Martha Melecio is a Latina business owner who has tried and failed on many ventures. Owned several businesses and believe that quitting is for those who are not ready to make sacrifices. To win the game of being a successful entrepreneur you have to push yourself further and further each day.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Martha Melecio: My name is Martha and I was born and raised in the Midwest. My first job was a stock girl at a general store and my first business began in my twenties selling various items from books to boxing gloves. Today I own Kickn Caramel Pops. An online candy store selling tangy caramel lollipops. I have always wanted to own my own business and knew that this journey was never going to be easy. I’m happy I took the path least taken.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Martha Melecio: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to have a business. At 12 years old I created flyers offering services to “beautify” your front lawn area. I didn’t know the word landscaping at that time. After high school, I just knew I wanted to start something and be my boss. Through trial and many errors, I’ve grown the knowledge of what it takes to start and build a business. It starts with you. Your passions help create what we call side hustles today in the hopes that these turn into businesses. You have to be passionate about what you want to do. Knowledge will come. Success will come to you, you just have to stick to your gut and keep pushing. If you believe in it.. Don’t give up.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Martha Melecio: My mother. She was an accounting and lived for doing home decor on the side. She was always encouraging me about my dreams and goals. My siblings are also a huge part of my support system each of them owning their businesses. We share ideas, the highs and lows, and what we want our future to be. We go to each other when times are tough and pull each other up.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Martha Melecio: The hardest part is having a team behind you who also believes in you and your goals. I learned that it’s now just me working on a dream and others are helping me. They need to be included in the feedback. I cannot just be the only voice speaking.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Martha Melecio: My company is Kickn Caramel Pops. An online candy shop offering our version of Hispanic spicy candy. My daily responsibilities include product creation (right now we are working up for holiday ) marketing, website management, and social media.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Martha Melecio: For me, it means creating essential opportunities our company needs to grow.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Martha Melecio: When you start a business many times it’s just you. When your business idea grows and needs to hire you to realize it’s becoming bigger than yourself. I expected to oversee some things but to my surprise, as a CEO you are involved from A-Z. Decisions need your attention and it needs them fast. You’re a vital part of the Go-To people when there are challenges.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Martha Melecio: It’s a two-part focus. You need to focus on the growth and market stance of the company as well as focus on the overall production of the products. I have a background in Quality Assurance so it’s in my nature to be on the ground floor overseeing how the team is producing what is being sent to customers. CEOs, good ones, have to wear several hats, want to wear several hats.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Martha Melecio: Shutting down for a short while we regrouped. Sales were less than expected and overhead costs were killing us. We had to use a smaller group to keep some flow going but had to do it on a skeleton crew but hours were cut. The flip side is that decision saved money to come back stronger.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Martha Melecio: Success to me is being able to live comfortably. Provide for my family, as well as help others. You can’t go through this world only doing for yourself. Pay it forward.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Martha Melecio: I have a lot of patience and this helps me personally not go into panic mode as well as have patience with others. I also train new hires and have learned a lot from others on how to train what works and what doesn’t. To lead you to need to respect and trust others.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Martha Melecio: Because there is no physical store. Selling online saved me from having the huge costs of renting a brick and mortar, utilities, etc. Still renting a commercial kitchen but it’s far less expensive. We focused on recipes and ideas and controlled what we could. No sense in driving yourself mad over something you can’t control. Make the best of it.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting on their journey?
Martha Melecio: Be true to yourself and your vision. Do it for the right reasons and success and money will come. You don’t need a shipload of money or huge investors. I started my first business years ago with a few hundred dollars. But I was determined. Stay the course.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Martha Melecio: I’ve never been great at getting materials or ingredients at lower prices. Hence why someone else does that job. They know what we need and find the right vendors and prices. You need a certain skill for that.
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Martha Melecio: I took the road less traveled. Successful Latina buys owner shares her life story and dream life she finally got to live.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Martha Melecio 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 Martha Melecio or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
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