Posted on July 26 2018
Author : Brittany Summers, 7/19/2018
Veronica Yoeu w/Son
Social Media: facebook.com/venyoeu @venyoeu for IG & Twitter
Name: Veronica Yoeu
Company: VenYoeu, LLC, founded in 2013.
*1920-women got the right to vote via the Nineteenth Amendment. *
*Prior, more than half the US population (women) were barred from practicing democracy in their own country. *
Women’s role in the world of business is just that--business! It is incredible that the Nineteenth Amendment was passed only 88 years ago, paving the way for women’s right to vote and serving as a gateway for even more equal rights for women in other areas than politics. Before that, more than half the US population (women) was forbidden from exercising democracy in their own homeland (history.com). Thus, we have been bound longer than we have been free. Truly we have come a long way, and now over 9.4 million firms are owned by women, providing 7.9 million with people jobs (National Association of Women Business Owners). We, however, still have a long way to go. So, let’s talk about it!
Telling the stories of women who have ventured out in the “vicious” business world and “made it” is paramount to the future success of women-owned businesses.
Meet Veronica Yoeu, an incredible entrepreneurial success story. Veronica Yoeu’s VenYoeu, LLC, was founded by Veronica in 2013, initially as an event company, but since then it has grown into a multi-faceted business. Her company VenYoeu is a full service marketing company that offers fundraising, digital marketing and event planning. She started with absolutely nothing except her vision for her business and support from her family. This is where most women start, with unrelenting resilience and exuberant drive to work for yourself. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), businesses owned by women of color are even more scarce, as 2.9 million firms are owned by women of color in the US. Overall, one in 5, million-dollar business are owned by women (National Association of Women Business Owners).
Veronica was a brand-new mom, with a son who was just under one year old when she made that gigantic leap to work for herself. She explains “I was never a person who wanted to own their own business or be their own boss. I took a gamble in the event/fundraising industry which was all I knew, but I also knew I was good at it. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made” (Veronica). Veronica had to make a choice. Now, she reminisces that it entailed following the best advice she ever received, which was that big risks generate the big rewards.
Before running her own successful business, she started out at a salon as a hair stylist in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. She describes her struggles, as surely other women have felt, working a job they don’t love: “I realized very quickly that I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t feel challenged, I didn’t feel like I was living up to my potential” (Veronica). Shortly after, she began working for a local Sports Marketing & Events Company, which then eventually lead her to takethe initial leap to start her own business. She had to decide: to jump or not to jump? She went back and forth, toiling with it, “I could either start looking for other companies to work for or start my own. I took a gamble and chose to start my own. Having a one year old when I decided to do this was a challenge, but his dad in addition to our family and friends were a great support system and my accomplishments wouldn't be possible without their help over the years” (Veronica).
With the support from her family, Veronica knew she stood a chance if she gave it her all. Her desire to show her son that arduous work and following your dreams pays off, are some of the lessons she wanted to instill in her son. When asked about her biggest motivation to achieve her goals, Veronica explained, “My son is my biggest motivator. There are many people that think I work too much or ask how his dad and I juggle our businesses and raising him. We couldn't do it without the help of our family and friends. We want Mason to understand the value of hard work and know that things do not come easy in life” (Veronica).
When asked how she grew her business from ground zero to a budding success, Veronica explained her processes for navigating unknown waters, “One, I hired an intern because I knew I was going to need the extra help. Two, I put together a projection for the year (budget) - I live my life through spreadsheets, ask anyone who knows me. Three, I made sure the company was named, purchased domains, set up emails, filed with the state –all the boring stuff. Not necessarily in that order” (Veronica).
Her biggest frustration: starting with no capital. She literally had no financial backing prepped. In a world where successful business figures are predominantly male, it is hard for people to envision women in that same position. When media represents mostly male figures as business owners, people are conditioned to think that women cannot or should not occupy this role. As a result, it is incredibly hard for women to get backing for any independent business. When 30% of business are female owned, it shows how society has evolved (Hecht). But it also shows how much room there is to grow.
The reasons that 70% of independent businesses are male owned are mixed, ranging from outright sexism to structural sexism (Hecht). In a male dominated world of business, women have to work harder than men to prove to potential backers that their business will generate substantial revenue (Hecht). Because of these perceptions, women only receive 7% of venture capital funding (Hecht). As a woman attempting to get approved for loans, there is a decrease for women getting approval. Female entrepreneurs are less likely to be approved by 15%-20% when compared to approval rate for men (Jared Hecht). This discrepancy is staggering, and it is caused by the perception that women are less capable of being successful in business than men.
Despite these incredible odds, Veronica has succeeded. Significantly, after conquering the obstacles of the outside world, she has also learned to conquer her personal obstacles as she discovered how best to manage and run her business. She explains the three biggest obstacles that she faced as a business owner: “Time, because I always feel I don't have enough time in each day to finish everything I need/want to do. Working in the business instead of on the business is something I have been guilty of. You're so busy with client work, you forget to do things like your business analysis and strategy reviews. These are so important because you need to know that everything you're doing is moving your business in the right direction. And technology because it's constantly changing! There's always something new or a download, upload or update. It can be exhausting but it’s exciting too!” (Veronica).
Most everyone can relate to these struggles, but to Veronica, they were all worth it. Being able to” give back” to others has made the “blood sweat and tears” she pours into this business worthwhile. She elaborates on this further, stating “Seeing the goals met. Whether it is a fundraising goal that was viewed as a distant reality or coats and toys gifted to homeless women and children during the holiday season. The moment of accomplishment and happiness is what makes all the long days and late nights worth it” (Veronica). Meeting her personal goals and expectations and exceeding them have been her biggest reward, second only to being able to help people in need. Veronica’s sense of responsibility to improving her community and her heart for other people is incredible. She has not allowed her success to cloud her perspective about what really matters in life. Her down-to-earth connection with those around her make Veronica even more incredible.
So where is she headed now? The only way from here is up. The numbers speak for themselves! When asked what her biggest success has been thus far in her 5-year journey, she replies “The growth leading up to the fifth year. VenYoeu's 5-year anniversary is in August of this year (2018), and I told myself when I started that I didn't want to own a business just to ‘own a business.’ The point of starting a business is for it to be a success. I wanted VenYoeu to have grown significantly by the 5-year anniversary, or I was going to shut it down. Let's just say we are looking forward to year six!” (Veronica).
She has beaten the odds, kept her morals intact, and kept her family and commitment to social responsibility as her center focus. Her crowning achievements do not end with her business; rather, they are surpassed by her love for others. Veronica is a woman who rose above it all, setting the example for those to follow that they can do it too.