‘I think it’s important to say that, to find our calling and purpose, we must change our mentality and lifestyle to match our dreams.’
“I was born in the U.S., but most of my family came here from Ecuador. When I was a teen, on weekends my uncle would take me to wait with undocumented immigrants in Farmingville looking for work. When someone came for workers, we’d go over, and I had an advantage because often they wanted bilingual speakers who could help with translating. It taught me how to work in any weather and with my hands, no matter how hard.
“After high school, I learned to detail cars and ended up getting a job at a car dealership. I also graduated from Suffolk Community College with an AA in criminal justice and wanted to join the NYPD, but knew that was unlikely as I got arrested at age 18. I was driving over 100 mph on Sunrise Highway; I saw police and reacted in the worst possible way. I thought I could lose them, but ended up sliding and getting stuck in a snowbank. I spent a night in jail, got community service and a year of probation. I had still hoped to become an officer and started the procedures after college at 21, but knew I might need a plan B, so I started a car-detailing side hustle.
I started hiring a young staff, and now my business is also a way to teach and help others.
“As expected, I was disqualified from the police, but then I was laid off from the dealership. I was stressing, but then started thinking about what I saw as a laborer, people working so hard, but not getting anywhere. That inspired me to create a business. To build on my side detailing work, I leased a space, then moved to a better location. I started using social media to get customers, business cards with QR scan codes and driving my own car around neighborhoods so people can see a demo of what I can do. I had to teach myself to do these kinds of things. I started hiring a young staff, and now my business is also a way to teach and help others.
“We’ve become a team. My employees all have plans of their own, but we have a mutual understanding to help me now, and I’ll help them get there. I get contacted a lot by people cheering me on for being so focused at age 25, even asking me for advice. I think it’s important to say that, to find our calling and purpose, we must change our mentality and lifestyle to match our dreams. And once we find our passion, it makes work no longer feel like work.”
Interviewed by Ian J. Stark