Side Hustle to Main Hustle: Yo Soy Ella

Learn how the social non-profit, Yo Soy Ella got started

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The Cubicle Life had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Sarah Taylor, the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Yo Soy Ella Inc. Find out how and why she started her non-profit and her advice to future social entrepreneurs. 

Sarah Taylor, Yo Soy Ella Inc. – Founder and Executive Director

Describe your business.
I’m a social entrepreneur. Yo Soy Ella (YSE) is a nonprofit organization that enacts as a support group/system for Latina women. Our programming includes mental health services and education, domestic violence and immigration support and peer mentorship programs.

How did you get started?
YSE was started back in 2012, when I decided to create something that I needed. After working in social services for many years, I still felt that community and mainstream services were not catering to this specific population.

Where were you working before starting your business?
Before I started YSE, I was working as a child abuse investigator.

When did you decide to leave your job?
I left my job a couple of years ago, but continue to seek employment that was aligned with my organization’s mission. It was important to me to continue working in the social service sector to secure medical benefits and financial sustainability while YSE was gaining an identity.

And what influenced you to leave?
I left DCFS due to the secondary trauma. This line of duty is not for the faint at heart. I noticed I was no longer the person I admired because I needed to be an effective investigator which occasionally require emotions to take a vacation.

What impact has your business made for others or your clients?
We are considered one of the few culturally specific organizations within the Chicago land area that offer free services within the psychosocial and spiritual approach. With this, our clients are able to seek out YSE without any concerns with rapport, and connection when it comes to their cultural beliefs.

Self-care is highly important. No one is interested in your idea or your new found passion if your presentation looks ill.

What effect has it had upon your life?
YSE has enhanced my life and my perspective in so many ways. I feel empowered because I am empowering other women to live their best most authentic lives.

Did anyone help you develop your business or was an influence to you? If so, what role did they play?
Honestly, YSE was an idea that was solely incepted by me.

What do you love about being an entrepreneur and what are some of the challenges?
Being a social entrepreneur creates such an advantage, You have the say-so and agency over your organization and its vision. If there is anything that you want to change or implement, you have that ability. Another advantage is partnerships and significant relationships you build while being a leader and social entrepreneur.

Challenges — Time, raising capital/fundraising. There are so many ideas I have for the organization, but with limited time and funds bringing the ideas to life can cause so much pushback.

What advice would you give to inspiring entrepreneurs? Especially ones who are still working, but want to start a business?
A piece of advice, is first, you can still keep working your 9-5 (if you enjoy it) and start a new business. The road to entrepreneurship is a VERY tough one, and not being to pay bills or seek medical needs will create more barriers. Entrepreneurship is not one linear idea or road. It looks different for many people —you have to know this and trust yourself. Self-care is highly important. No one is interested in your idea or your new found passion if your presentation looks ill. Your health supersedes anything! Build relationships and network. You will get further with your idea if you develop a network of trusted individuals to pitch ideas to or to connect you with someone that can assist you to further an idea or a fill a need.

What do you do when you’re not working on your business?
While I’m not working on YSE projects, I am networking, enjoying my son and my husband, and taking care of myself. I love reading, dancing, and brunching. Simple conversations and outing with friends give me joy!

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