How entrepreneurs share our solitude by Ana Castaño

Ana is from Michoacan, Mexico and moved to California in 1996. She is the proud mother of Metzli, Alitzel and Erendira. She has worked with the LGBT and immigrant communities through activism. She previously worked as a teacher in rural areas throughout various Mexican regions. She also began a cooperative in 2014, which she ended two years later. She is now in the beginning stages of starting a second coop for childcare in the Bay Area, The Nanny Collective. Check out her story from her first months as a fellow.

LCF Accelerator Prospera in Oakland May 9, 2019.
Hello

My name is Ana Castaño. I am one of the first 3 participants selected for Prospera’s new 2019 fellowship. I’m currently in the process of recruiting new business partners who can help me improve my business idea and plan, because up until now, even though it is based on my experience as a nanny and working with other nannies, this concept has mainly lived in my head,

My two fellowship colleagues and I have been part of this adventure for two months now, and let me just say, it’s been quite an adventure! Even though we have dreams, goals, experiences and we all know what it means to work really hard, and even with Prospera’s generous support, we continue to face difficulties and barriers in our daily lives. 

There is a horizon full of possibilities ahead of us that lets us visualize success and reminds us of all the many years of hard work and effort. A path that will lead us to many people, celebrations, and challenges.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching a video of a woman who was sharing her successful entrepreneurship journey. She mentioned that the most difficult thing to undertake is the feeling of loneliness. And was she right about that!  I have often felt that loneliness when it comes to making decisions, finding solutions, and making choices that will meet everyone’s needs. I feel that this loneliness goes hand in hand with simply being a Latina immigrant mother and entrepreneur with a dream. No matter how beautiful this dream may be to me, it has the capacity to challenge me, to motivate me to beat any obstacle that stands in my way. 

But that feeling of solitude doesn’t last here with my Prospera family. This solitude that comes with being an entrepreneur is shared, it is tended to, and it is respected. Here at Prospera, solitude is our ally. She is the warrior who seeks her own capacity, who builds, who strives to survive. When she reflects and eventually finds solace in cooperation; when she shares her greatest fears and she strips bare before her colleagues, that solitude finds the company of other women in solitude. And together we are able to cry out with frustration, and we also cry with rage and we cry with joy. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, we encourage one another. We don’t give each other gifts. Instead we share the tools we have learned and find new ways to solve our problems. It’s not easy, but will it ever be? Well, we don’t know, but we will learn. 

Meanwhile, these last two months have rekindled my confidence, knowing I’m in the right place and that each moment is unfolding, being lived intensively. I am hoping that my future business partners will soon discover this sense of professionalism and belonging that we experience here at Prospera, and that we apply to our cooperatives.