Interview with Sarah Escalona

Sarah Escalona is a twenty-three year old entrepreneur from Los Angeles. After graduating from Saint Anthony High School she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Finance from California State University, Long Beach and now intends on pursuing a law degree. Ms. Escalona has experience working in the insurance, law, management consulting, and arts/entertainment industries.

When did you decide that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

Having witnessed the successes of many other entrepreneurs in my family motivated me to create my own venture. While I’ve always known that I wanted to start my own company, but it took me years to figure out what I was passionate about. Once I identified my strengths and interests, I decided to take the entrepreneurial risk because it felt like a natural next step.

What experience did you have (in the field of your venture) before starting?

I have been learning business management and language skills my whole life. The businesses in my family have predominantly been in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and Mexico City. Since I am fluent in English and Spanish, I was constantly the “go-to girl” for translation and interpretation. I later gained more experience working with a documentary production company translating and transcribing video footage. These same language and business skills were further developed when I worked with a major insurance company, a legal service non-profit, and a global management consulting firm.

How did you know your business idea was the right idea?

I know that my business idea is right because in addition for there being a need for my services in my community, I am passionate about my work and helping people. I believe that when someone loves what they do, they are happy and they put in the extra effort and positive energy that is needed to be successful. With hard work and the right planning, I am confident that my business will be successful.

How much has having a formal business degree helped you succeed in business?

I think that a formal business degree has helped me to some extent, but succeeding in business takes more than just being book smart. It is just as important to have the interpersonal skills, creativity, and common sense that don’t always come with a business degree.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite aspect about being an entrepreneur is being in control of my own life and making my own rules instead of having to follow someone else’s. Having my own company allows me to manage my own time, create my own goals, and set my own priorities. Not to mention that I don’t exactly miss sitting in a cubicle 8-10 hours a day.

What do you think is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

The major difference between entrepreneurs is confidence and the willingness to take risks. Entrepreneurs have lots of energy, passion, and creativity that is sometimes too overwhelming for employers who prefer more passive predictable people for employees. Entrepreneurs are people who not only want high rewards for their work, but they are willing to take the high risks that come with being self-employed.

What do you think is the most difficult part of getting started for an entrepreneur regardless of industry?

I think the most difficult part of getting started is coming up with a successful business idea. Some business skills can be taught, but innovation has to spur from the creativity of a person.

Albert Einstein once said that "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." What are your thoughts on that quote?

I think Einstein’s quote addresses conformity and taking risks. Takings risks and trying something new means you accept the possibility of failure. Someone people adverse risk to minimize their chances at making mistakes, but sometimes it’s O.K. to live a little and make mistakes. If you fall – brush yourself off and move on. We’re all human and life is about learning and growing.

Jay Abraham once said “An amazing thing, the human brain. Capable of understanding incredibly complex and intricate concepts. Yet at times unable to recognize the obvious and simple.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

Sometimes the answers we struggle looking for are right under our noses. The Dalai Lama claims that “the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” A lot of us over-complicate our lives and we become frustrated, unhappy, and forget that we don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Simplicity helps me sort through life’s chaos.

Brian Tracey once said “A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” What are your thoughts on that quote?

Coming up with ideas is great, but if there is no planning and structure behind them one is almost sure to fail. On the other hand, when that vision is “backed by definite plans” then the increased odds for success bring confidence that may be half of the formula for success.

Who is your greatest inspiration?

In my personal life, my mother is my great inspiration. My mother is selfless, a great listener, my motivator, and my biggest critic. In business, Steve Jobs is my great inspiration. The creativity, aesthetics, and philosophy he brings to Apple are inspiring to my own business ventures.

What advice would you give to college students who want to be entrepreneurs?

I would advise all college students to pursue whatever they are passionate about and find great interest in. Pursuing your personal interests will help harbor personal growth and the creativity needed to come up with great ideas. Internships and part-time jobs are great ways to get experience in the work force, observe existing business models, and possibly discover their future careers.

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years from now?

Five years from now I hope to have completed law school and have incorporated affordable legal counsel as one of the services my company provides. Ideally by then Escalona Services will have grown to the degree where I can spend most of my time managing staff and spearheading the legal services aspect of my company.

If you could go back, what would you have done differently?

Nothing. I don’t regret anything I have done because otherwise I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Like everyone else, I have made mistakes but I try to learn from all of my errors and move on. I’m more interested in working hard and looking forward than frustrating myself about “what if”.

Company Description:

Escalona Services provides individuals and businesses with professional services such as interpretation, translation, transcription, and small business consulting. The company is committed to providing quality services in a socially responsible manner.



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