Maria Tototzintle Reflects on the First Year of Her Business Journey
One might wonder why an enterprising woman would select Tequila—a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant—as the brand name for her small digital media business. As a fifth generation Mexican American, the reference to her heritage means a lot to Maria Tototzintle. She launched Tequila Digital Media a year and a half ago after quitting her regular paying position and believes the name has made her stand out among her peers.
Quitting a job for someone who has limited knowledge about what it takes to run a full time business may sound crazy, but not for this brave woman who is happy with her decision. Focusing on her health and paying the bills were major priorities Maria set out to achieve while running her business in the first year. However, reality has a way of showing shortfalls, especially if you are not really ready for what is to come. For Maria, it was so glaring that she openly admits it. “I love the creativity of my work and it is a major strength for me, but keeping the books has been my worst nightmare,” she said. “I need to learn to be a better bookkeeper so I know what is coming in and whether it is enough and sufficient to offset my bills.”
Finding clients can also be a hurdle in starting a business, especially with everyone scrambling for the big money and with giants often overshadowing newcomers. “I need to be more aggressive in seeking new clientele,” Maria pointed out. “Because those I’ve worked with are really happy with what I do.”
Leading a new public outreach campaign is pivotal for Maria who has vast experience working for clients like Marcelita’s Cookies, BankCherokee, the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) and WomenVenture, among other reputable names. Alongside the outreach campaign is the need to build her network of individuals and businesses that can vouch for her brand and share her work. She also plans to push her mission further by using her primary tool—the power of video-imagery—to tell her unique story.
Maria has proven that she can achieve whatever she puts her mind to—like losing 130 pounds, getting better health insurance and creating the perfect balance in her life for the first time. Her confidence has soared in the past year; she is determined to ensure that all bills and debts are paid and that she has money left to continue doing what she loves best—producing videos for small businesses, especially nonprofits that need high impact.
Maria exudes a potential not so common for a newcomer in the business arena and is poised for investing into the future success of her enterprise. “WomenVenture has been highly instrumental in getting me where I am, and for that I remain grateful,” she said. She believes that as WomenVenture continues to share her story with its constituents, she will earn more corporate projects. “Steady big contracts will allow me to build my team of sub-contractors,” Maria noted. The introverted character is ready to allow the extrovert to emerge so her business can prosper.
One thing that imputes Maria’s positive spirit is her monthly one-on-one consultation with her mentor, who believes that Maria is destined for greatness. “I have no regrets now, my journey to small business ownership is progressive and I continue to learn,” she said. Armed with experiences from Twin Cities Public Television and the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, alongside her editing prowess, Maria remains an inspiration to many young women who want to tread impossible paths and earn sustainable livelihoods. She is that precious gem that has been polished through rough patches and never took no for an answer.