By Francis Miranda
Francis Miranda and his partners were all passionate about life transformation training and courses. As they were telling their stories, one thing that struck them was that they were all immigrants. They realized that they’ve all undergone the same challenges that immigration brings.
Their shared realization was that any life change is like immigrating to a different country. You’ve got to adjust and adapt to the discomfort. You’ve got to learn, relearn, and unlearn. But eventually, you’ll be okay. And that’s the guiding principle behind their company, Mind Migration which was established this 2019. Their goal is to help immigrants go from point A to point B through transformative content written with an immigrant perspective.
Today, we officially welcome The After Six Club’s New York-based co-founder to the ranks of the Ambitious Tribe.
What is your business about? What are the products/services that you offer?
We are a training and learning company. Our main business is eLearning courses that you can find in www.mindmigrant.com. But we also have a speaker bureau where you can hire immigrant speakers to speak at any event as well as organizing workshops and learning sessions for immigrants.
Where is your business located? What kind of office do you have (e.g. home office, coffee shop, co-working space, etc.)?
We have two offices: one based in Boston and another based in New York. We have a small office in Boston and a basic recording studio in New York where we shoot our videos. Mostly we are also very mobile so you see us a lot in coffee shops working and writing our content.
What made you choose this particular trade/industry/line of business?
I guess it’s part of being an “inspirepreneur”. I’ve always wanted to help people. If I ever wanted to get into a business, it definitely has to be a business wherein I can help people live better lives by selling them hope and inspiration. As a retired advertising practitioner, I want to be able to use my creative gifts and merge it with my love for teaching. This is why I chose this industry.
What do you believe makes your business stand out?
The global diaspora market is a highly underserved market. These are people who contribute so much to their adopted and new homes and are looking for inspiration to bring their life to the next level. We wanted to create content for immigrants by immigrants because we believe that there are certain insights and mindsets that we learn in the immigrant journey that prepare us better for any life transformation that we want to do in our lives.
Is it always necessary to be passionate about what your business is about in order for it to succeed?
It’s not necessary but it surely helps. Passion helps you push yourself the extra mile but with everything, you also need to be disciplined enough to motivate yourself.
Tell us your story. What ignited the spark in you to start this business? When did this happen?
Everything starts with personal truth. In November of 2018, I wound up immigrating to New York from the Philippines. And as any immigrant can tell you, this change wasn’t very easy. I had to struggle to set up my career here.
Unlike in the Philippines where I had an extensive network, I was plunged into a city where I only had few connections. Suddenly everything was difficult.
It was harder to book gigs because who the hell knows me here? But I still was guided by my mission on why I came to the United States. I wanted to be an international speaker.
So I reached out and met with fellow immigrants. I listened to their stories and it dawned on me that immigrants all had parallel journeys. Each of them came to a new country and had to reinvent their lives. And this was where the spark of inspiration came from.
One of the things I was always passionate about was life transformation. And it dawned on me that the immigrant has unique perspectives when it comes to life transformation. When you’re clear with what you want you’ll realize that the universe will bring you to the people you’re meant to collaborate with and that’s where I found my partners.
How did you obtain capital? Were there investors? If yes, how did you entice them into believing in and investing in your idea?
We all had to use capital from our own pockets. It’s the bootstrap life. We invested our money and started to build. The idea is to use creativity to punch through any limitation and achieve the difficult.
How did you build your customer base? What form of marketing has been most effective for you so far?
Any customer base starts with your immediate connections. Since we were all Filipino Immigrants it was logical that we start with the Filipino American community here. We started to collaborate with the Philippine Consulate in New York and we created our first course inspired by their desire to create a special arrival seminar to help new Filipino immigrants acclimate to life in the US.
This brought forth our Pinoy Immigration Experience program which is a one-month video course for new immigrants that equips them with inspiration and practical tips on their first month. We marketed it first via the Filipino American general assembly held here in New York.
Our best marketing has always been targeted social media combined with word of mouth through the Filipino communities. This helps us get the most leads.
How do you generate new ideas for your business’ growth?
David, Marga, Jun, (my partners) and I come from distinct backgrounds and we have distinct strengths. I think our different strengths help us to come up with new business ideas. Since half of us lives in Boston and half lives in New York, we’ve learned the power of teleconference. We organize our meetings in Slack and constantly share new insights and stories. From these, we try to see where the new opportunities are.
What kind of company culture are you implementing/would like to implement? What are your core values?
Our company culture is based on respect and love for our home cultures but married with the innovation that comes from embracing new cultures. Transformation is simply that. It’s learning to acknowledge your past while embracing your future. It’s about writing fresh new chapters for your life without necessarily discarding the old chapters. We are a culture of constant learning as well.
How do you deal with major mishaps? What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Thankfully we had no major mishaps yet. Our most major mishap was perhaps the reprinting of our calling cards! We were shocked that the company didn’t print out our contact details! It just had our names.
We got the cards of the day of the event so we decided to laugh it off, but some silver and gold pens and write our numbers and emails to everyone who asks it. Everyone actually thought it was creative that we write our numbers to give it that personal touch. But if they only knew how stressed we were at that moment.
The lesson is that you’ll make a mistake but you can definitely always recover from it with creativity and humor. Every day, we make mistakes but that’s definitely part of the journey. Any startup should actually keep an eye out for mistakes and acknowledge them as quickly as possible so we can course correct as soon as possible.
What skills do you believe are necessary in handling a business?
Math Skills (Haha because I’m weak at this)
What would you say are some dos and don’ts in starting one?
Don’t overexpose yourself. Start small with one small focused project and don’t be distracted with other things. When you birth that one project, everything else will follow.
Was there ever a time you felt afraid that this might not work? How did you manage this fear?
Oh yes! Every single day, haha! The best way to manage it is to just figure out how do we make it work today. Your company won’t work if it has accumulated a chain of “Not Work Days.” But if you decide to troubleshoot the problem when it is just a small snowball, you’ll never have to contend with an avalanche.
If you have any interesting facts/trivia about your business that you’d like to share, kindly share them.
I was amazed at how easy it was to put up a business here. Everything is online and it takes just a couple of minutes!
Describe a typical day for you.
No day is a typical day for me. I guess the day adjusts according to what you need to do. But If I’m to map it out, I normally wake up at a set time them I spend a few minutes with my morning prayers and meditating to clear my mind (which I strongly recommend to everyone).
I then shower and look for a coffee shop to work in. When I settle down, I write down a list of critical things I need to do and 3 less critical things. I fire up my Slack and emails and catch up with everything I need to know related to my projects (which are neatly segmented in Slack).
Most of my heavy duty thinking, writing and creative work needs to happen in the morning because I’m normally most creative at that time. I then spend the afternoon on shooting, learning, studying or networking with people.
How many hours of work a day do you put in? How many days per week?
It’s funny how it changes every day. There are days when I’m done by lunch and I just spend the rest of the afternoon reading or even resting. But there are days I’m working on weekends too.
Since I still do a lot of consultancy, coaching and mentoring work in Manila, I also have teleconferences at odd times of the day. I guess that’s what defines a bootstrap startup life. You adjust your hours to the work. Of course, I’m very conscious about my work-life balance and I make clear decisions on my time.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is to lose purpose in my life.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get here?
Everything! My comfort zone, my security, my ego. When you move to a new country, everything is thrown out the window. You need to learn new things over again. You learn to eat a lot of humble pie. These are the sacrifices you do for the dream. I could’ve been comfortable but comfortable is boring and I think I’ll die if I’m bored.
What can you consider is your greatest success?
My greatest success is seeing all the people I have mentored, coached and inspired become successful because of what you shared with me. Every time someone sends me a message or thanks me for inspiring them it’s an unspeakable secret of success.
What would you say is the secret to success?
Build your success around helping other people. The most successful people built their empires on helping improve other people’s lives. When what you share with them moves them to a better life, that’s how you add value and gain success.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to define your own destiny and create something new. Your creation might be a success or it might be a failure but the process of creation and discovery is something that I love.
What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My motivation is really giving people hope. I think right now we live in a world where hope is in short supply. I’ve personally experienced it. I’ve heard many stories around it. I love giving people hope. Hope that they can be better because I know that we call all become better.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I want to be a global expert on inspiration for immigrants. A person speaking globally in different countries inspiring immigrants. And of course since dreaming is free, a million dollars in my New York bank account (Which my partners are kicking me to dream bigger about)
Do you consider yourself an ambitious person? Explain why.
Yes! Definitely! The world needs ambitious people who are unapologetic about their desire to help make their sphere of the planet better. I want to be a billionaire (whether I’m successful or not, it remains to be seen but hey dreaming is free so let’s be ambitious because even if we don’t achieve it, being a multi-millionaire isn’t that bad).
Do you think being ambitious helped/helps you in business? How?
Yes, definitely. It opens doors and clarifies what you want. Ambition pushes you to go further.
What piece of advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be ambitious all you want but what you must be most ambitious of is your desire to help other people. That’s what keeps your ambition noble. The moment you become ambitious for selfish reasons, that’s the beginning of your corruption and demise.
Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla
Francis Miranda is the founder and CEO of Mind Migration Inc. It’s an eLearning, content and education company for immigrants based in New York and Boston. He’s also the founder of Unapologetic Dude in Manila and a partner in 360 Fitness Club, Nicheplay, and Braveworks studios. Francis is an avid world traveler who loves to spend his time inspiring people in all walks of life.