We are excited to introduce Maria Vargas, a trailblazing figure in the field of rehabilitation counseling.
Holding a Master’s Degree in the subject, Vargas did not just set up her own consulting firm in 2000; she set out to reshape her industry. Her interest in expert witness work was more than just a passion; it was a bold vision in an area with limited precedent and no designated mentors.
Undeterred, Vargas embarked on a journey of self-guided learning and painstaking research, seeking out knowledge wherever she could, from seminars to direct conversations with attorneys.
She has an exceptional ability to merge her background with an in-depth comprehension of the legal venues requiring her expertise. As a result, she crafted a niche for herself, where no expert witness schools existed.
Her dedication and tenacity bore fruit as over the years; she significantly expanded her expertise and, to date, has testified in over 400 depositions and trials, with a steady stream of more to come.
Today, Maria is a respected figure in her field, a staunch advocate for work-life balance, and a beacon for those who aspire to carve out their own path in their respective professions.
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Table of Contents
2021 and 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned?
Maria Vargas: Develop a contingency plan or 2. All industries change – some more quickly than others. You never know when you will have to make sudden decisions. Be ready.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy; what should businesses focus on in 2023? What advice would you share?
Maria Vargas: There are a lot of fantastic things happening. Don’t watch the news too much and get discouraged. There is always an opportunity for smart business people. Use your own judgment and verify everything. There is no one source for information anymore.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Maria Vargas: Heading into the pandemic, I had built a multi-million dollar consulting company with 22+ consultants. Our major customer for consulting went remote during Covid and greatly reduced its workload.
Consequently, our workload was steadily going down. Over the course of 18 months, I laid off staff in stages which was the most painful thing I have ever had to do in business. By the end of 2022, I had completely divested of this one industry and refocused my attention on our customers who were flourishing.
While our overall revenues were reduced by over half, the company’s profitability increased tremendously. In addition, I was freed from managing and training staff, and I returned to providing direct services and all expert witness work myself.
I regained the passion I had for work that I had lost in building the business and managing others.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started, and what do you intend on improving in 2023?
Maria Vargas: If I had it all to do over again, I would have cut my losses on the customer and changed the direction of my business sooner.
I thought I was doing the right thing by keeping consultants on with dwindling work, but in the final event, it made everyone uneasy and unhappy to see rounds of layoffs going on for a long period of time-me included.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2023?
Maria Vargas: I look forward to getting off of Zoom and back in person. I am at my best in front of a client, a judge, or a jury. I need that feedback and to read body language. Zoom continues to serve a practical purpose, but I am much more connected in person.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Maria Vargas: I do a lot of report writing, document analysis, and research for my job. If it’s an office day, I will be at the computer 8 hours per day. But thankfully, I schedule out-of-office days where I am traveling, meeting with clients, or in court. It’s a good mix.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Maria Vargas: The biggest challenge for me was to pivot my business focus. I always had multiple revenue streams and lines of work. But the trick is to know WHEN to enact your plan.
I liken it to changing the direction of a huge ocean liner. The minute you decide to make that 180 turn, a lot of things have to happen, and they happen slowly.
It’s staggering how even a minor refocus of your business model or customer base can change everything in your company down to website, software, even accounting procedures. It all needs to be analyzed to make sure it fits the new direction.
In 2023, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Maria Vargas: I am most interested in getting back “out there” to connect with my customers through seminars or meetings. I have become comfortable with Zoom and value that as a medium for training. I look forward to exploring video and podcasting to share information.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Maria Vargas: I think Covid spoiled a lot of people who got used to working at home in casual clothes and doing household chores along with work. I have not worked out of my home in 10 years and I would not go back for anything.
I like getting up, getting ready, and reporting to my desk every day. I think there has to be a balance. The nature of our work is that everyone is remote, but it’s a personal decision for me that I need to separate work from home life.
If someone wants to be self-employed, I totally support it. It’s a great time where there are so many options as far as where to work and even when to work.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Maria Vargas: Success to me means work-life balance. I am so fortunate that I carved out a niche in something I love to do. Work is never something I dread. I love what I do, and I learn many new things every day.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Maria Vargas for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Maria Vargas or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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