🎙️Show Notes for Episode 082 of the IC Podcast

Oct 06, 2022
 
 
In this episode, I interview one of my independent consultant clients, Maria Balcazar Tellez.
 
Maria is a strategic advisor, collaborator, and facilitator. She supports impact-driven teams tackle complex challenges by leveraging systems thinking, design, and emergent strategy principles. Over the last eight years, Maria has focused on understanding food and agricultural systems, exploring pathways to transformation, and activating teams to co-build the food futures we desperately need. Her passion to be part of building inclusive and regenerative food systems has brought her to work with The World Bank, Food System 6, Oxfam International, The Rockefeller Foundation, Meridian Institute, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis, among many others. 
 
Maria received an MPP from UC Berkeley, where she focused on food policy, systems thinking, and innovation. She also received an MS from North Carolina State University and completed a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
 
Listen in as Maria provides invaluable insights from behind-the-scenes into how she’s running a successful independent consulting business. She shares how she's been able to 
  • transform from employee-based thinking into the CEO-level mindset required for a successful business owner, 
  • increasing pricing and her pricing decision-making process, 
  • what's led to her creating a well-known reputation for herself so she’s consistently sought after for the type of work she does, and
  • how she has intentionally transformed her business from burnout and overwhelm into passion and joy.
 
Let's dive in.  

Key points in this episode
  • [00:28] What to expect from this conversation
  • [03:16] Meet our guest, Maria Balcazar Tellez
  • [04:26] How Maria become an independent consultant
  • [06:20] Why she is passionate about her work and the types of clients she serves 
  • [08:25] How she created the reputation and network for herself to become sought after for the work she does
  • [10:48] The biggest challenges that she has faced in her business so far
  • [13:33] The biggest advancements that Maria has seen in her business since it started
  • [16:00] What held her back from moving into value-based pricing and how that's starting to gain traction for her business
  • [19:36] Why she decided to hire a coach 
  • [21:23] What it's like working with a coach
  • [23:23] Shifts Maria has experienced by working with a coach
  • [24:23] The one thing that surprised her in working with a coach
  • [27:53] How she has been able to manage her business to not be overutilized
  • [32:34] The tangible and intangible filters she uses for deciding what clients she is going to take on or turn away
  • [35:42] Maria’s vision for her business over the next few years
 
CONNECT WITH OUR GUEST —
Maria Balcazar Tellez, Food Systems Consultant
Website: https://mariabalcazartellez.com/ 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariafbalcazar/ 
 
 
AND FOR MORE RESOURCES SPECIFIC TO THE INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT —
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FULL TRANSCRIPT

 

**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*

 

00:17

I am thrilled today to welcome one of my favorite clients. Her name is Maria Balcazar Tellez, I hope I said that right. Maria has graciously agreed to come on the podcast and tell us so much about her business and herself, and I can't wait for you to meet her. So with that, let's get started. Maria, tell us a little bit about you and what you do.

 

00:43

And if I correctly, oh, you said my name. Perfect. That was perfect. And before I jump in, I just want to say thank you, thank you for having me on your podcast; I'm a huge fan of your pockets. And in fact, that's how I ended up finding you. So it feels like a full circle coming around. And now being on the other side. So tell to tell you a little bit about myself. I am an independent consultant, and I partner with foundations, universities, and different teams that are interested in applying systems thinking. So Systems Thinking is my jam, applying systems thinking, particularly in the food system. And so what this looks like is that I help teams define, co-create, and execute their strategies in order for them to make an impact in the food space and be able to tell about telling people about it. So what is the impact that they're making? So that's what I do.

 

01:39

It's amazing. You work with so many, well, no, I won't list your clients out. But so many well-known foundations and universities, really helping them to get ahead of the curve and be innovative and, and really meet all of the upcoming current and upcoming food system challenges that we have as a society is so, so impactful for what you do. Tell us about how did you become a consultant and independent?

 

02:08

Yeah, so I actually worked as a consultant at San Francisco innovation firm for about a year, year and a half. And life sort of took me from San Francisco to England. And so one of my major projects also at the time was coming to a close. So just felt like a good time to take some time off. And just close my chapter in California. So I did this awesome and fun, and hard a times solo hiking trip through the California area. So I went to the Sierras, Yosemite, and Sequoia. Throughout the entire time, I was really thinking, Okay, so now I'm totally shifting into the other side of the pond, I need to figure out what I'm going to do next because I close my chapter with that innovation firm for the time being. And it kind of all came together. After that trip, I met with a good friend who was a consultant, I was doing some consulting work. And funny enough, within a couple of days former project, somebody within my network from a former project reached out saying, hey, I have this cool project, I want to talk to you about it; I wonder if you know anyone about anyone that could help advance this project. And so it sort of ended up happening in which it just makes sense, it all came together. And I took the plunge and went into independent consulting, and I haven't looked back ever since.

 

03:30

So lucky for those of us who have fallen into consulting in some form or fashion, and, you know, you, you may share the same thing. It wasn't, for me, it wasn't my idea, to be honest with you. And you know, it's for you if someone's reaching out. And so it's just so interesting, to get that little nudge and then and then to realize this whole world opens up of possibility. So I'm so glad that that happened in that. And you came into owning a business and loving it the way you do. Speaking of which, tell us a little bit about your Why are you passionate about what you are? Do you know what you're doing and the types of work that the clients that you're serving?

 

04:18

Yeah, I think that's the million-dollar question, right? Why do we do what we do? I think for me, I just find myself that I just I really love a few things. I think the first one I really appreciate is complexity. So stepping into a space that is complex and challenging, just making a lot of connections in the spirit of figuring out what could be a solution or how might we solve that problem or shift the needle in a way that will make an impact? And that really comes back from when I was a kid just to give you a context I studied University agricultural engineering, but I also studied philosophy because neither felt like the right fit. And somehow, that made it work. And I feel like that's really what I get to do day in and day out, I am in the space of Food and Agriculture. Because food really connects all of us, everybody can really tap into what food is all about. And growing up, the food felt like some of the most magical moments in my life, like learning from my grandma, putting seeds on her windowsill, and then a few months would be a plant. And then, a few months later, there would be strawberries. And that felt just like magical. And so a lot of that curiosity and passion brought me to the food space and brought me to the food space, particularly around systems thinking, and systems change, which has been such a lovely trip I just, I here what I'm most passionate about to answer your question is does the people I get to work with so from students to I work with hug farmers with immigrant farm workers, foundations, I get to work a lot with these days, innovators, it's just been really fun. There's, yeah, everybody can connect to food. And I feel lucky to be in that space.

 

06:05

amazing to me, you know, along those lines, you become very sought after for what you do, Maria, and really well known in the industry that you serve and for the types of engagements that you work on. So tell us behind the scenes, how did you create this reputation and network for yourself? And what recommendations might you give other consultants who want to have that same build-up that same type of reputation?

 

06:34

Yeah, that's a good question. I would say that the honest answer is that I love the work that I do. And I really commit to a site, I really give my work my 100%. And I would say, in terms of reputation as just being committed and delivering good work, and having a good work ethic probably gets you to 70-80 % of the way. I'm just being curious. I think that's the other piece I've been able to cultivate at network mainly, first and foremost, because I've stayed really curious and interested in meeting humans that are doing interesting work and are really advancing hard questions and thinking about ways that we can shift current systems to just serve us better. And so by staying curious, connecting with people, and really trying to find connections, I just think I've been able to, yeah, build that reputation and build that network of incredible humans that do incredible work.

 

07:41

Yeah, I think something you're saying here is so important is just being passionate and curious and wanting to have those conversations without a specific result in mind; you're not engaging in those relationships because you want a client contract; you're a that would be an amazing result, right. But at the end of the day, you know, you're thinking about how I can have a dialogue about the areas I'm so interested in and create relationships with people who are interested in similar things. And from that, then great opera and amazing opportunities come to you, without you having to force it.

 

08:18

Yeah, for sure. I think something that just came to mind, as you were saying, that is, I love when you, at some point, you told me it's like, hey, Maria, like don't build the business you don't want to be part of, and I think is very aligned with what you just said around, I get to work with humans that I feel excited to be working with in projects that I'm interested in. And so, having that ability to build what you want and diving into a space you feel excited about will help you build that reputation and be a sought-after consultant.

 

08:50

Yeah, yeah. Tell me, if you look at your business so far, what have been your biggest challenges?

 

08:59

Hmm, biggest challenges? I would say probably the number one is just shifting that mindset from an employee mindset to a business owner mindset, which I've learned through your podcasts and working with you. It's just, it's, it's very different, how you engage in your day-to-day and how you wake up and think about your day. When you shift into that business owner mindset. I think that for me has been the biggest challenge, and it is both from a tactical perspective like I have to be really intentional about my time and how long things take because now I have other tasks that I never really thought about as a business owner. And so really balancing my time balancing my projects with that feels important. And so it's a challenge and something that I continue to learn how to do better. And then the other one is even just tactically just the mindset piece. Sorry, not tactically, but I guess more from a mindset for Spectre, which was the mindset pieces are huge.

 

10:03

Yeah. Okay. Tell us a little bit more. Do you have a few examples of how what you might have been thinking as an employee is now different for you as a business owner, and what impact that's made for

 

10:15

you? Yeah, it's interesting, I would say, a sub-consultant. As an employee, I had one project, and I had the main client, and my entire sort of day in and day out revolved around really delivering this incredible project that I was part of at the time; I would say now shifting into the business owner mindset. Now I have to be intentional that I have multiple projects. And that's by design, I want to be playing different levels, right? So I work with some super strategic clients, and I work with other ones that are very tactical and on the ground and implementing things within days, right? So I have to, from a tactical perspective, I'm intentional about how I use my time and how I schedule and organize myself. Because in addition to working on projects, I also need to be doing a lot of work for my business. So from finances to taxes to making time for coaching and learning how to move my business in the right direction. I'm thinking short-term and long-term, and what do I want out of my quarter? What do I want out of my year? So all of those questions take time. And it's different, I guess I personally was never thinking about that when I was on the other end as an employee. So yeah, it requires more time and more intention, I would say.

 

11:43

Yeah, yeah. Tell us a little bit about the biggest changes or advancements that you've seen in your business in the last since you started it.

 

11:53

Yeah, um, I would say the first one that comes to mind is that I now set clear goals and a clear vision of what I want to accomplish, which is something that I learned by working with you, I think I had a vague idea when I started as a consultant, what I wanted, but I probably had just sat down and thought about the different verticals of my business and what I wanted in terms of my day, in terms of my quarter, and what were the different metrics or targets that I was striving towards. And so putting all of that in the paper, and also owning the fact that I get to the slide what that looks like, which sounds silly, but at the time, I was thinking in relation to my previous life as an employee. So actually, I had the opportunity now to the side and make that up as I wanted to. And so that's probably one of the biggest advancements and areas of growth like I continue to learn, I'm trying to, you know, keep myself accountable to myself that I get to choose; it's not the other way around. So I think there's that dance off, I've made a lot of advancement, and I know that I continue to grow and advance in that space.

 

13:10

Yeah, you've been able to, without sharing any details, you get to share all the details, I'm not gonna share details about your business, but you know, just being able to go from leaving corporate and, and not and, and having that experience as a corporate consultant and, and being able to evolve into a business where you've, you know, really grown, in all the different metrics that you would measure against a business in such a short amount of time has been so fun to be part of and to watch, watch that evolution and to see how you've been able to think about your business in such a strategic way, turning away clients when you need to. And when you want to shift pricing. So many different areas of your business have evolved. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about that. In terms of pricing, so you have shifted, if it's okay to say you've evolved your pricing over the course of the last year or so, from more of a time-based pricing to hourly-based pricing and starting to evolve into value-based pricing. And that's such a trend in our industry. So I would love for whatever you would be comfortable sharing to tell us about what you know and what your thought process has been that might have held you back from moving into value-based pricing and how that's starting to gain traction for you and your business.

 

14:43

Yeah, it's such a good question and one that I think it's it's the question that many of us as consultants ask ourselves, right, like what, how do I navigate pricing? What is the right price, the fair price of price So what do I want and what is out there, right? Like, what are other consultants going after? So I think, from my perspective, it's an area that just going back into time zero, I was thinking so much about, hey, like I have this great individual that is reaching out for my network, they want to work with me this, it's kind of like falling on my lap, it's exciting to work, I want to do it. So I just dived into the computer and did a bunch of research that kind of led me to nowhere concrete; it was hard to just like, get some more concrete; I started to reach out to friends, hearing different numbers, hearing different approaches. And I sort of landed on an hourly rate pricing, mainly because I think that's what I needed. That's what many people were doing. But working with you thinking through how am I shifting into value-based pricing has been helpful because it helps you think about your work and the value you're bringing to your clients on almost also the entire beginning to end sort of the face or the cycle of the work in a very different way. And so I've been able to do that with a couple of different clients. And I find that that it has been really helpful; some of the things that are most helpful that I've been sort of practicing as I go into pricing is thinking about, not just from my perspective, but also from the client perspective, and from the perspective of the value that is being brought into the world through that work. And so not just I think there are multiple dimensions around pricing that oftentimes get overlooked. And so really thinking about pricing from different perspectives has been helpful for me.

 

16:52

Yeah, yeah. And tell us a little bit about how did you overcome it. What were your concerns about moving into value-based pricing?

 

17:02

I think my quickest concern was it feels risky. I don't know, like, I think, for me at first is like, well, I don't know how to really calculate my hours. And if I under-calculate, then I might end up putting in a lot more time, and so I might end up coming out of this project losing or in the negative, which doesn't feel like it felt like risky. And it didn't feel like I had the tools at the moment to really put in practice a good budget or put together a good budget to deliver work that I felt confident with, but working with working through that process with you. And asking a lot of very specific questions about how to think about it from different perspectives, doing some level of scenario planning, and just get getting really concrete as to what the work needs to be done. What are the deliverables? How much time will that look? Will that take? And just doing that? Assessment really helped me get into that value price. Value-based pricing model more confidently? Yeah,

 

18:18

was the behind-the-scenes, right? Because we don't just go from charging hourly over to charging on value. It's never a straight line. There are a lot of mechanics behind it like you were just describing. And there's a lot of mindset behind it, too, which is what you've described as well. Yeah. If you're willing to share, let's talk a little bit about coaching together. So tell me why. Why did you decide you wanted to hire a coach? How did that all come to be? You mentioned hearing me on the podcast, but tell me tell us more about how this came to be.

 

18:51

Yeah, absolutely. I would say for anyone out there listening right now thinking, Oh, maybe I should reach out, maybe I should find a coach. So recommended. That was me. Literally, over Christmas break last year, I was sort of my, my projects were coming to an end for the year. I was planning for the following year. And I just felt like I didn't have a lot of the tools. Or maybe I had some blind spots. I felt slightly unsure about how I was planning and setting myself up for the following year. So I, As any good researcher, went online, looked for a lot of resources, found podcasts, and just started to consume a lot of content. And my favorite podcast was yours. So I practice after practice. I probably spent a week, and I listened to like 30 podcasts. And I was like, okay, so I think this is what I need. Like I just literally would do all the homework that you put on the podcast, that workbooks, all the activities, and I just felt like just even just doing that. So like, oh, I have a hold on what I want and what I need and how to proceed So I decided to move ahead and reach out with you to you because it felt useful. Like just the podcasting itself felt like a huge resource. And so, I figured it would be the right step to make the investment, and it has really been such a pleasure working with you; I really need it.

 

20:19

Thanks, Maria. I feel the same. So lucky. I love this podcast so much because it connects me to clients like you so super grateful for this, you know, for this forum is so much, an amazing thing to have so glad it brought us together. Tell us, you know, whether it's me or someone else, tell us a little bit about what it's like working with a coach. So many of us don't really have that context. I know I didn't; I always thought a coach was for maybe a CEO or whoever could afford Tony Robbins. I don't know who that is. But somebody and so, you know, for me, I didn't have a coach for a long time, till I hit a bit of a crossroads myself and then learned that was is something that any of us can have. So I'm just curious as you think about working with a coach; like how you would describe that experience?

 

21:15

Yeah, for me, I would say that working with a coach has been so helpful. Because it's really having not only a thought partner that you can really just put your questions that I think would be hard to put to anyone else, front and center and tackle, but also just having an ally. So just having someone that can really take a look at the work that you're doing and how you're thinking about it, I'm giving you a perspective that feels is no bullshit, for lack of a better word, like it's like, okay, so like, this is what's on the table. And this is what the challenge is. And this is how we can break it down. And there are different ways to do it. Sometimes it's very tactical, working with a coach or you. And sometimes, it has been very much so around the mindset question, right? So what is it that is blocking me here? Or asking me a question? Or inhibiting the way I'm gonna, like, advance or take the next step, it's just been really helpful to just have someone to walk that through and have an ally that is just really rooting for you and helping you every step of the way.

 

22:31

Yeah, yeah. What a fun job I have just an ally, and I like rooting you on and calling you out when it when it's helpful, but always from a place of being on your side. That's so fun. I love the way you described it. Tell us about it from, uh, you've touched on this a little bit. But is there any other shift that stands out to you that you've experienced by working with a coach?

 

22:55

I would say perspective like you just given me so much perspective. And just the ability to move quickly when I'm facing a challenge or a question that I would otherwise just get stuck on. I love something that you sometimes bring around how many revolutions of a fight is that gonna take? You know, before you just like you need to move on. And it has been practically helpful to just be able to see that challenge that question that, you know, at times, insecurity, see the name and address it, and then just move on. Like, there's just so much work to be done. And I feel lucky, I get to do a lot of really cool work. And sometimes it's just really helpful to just, you know, address it and then move on. And then with knowledge, not necessarily putting it on the side and brushing it on the side, but really just taking a look addressing it and then move on with knowledge and with more wisdom and lighter, you know, you just get to move more lightly. Yeah.

 

24:01

Is there anything that surprised you in working with a coach you might not have expected?

 

24:08

Maybe how easy it is. I don't know. I just guess I like you I never really thought about it other than MIT coaching is for a CEO, like you said, but he's super approachable. He's easy, just practical. Just yeah, it's great.

 

24:26

And really, you know, it's funny that you just say that because we are CEOs, we have this vision of like, oh, the Disney CEO or the Amazon CEO are the ones who have coaches, but we're CEOs, and we have our own coaches here. So that's another way to look at it too. As we're now talking about it that just has dawned on me. Yes, yeah. We're CEOs, but at the same time, it's, you know, such a such an incredible gift at least, you know, from my perspective, working with my own coaches, having that gift, as you said, of having a perspective of, of looking at AI, it always seems to come back to the same challenge the same mental challenge in so many different ways. It's, it seems like, you know, I don't know if you have this experience where you work together, but I know when I'm working with my coach, I bring her something, it feels very new and revolutionary this problem. And as we talk through it, it always comes back to some self-doubt, inadequacy, or some form of it always comes back to the same thing. And she always sees it before I do. But I'm like, damn, I thought I had something new here today. And we're, like, coming back to the same place in a slightly different way. And so over time, you chip away at that, but it's, it's just fascinating to have that experience and someone else to be able to see things from their perspective. And, as you said, make it lighter. Yeah. So yeah,

 

25:55

I wouldn't say I love to just said that. Because, yes, do all of that. And there's also that humor piece. Like, sometimes I just love how I bring something that feels big and feels like, you know, like daunting, and then we just talk about it, and we end up laughing, and it's like, oh my god, like, somehow it felt much bigger than it is. And through humor. It's just like, okay, so it's doable. Something that I can chip away at, as you said, and just move forward with lightness and with action. Right. So a lot of, like, action-driven advice. I feel it's like what I experienced in coaching. Yeah,

 

26:34

it kind of reminds me of, you know, when I first started out, I felt like making a mistake was one of the worst things I could possibly do; it would ruin my reputation, it would solidify that I probably shouldn't be doing this in the first place that I was ill-equipped. And it felt like a gut punch every time I made a mistake. And I know, in my journey, and in working with coaches, and then ultimately becoming a coach, it's just like you said, being able to look at things and not take them so seriously, and not make them mean that you're not capable or talented or achieving what you want to be achieving. Can be such, so such a weight off of your shoulders.

 

27:21

Yeah, yes. Love that. Love that.

 

27:24

Okay, my friend. Let's start. Let's switch gears again and talk more about your business. So one of the things that, that I think you challenge that we've, we've talked about this before, so Maria knows, I'm gonna say it, that you were really on the verge of burnout, and kind of overworking and overextending yourself. And so tell us a little about how you've managed through your business to not be so over-utilized, and get yourself into a place where you're having more fun running your business. You're not, so you're not as burnt out. You're not as overwhelmed as, as you were,

 

27:58

toward the beginning. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think there are a couple of things when I think about that shift that I think the first one is just really being able to plan out. And it's just as easy as giving yourself some buffer and planning in a realistic way. I think at the beginning of when I started work, I felt like I was Superman, and I could do everything. And I would just go into it with the biggest passion and interest, and yet it wasn't, you know, I mean, it was possible I did it all the work I've done, and he was with really great quality. But I think, at times, he was at the expense of feeling tired or working long hours, which again, brings me back to that advice that you shared with me what the business that you're building that you want to build and be part of is? And so that wasn't it, it wasn't, I wasn't, you know, shifting into independent consulting, to not love it. Like I think if you do not love it, then you should just question what aspects maybe you have the power to change and shift in order to make you love it a little more. And so, for me, it has been tactically better planning more realistic data and then practicing, just really stepping into putting some boundaries for myself because I love the work that I do. I love the clients that I collaborate with. And sometimes I get overly excited real quick. And I say yes before I think about the implications or the reality of the number of hours already being planned. And so being intentional about how you're planning and putting boundaries for yourself so you can manifest the business that you want and the days that you feel excited about, I felt really important, definitely something another area of growth for me, something that I continue to learn how to better implement as I continue on this journey.

 

30:11

Yeah, it just has that ability to, as you said, be really simple in terms of setting up the structure and the mechanisms to create those boundaries for yourself, and then it gets a little bit trickier. It may not be easy, necessarily. It's simple but easy, and giving yourself that grace, right? It's like, it's like, Look, I just went on vacation, I might have worked a little bit more than I was expecting to or wanted to, and what have I learned from that so that I can implement those, though, any, any additional safeguards for the next time and, and not setting ourselves up? I think for this pass-fail or perfection, I mean, is that we're so I think most of us as innovative, independent consultants fall into that trap of wanting, wanting to do much everything

 

31:03

perfectly. Yeah, absolutely. And I think something also that just came to mind, as you were saying, that is, yes, there is putting the frameworks in place. And a mistake that I made early in my business was that I was overcomplicating. How is plumbing for me? I was just putting way too much data that was unnecessary and overcomplicating but was just 40 hours a week, 10 dedicated to my business, 30 left; how is that gonna get split? I was doing so much more complicated math that ended up being just confusing for me. So I think there's also that piece about having systems in place but not overcomplicating what can be easy and stepping in and doing what is harder, which is not typically the numbers. The mindset,

 

31:56

yeah, yeah, I think that's so fun. We're good at creating and addressing our clients' complicated problems and challenges. And so then taking that into our own business and trying to make it so much more complicated than it needs to be, I love that you point that out because I find that so many consultants fall into that trap. And a lot of ways it's, we love making something really elegant and, you know, sexy. Still, then at the same time, it could be just that it's a great way to avoid, like you were just describing the hard thing, which is, you know, saying no, which is protecting that boundary in whatever way or telling a client that you can't start with them until the next quarter, or whatever the thing might be based on, on that structure that you set up for yourself. Yeah, yeah. So. But, uh, Greg, tell us a little bit about your thought process as you kind of along these same lines and boundaries. What is your thought process and your filter when you've got, you know, this work coming in and trying to decide what clients are going to take and what clients are going to maybe differ or what clients you'll turn down? And what does that look like for you and your business?

 

33:11

Yeah, great question. I would say that three things I very much. So think about, I think the first one is, what is the makeup of the current projects and clients that I currently have, and what is potentially this new opportunity coming in. Because I do work in systems thinking systems change, I really get to play at different elevations, if you will. So I'm intentional about having one, at least one or two projects that is more high-level longer-term strategic than having something that is in the space of sort of the middle, which is really around co-creation or engaging communities or something that is really about building that. Those connections and relationships, and then really intentional about having at least one project that is very much so on the ground, and it's more tactical. And so for me, that's something that I intentionally want to stay very flexible in. And so I make that part of my process when I see what projects are possible at any given time. So I'm playing at different levels; I would say the second one is just life. So I work as a facilitator, which I love doing. I love facilitating convenience meetings. And sometimes I get invitations to do our one-day event or a one-week event or maybe even just facilitate a virtual session, which oftentimes is really fun, but take so much time, you know for what the deliverable is, which is really one event, one type of event. So I'm intentional about knowing that and acknowledging that and if it's really exciting, I take care but if I have a lot of other longer term projects, I tend to prioritize those. Just because those Feel really fun until like longer term allows you to get to be with a team and really get to know the work. And then I would say the third one is just how passionate I am. Who are the people that I'm going to be working with? And how does that feel? And how excited does it feel for me to be part of that engagement. And so those three elements really helped me decide how I'm going to be spending my time which at the end should be really be in service of how I want to be spending my day. So and also in service, of course of the work that I'm doing. So all of that combined, helps me decide, and I'm determined Colombian going to be working with

 

35:39

such a great combination of tangible filters and intangible filters, as you're making those decisions for your business. I appreciate the way you really boiled that down, because so many times we might make decisions to take clients based on finances and or, you know, some other factor and then we ended up being miserable. Because it's you know, because of like that third element that you just described, the the courage, the connection with that particular client or lack thereof. Yeah. So good. Tell us a little bit about the vision for your business. Mario, what what do you want to accomplish in the next few years?

 

36:17

Ah, such a good question, I would say what I would love to accomplish and what I really it's my motto every day is just staying in a place in which I can engage with interesting teams that are doing impactful work, and where I feel like I can really provide value and support that I think ultimately, and that, that brings me joy, and that brings value into the world, right and brings impact into the world. So that's the vision for my business. It's just staying true to myself and staying true to what I believe. And I'm bringing value and impact into the world, which, to be honest, is easier said than done. You know, it's easy to get carried away with certain things. And so really trying to get, yeah, bring those values and bring that vision and mission, core and center feels really important for me. So that's what I am working toward day to day out. Yeah, one of the things

 

37:19

that things that stands out to me for you and your business is so how you have so much passion for what you do, and the clients that you choose to work with. And just really are clear on the values that you want to operate your business from, and how that really, you know, those become a guiding force for you as you're making decisions on how you spend your time and how you run your business and what your pricing models look like. And really everything infused throughout the way you're running and CEO showing your business. It's fun to

 

37:52

so much, Melissa. Thank you. And thank you so much for being part of it and your support in helping me get there. You know, is it really to be honest, it, it takes a village, I feel like they are a key key element of mine. So thank you so much for that.

 

38:08

It's an honor. An honor. Maria, as we wrap up here, tell us if there's anything else you would love to share.

 

38:16

Anything else I'd love to share, I would say nothing comes to mind right away other than if I can be of service to anyone listening. And if anything resonated with what if anything resonated to you that based on what I shared, happy to grab coffee virtually and talk about it

 

38:37

or go to London? Yes. Yes, that's phenomenal. Thank you and Maria. That's such a generous offer. And we'll put your links in the show notes, so people know how to reach out to you over LinkedIn and look at your website. And thank you again for your time and for being here today. And for the the privilege of being your coach is it's such an honor and I'm so thrilled that everyone got to hear so much about your story and how you've been evolving your business and your plans for the future. So thank you so much.

 

39:09

Thank you, Melisa, so much. And yeah, thank you so much for what you do. Yeah. All right.

 

39:15

We'll see you soon.

 

 

 

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