Independence Week-05

Independents Week 2021: A Toast to Salesforce Game-Changers with Selina Suarez

It’s Independents Week at 10K and we’re celebrating by profiling successful Salesforce entrepreneurs from the 10K Expert Community. Follow along with us at #IndependentsWeek as we give a peek into each person’s journey to independence, lessons learned along the way, and advice for others who might be interested in joining the thriving Salesforce ecosystem. 

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

My company primarily works with organizations dedicated to furthering social justice, social equality, and education for underserved communities. A couple of our clients include The Innocence Project Pennsylvania and institutions of higher learning like Hampton University and the University of Maryland.  

How did you know it was time to go independent? 

Prior to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, I spent several years working in the Educational sector across the P-20 landscape. Over the years I developed a deep level of subject matter expertise within this sector. But, it needs to be said that choosing to go independent is a scary choice. It took me a while to go full-time independent, and especially when leaving what a lot of people see as a dream job (I had been working at Salesforce for two years at this point.)

The first sign I knew I was ready was when more than a few organizations started asking me for help.

The first sign I knew I was ready was when more than a few organizations started asking me for help. In my first role administering Salesforce, I built an app to help support college access and success for students in underrepresented communities. The app tracked college-going rates, persistence, graduation, and post-graduation outcomes across high-risk populations. The resulting data could be used to measure the outcomes of these populations against their peer groups, tell relevant stories, fundraise and otherwise further support educational attainment for the communities served.  

This project essentially kicked off my transition to becoming an independent consultant. 

It turns out that other organizations across the United States were trying to solve the same problems in their own communities. This project essentially kicked off my transition to becoming an independent consultant. 

That all happened about five years ago and it actually coincided with the start of 10K. Having their support helped make me feel confident enough to go all-in on my consultancy. Now I’m even a customer and contract some of my work to them! It’s incredible how everything can come full circle. 

What is the best part about being your own boss in the Salesforce ecosystem?

The best part is the choice to work on the projects I’m most passionate about, like social justice and education. The work is meaningful and I can feel good about it. 

Starting a business is a romantic idea but the reality is this is a hard road.

Are there any lessons you can share with those who are starting their own Salesforce consultancy?

Build the infrastructure of your business with intention. Starting a business is a romantic idea but the reality is this is a hard road. You’re not just working, you’re building a client base, managing taxes, executing contracts, and so much more. 

Take the time to set up your systems.

My business started fast. Having a lot of projects was a great problem to have, but I didn’t have the time to do everything on the backend with intention. I have an MBA and know the traditional way is to take time to draft a business plan, but what they don’t tell you is how to backtrack and build infrastructure when you start a business and are flying the proverbial plane while trying to build it!

Take the time to set up your systems. And know that you’re not alone in how difficult it is to run a consultancy. This is critical to your mental health and managing a healthy company. 

What about the Salesforce ecosystem’s future gets you excited? 

The rapid innovation brought forth by Salesforce is creating an opportunity for these individuals to build lasting careers.

I appreciate how Salesforce is constantly innovating new service offerings, products, and technology. The more innovation the industry fosters the more opportunity there is for people to enter the ecosystem. From what we’re seeing at PepUp Tech there’s a ton of great talent out there. The rapid innovation brought forth by Salesforce is creating an opportunity for these individuals to build lasting careers. Salesforce’s innovation consistently helps to open more doors for undiscovered talent. 

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