Taylor Torres is a pro-brand photographer turned systems & operations, expert, educator, powerlifter, mother, and forward-thinking woman always looking to tackle a challenge with intention and effort. In 2020, she founded Chanel & Lee, a strategy and operations studio that supports and executes ideas for the modern, multi-passionate CEO, providing ease and confidence that your brand is operating at its full potential for maximum profit. C&L has quickly scaled, assisting over 122 in streamlining their businesses, launching over $104k+ of new offers in 2020 alone, and creating a priceless dose of work/life balance for those who dare to dream big and implement.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Taylor Torres: Chanel & Lee is a strategy and operations studio that supports and executes ideas for the modern, multi-passionate CEO, providing ease and confidence that your brand is operating at its full potential for maximum profit. Founded in 2020 by pro photographer turned systems expert Taylor Torres, C&L has quickly scaled, assisting over 122 in streamlining their businesses, launching over $104k+ of new offers in 2020 alone, and creating a priceless dose of work/life balance for those who dare to dream big and implement.
Our future consists of taking a deeper dive into the systems and operations space – giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to run smart, scalable, and powerful business operations. We plan to launch more education, create easy-to-access and affordable resources, and scale our luxury VIP day experiences.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Taylor Torres: No child says they want to be a CEO, but some children do have the natural hustle mentality. As a kid, I was always paving my own path to success. Whether it was class president, dance captain, or being the diplomatic leader of my friend group, the natural CEO in me started blooming at an early age. At the tender age of eight, I had my first taste of entrepreneurship when I facilitated a bustling trade with neighborhood friends, meticulously organizing their rooms in exchange for whatever trendy trinkets they had on hand. With the first evolution of social media, I quickly shifted into designing the dopest MySpace pages for any classmate who handed me a crisp $5. Let’s just say the 8th-grade girls of the Houston metro area looked fly AF online thanks to my handiwork.
I was hooked. The adrenaline of being my own boss never left me and, as a teenager, I found myself surfing the punk scene and photographing bands like Title Fight, Joyce Manor, and Seahaven which lead to an explosive, promising photography career.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Taylor Torres: I am a perfectionist who dislikes confrontation. Being a thought-leader in my industry and CEO in my business space has truly pushed me to have the hard conversations when necessary – to speak up when my voice needs to be heard. Whether it’s to redirect conversations, apologize for my own mistakes, or to correct unfairness/deception when I see it, my natural move is to go inward. Becoming a successful entrepreneur has given me more confidence in the uncomfortable.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Taylor Torres: An entrepreneur is so much more than just owning or running a business. It is a lifestyle shift, a mindset, and a day-to-day position. Being an entrepreneur is gritty and messy – you have to be ok with the uncomfortable. You have to strategically set goals and learn to take what you can from the setbacks. You have to be ok with long workdays, an overload of responsibilities, and the constant urge to do more. You have to learn to let go of imposter syndrome and truly seek to find your zone of genius. You have to know that an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur for life – the mentality never changes.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Taylor Torres: A supportive and inclusive culture is about creating a community of people who want to do better than those before them; creating the space to bring others up along with you and not being stuck in a limited mindset. Entrepreneurs and successful business executives didn’t get where they are by themselves – returning that same support, even in the smallest of ways, can be life-changing for someone else on their journey.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Taylor Torres: The COVID pandemic taught us many things; it taught us that change is inevitable. Doing things the same way forever isn’t possible. You HAVE to be disruptive in the way you work, you have to be creative, you have to think outside of the box to maintain balance, and most of all you have to be empathetic. Continuing the wave of change and being open to evolving will ensure you don’t become complacent or stagnant in your business or culture.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Taylor Torres: Funny because I have a 7-year-old daughter who sees me working in my office, my laptop, and my phone and asks, “What do you do for work?” I have always told her, I help other people who own businesses become smarter with what they do and help them get things done in their business, so they can do more of what they love.
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?
Taylor Torres: The beautiful thing about scaling your business means you will have beautiful growth, but that also means you may cut out the branches that are no longer growing. Before I was a system and operations expert, my business was a 6-figure virtual assistant studio. I had the incredible responsibility of helping dozens upon dozens of businesses with their day-to-day admin tasks.
I was their jack-of-all-trades in helping them shorten their to-do lists. After scaling quickly as a VA, I realized my zone of genius was so much greater than just a VA. I had expertise and skills I wanted to deepen, and I knew I had an audience for it. So many of my clients (and potential clients) asked me to stay a VA. I was the unicorn of VAs, and they wanted me.
But I also knew that without growth and evolution, I would never scale or grow and I would most likely end up in a place of dislike in the business I created. I knew I had to follow my own path and the calling of my passion – helping businesses operate with excellence. After planning and prepping, I stopped offering VA services and let those clients go so I could make room for the new growth and evolution of my operations studio.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Taylor Torres: I love this question! My most useless talent is probably my musical skills. I grew up singing and playing guitar, but I never got farther than bar karaoke because I had too much stage fright performing. Put me on a stage in front of thousands to storytelling and talk, I’m your girl. But give me a guitar and melody and all of a sudden I see stars!
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Taylor Torres: ‘She is Fierce: One Woman’s Story of Trial, Growth, and Unimaginable Success’
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Taylor Torres 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 Taylor Torres or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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