your writing, notes, and compiled research, Scrivener has those features built in. On the left sidebar of the interface window, you can see those options that will allow you keep notes and compile research. For those who are working on more creative pieces, there are also options for character sketches and place settings. These latter two can also be helpful for nonfiction pieces that involve real-life people and places.
Screenshots of Scrivener software
Another handy feature is Autosave. Microsoft Word will only perform autosaves if you are saving to OneDrive. Scrivener will not only autosave to anywhere on your computer, it will also create a backup file at a location of your choosing, including a cloud drive or external drive, so in the event the primary file is ever damaged or lost, you can still get most of your work back without much hassle.
The Corkboard Collaboration and Compiling
A simple and yet incredibly useful feature is the Corkboard. It allows you to see the contents of a specific file laid out like notecards. Within each of those notecards you can enter your own description of what that particular folder contains. When you are viewing the contents of folder, it will default to the text that is included within sections inside that folder, but that can be overwritten on the card from the corkboard view without removing the text of the file itself.
If you look at the screenshots above, you will also see a “Notes” section on the right side. Those are selection specific notes, meaning that if you have selected a folder, then any notes you enter will be attached to just that folder. If you select a document within the folder, the notes are only ascribed to that document. This is a great way of keeping little details easily accessible and quickly making notes for something you want to go back to later in the piece.
Above the notes section you can see an area where you can enter a synopsis of the content you have selected. This is, like the notes, based on the selected item so you can create a breakdown of what happens in any scene, folder, or subfolder.
Scrivener is not as ubiquitous as Word. That being said, Scrivener makes it easy to export your project, or specific parts of your project, into a variety of formats including Word, ePub, and Kindle. I have found that the ability to export sections of the manuscript are handy when working with an editor or beta readers.When you are done with your manuscript and ready to submit it, it is easy to compile the entire document into a Word file complete with a title page and any other documents you have created within the project.
The Cons of Scrivener
One of the most frustrating things about Scrivener is starting out due to the sheer number of options and tools available to you. While there are not the same number of features as Microsoft Word, you can still open a blank document in word and just start typing, whereas Scrivener makes you consider what kind of project you’re working on, and then provides a number of possibilities for how you want to set that project up. If you can get past that, then it becomes second nature, and I have found that it’s easy to work with once your find your flow.
Track changes in Scrivener is not nearly as powerful or useful as it is in Word, and the collaboration tools in Word around the Track Changes feature is far superior to what is in Scrivener. When I am at the point of making final changes to a piece, I generally do the final rounds of editing in Word after compiling from Scrivener.
Despite its steep learning curve, Scrivener is a software title I find myself recommending anybody who spends any amount of time sitting at a keyboard and writing. If you need some training, there are numerous YouTube videos that provide how-to and training videos, as well as a dedicated support team at Scrivener.
Find them online: Scrivener by Literature and Latte
Our Wealth Matters
Nos guste o no, todos necesitamos dinero para alcanzar nuestras metas — necesitamos entender como obtenerlo, guardarlo, invertirlo y gastarlo de manera inteligente. Es más, como emprendedores, muchas veces necesitamos gastar dinero antes de empezar a generarlo. Tristemente no todos tienen acceso a las herramientas que les permiten entender como funciona el dinero. Esto es especialmente cierto para personas que son parte de minorías y grupos marginados, como personas de color, inmigrantes o personas de la comunidad Latina, que muchas veces consideran de “mal gusto” hablar de dinero abiertamente.
Maribel Francisco ha hecho su misión de vida cambiar esto. Francisco es una joven emprendedora, hija de padres mexicanos, originarios de Michoacán, México. La joven de 29 años, fundadora de Our Wealth Matters, es una coach financiera que se especializa en ayudar a familias inmigrantes y mujeres a entender el sistema financiero de Estados Unidos y a crear riqueza a partir de ello.
Por más de 10 años, Maribel Francisco ha trabajado con inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos como preparadora de impuestos certificada. Durante los últimos 4 años, ha trabajado en la industria del entretenimiento en Los Ángeles, California — su trabajo más reciente fue administrar una unidad de negocios internacional multimillonaria. Hoy en día, Francisco dedica su tiempo a ser coach financiera bilingüe, trabajo en el que utiliza su conocimiento financiero y su conocimiento de las leyes de impuestos en E. U. A.
Francisco empezó su carrera en finanzas cuando tuvo que aprender sobre su propio 401(k) (ésta es una cuenta para el retiro, similar a la Afore mexicana), pero su relación con el dinero empezó mucho antes de eso. Cuando Francisco era chica, su mamá empezó su negocio como preparadora de impuestos; a los 18, Francisco siguió los pasos de su madre y consiguió su propia licencia. Fue a la universidad y se tituló en finanzas, lo que la llevó a tener una carrera en la industria del entretenimiento, como analista financiera. Después de un tiempo trabajando, Francisco se dió cuenta que ésto no era lo suyo — lo suyo eran las finanzas personales.
Ahorro y Estigma
Francisco empezó su negocio, Our Wealth Matters, con una meta muy clara: ayudar a mujeres e inmigrantes de primera generación cuyo idioma es el Español a evitar las experiencias negativas que ella vivió en su infancia. Después de que deportaran a su papá cuando ella era niña, los Francisco perdieron su principal fuente de ingresos.
“Dormíamos en nuestro carro por un tiempo” nos cuenta. “El principal objetivo de Our Wealth Matters es ayudar a que otras personas eviten situaciones como esa… A los inmigrantes no se les da un paquete de bienvenida o un panfleto explicándoles todo. Vienen aquí a trabajar y es todo lo que les importa al principio.”
Francisco admite que la principal razón por la que decidió enfocar su negocio en inmigrantes mexicanos y mujeres jóvenes es por su propia experiencia como mujer mexicana. “Nos enseñan a no hablar de dinero. Nos dicen que solo lo guardemos debajo del colchón y esperemos que nada malo suceda.”
“Crecí escuchando cosas como ‘no te preocupes por la lana, el dinero no compra la felicidad’ de la mayoría de mis parientes mexicanos. Y si, el sentimiento detrás de frases como esa es lindo, pero pensamientos como ese evitan que hablemos — y aprendamos — como funciona el dinero.” Por supuesto que el dinero no compra la felicidad, ¡pero si la acerca! Tener dinero nos provee estabilidad y seguridad. “Quiero ayudar a mi gente, a los que no tienen experiencia o conocimiento en el tema, a crear riqueza,” dice Francisco. “Quiero que los inmigrantes jovenes sepan que hacer una vez que empiecen a ganar mas dinero que sus papás y qué pasos tomar cuando no hay conocimiento financiero que sus padres puedan heredarles sobre como funciona la economía en éste país.”
Estados Unidos es un país construido por inmigrantes; uno que hasta el día de hoy
depende en gran medida del trabajo de los inmigrantes, pero aún hoy, no hay suficientes herramientas para permitirles a esos inmigrantes a establecerse y construir una vida digna aquí. Sobre las pocas herramientas que hay para enseñar a los inmigrantes a generar riqueza en E.E. U. U., Francisco dice que “no hay muchos inmigrantes hablando sobre temas de inmigrantes. Algunos lo hacen pero no de manera abierta y masiva.”
“Quiero ayudar a mi gente, a los que no tienen experiencia o conocimiento en el tema, a crear riqueza,” dice Francisco. “Quiero que los inmigrantes jovenes sepan que hacer una vez que empiecen a ganar mas dinero que sus papás y qué pasos tomar cuando no hay conocimiento financiero que sus padres puedan heredarles sobre como funciona la economía en éste país.”
A diferencia de otros que también se dedican a finanzas personales, Francisco está consciente del enorme rol que las redes sociales juegan al momento de encontrar clientes nuevos. “Las redes sociales son mi principal contacto con clientes potenciales,” dice Francisco. “Es una herramienta de bajo costo, pero requiere atención constante. Se me hace muy fácil conectar con gente nueva por Instagram o Facebook. Los que están ahí ya están buscando lo que yo ofrezco.”
La marca personal de Francisco es tan específica que una vez que llegas a alguna de sus páginas sabes exactamente que esperar de ella. Se siente muy personal y brinda a los clientes potenciales la oportunidad de empezar a “conocerla” antes de que se conozcan en persona. Las redes sociales son una manera de estar “presente” todo el tiempo, sin importar el día o la hora. “Hay que dedicarle mucho tiempo, pero estamos en el celular de todas formas.”
Lo que distingue a Maribel Francisco y Our Wealth Matters de otros en la misma profesión es que a ella no le da miedo hacer las preguntas “difíciles” cuando se trata de ayudar a sus clientes. Ella tiene una enorme ventaja: “yo tengo el privilegio de ser ciudadana Americana. Puedo hacer preguntas complicadas a los bancos e instituciones financieras sin levantar sospechas, entonces me encargo de hacer todas las preguntas necesarias en nombre de mis clientes sin problema alguno.”
Falta Mucho Por Hacer
Según Francisco, aún hay muchísimo trabajo que hacer para combatir la falta de información financiera, incluso dentro de la misma
comunidad de coaches de finanzas personales. “He hablado con gente que lleva más de 30 años trabajando en ésto y muchos de ellos jamás han escuchado sobre ITINs (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, o número de identificación del contribuyente, por sus siglas en inglés), así que es obvio lo mucho que hace falta seguir hablando de esto. La misma gente que trabaja en éste rubro no conoce mucho del tema, por lo que es aún más importante hablar de ello y seguir compartiendo la información que tenemos disponible. Es más, hasta la información que encontramos en línea está desactualizada muchas veces.”
Para combatir esto, Francisco creó una cuenta de Quora (una página para hacer preguntas a la comunidad en internet, similar a lo que era Yahoo Respuestas) y dedica gran parte de su tiempo libre a contestar preguntas relacionadas al tema de finanzas personales, no importa lo viejas que sean. “Éste tema, finanzas personales, no se enseña en las escuelas, y en las pocas ocasiones que si lo enseñan, nunca es con los inmigrantes en mente así que muchas veces éstos foros son la única herramienta que la gente tiene.”
Maribel Francisco, fundadora de Our Wealth Matters, un negocio de finanzas personales dedicado a ayudar a mujeres y familias inmigrantes a entender el sistema tributario de E. U. A. y a crear riquezas en este país. Todas las fotos, incluyendo la foto de portada, son cortesía de Maribel Francisco.
Encuéntrala en línea en: