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Meet the Founder: Isabel Cervantes

Meet the Founder: Isabel Cervantes

From COVID Casualty to CEO of Her Own Life. Isabel Cervantes’ story reads like that of a lot of Millennials. Mountains of student loan debt, financial uncertainty, and pandemic-related job loss. But this is where her story takes an unexpected twist...

We first encountered Isabel on the Ashton Kutcher-produced Crackle TV series, Going From Broke, where she teamed up with financial experts and the Bizee team to turn her financial nightmare into an entrepreneurial dream… and her passion for art into a money-making reality. Meet Isabel.

Meet the Founder - Isabel Cervantes

She’s Got the Hustle


Half of Millennials report having a side hustle, and Isabel is no exception. Before she lost her job, she supplemented her income with side gigs, from hosting art parties to modeling to moonlighting as a birthday party clown. But for Isa, this wasn’t born solely out of financial need; the entrepreneurial spirit has always burned inside her.


“My parents were definitely the people that had to work hard to make sure ends are met. And I feel like I saw that, and it was ingrained in me that you do what you’ve got to do to make things happen. I was the five-year-old with lemonade stands. I was the 10-year-old with garage sales. I was the young entrepreneur from a very early start.”

Isabel Cervantes, founder of Isa Paints, at work

Isabel Cervantes, founder of Isa Paints, at work

Isabel’s greatest passion has always been art, and the loss of her job, while devastating, was the catalyst for something pretty amazing: her own art business. The sudden downtime gave Isa an opportunity to do more of what she loved: creating vibrant works of art and home decor. And when friends and family started asking where they could buy her work, she knew she might be onto something.


“I love seeing the glow on people's faces when they can see magic happen. When I do Paint and Sip nights, people are like, ‘I'm not a painter. I'm not an artist, I can't do that.’ And then they see their finished project and they're like, ‘I did that.’ And I'm like, ‘Yes, you did!’ So there’s just something about seeing people light up when they either see a piece of artwork that they love, or do a piece of artwork that they love.”

The Birth(day) of a Business


Isabel had known for a while that she wanted to turn her art hobby into something more. But it never felt like the right time. A friend advised her to buy a web domain and hang onto it, so when she was ready to go, it would be ready to go, too.


She took the advice, but for a long time, held onto the domain without doing anything with it. Once she made the decision to shift her hobby into a side hustle, she picked her birthday as the official launch date, and started counting down.

There's no ‘right’ time to start your business. Right now is the right time.

Isa’s Top Tips for Starting a Business


After Isabel’s experience on Going From Broke and the launch of Isa Paints LLC — with help from Bizee — she’s learned a lot about business ownership, but she’s still finding her way. And that, she says, is all part of the process.

Isa’s Top Tips for Starting a Business

Finding the motivation and confidence to start a business is tough. Isa says begin by looking inward, and then reach out for support.

When is the Right Time to Start Your Business - Best Tip from Isabel

What’s Next for Isabel? Climb On Board the Paint Bus!


About six months after losing her job, Isabel found a new role as a benefit analyst for an insurance broker. And while juggling a full-time job and a side hustle isn’t always easy, Isabel says for now, it’s an important learning experience.


“I actually enjoy my full time job. I definitely feel happy that I can excel in both simultaneously. But if I just decided to put all my eggs in the art basket, I don't know if I would succeed. I have to put more effort into the art, knowing that if I ever do want to leave a nine to five job, I have to put in the extra effort.”

Isabel Cervantes, founder Isa Paints.

Isabel Cervantes, founder Isa Paints.

Isa Paints: a work in progress.

Isa Paints: a work in progress.

Ideally, Isabel would like to build her side hustle into her full time business in the next 5-10 years, and then she wants to take it on the road with a traveling paint party bus. For now, she’s working on building up her business through social media marketing and advertising, in the hope of matching her full-time income.


So, how does being an LLC owner feel to Isabel? “It's like going on a roller coaster and you're like, ‘Oh this is bad, we're gonna fall soon.’ But then it's so exhilarating when you actually go down. And that's exactly what it felt like making the business official. Am I gonna fail? Nope, this is a fun ride.”

Bring Bizee Along for the Ride


Isabel had no experience with starting a business, and she felt clueless about where to begin. Luckily, she turned to Bizee to be her guide to business formation. The intuitive platform and plug-and-play startup process eliminated hassle and kept her from feeling overwhelmed.

I chose Bizee because it seemed so simple and user friendly. They just made it beyond easy.

Best of all, using Bizee saved her time that she could devote to actually running and growing her business. “Part of being a business owner is that it takes a lot of time,” she says, “and you want to put a lot of focus into what your actual product is. And you don't want to spend that time doing paperwork and admin work and organizing everything. Bizee is just that helpful platform that does all of it for you.”

The face that says it all: Isabel, CEO of her own life.

The face that says it all: Isabel, CEO of her own life.

Isa’s Best Advice? Set Your Priorities.

01

Make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health while juggling all the responsibilities that come with owning a business.

02

Understand your financials, and know when you’re putting in more than you’re getting out. Track everything, and adjust prices accordingly.

03

Build a support network of friends, family, colleagues… anyone who motivates, inspires and encourages you to excel.

My parents always said, ‘You're gonna be the CEO one day. You're gonna have your feet up on this big old desk with a cigar in one hand and a glass of scotch and the other.’ It was a fun vision we always joked about. But now there's some truth to it. I am a business owner. I am a CEO. Just don't have a big desk yet.

Isa’s Top 3 Business Tools

  • Quickbooks to keep a good handle on your finances and be ready for tax time.
  • Canva for designing high quality ads and marketing collateral.
  • Bizee for a one-stop-shop for forming, managing and growing your business.

Isabel is busy applying what she learned during her Going From Broke experience, and what she’s learned through the formation process with Bizee. She’ll soon begin offering her paint parties as corporate events, breaking into a totally new market. And while she’s not ready to quit her day job just yet, she’s hopeful that someday she’ll turn her side hustle into her main hustle. As for the rest of her gigs? They’re not going anywhere just yet. “I might still be a clown,” she says. “If somebody asks.” There’s one thing that’s certain. Isabel isn’t clowning around when it comes to embracing her passion and working hard to turn it into a thriving business.

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