Sometimes in life we cling to the things we have and when change comes we are afraid to accept reality. But change also represents an opportunity for something better that perhaps at first we did not see. In some ways, this is the case of Valentina Santiago, a 23 year old Venezuelan who migrated to the U.S. in 2017 and her life changed.
“In my country, I achieved one of my biggest dreams, which was to enter the Faculty of Medicine at the Central University of Venezuela. Although I could not finish my career, it was still a great experience. I migrated in 2017 to the United States. It was a difficult new beginning but not impossible.” Valentina shares. “Since I was a child I always wanted to be independent and that is why when I got here, my goal was to continue my studies so that I could have a good foundation and start my own business. Despite the circumstances, I never lost my way and always wanted to have my own independence.”
Today, Valentina runs Ocean Trending, an online store that offers customers the opportunity to purchase a variety of things from beauty products to phone and computer accessories. Valentina herself uses and promotes a lot of the products they sell.
Since she arrived in the United States, Valentina noticed that as an immigrant it was easy to simply live under the dependence of a boss rather than to be a boss herself. But she was also determined to make her dream of independence come true.
“Sometimes we believe that when we arrive in a country where we do not know the culture, language and customs, we must always live under the dependence of a ‘boss’ and it is not like that. Getting up every day to work hard for someone else’s business, and at the end of the day, you have neither time nor energy for the most valuable thing, your family.” Valentina says.
This was a determining factor for Valentina. She had always prioritized time with her family and realized that by working for someone else not only was she giving time to someone else’s dream, but also she was missing out on her own family.
“My upbringing has always been very family-oriented, so for me, the most important thing is and will always be to share with them. Because of this, I made the decision to start my business, to seek my independence and the best thing, to have my own schedule. Although it requires a lot, the reward is immense because it is something for me and the people I love.” Valentina explains.
Indeed, Valentina’s inspiration to start her own business was getting to see so many people working while depending on others. She herself worked such long hours without being able to enjoy her loved ones, missing out on special occasions or on catching up with people. After seeing so many people working under dependency for so many hours Valentina was inspired to start her own business.
“When we get here we all have a chip that we have to work as much as possible, and yes, we have to, because of our responsibilities, but it’s better to work as much as possible for our own business.” Valentina states.
Ocean Trending offers all kinds of variety for all tastes and people. They have excellent products with guaranteed quality and at a low cost. With Valentina’s effort, dedication, and tenacity she has been able to overcome all the obstacles that have emerged along the way.
“To grow on social media is the biggest challenge because credibility is now judged through social networks. Everything depends on your followers, who advertises you, who is in your group of friends, etc. The power of social media is now immense, and just as they can lead you to victory, they can also destroy you.” Valentina states.
Valentina also believes that getting support is difficult. Since she arrived in the U.S., she has met with many people and talked about her business but not everyone wants to help out or invest. To confront this, it is crucial to be transparent.
“I differentiate myself from my competition because of my honesty and humility. We must never forget where we come from, no matter how much wealth we have or how far we have gone. We must always be the same as we were at the beginning and never lose our essence. This is something I firmly maintain, and I know that this is what differentiates me from many. Our kindness will always be our best presentation.” Valentina says.
Moreover, it is crucial that people understand that change, such as migrating somewhere or going through an unprecedented life event, can lead to great opportunities, and if there ever is a desire to start a project, people should just go for it.
“My advice to anyone who wants to start in the business industry is to try it. At first everything looks dark but then everything begins to clear up. Maintain consistency in what you want and the objective you want to achieve. Be responsible when making all kinds of financial decisions. Never lose the horizon no matter how hard and tense the road gets. Always insist and never give up.” Valentina advises.
This year, Valentina hopes to continue growing Ocean Trending and be able to ship all over the world. She also dreams of eventually owning a physical store. Find out more about her and her store here.