Long-Time Cleaning Services Owner Renews Her Passion for Business and Forms Women's Support Group
Mary Mora started her San Jose, California cleaning business, Immaculate Cleaning, ten years ago. She was newly divorced with young children, and she needed money quickly. Today Immaculate Cleaning has about 70 clients, and Mary manages several employees. Her customers are mainly private residences, and she also has relationships with realtors who call her for special projects like move-in/move-out deep cleans, packing jobs, and more. Mary is grateful for her success and the lessons she’s learned along the way, and she wants to share her knowledge with other women. She recently started a women’s support group to help aspiring entrepreneurs learn business fundamentals, find resources, and gain confidence.
How it Got Started: Mary had worked for other cleaning companies previously but never paid attention to how the business was run. She launched her business with borrowed supplies and the broom she already had. When she started her business, Mary had no formal business training and she knew very little English. She says the language barrier was the hardest part in the beginning. She began to learn English with her kids when they were in preschool. She then began to take computer classes and English classes. As she gained more knowledge and her English improved, she was able to move forward in her business with more confidence. Her client base grew as she became more comfortable interacting with her customers. A key challenge was pricing. Initially she didn’t have the confidence to charge a fair price. She always offered a little less to get the business. As she gained confidence, she felt more comfortable with her pricing. Some clients left along the way, but she knew she was providing a good value and making good decisions for her business too.
How the My Own Business Institute Helped: Mary recently took the My Own Business Institute curriculum offered through MOBI partner Yacanex Community in a Spanish-language course called Emprendete: Iniciar un Negocio. While Mary’s business has been successful for many years, she still learned a lot through the introductory course. More than anything Mary says the course renewed her passion for her business. “The course refreshed my feelings about my business, it created that excited motivation again,” says Mary. “When you are running a business, you can forget that empowering feeling of making changes. During the course, I remembered how excited I was the first time I made my own business cards. I feel like that again!” Mary is excited to look at her business through the new perspective Emprendete: Iniciar un Negocio has given her.
The MOBI course also reaffirmed for Mary the importance of structure and teamwork in a business. She believes that when there is a team, the work is balanced and the responsibility is shared. Having this structure creates a more positive work environment for her business and makes hard work easier for everyone.
Giving Back to Women Entrepreneurs: Mary’s entrepreneurial experience is something she wants to share with other women. She has formed a women’s support group to help break down barriers and obstacles to Latina entrepreneurship and help build confidence. “There are 30 small business owners in the group, and they are very talented and hard-working women!” says Mary excitedly. “They clean houses, sell tamales, bake cakes, and run the bookkeeping for their husbands’ businesses.” According to Mary, information is what these women need more than anything. Often they have very little resources and they don’t want to make mistakes. “They need information, language, and computer skills,” says Mary. “For example, they understand that they need a business license, but they don’t know how to get one. It’s easy to think the process is too expensive and difficult, but it’s not!”
Mary is dedicated to supporting these women on their journey to entrepreneurship by helping them gain the information, training, and confidence they need to take the next steps.
What’s Next? Mary is excited to make some changes to her business and discover new resources to share with her women’s group. She hopes she is creating for these 30 women a community of entrepreneurs and friends who will mentor other women in the future. The inspirational name she chose for the group says it all: "Unidas Somos Mas Fuertes" or "Together We Are Stronger."
Mary loves to learn and is also taking courses to be a certified life coach. Considering the work she is doing with her women’s support group, Mary is already making a difference in the lives of others!
Visit Immaculate Cleaning at www.immaculate-cleaning.org.