The Author of ‘Jefa in Training’ Shares How To Successfully Sell a Creative Product or Service
Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda is a true renaissance woman. She’s an entrepreneur, development coach, singer-songwriter, and most recently, the author of “Jefa in Training: The Business Startup Toolkit for Entrepreneurial and Creative Women.”
Featured on Amazon’s list of New Releases, “Jefa in Training” is part autobiography, part self-help, part workbook, and part work of art, all laced together by quotes from fierce Latinas who paved the road for Stoyanov Ojeda, and her own words of wisdom and encouragement.
She acts as your self-proclaimed hada madrina, guiding you on the quest to success, making sure your glass slippers stay on both feet at all times.
mitú had the pleasure of speaking with her about the book, life as a Latina, the experiences which shape us, and the importance of recognizing our own strengths as women, creatives, and leaders.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about you and your journey so far.
A: I was born and raised in Queens, and spent some time in Brooklyn, so I grew up in the New York music scene. I was very actively performing as a singer-songwriter. I studied Communications in college, because I wanted to learn how to promote myself — that was my thought process there. When I decided I wanted to be a singer-songwriter, I knew that meant I’d be starting a business. A lot of people don’t realize that the moment you decide to be any kind of creative, you’re also starting a business. You have to learn how to pitch yourself, how to network, you have to learn branding, along with basically all the steps I mention in the book. That was my first business: me, as a musician. I learned a lot and it led me to starting my first actual socialpreneurship venture, which is called Women Crush Music. I went from being a team of one to a team of 50 in just over a year and hosting events in over 15 different international cities. It was a lot to keep track of for someone who didn’t study business, but that’s really how everything started. A lot of other creative entrepreneurs started coming to me, asking, “Hey, can you help me with this?” And I think at the end of the day, I’ve always liked helping people get their projects off the ground, especially women! That’s really the ultimate why to everything I do, including the book.
Q: Can you speak a little bit more on striking the balance between being a creative and an entrepreneur?
A: It’s difficult. I can’t speak for all mediums of art, but the music industry in specific is not what it used to be. You can’t just write music and expect someone to develop you as an artist; record labels just don’t work that way anymore. They expect you to already have a solid brand and internet presence, so, we can’t just create art anymore, and I’m learning that it’s the same when it comes to publishing. If you are the kind of creative that doesn’t want to deal with branding yourself or putting yourself out there or networking, find people to help you. You’re going to need to build a little bit of a team and just go for it, because we are no longer expected to just create. We are now expected to create and execute. If we want to make money from our art, it’s a business, plain and simple.
Q: There are so many great elements of the book, beginning with the title, which employs code-switching. What made you decide on the title and to write the entire book in Spanglish?
A: I wanted people to know right away that it was different from every other book out there. I could have named it Boss Lady in Training and keep the Spanglish in the book, but I didn’t want that, because the moment someone sees “Jefa” in the title at the bookstore while browsing, they’ll be like, “Wow, okay. That’s interesting. I want to be a jefa.” The Spanglish in the title and throughout the whole book was a very well-thought-out decision, because I feel like, for some of us Latinas who grew up in the states, Spanglish is very homey for us. We can switch back and forth and it’s kind of how we naturally communicate. But I also didn’t want to exclude the Latinas who don’t speak Spanish, because there are a lot of them out there, too.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about the ejercicios, the workbook exercises after every chapter.
A: I wanted it to be interactive. I didn’t want it to just be words and words — I didn’t want people to get bored! Also, I think it’s a lot more effective when you’re teaching people how to do something to actually get them to do it. And the really cool part about it is that every single chapter has a worksheet that’s attached at the end, so you can take what you learn from those worksheets, and the final worksheet is actually putting together your business plan. So, you have all of these different exercises that will help you every step of the way. On top of that, I really hope that people use the book in such a way where they can redo some of those exercises if they ever need a little bit of help throughout their process. Yes, you can use the book to start your business, but in a year from now, when you are launching a new product or launching a new service, you might be like, “Oh, what did Ashley say about you know competitor analysis?” And then you can crack the book open again and do the exercise again and hopefully find some clarity.
Q: Finally, what would you say to a young Latina with a great idea who’s thinking about starting her own business?
A: Follow the steps of building a strong foundation and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“Jefa in Training” is now available on Amazon, Bookshop, Mango Publishing and https://www.ashleykstoyanov.com/jefa-in-training.
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