I attended Hispanicize for the very first time and I wanted to give a real insiders perspective on my personal experience at the event. If you are planning on going to Hispanicize or have attended in the past, you must read this.

According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates as of July 1, 2013, there are roughly 54 million Hispanics living in the United States, representing approximately 17% of the U.S. total population, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority.

Not surprisingly, awesome entrepreneurs got together and decided that there was a major need for Hispanics to come together, support each other, & celebrate our cultural heritage while learning how to elevate our businesses & careers.

¡Tremenda idea! Click here to learn more about how it all started.

Sadly, I missed the event last year due to a conflicting previously planned trip to move to the Dominican Republic with my husband. I’m sure you are thinking pobresita. 😉

You really can live anywhere in the world and build a business around your passions.
You really can live anywhere in the world and build a business around your passions.

I put the event on my calendar and planned to attend this year -like a boss.

When I first arrived at registration I was met by warm & inviting volunteers.

That is a really big deal for someone going to an event by herself for the very first time. It allowed me to let my guard down and be more present in order to enjoy the experience.

Right away I knew I was in the right place and dedicating a week to the event was going to be totally worth it.

If you are reading this- thank you. Thank you for your time and for showing up with an attitude of excellence.

In true Latino style, they kicked-off the event with a gala celebrating the Tecla Awards. I had a ton of fun meeting influential Hispanics that are crushing it in what they do.

Poolside before the Tecla Awards
Enjoying the Tecla Awards

Headed to the Tecla Awards "fashionably late"
Headed to the Tecla Awards “fashionably late”

I’ll admit it. I was pretty intimidated at first by how many people were there, how glamorous everyone was with their selfie sticks, and the fact that I was all alone.

While you may think that I’m nuts going to so many events for Hispanicize alone despite living in Miami & having my husband just 10 minutes away at our Miami Beach condo, look at it from my point of view.

If you are not uncomfortable, you are not growing.

So while my hubby would’ve gladly escorted me the entire week, I’m a lady boss and needed to act like one while holding my own at events.

It totally paid off. I made amazing friends at the event and shared a lot of laughs with great people.

The Main Event

On Tuesday, we got back to the “grind”. The events usually lasted from 9 am to 4 pm with a lunch break for the Latinovator awards.

Celebrando mi gente

Wonderful setting with wonderful people. A big thank you to the sponsors for lunch everyday.
Wonderful setting with wonderful people. A big thank you to the sponsors for lunch everyday.

They were a great opportunity to sit & relax while celebrating others who are crushing it in what they do. Click here to learn more about it from the perspective of one of the winners- Dulce Candy.

Back to back training events were carefully listed on the Hispanicize app for our convenience.

Whoever came up with the idea of putting all the event details on an app- THANK YOU.

It was awesome not to have to carry a giant schedule around the entire week.

As helpful as the app was, the amount of events that you can attend can easily become overwhelming.

So here are my recommendations regarding the training events:

  1. Arrive on time & sit at the front. These are successful & busy people who are taking time out of their busy schedules to help you grow. Take full advantage of it.
  2. Use the Hispanicize app as a reference point and connect with panelists on LinkedIn or Facebook before the event. This will give you a chance to ask them questions before the event and started building relationships.
  3. Take notes. The more you learn, the more you earn.
  4. Be positive. Yes, I get it. You may have had success in the past and might feel tempted to roll your eyes every once in a while because you feel that “you have heard this before”. Simply appreciate that someone is validating that you are on the right track and be open to learn more.
  5. Add value to others. Rather than collecting business cards as a hobby during the event,  listen to them. Figure out how you can answer their questions or how you can introduce them to someone who can.
  6. Come with a goal. With an event that big, it’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none. Choose strategically what training events you want to go to that will help you achieve your goals.
  7. Invest in a portable cell phone battery charger. You risk missing out on networking or moving around freely if you are attached to a wall charging your phone.
  8. Schedule social media posts in advance. While you may be posting live throughout the event, it’s best to be there with a peace of mind that your tribe is getting the love they need in advance.
  9. Come ready to say who you are and who you serve in a few seconds. While people are super nice at the event, it’s best to listen to see how you can serve others rather than talking for a very long time about yourself. If they are interested, they will ask you to elaborate.
  10. Be cool. There are plenty of opportunities to talk to celebrities & social media super stars but don’t forget that they are people too. Be respectful of their time and try not to freak out when you see them.
Launch of DiMe Media Inc with cocktails
Launch of DiMe Media Inc with cocktails
Celebrando with Luis Fonsi, Don Francisco, Miss USA, & Ana Quincoces

How to Prepare for the Event

If you are like me, you like a plan. If you don’t like a plan remember this:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

The event is a week long. If you can’t go for the entire thing, show up for what you can. Something is better than nothing.

Although I did not attend every single event (note some where held at the same time as others) I think that I have a pretty good idea now after 2 galas, several luncheons, and multiple private cocktail parties.

So here it goes:

  • Look at the schedule and pack accordingly.
    The event will keep you busy so do not plan to go shopping in Miami. You may not have time.
  • Bring a jacket or sweater for the conference rooms. Welcome to Miami where it is super hot & humid outside & once you get inside, it feels like its snowing.
  • Pack a portable cell phone battery charger. I had my phone charging in my purse and it made my life super easy.
  • Bring an empty duffle bag or leave space in your suitcase (if you are from out of town) because you will get a ton of free stuff & training materials while you are there.
  • Bring plenty of business cards. I gave out exactly 95 business cards during the event. (I didn’t have a ticker where I was counting. I just did the math when I only had 5 cards left out of a pack of 100 at the end of the event.)
  • Be memorable. Go with the intention of making more friends and connections rather than focusing on pitching yourself.
  • Show love. Do your best to promote the brands who are showing you love at the event and continue to encourage their involvement with the hispanic community.
  • Be respectful. It is a huge event/production. Something is bound to go wrong. Get over it and ask how you can be of help to solve it. El amor al projimo es como mejor puedes representar a tu gente.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I wore uncomfortable heels one day (for an entire day) and was wishing for/trying to manifest a conveyor belt to take me around the event the next day. Save the heels for the fancy pants events.
  • See Miami. Miami is full of things to do for someone who needs celebrate (or even learn about) the Hispanic culture. I know the event will keep you super busy but you would be nuts not to take a peek at the awesome city that is hosting you.

Who should attend

While most people will assume that Hispanicize is solely for Latinos- you are wrong. It’s for everyone who wants to learn, grow, and show their love to a vibrant and growing population.

The event is for:

  • Those who love the Latino culture
  • Companies who want to better understand & serve Latinos
  • Entrepreneurs/small businesses who want to learn how to serve this target market
  • Bloggers/Media-preneurs who want to make their mark in the Latino community
  • Latinos who are seeking to plug into a supportive community

The event is not for:

  • Culturally insensitive people who will freak out when they hear salsa music walking around the event
  • Rude people who are impatient

If you made it this far in the blog post, I’m pretty sure the event is for you & you would have a wonderful time there!

Supporters & Brands

It was such a pleasant surprise (for a first-timer like me) to see how many brands were supporting the event.

While my website or branding does not have the word “Latina” in it, it’s who I am and I don’t apologize for it.

Seeing other major companies celebrate our culture, value systems, and show such a high interest in engaging with us was awesome!

If you represent a brand that supported Hispanicize thank you.

I’m not just thankful for Home Depot’s breakfast, Tresemme styling my hair, Covergirl giving me make-up, or Target hosting the #SinTraduccion event but for your curiosity to learn more about us.

You get it.

You understand that you will not have our loyalty by simply translating the back of a coupon.

You left your comfy office and came to Miami to get to know us. You didn’t send in an assistant of an assistant to represent your brand. You sent in your top executives.

You appreciate & understand that collectively we represent over $1 Trillion in buying power and rolled out the red carpet for us.

As someone who does not have a single sponsorship to say this: As a thank you for sponsoring Hispanicize you can count on my vote (aka my dollars spent in your stores).

However, there is one tiny bit of advice I have for brands. Keep your hashtags short. Some were so long that it took up most of the characters we get in a post.  The easier something is to share, the more likely it is to go viral  and catch on 😉

Overall, thanks for showing us love. We’ll love you right back by shopping in your stores and helping you increase your market share.

Pretty crazy how supporting the Hispanic community (despite having a pre-existing business) can give you first mover advantage in your market place.

OK OK….I’ll put my MBA away for the rest of this blog post.

The People

You will  find all sorts of people at the event. Some will be introverted and others will be extroverted.

Some will have tons of success and others are starting out on the journey.

With lady bosses!
With lady bosses!

However, all of the people I encountered were kind, respectful, welcoming, and helpful. (Even when they were exhausted from all the tiki tiki at the end of the week.)

If you are wondering if this event is for you or if you will be a good fit, then go.

You will only find out by stepping out of your comfort zone and putting yourself out there.

What now?

Working from home like a boss ;)
Working from home like a boss 😉

If you went to the event, follow up with those you connected with.

Don’t let those business cards pile up in vain. Reach out to your new friends and add value to them.

Something I never mentioned to anyone is that I’m looking to hire someone. Having businesses in both Spanish & English with customers in 20+ countries becomes a bit much at times.

I am committed to my customers’ success and I do not want anyone of them to “fall through the cracks” because I had too much business coming my way.

I will be reaching out to those who I think are a good fit with my brand to help me give my customers a continued marvelous experience with my brand. This is a position for someone to work from home and it was a major bonus for me to get FaceTime with awesome people who I believe to be a good fit for the position.

I’m sharing this with you because you may be what someone you met is looking for. By not following-up you are missing out on a great opportunity to join someone’s team or add value to them.

Next, mark your calendars and plan to attend Hispanicize in April 2016 and comment below with any questions and comments you may have.

If you already attended, tell me what it was like for you. Everyone has a different perspective & I’d love to hear yours. Don’t forget to add your links so that I and others can follow you.

Remember sharing is caring. The more hispanics and hispanic-lovers we get to that event, the faster we have our voice heard.

See you there!

Your favorite lady boss,

Ilean Harris

Recharging my batteries before crushing my goals #ladyboss
Recharging my batteries before crushing my goals #ladyboss

P.S. If you want to learn how to monetize your blog/website without sponsors click here and check out this blog post that will blow your mind.

Want to learn how I can help you make sales in your sleep? Click here to learn more about my program.