Your business can’t be stagnant, because you aren’t stagnant: when I started I had no idea how much pivoting and course correcting it would take. I understood the “rollercoaster” of emotions that came with entrepreneurship, but I had no idea as I evolved as a person, so would my business.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marta Spirk. Marta is originally from Brazil, a translator and interpreter and also works closely with women as an empowerment coach. Her focus is to help women love themselves and create their own happiness from within. Through her podcasts both in English and Portuguese, she hopes to encourage and uplift all moms to step into their own power and realize they can DO IT ALL!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My obsession with the American culture began at an early age. I remember my older sister and cousin used to listen to New Kids on The Block when I was about 6-years-old and I would try to sing along. At 14 I started tutoring English to friends from school and soon began getting paid for it, teaching my clients at home. Around the same time, my mom who is also a pastor, connected with American ministers and had them come host conferences in Brazil. I became their interpreter and loved being in front of a big crowd. After marrying an American, moving to the US and having triplets, working from home was my only option, so I began coaching other Brazilian expatriate women not only how to improve their English, but also how to be more confident in life in general.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
As I started knowing more Brazilians in the city I live in here in the US, I began getting messages from women who needed help of an interpreter. In one particular instance, when I assisted someone at a lawyer’s office, I learned about the opportunity of becoming a court-certified interpreter and began pursuing an interpretation career. This allowed me to connect with even more Brazilians and pivot my women empowerment coaching to serve “my own people” so to speak. While in the beginning I was focusing on women and moms in general, my audience “found me” and now I’m happy to be helping other Brazilian women create their happiness away from home.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I believe my biggest mistake is one most entrepreneurs make: trying to serve everyone. I knew I was meant to empower women and so the most logical thing for me was to do it in English because I am living in the US. Once I realized my true audience were Brazilians living in the US (so much more focused!), I felt like I’d wasted so much time, but I know mistakes are actually big lessons. I learned so much about the online space and entrepreneurship in general and that actually prepared me to better serve my clients.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company is unique because I have the ability to reach both English and Portuguese-speaking clients anywhere in the world. What I love so much about this work is that it really ties together all of my knowledge and years of education. I have a BA in Translation and MA in Linguistics but coming from a pastor’s family, I’m also very keen on encouragement and uplifting. Being able to combine language learning with life coaching has been the biggest blessing for me.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I recently opened my own virtual school called ‘The Empowered Woman School’ where I teach weekly classes on several personal development topics and also share resources for English learning (for my Brazilian audience) that also revolve around self-improvement. I’ve been reaching Brazilian communities in different states of the US and welcoming women/students who have lived here for years and feel out-of-place both because of the language but also because of the culture.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
Get to know yourself ASAP, hone in on your talents and what makes you happy. It may seem obvious, but it’s the key to success and it’s actually overlooked. You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing, because taking advantage of your individuality is all you really have to succeed.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Although my team isn’t large at the moment (I have a couple of virtual assistants), I would say kindness and communication will always go a long way. Remember everyone has weaknesses but also strengths — including you. Again, I would say, get to know yourself because that allows you to understand other people as well and respect them in their individuality.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
When I first started coaching, it was actually via Network Marketing with a Health and Fitness company — completely unrelated to my previous professional career. This opportunity, however, opened my eyes to the world of personal development and allowed me to connect with one of my best business friends. She joined my network marketing team even though she had a well-established career as an attorney with her own firm. With time we decided to focus on a different path for an online business and she took off, creating an extension of her firm, offering legal templates to other online business owners. Her journey became a model for me to follow: I then realized I could turn my online business into an extension of my teaching/interpretation career as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My success only came because I’m bringing goodness to the world. My goal has always been to teach women to love and empower themselves and that benefits everyone: as they learn to trust themselves, they can empower other women around and even their children.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Your business can’t be stagnant, because you aren’t stagnant: when I started I had no idea how much pivoting and course correcting it would take. I understood the “rollercoaster” of emotions that came with entrepreneurship, but I had no idea as I evolved as a person, so would my business.
- Get comfortable with money: I thought I had no money blocks or issues. It turns out starting a business exposes your worst money trauma. Coming from a wealthy family, I hadn’t learned how to manage or deal with money, period. I know I spent and wasted a lot of money in the wrong things starting out and it wasn’t until I took a hard look at my finances and got organized that things took off.
- Networking is your bread and butter: again, I knew this but not the extent I know now. Building relationships has been key for my growth and I attribute a lot of it to network marketing. Although it felt annoying reaching out to people (and it was), it helped me get out of my shell and learn the basics of communication in business.
- Celebration will get you far: this is true especially in the online space where people are either catty or just “watch”. I’ve learned how important it is not only to develop relationships, but to simply be nice to other entrepreneurs and celebrate their success.
- Do what you love: it seems very obvious but it took me a while to realize I could be doing what lit me up from the beginning. It’s very easy to copy what others are doing and believe that’s your path. Like I mentioned before, it took my friend following her talents and passion for me to realize I could (and should) be doing the same to succeed.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want to start a movement of empowered women that has nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with SELF-LOVE. I want to help women see their beauty without a compliment, without a mirror. I want them not to depend on anybody else to feel whole, not because they shouldn’t want a soulmate or friends, but because until they feel whole without them, they will never feel whole, period.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Definitely what started all of this for me was the quote “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. As a full-time mom to triplets, I realized I couldn’t give anything to my kids and family if I didn’t give myself the time of day first, and that’s what I teach women now.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would love the chance to have a moment with trainer Autumn Calabrese. She was and still is the woman who helped me get in shape post triplets and get my mind straight also. Her life story is a true example of women empowerment by honing on your talents to impact other people’s lives.
Thank you for all of these great insights!