Last week I had the privilege to interview the lovely Coleen Otero. She’s a celebrity Hair/Makeup Artist who lost it all. Four homes, luxury cars, and several businesses! With 5 children, the Otero family was forced to get help by living with family to rebuild.
Her work has been featured on Bravo, BET, NBC, CBS, Macy’s, OKHair Magazine and more. Her VIP clientele includes entertainers like Sherri Shephard from the View, Sisaundra Lewis from the Voice, and more.
Here’s what she had to share on family and being a mompreneur.
What did losing everything and moving back in with your family teach you?
It taught me to be humble, number one. Humble yourself. Be willing to reach out for help. It also taught me the importance of having a family unit, and family support. As a result, one of the things I really stress is, no matter how successful my business becomes, let that success always be a reflection of the success I’m having privately. It allowed me to put my home life into perspective; my family, my kids, my hubby. I’m making sure they’re always a priority.
How did you find the strength and the energy to turn your pity-party into a planning party?
You know, again, it was realizing that yes, I had that moment when I was so stressed out and depressed, that pity-party to a planning-party was not overnight. I was sending out invitations for the pity-party. But you kind of get tired of talking about the same thing. You also realize when your friends get tired of hearing it. It kind of got down to a point where my circle was like “so what are you gonna do?” And you have to ask yourself that question, “shoot, well what am I going to do?”
The worrying and the stressing it has its place where you grieve the loss. We have to go through that. But you have to realize, there comes a time where you have to dust yourself off and go for it again, regardless of how inadequate you feel, having lost everything. You feel like, “Oh my god, I’m not setting myself up again for repeat/part 2″. So you literally have to get around people that are positive. Get around people that understand what it’s like to have lost, and to live again after the loss. I found myself looking for people that went through tremendous loss, but then got back up and got back in the ring of life and decided to go forward again. And so that’s what I had to do. Eventually I got those training wheels back on and I was stumbling, falling and going through emotional battles, but eventually I just started running.
What has been your number one business resource?
It’s two things that I always stress, one of them being serve. That is a rare attribute I’m finding, to find a person that truly serves and really cares about each client. No matter what area you go to too. It’s huge! Don’t be afraid to go a little above and beyond. It’s ok! I think sometimes because of the age that we’re in, if we’re not careful, we get caught up in just trying to make a quick buck, and not build any real relationships. Be very transactional, don’t know anything about your client. We know how to put a brand together that’s lovely and beautiful and attracts people. But the turnover is insane, and it’s because a lack of service exists. So my focus is to serve. How can I serve my clients? What can I do to make each one feel special? I think that’s the number one reason for my success.
The second thing is social media. Social media is another animal in itself. Every business owner large and small needs to playing on that platform. That has been a big vehicle in our reach. Word-of-mouth, because of our service, and secondly social media, are the best resources I can recommend.
Also Related: Day 24 – Ask For Help: 31 Day FLY Mom Challenge
Is there any particular platform you prefer on social media?
I have two, and it’s Facebook and Instagram.
I know you’re a mom of 5, how do you juggle being both a career woman and motherhood?
Somebody shout REINFORCEMENT! Lol. The truth is being a mompreneur, you can only do so much because you have children pulling on you and you want to make sure you have the energy, the time, and the strength that it takes to still have joy when it comes down to taking care of your kids. For me, the biggest thing was having help. Having help with a sitter, a nanny, my family. We also have a schedule. Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s my niece, who’s in her early 20’s, will come by and help me with the kids from 12-6PM. And on Tuesday’s and Friday’s, my mother-in-law or my mother, mainly my mom at this time, will watch the little ones. My oldest one, he, for the most part, can take of himself. The juggling act really is attained, you can’t do it alone.
This is good for mom’s to know, that it’s ok to ask for help. You don’t have to be wonder woman.
If you don’t need help, your vision’s not large enough. (Mic dropped! – Take that in for a second)
What is the most important investment a mompreneur should make?
I’ll have to piggyback on my last answer and say help. When I say help it doesn’t mean it’s free. Sometimes people automatically think when you look for help it means free help. But I really think that there’s a principal of abundance that is applied when you are willing to pay for help. So I think the investment is to pay for the right help. You want to do what you need to do to put whatever finances aside so you can build that cushion and then you can start getting the help. Even if it’s only two days a week You’ll be surprised what you can do and accomplish in those two days. So investing in someone to help with your children, that you can trust, cause we know it’s a process. Invest in finding the right help. You have to be willing and financially prepared to make that commitment because your children are worth it.
Secondly it would be, I don’t know about anybody else, but when it comes to cleaning, I’m like “ooh!” And so I have a cleaning service. They come in once every two weeks. That has been a big help for me because I like things a certain way and if they’re not that way I can’t function, lol. And so it’s good to have someone come in and help me in that area of keeping the house in order.
One less thing to worry about right?
It’s true! And the finances I can generate during that time. That time I would lose if I would have to focus on cleaning. The way I like to clean? Lol, yeah I’m a little special. So the way I like to clean, it would take a lot of time. So to have someone come in every two weeks, right when it’s getting to that point where I feel overwhelmed with keeping up with the cleaning. My nice is a tremendous help as well. When she’s here, she’s kind of like a mommy-helper because she doesn’t just watch the kids. She will help with their laundry and different things like that which I think I’ve just been fortunate.
How do you want your children to view you and your bounce back to success?
I want them to view me as a superhero, lol. Pretty much t hough. I will often tell them about mommy-power and let them know, when they really put their mind to something and sit down and really get a plan, an action plan, they can do anything. I just want to be that example for them, that talk is cheap and action pays. That’s kind of one of the number one thing I want them to totally understand.
Does your oldest remember going from a big house to living with family?
Oh yeah! Absolutely. He remembers. But even though we would cry at night about it, we didn’t reflect that in front of the kids and so we just made it like a party. I said “we’re going to grandma’s”, and my mom is such a nurturer it was kind of like, “ok let’s not get too comfortable here”, cause she’s such a helper. We made the best of it honestly.
It’s good, how we can pass on that lesson to our children through practical, real-life evidence.
It’s true. That’s what we have to do. I think a lot of times as moms, if we’re not careful, we will just not share those experiences. with them and so they don’t have a realistic approach to success. So if you’re not careful they won’t recognize the work that you put in. But I want them to know, we do have to work and we can’t play right now, “mommy’s working and “why are you working?” “Why are you working again?” But I know that they’ll appreciate it, that I did the sacrifices to work from home. Because I’ve even transitioned from where I’m not behind the chair as much either. Because as I get older I don’t just want to trade time for money. I want to look at creating products and different things that can be handed down, essentially creating a legacy for my children.
What advice do you have for mompreneurs? What are some things you’ve asked for help with?