I am self-made. What a powerful thing to be able to say. Especially as a woman who was not born in this country, who was not (until recently) a college graduate, who did not have an obvious skill or talent, and who did not invent a multibillion-dollar product.
I am an ordinary woman who has had an extraordinary life, not because I went to the right schools or had connections, but because I took success and happiness into my own hands and became financially self-reliant by thinking like an entrepreneur.
I am about to publish a book on April 26 titled SELF-MADE: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant and Rich in Every Way. This book was inspired by my four years on the road meeting and training Latinas in entrepreneurship through The Adelante Movement, which is presented by Coca-Cola and part of The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 initiative to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by the year 2020.
At our events all over the country, Latinas were our primary audience but slowly, many other women started showing up: African-American, Asian, Indian, Native-American, Middle Eastern, all wanting a community where they could learn and grow. They told us that after the 2008 economic crash, many of their husbands and fathers had lost their jobs. Out of necessity, they had to step up into entrepreneurship. But they were missing information, training and access to capital. Many of them were dealing with issues raising children or taking care of elderly parents. Some had served in the military and were looking to find their next path. Because of these economic shifts, all were looking for a financial future they could control. They were looking for empowerment. What we all concluded is there is no true empowerment until you are financially self-reliant, until you have your own money.
Self-made women are all around us. She’s the stay-at-home mom with a baby who runs an online boutique out of her apartment; the cleaning lady who books through her website and charges through PayPal; the freelance nurse who processes payments through Square; the franchise owner who employs her whole family; the corporate employee who sells her jewelry designs on Etsy; the empty nester who rents out rooms in her house through Airbnb; the baker who promotes her one-of-a-kind cakes on Instagram; the woman who makes Vine videos for corporations with her teenage child; and the Millennial who is paying off college by driving for Uber.
These are some of the women I have met on the road over the past four years. They are the embodiment of becoming self-made, and they are the inspiration for the book. These women are changing the economic future for themselves, for their families, and for generations to come. Self-made is a call to action, and it is a leap forward in the economic evolution of women. This is our moment to choose empowerment.
Never before in history has living an entrepreneurial life been more attainable for all of us. The digital age has revolutionized our ability to get started; you don’t need much more than a smartphone and a computer. You can start a business from your home and in your pajamas. You don’t have to quit your job. And you don’t have to do it alone! You can get your kids to help because they’re already good at social media (and as a fringe benefit, they’re less likely to grow up entitled). You can enlist your husband or a friend and pool your resources and talents.
Here is my wish for all the women who read Self-Made: I want you to live a rich life in every way. Rich in money, rich in family, rich in love, rich in time—abundant! It’s not just about having money, but financial empowerment is where it begins. It means getting out of survival mode. It means getting out of that state where you are just one problem away from financial catastrophe. It means changing your mind-set from instant gratification to goal orientation. In time, it means being able to work because you want to and not because you have to. It means being able to reward yourself and your children with things like an education, trips, and owning a home. It means being able to sleep at night without worry.
The Self-Made book and empowerment platform including entrepreneurship webinars, resources and information, powered by Coca-Cola, will be available to women starting April 26, 2016. I invite you to join in and take the first step on your journey to becoming self-made and living a rich life in every way.
What are you waiting for? Now, here, go! Adelante!
Nely Galán, founder of The Adelante Movement, is a Latina media dynamo and women's empowerment advocate. A first-generation immigrant and self-made media mogul, Galán was the first Latina president of a U.S. television network (Telemundo). She is an Emmy Award-winning producer of more than 600 episodes of television in Spanish and English, including the FOX hit reality series "The Swan."
The Adelante Movement (Move Forward!) is a grassroots movement that empowers Latinas financially and entrepreneurially in the U.S. and is a part of Coca-Cola's global 5by20 women's economic empowerment initiative. Learn more at www.theadelantemovement.com and www.5by20.com.