Sakura Spotlight Series: Melissa Barajas
Spotlight Series Q&A for Entrepreneurs
Melissa Barajas has been surrounded by the entrepreneurial spirit her entire life so being her own boss came naturally to her. She’s a hardworking momma and dedicated career woman who never lets anything get in her way. We’re proud to introduce you to such an amazing female!
- Tell us a little bit about your business and what you do.
My name is Melissa Barajas, and I am a Mortgage Lender in Southern California. I help with the purchase and financing of your home – whether it be a first home, investment property or refinancing a current home. I love helping people achieve the American Dream of homeownership.
- What made you aspire to be an entrepreneur?
My father was an entrepreneur, so I grew up in this type of environment. I just knew it in my soul I was going to be one too! However, making the move from the comforts of Corporate America (medical insurance, steady paycheck, bonuses, vacation pay, sick pay and 401k) to the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship, as a single mom, was not something I found myself rushing into. It was scary to say the least! BUT the kick in the butt, AKA the blessing in disguise came after 10+ years when I was laid off and that was that. I knew the time had come!
- What is the one thing you wish you had known before starting your own business?
Oh, I have more than one 🙂 I wish I would have started sooner!
Starting a business from scratch, with zero experience managing the books, is a slow and steady process – so watch your spending! Your savings will run out WAY quicker than you anticipated! Metrics…Track everything and know, I mean really know your numbers!
- What has been the most successful avenue for building and growing your brand/business (social media, ads, word of mouth, referrals, etc.)?
I started growing my business from my sphere of influence. People introduced me to their friends and family. Then I started spending more time on social media, sharing what I was up to. Also, networking events in my area can be a good way to get your foot in the door! I started going to a bunch of them, meeting as many people as I could, and then I started sponsoring networking events. Eventually, I started getting invited to speak at events.
Lastly, and still one of my my favorite avenues – referrals. I couldn’t be more excited to be invited to clients’ housewarming parties and get introduced to all of the friends and family.
- What are the aspects of your business that you enjoy the most?
Helping people! Telling customers their loan has funded, that they are officially home owners and then handing them the keys! Watching the kids pick out their rooms and being a part of that journey never gets old!
- What do you love doing in your free time to refuel and have fun?
I have a ten-year-old son on a traveling club soccer team – I love watching him play, and well, that takes up most of my free time. Otherwise, we love taking the RV out to the beach and other fun campsites, sitting in front of the fire pit and just hanging out with friends and family.