Escaping the 9 to 5 with Santiago Carral

how to start a woodworking business with Santiago Carral

This month’s interview is with Santiago Carral, who left his corporate marketing role to build an interior design and woodworking business. We’re currently working together in my Outsiders Business Accelerator.

A fellow ex-P&Ger, Santi took up woodworking alongside his corporate marketing role originally as a hobby. Over time, however, his passion for this design work grew, he met a colleague who also fell in love with making things with his hands, and in 2019 Santi quit his job and now runs the business full time from Chamonix in France. He and his business partner have since also launched a Spanish-language YouTube channel teaching people how to make their own pieces.

I cannot recommend this interview enough. Santi’s enthusiasm and joy with the work he is doing and the life he is leading is infectious and he has so many insights and lessons for those of you still in corporate jobs dreaming of doing something else. I had a massive grin on my face throughout our conversation, and I’m sure you will do too!

Read the transcript or watch the video of the interview below. Make sure you watch until the end of the interview to hear how my old yoga mat played a serendipitous role in Santi’s career path…!

How to start a woodworking business

Santi is a Mexican entrepreneur in love with woodworking and making things in general. He started his own company with his business partner 5 years ago whilst working for P&G. In Nov 2019 he took the jump outside of the corporate world after 10 years to fully focus on his business. Alongside his partner and best friend they have built an interior design brand, a workshop with more than 10 workers and a new YouTube channel where they teach woodworking in Spanish and sell ready to make projects. 

He currently lives in Chamonix France and works remotely with his team in Monterrey, Mexico.

You can connect with Santi on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and his website.

1) At what moment did you decide it was time for a change?santiago-workshop

Anna:              Hello, everybody and welcome to this month’s Fearless Fridays interview. I’m here with Santiago Carral, who is working with me in the business accelerator and thinking about it. I realise, of course, he’s a perfect candidate for interviewing to hear about his career transition. So Santi, why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about what you were doing before and what you’re doing today?

Santi:                Of course, very happy to be here Anna. I’m Santi, I’m a Mexican entrepreneur. I was working in P&G for 10 years, actually, just as Anna was. I started in Mexico, in P&G, in marketing, and then I moved to Geneva to do an ex-pat assignment for the last four years. And yeah, that’s when I decided it was a time for me to move on with my life. I started my business actually six years ago, a little bit of a side hustle. It was more of a hobby, to be honest, I was making furniture myself just as a hobby because I really have always loved doing things myself and little by little it started to take form and so… Helicopter.

Anna:               That’s the helicopter, yes. You did warn me.

Santi:                Takes a few seconds.

Anna:               I think we can hear you okay. Don’t worry. So you can keep talking.

Santi:                Yeah?

Anna:               Yeah.

Santi:                Okay. So yeah, it started to take form little by little, and then we started to grow. We started to become more professional, we actually started a workshop, me and my business partner just two years ago. And things started to grow to the point where I was able to take the jump. Ever since it hasn’t been that long, to be honest, it was 2019 that I quit my job in P&G, and ever since just things have escalated so quickly and I’m extremely happy for that.

Anna:               Amazing. I’ve got so many questions already, but I’ll try to follow the usual flow of the interview but I guess my first question is always what was it that led you to start? In this case, as you said, you’d been working on it initially as a hobby and it took quite a few years for you then to take the leap. So I guess two questions then what inspired you to start it as a hobby initially? Then what helped you to take that plunge last year, I guess 2019?

Santi:                Yeah. So the hobby was really just for me to… As I told you, I love making things. So it was just a way to distract myself. I had a small space under my parents’ house, like a small garage that I turned into a workshop and no one told me how to do it. So everything I learned, I learned from YouTube. So it was just learning by doing and one day actually in P&G my sales partner so in marketing, you always have a sales tier. I was talking with him. He had just arrived to Mexico City and I told him, “You know what, this is what I’m doing on the weekends. If you want to do it one day if you want to learn something.” So he started with me and he loved it. Absolutely loved it. So afterwards it was just every weekend that we would work together in this workshop and just doing projects for ourselves.

Then one day he was obviously as a good salesman, he was, “No, man, I already sold this to someone.” I’m like, “We don’t even know how to make it. We will learn. We will learn.” So we started just learning and doing and selling and doing and it was amazing. It started to take form. I mean, but really we were selling nothing. It was just friends and family. It was very small projects. Then actually when I decided to leave Mexico City and come to Geneva, it was when it became actually a business, a formal business with the help of my sister, actually. She helped us put things into shape and formalise things. In the end, we started to hire, outsource the work because before we were doing it ourselves, then as I left, we needed someone to do it for us.

So we started outsourcing it then finding different carpenters that could do the projects for us, but it was a mess. Honestly, it was a mess, mess, mess, because you cannot rely on 10 different people that you barely know. I mean it just took some time. So afterwards we decided to put our own workshop and that was really, really when things started to take off. I mean, we saw the need right? There was a need definitely to have some good quality professional workshop where just designers, architects, people, in general, could go and ask for the work to be done and we had the need as well. So we decided why not? Let’s start it and we actually started with the same money from the business. So it was a really nice flow of things. We took it step by step.

In the end, we started our workshop just two years ago in the North of Mexico, actually. So it’s not in Mexico City, it’s in Monterrey, the second-largest city in Mexico and it has been amazing. Just two years ago we had one person working there and now the full team is 15. It’s unbelievable. After that, we also expanded to new businesses, that we’ll talk later but yeah. So that’s how it started to take shape. When did I know that it was time for me to leave P&G? I have two very distinct moments in my mind. The first one was I got promoted in P&G to brand manager. Now it’s called brand director, but it was really… Yeah, they changed the names. It’s fancy now. I would have been a brand director, but anyway, I got promoted and really the work just got so intense and it was something I had been looking for, for so long and fighting for.

Then when I got it, it was like, “Really? This was it?” I really don’t love it more. It’s the same thing I was doing and I still had this massive itch of just following my dream and doing it full time. So that moment really put me at a moment where I had more pressure to make a decision because I had much more stress at work and it just pushed me to make a decision and that was July. Then that winter, I went back to Mexico and I saw the workshop for the first time. I mean, we had of course talked about it. I had seen pictures, I had talked, video, everything, but in December was when I saw the workshop, our workshop for the first time. And it just, it blew my mind.

I’m a very emotional person. I literally entered the place I was with my business partner and I just started crying. It was so, so emotional, just seeing all of this work that I had put into and I had never seen it tangible there. Then all of a sudden, after three, four years of doing all of this work, spending my afternoons after work, late nights, just working on something that I had never seen tangible. Then all of a sudden here it is, and it just struck me. It struck me like nothing I’ve experienced. Like it really, really changed my life. That moment changed my life. So I came back to Geneva and I just couldn’t take it off my head. It was just there, I really felt like an entrepreneur now. After seeing that, I was like, “Wow, I do have a business.”

It’s not just a side hustle. It’s really a business like I believed it. That was the moment where I was like, this needs to change somehow. I made the decision that was my last year in P&G. So I talked to my husband, I told him, “You know what, this is my last year.” It was February and I told him, “Yeah, by end of the year, I want to be gone.” We didn’t have a plan. That was a strong thing but at this point, that was just decided. I was turning 31. I had started in P&G when I was 20, just turning 21. So it was a full 10 years and it just felt like the right moment to close that cycle. So, yeah, that was definitely, I can tell you the moment where I said, “This is it. This is my dream. I want to follow it fully.”

Anna:               That’s incredible and such a beautiful image as well of you going there and seeing the physical rewards, I guess, or impact of the effort that you put in. I think that’s something that I certainly miss sitting behind my desk doing PowerPoint presentations and Excel. You sort of don’t… Although I was very excited to see the perfume bottles and things that we designed. It wasn’t quite the same thing, I guess. So that’s a beautiful, emotional experience as you said, and also interesting, as you said, that we often think maybe it’s redundancy or burnout that pushes us out, but actually it’s the opposite as well. It’s you get everything you’ve been working towards and then you look around and think, hang on, this, isn’t actually meaningful to me and it’s not giving me what I wanted. And that’s a really important milestone as well, to get the promotion and then go, “Nope, well, I’ve done it now.” And 10 years, hopefully, you got the 10-year gift. Did you get the 10-year gift? And then you can leave-

Santi:                I didn’t actually. I didn’t because I was two years intern. In Mexico, you can do that and then they don’t really count it. So I didn’t get the gift. It was a bit shady, but it was okay. I got the best gift. I got the best-

Anna:               Well, exactly. Yes. I mean, and that’s so interesting, isn’t it? I mean, I missed out on the brand director title and I didn’t get the 10-year gift, but I feel like I got so much more. So I think I’m okay with that too. So that sounds all very wonderful and very organic and natural. What were some of the challenges that you faced over the… Especially this last year or so I suppose, but over the course of building that business?

2) What was the biggest challenge you faced in making the change?

Santi:                I would say the biggest challenge with the decision itself was making the decision without fully having the plan ready. But I just was ready and something that I did do that I think was very smart because I get courage and then suddenly I’m all scared again and in those moments of courage is really when I feel you need to act. It was in this moment that I was so pumped with so much energy, just this JFM. January, February, March. I was so energised that I made the decision to actually tell the company that I was leaving. This was such a big moment. In Mars, in Mars? In March, I told my boss, I was leaving by the end of the year. I did it in good faith.

This way they could find a replacement and it also gave me time and took some pressure off me. It was fantastic. I mean, we were scared me and my husband were scared. What if they just… I want to quit and then they just tell you, “Well, get out. Leave.” But no, actually it was great because it let me take this pressure off and really plan better for what we wanted to do next. In the end, in March, for sure, I was thinking there was this thought of, “Man, what if we go to the mountains for the winter it’s going to be end of the year?” So well now I live in Chamonix. I live in the mountains and it was supposed to be just for the winter season and we just fell in love with the place, the mountains and just skiing every day. I mean, I’m sorry, I’m digressing, but it’s been definitely-

Anna:               No, that’s an important part of the puzzle. Yeah. Just out of curiosity in terms of your husband’s role, I guess, how did that work out? Did that naturally? Was he flexible to move or was that also a difficult part of the decision?

Santi:                Well, he was flexible. He was doing freelancing at the time already taking some clients. He’s a designer so he was taking already some clients with a freelance, and then he was deciding whether or not he was going to look for a job, a full-time job to be the, let’s say, lead career at the time after I quit. But then afterwards we talked about having this flexibility, both of us and just moving anywhere, and yeah, he decided against it. We ended up taking both flexible jobs. So now he’s doing freelancer. He’s helping me a lot with the business, which is interesting. I mean, I never thought it would happen naturally, but it just did. He helps me a lot with that and we’re both living the dream that we wanted to live.

So yeah, it’s weird to say it. Honestly, it just, if you asked me two years ago, I’d be here never in a million years, but I am and I’m so happy and so proud of myself and of us, honestly. Because it’s been definitely teamwork with my husband and with my business partner. It’s just been yeah, fantastic few years. As I told you, it was the moment that I made the decision, then things just really it just starts to happen. The next step it just opens up and it’s been amazing. That journey itself has been amazing. Of course, there was a big challenge in leaving the comfortable life of getting a massive, well, not massive, but a nice three salary in your bank account every month and just being comfortable.

But then, you know what? I always knew I was not safe and now seeing things as they are, it really makes me think, “Would you have been safe there? Honestly, maybe they would have asked you to go back to Mexico any day and you didn’t want to yet.” Sometimes you think that you’re super safe in your corporate job, but you’re not and crisis like this really makes you understand that you’re not safe in that sense and that with your own business, maybe you will have more freedom and more safety in your own confidence in your own means in your own abilities and skills. So, yeah, that has been the transformation of this last year.

Anna:               It’s incredible. I can really hear the sort of joy and the energy in your voice and it’s something really to be proud of and so many powerful insights there too. I think I’ve had the same thought this year. I had it in theory, too, that we think of this theoretical security of the job and so on. But even pre-COVID, there were things going on in big companies economically and maybe the people weren’t as important as they had been before and you’re not safe. You can be made redundant at any point or your role is restructured, changed, and so on. So it’s ironic in a way that we hang our hopes and dreams or hang our security on some anonymous entity that we have no control over. Whereas as you say, not just the freedom and flexibility, but also the financial security can come from having control of our own fate and managing that and so on.

I love how you said that in a couple of years, you’ve gone from, and as you said, you didn’t have a fully-fledged plan, but how can we ever when we quit? Then opportunities arise and this happens, and then that feels good. I also loved what you said about the courage, “The burst of courage. That’s when you have to take action.” Not recklessly but when you have that, “Oh my gosh, yes, this is the moment. Go for it.” Because it is fleeting. Unfortunately, very quickly we can get back into our comfort zone or, you know what, now maybe isn’t the right time. Then you sort of forget about that amazing emotional experience you had. So it’s so important and then how you took that step to have the accountability of actually talking to your boss and making that transition and still making it quite sensibly because you had that time then to sort of navigate the transition as well.

Santi:                It was interesting that transition, Anna, actually, I say it a lot because I find it very interesting, even for people that are still in the corporate world. Those last six months or seven months in P&G were my best six months working there in 10 years because now I didn’t feel the pressure. I just wanted to do my job. I was just doing the things that really excited me and the things that I thought were the most important, because I didn’t care anymore of doing this stupid little political crap. I’m sorry, but there’s so much of that. And so much networking and things that are important, but then you’re not really doing the job and you’re just focusing on other things and wasting energy on other things. The moment I quit, I was like, okay, that is gone.

I want to focus on my business. So I will only do the things that I really think are important for P&G and I did those, and I’ve never been better at my job than those last six months. Which I find is really, really insightful, because then it’s just fear, that is blocking you. Sometimes that fear is just not letting you live your full potential or not letting you work at your full potential. Yeah, that was very insightful for me and of course, fear comes back as an entrepreneur many, many, many times. I read this book, I recommended it in the accelerator. This Big Magic from Elizabeth-

Anna:               Elizabeth Gilbert. Yeah.

Santi:                Gilbert. Yeah. And it was just so fantastic this analogy that she makes on how fear is coming with you, it’s a road trip and fear is with you always. It will come with you whether you want it or not. It’s just accepting it and telling it, “Okay, you’re coming, but you can shout as loud as you want. You’re not taking the wheel. You’re not even changing the radio station. You’re back there. You’re not in control.”

Anna:               You’re in the booth I like it.

Santi:                “You’re going to come. Yeah. You’re going to come. I know you will come.” And that’s how I embrace it now. You’re coming, fear you’re here. I know you will always be there, but you’re not taking the decision and that was such a powerful analogy, one that I keep in mind now, because [inaudible 00:17:45] fear never leaves.

Anna:               That’s a great metaphor. I always say that scary and exciting come along together, but I’d forgotten that metaphor. I read that some years ago and it is great. It’s true. Yeah, you just accept it. It will always be there, as you said, the ups and downs, even you can be hugely successful as an entrepreneur. You’ve set up your business, you’ve got your income, but then you raise the bar. You decide to change. You hire a team, you grow, you expand, or whatever. There’s always going to be a new source of fear, but that’s such a fascinating insight, as you said, I think in terms of the effect it had on you and ironically the company that you did a better job when you were leaving, which is a bit of a shame for both you as an individual and for the company. I think even perhaps having a side hustle, I always find gives you a renewed energy and focus in your role because, in a way you have that escape hatch, I guess, but also you’re doing exciting things, you’re learning and that energy then comes back into your full job.

As you said, to have that autonomy, and again, I always recommend to people who are thinking of becoming a consultant, pretend that you’re a consultant already in the company. Start acting a bit more independently and do the right thing and recommend and so on. But it’s so interesting to hear that, as you said, you did your best work then. It wasn’t just for your own selfish reasons, but actually, you were making a bigger impact in the company. So that’s something for us all to think about and those of you watching, if you are a full-time employee still, have a think about what that means for you. Can you start taking some more risks and really, almost pretending like you’re leaving and pretending like you don’t care so much about the politics and so on and already act that way now?

Santi:                Even with your team, as a leader the moment you know you’re leaving, you want to do everything for your team to grow because you are going to be out of the picture and you want them to grow. So that was the moment where I started even giving more exposure to my ABM and I was… Well, to my assistant manager. I just wanted the team to show off and that’s what gave me excitement. So I’m telling you, those were the best six months in P&G. So big advice for everyone in there just pretend like you’re leaving because you could be leaving at any point and it just makes it so much more fun and so much more impactful, I guess.

Anna:               It’s more dynamic, it keeps things interesting. You’re not there for life. You’re not going to be like, “Ugh, this is going on forever.” I always find in a smaller way, the week or the day before you’re going on holiday you’re so productive because you’re just like, “Look, I just have to do what’s really important.” Boom, boom, boom. You do like a month’s worth of work in a day and then everything else doesn’t matter. So I think that’s a similar attitude. Not that we should work at that level every day, but it does make you really have that lens of what is important and what’s not so important. So some of that seems to have come the courage, as you said, and support both from your business partner and from your husbands. Where else have you got support and also time and from your own courage and from reading books, it sounds like, but tell us more about how have you overcome some of those obstacles?

3) Where did you get the support you needed to make it happen?santiago-product-business-partner

Santi:                So big part, as you just said, I mean, the people that are closest to me, including the rest of my family as well, my parents, my siblings, my sisters, my brother. I mean, they’ve been really, really great all the time. I tell them, they get excited for me. They give me their advice, their tips. It’s fantastic. My dad was actually an entrepreneur his whole life so now he’s fully into painting. He’s an artist, but he started as an entrepreneur and he… I don’t know, I saw him his whole life doing this and for him to be able to share now, back with me, all of his tips and experiences, it’s just been fantastic, to be honest. I mean, we’ve never been closer than now. So, that’s definitely been a big part as you said, also my business partner has been there massively and it’s been quite a journey.

We were at first just colleagues at work and we were not friends at all. We were just colleagues and okay, maybe you want to come or whatever. Then six years have gone by and he’s now my best friend. He’s like my brother. He really became really, really close and it’s been great having this relationship built up through the business and not the other way around. I hear a lot of people starting a business with someone close or a friend or whatever and then it just doesn’t work. Here it was the opposite way and I think that’s why it has worked, but he has been fundamental in every challenge. Yeah. When I’m having a tough day, he’s there, when he’s having a tough day, I’m there. So I’m super happy to have a partner.

Then as you said, the books and podcasts. I’m a big, big reader. I love reading and this has really fueled and podcasts. How I Built This, I don’t know if you know this podcast, but it’s one of my favourite ones. It’s fantastic and every time I hear I just get chills, like, “Oh my, this is what I meant to do.” So this is fuel for you and for everyone. I would recommend this podcast if you’re striving to be an entrepreneur, as I said, it’s fuel for you to really get going and to inspire you. So, those have been my tools, the people, and the way I have gone through the challenges.

Anna:               Mm-hmm (affirmative). Amazing. And what’s the best part, I sort of have a feeling already of a few things that you’ve hinted at, but what is the best part of your lifestyle and your business so far?

4) What’s the best part of your lifestyle today?santiago-camera-husband

Santi:                Yeah. So I knew this question was coming and it’s so hard to say. Honestly, it’s so hard to say, and that’s when you know it’s good, right? But I do have to say the best, best, best thing is feeling happy with myself. Is looking at myself in the mirror and being happy with what I’m doing and knowing that I’m following my dream. That is by far the best thing because there were times in P&G, there were times where I was just unhappy and just looking at myself like, “What are you doing? This is not for you.” Now being able to be on the opposite side, it feels fantastic. It’s so great. So that’s number one.

Then of course the freedom to live here. Yeah, I live in the middle of the mountains. I go in the winter, I go skiing in the mornings then because of the time difference, it’s at 3:00 that I started working. So 3:00 PM is when I start working with Mexico and then I finish at 10. So it’s obviously the 9 to 5 doesn’t apply, but here it’s my own time and this gives me a big opportunity to enjoy my mornings. It’s a great way because I start with my meditation, I do some journaling, I go out for a walk, I do some exercise. It’s just the ideal morning that you would think like, “Oh, I want to have.” I have it, then I work in the afternoon. I don’t know that for me is priceless. I was just doing a hike this morning in the mountains through the waterfall, it’s just unbelievable.

This is my day. It’s a Monday, it’s incredible. I’m really, really, really lucky and really grateful for this. So that has been another one. Then also a big, big, big one is being able to give the work to others, a job to people that right now, especially are… I mean, how many people are losing their jobs at this point? And being able to actually expand and grow and hire new people is just that is at a personal level, really, really fulfilling. Yeah, that’s definitely one of the reasons or one of the things that I enjoy the most. Lastly, we haven’t talked about too much about the second part of the business the YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel where I teach people how to do woodworking.

So as I told you, I started just learning through YouTube and buying a new tool and learning how to use it through video. Then everything was in English, but there is not a lot of content in Spanish. So, my business partner and I, we decided to start this YouTube channel where we basically teach people how to do things in Spanish with good production, quality in and great projects and things that you can then buy yourself, either the pre-cut wood so that you can make it your own, or you can just make it if… I don’t know. I mean, the point is that you learn how to do it, and it’s a way of giving back. So it’s sharing my knowledge the way it was shared to me and that’s also very fulfilling. So those are the things that I’ve thought of that give me the most happiness are the best things that I have currently in my life.

Anna:               I mean speaking of that second business, it’s so interesting because again it seems to have happened very organically. It wasn’t like you sat down there with a business plan thinking, “Okay, what’s my ideal business going to be?” You saw a need for it. You wanted to give back and then it’s a fantastic business model. I think it’s something I often recommend to people that both you have your actual product business, you sort of do the work done for you, but then you also have the teaching element. So it’s a really lovely combination of the two. It’d be exciting to see how the YouTube channel will grow as well. But in terms of-

Santi:                It’s crazy, it’s growing really fast.

Anna:               It is, yes, doing really well. Congratulations.

Santi:                Yeah, it’s going much faster than I thought. We just started this year in January. Right now, we’re almost at a 1,000 subscribers, 45,000 views, like things I never imagined it would go this fast. And yeah, it’s super exciting, super, super exciting.

Anna:               That’s so exciting and it’s such an interesting dimension as well to the business [inaudible 00:27:32] forwards. Then the other things, of course, I mean, the fact that you’re living your ideal day. The ideal day is an exercise I do with clients to imagine what they might want to do and they always think, “Oh, it’s so far off.” As you said, you’re actually living it to be able to go for a hike on a Monday morning and meditate or whatever. I mean, compared to most, I keep seeing Facebook memories pop up for me and it’s sort of, “Ugh, Monday morning. It’s so awful.” 10 years ago and then TGIF on Friday and it’s that endless cycle that we’ve somehow normalised. The fact that you can go, “Hey, beautiful morning.” Go for a hike, have a nice breakfast, lunch, whatever.

Then, “Okay, now I’m ready to do my work.” You’re still managing to juggle and succeed in these two businesses, I think is such a powerful example of again, how in a couple of years, you’ve been able to realise that. I really love that the first thing you said was how you feel sort of looking in the mirror and how aligned you are. Because for me, that was the reason why I wanted to leave in the first place. I felt that disconnect. I felt like I wasn’t being the person I wanted to be and if you have your dreams over here, even if they’re very vague dreams and you’re over here, that’s, as I say, soul-destroying, to live with that day in day out. Whereas as soon as you start aligning those actions with what you actually want to be doing, as you said that moment, when you were in Mexico and you saw the workshop, or when you’re out hiking on a Monday morning and that’s when you go, “Oh my gosh, I’ve created this, I’m doing this.” What an amazing place to be in both emotionally and physically.

Santi:                Definitely, definitely. I cannot stop-

Anna:               I know. I love it. The joy, I hope everyone sees that this is such an inspiring… You make me want to go, what else could I do? I’m going to move. I’m going to… Yeah, absolutely. I definitely want to go for hikes. I guess you’ve given so many insights already, but again, if you could distil your wisdom down to some specific advice that you’d give someone who is [inaudible 00:29:15], “Oh my gosh. Yes. This sounds amazing. This is what I want.” What could be some first steps or what guidance could you give them?

5) What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering making a big career or lifestyle change?

Santi:                So I would say first one, is harnessing those moments of courage. There’s this… It’s in a movie but Matt Damon, I think is in it. The 20 seconds of courage, the building a store, or something like this. I had a-

Anna:               Oh, yes! The zoo. [crosstalk 00:29:41]

Santi:                So, there’s this moment when there is 20 seconds of courage where you just feel that burst that energy, harness it, use it, and then commit yourself externally so that you cannot go back because the fear will come back as I said. It’s just harnessing those moments as you said, not recklessly. You need to think about it but harness it because it will serve you afterwards and maybe if you don’t do it now afterwards, the fear will be bigger. I mean, it’s always a flow of courage versus fear and if at this moment you have the courage is stronger than the fear. Go for it, do it now, and commit yourself externally. I remember that day, I literally booked the meeting. It was a Sunday and I booked my meeting with my boss and my boss’s boss the next day.

So it was just inescapable. So I’m going, I’m meeting him and then I already have the meeting with my VP. So I’m going to go and do it and it was the best way. It was the best way. That would be the first thing I would say. The second thing is really small changes they do compound over time. Don’t think that it’s one day you will get from zero to a 100. It really doesn’t happen that way and as a type-A individual that always wants to… I’m a P&G-er. I used to be. I’m so competitive. I want to go to a 100 tomorrow and it doesn’t work like that. You need to go step by step and each step is going to take you farther and farther and farther away and it really does work like that.

It is a rollercoaster. It’s a massive rollercoaster, but you need to enjoy it. So that’s the third one, enjoying the journey. I’ve heard this so many times and it sounds like a cliche, but it’s so important and it’s one of the key things that me and my partner tell each other when we’re having a really bad day or a bad week, it’s just, “Enjoy the journey, enjoy the journey.” We haven’t gotten there yet but look at how much we have built. So that’s so important.

You’re always with what you want to do, what do you want to do next, what you want to do next, and stopping and taking a look back and we did it in the accelerator. We reviewed the quarter and I was so impressed. I had never done that exercise in my entrepreneurial life, looking back three months, what have I done in this last three months? It was unbelievable, all the things we had done, but if you don’t stop and really enjoy that, enjoy the journey, look back. Then you’re always chasing the ball, but you’re never going to catch it. It’s never going to come the moment when you get to the goal you wanted, it just you have a new one, it just keeps getting farther. So enjoy what you have done. Enjoy the journey and yeah, enjoy the roller coaster because you’re going to have fun.

Anna:               Absolutely. I remember you often come to the calls saying, “Oh no, I haven’t done very much.” Then we start probing and it’s actually, you’ve done everything and more. If there’s something you haven’t done, you’ve certainly done something else. So I think that is so important to stop and both enjoy, as you said, the process and look back on your achievements but also just even if you haven’t reached where you want to still enjoy it, because you’ve still made these changes and you’re working towards, and as you said, as your best parts of life right now, you’re doing what you want to be doing. That in itself is already a success I think. So that’s really, really powerful. Then again, as you said, sort of taking that moment of courage and doing it, whether you guys now watching this video and feeling inspired do something and I love, of course, what you say about the one-step because I’m all about taking little steps that compound over time.

So you don’t have to go and hand in your resignation to your VP. You don’t have to go and invest in an expensive course. So you don’t have to start a business today but take that step. Whether it’s booking a call with a coach, I would say, that’s a great step or doing a bit of research or doing a little course, maybe following your hobby as you did. Doing something, watching some YouTube videos who knows, but just some little step that is going to lead you to the next step and the next to the next. So that’s really exciting how that can happen and such a wonderful example to hear the results that can come from those little steps as well.

Santi:                Yeah. Then one other thing I want to share because I find it just so unbelievable is the story of how I found you, Anna.

Anna:               Oh, yes, please. Yeah. I remember. Yeah.

Santi:                I think this is just one of those things that needs to be shared because it’s so coincidental that it cannot be a coincidence. It’s so crazy. So I was doing my meditation. I would go in at 3:00 PM sort of go and meditate a little bit so I would have energy again. So after work in P&G, I could go and do my side business at the time and I would do that pretty much every day. Then one day I was doing a meditation in a yoga mat that was usually not there and I noticed that it had a name written in it and I was like, “Oh, okay.” I saw it, but I didn’t think too much of it.

Next day, I had already taken the decision to leave and I was talking with a friend and she told me, “Why don’t you look online? Maybe there’s a lot of people that have done this change.” I was scared at this point that I was like, “What am I going to do? How am I going to change?” I looked it up so kudos to you because you have a great SEO because I looked up, leaving corporate world or whatever from corporate world entrepreneurship. I read the first two, three blogs and I landed in your blog.

I read what you had written and I was like, “Wow! This completely, this matches with what I want. This is exactly what I’m doing. She’s even gone to P&G it’s crazy.” Then I go to contact and I see your name and I was like, “No way. No way. Isn’t this the name that I saw written in the yoga mat?” So I went upstairs to see, and it was your name. So you had left that yoga mat five years ago and at this point in time, it found me, it’s just crazy. Then I wrote you on Facebook, on LinkedIn, or I don’t remember, but yeah. I always knew it happened for a reason. So here we are and maybe this is a reason.

Anna:               I love that story, it gives me goosebumps and I’m sad that I left my yoga mat, but I’m glad it served a purpose on the journey. Maybe it can inspire someone else as well when they’re down there meditating, or upstairs or whatever. No, I love that. It’s so serendipitous, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s a magical moment actually. So thank you for sharing that.

Santi:                Just wanted to share because it really is just so weird. Five years difference and in the same place.

Anna:               Yeah. As you said, it wasn’t usually there and then it’s interesting with the P&G and so many things that resonate as well. So yeah. I’m glad you found me and the universe helped us and so excited to have you share your story as well.

Santi:                The universe is kind.

Anna:               Yeah. Absolutely. Obviously, we can’t just sit on our… I’m not the kind of law of attraction person who says, “Just sit there, waiting for things to come at you.” I’ve done my vision board and then said, “I will come.” But as we’ve seen with you, you take those steps. Then that is when opportunities come and I think that’s probably what I wrote in my article that you found at the time that you take these little steps and then you find that so many things that you didn’t even know existed when you’re in your corporate world suddenly become open to you. So it’s really, yeah, you just have to take those first steps and then… So you’ve told us about your two businesses. What if we want to find out a little bit more certainly for the Spanish speakers who want to learn a bit more about your business, but tell us about where we can find you online?

Santi:                Definitely. So the furniture business is Ensamble Design. So or on Instagram, also Ensamble Design, I will leave you the link over there. Then also for the YouTube channel is Corte y Ensamble. So cut and assemble so it’s a little bit corte’s also what you say when you cut on the camera-

Anna:               Yes, camera. Yeah.

Santi:                A little bit of a game word there. So those are the two places you can find me, in YouTube Corte y Ensamble and Instagram, Ensamble Design.

Anna:               Yeah. I’ll definitely put those links. Thank you so much, Santi, for sharing your story. I’ve got a massive grin on my face, hearing you and watching you, and I’m so happy for you and excited to see what comes in the coming months and years as well. So thank you again and best of luck to everybody who now I’m sure is feeling inspired to get in touch. If you have questions for Santi or for myself and see you next month. So thanks so much.

Santi:                See you. Thank you so much, Anna. Take care.



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