Jennifer Lopez knew something was wrong.
“I was really inspired by being more savvy in business when I realized I was literally making tons and tons of money and making such a small percentage,” she said. to Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the US Small Business Administration and María Teresa Kumar, MSNBC collaborator. Lopez made his remarks at an event aired Tuesday for the 2021 SBA National Small Business Week virtual summit. The fireside chat was also a launch event for Hispanic Heritage Month.
The actress, singer and founder of hers production company, Los Angeles-based Nuyorican Productions has started negotiating better terms for its contracts and now has equity in every project it undertakes. It’s about “understanding your worth, your worth,” she said.
Here are takeaways from Lopez and Guzman’s advice to entrepreneurs (or anyone who thinks they’re not good enough).
Connect with your audience
When Lopez manages her brand, she favors listening to her audience on social networks. “You have to stay true to yourself,” she said. “And I think it’s really important to be malleable.” The honest feedback you get can hurt, but it can also guide you if you get out of the way, she added. Likewise, you can listen to your customers and adjust your brand and message accordingly.
Let the no feed you
Lopez says that when she was growing up she was taught that she couldn’t be a pop star or a famous artist. “My biggest motivation has always been ‘No you can’t do that,’ she said.
Another big influence was Rita Moreno’s performance as Anita in the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story. Representation is important, and Lopez said she hopes to encourage Latin women to pursue their passions, whether it’s running a business or any other business. Lopez promoted his new business at the conference, Limitless Labs, which will support Latino entrepreneurs. “What I’m saying is you are unlimited, which means you can do anything,” she said.
Teresa Kumar said that 17 years ago, when she started her nonprofit Voto Latino, a Washington, DC-based organization that encourages Hispanics and Latinos to vote, she did everything wrong, in particular by financing the business with its credit cards. Guzman noted that SBA resources such as small business hubs and EIDL loans – as well as a host of potential new programs for start-up capital and loans in infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills – can help you avoid such pitfalls and get your business started.
Lopez capped off a star-studded lineup for this year’s National Small Business Week, which included Mark Cuban and chef José Andrés.