When I was a kid my dad was always walking around with a video camera. I am very grateful because we have many immortalized memories that we can run the tape on. We have a recording of a beautiful memory that stands out in my mind.
It was the summer of 1992, I was about 6 years old. We had just left the states and Moved to Mexico....to where my mother's family was from. In the video we are at my Grandfather's house in a farming community in Rural Central Mexico. When I say rural, I mean rural. To get there it took many miles of lonely and empty highways... then more miles of stone and gravel backroads , finally to the dirt roads of El Rancho de La Linea. At the time full of corn fields and orange groves and butterflies thousands of butterflies.
In the video, you can see me walking across the screen with a big sack slung over my shoulder that looked like it weighed more than I did. You hear my father call out, "Jairito, what have you got there?"
I respond, in my embarrassingly high pitched 6 year old voice. "Mandarinas,I am going to sell them!"
Behind me across the screen Wencho Junior follows me and says, "hey those are my dad's!"
"No they're not!...my mom said the land they're growing on belonged to her grandfather... they are mine too!" The sack was full of Mandarin Oranges that I had without permission picked from a property that belonged to an estranged relative Don Wencho, WENCHO SENIOR, who had been the winner of an old inheritance battle, as happens, inherited the land. Wenchillo, his son played with my young uncle and his friends my uncle was younger than me. The youngest of my grandfather's 15 children or so.
My goal was to sell the oranges, and I did sell them over in a more developed town by the name of Cardenas, where we were staying. Cardenas was a very picturesque place. We lived in an old Spanish style townhome. We had a tin roof with exposed wooden rafters. In this town of Cardenas I had another business, besides selling stolen oranges. In our kitchen, these big birds would fly in and get stuck and I would catch them and clip their wings. I kept these birds in a sort of chicken coup in the back yard. I somehow found a market for these birds. Apparently they were thought to have medicinal properties, or maybe they just made a good soup!
When we ended up moving back to the States and eventually made our way to Georgia. Like many children of immigrants, we were taught to work hard work was life and a good man was a hard working one. Me being the oldest son, I was going to be a hard working man.
In Georgia my father with his strong work ethic had quickly become the production manager of a construction company that had started with him working side by side with the owners to sitting behind a desk with his broken English, managing the work of almost 100 Tradesmen. At 14 My father made me work summers at this construction company and unwilling to look like he was showing favoritism, had me start with the most difficult work. The crew leads would tell me, "your dad says we have to put you on the tallest ladder today" or "... your dad says to make sure you earn your pay." If I made a mistake he would admonish me heavily in front of the other guys. I was used to the worse at home so it did not bother me.
Later on, while I was in college I worked there at the same company as a sales rep and field estimator. I earned my degree in business with the goal of one day owning my own business. When I graduated it only made sense for me to start with doing what I know. My father and I started a company. We worked at it for many years. I invested time and also my heart. I can honestly say that I put all of my blood sweat and tears into the business. This company at the end of 2019 had 4 full time sales reps and impressive revenues.
Unfortunately as it turns out happens often in father and son businesses, my father and I had a falling out in the summer of 2020. It was a bitter falling out and not without a fight, I was bought out. I felt I had lost a part of myself. The business was more mine than his but unfortunately not on paper.
Not being one to lose momentum, I jumped out there and started another company. As of today I can say we have started strong. I just hired my first sales rep and we are growing aggressively. The future is bright. It was never my goal to stay in this industry but I have found it lucrative.... and the opportunity cost of changing businesses has kept me in this industry.
I have always had an interest in business, I've always wanted to be my own boss and my experience growing up the child or immigrants has taught me to have a strong work ethic, resilience and an optimistic spirit. All crucial components in business and entrepreneurship.
I am happy to be in business. I enjoy solving problems and the challenge of overcoming the obstacles that it takes to build a company. My goal is to grow this company until I can't grow it any further or until I can step into a faster growing and more scalable business.
Today I am 35 years old and I can say with confidence that I am a business man.
Yanover Jairo Blanco
I embarked on this journey at the end of last year not knowing what to expect. To start a new company, a new business after walking away from the company that I had spent 10 years building. I was anxious about whether I could accomplish that. I felt uncertain about the feasibility of the idea, especially due to the ongoing pandemic. I also knew that I had to keep up the momentum that I had going for me. I knew that it would be difficult, I knew that I had a hard road ahead. I also knew that I had the know-how and the perseverance to see it through. With the help of Julia, my amazing wife by my side, I got to work. I set some aggressive goals for the business, outlining exactly what I knew that I could accomplish and more. I then made plans on how I would go about making those goals become a reality. It was difficult to stick to the plan, there were many moments were it felt like it was going to be impossible, but I stuck to my plan. I stuck to my plan even in the moments where it seemed like nothing could go right. Today almost a year later I can say that things are going great! The Yanover Company is on track to do great things and I am looking forward to a bright future.
You are going to be here at any moment! Your mother and I are extremely excited and delirious with anticipation. Our first born. We have done everything we can to prepare for your arrival. Your mother Julia has been amazing! She has been doing all of the research about how to make sure you are in perfect health. She’s eaten right, taken all of the vitamins, worked out religiously (when she was able haha). We want you to have an amazing start. Life is short and we want to set you up to have the best shot at having a fulfilling one. I have done as much as any man can do and that is to support your mother in the process. I have done my very best to be a good partner to her. You are loved! You are wanted! I hope you remember to appreciate how lucky you are.
I want you to have every opportunity to be happy and live a fulfilling life. I will work hard for you to have everything you need and also to make sure you appreciate what blessings you do have. I hope to be a good father and pass on strong values of love, kindness and patience. I can’t promise that I will always be easy on you but I do promise that when I am tough it is because I love you and I want the best for you.
When I think about how beautiful you will be, a piece of me and your mom, it shakes me. I look forward to watching you grow up, watching you learn and be the best that you can be. I can’t wait to see you take your first steps, to say your first word, all the beautiful things that I am going to be blessed with witnessing. I love you.
Check out the link for the article. Here is a copy of my Interview.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Yanover Blanco.
Hi Yanover, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Georgia. I went to College at Kennesaw State University where I earned my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and graduated with Honors. During my time at KSU I worked as a Salesperson/Estimator for a local construction company. After I graduated I founded Fillo Painting with a partner. After building that company to one of the top companies in the state I decided to sell my shares and start Yanover Painting and Remodeling. I hope to take everything that I have learned in my professional career and build this company up to a leader in our industry and I am excited for what the future has in store!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Founding a business is never easy. It comes with many challenges such as what comes first, do I hire help now or try to build things up before making a hire? How do I invest in marketing our services with a limited budget? How do I sell my services when our company is new and has no reputation yet? How do you get clients to trust me? It has been tough but fulfilling. These challenges motivate me to be creative, to raise my skill level in all fields from sales and marketing to project management. Especially difficult is accepting that you have to delay gratification for an extended period of time and maintain faith that it will all pay off in due time. It has not been a smooth road but the struggles are part of the journey and I enjoy the challenge!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
At Yanover Painting and Remodeling we are experts in our field. We are experts in any service we offer and we are known for our very high level of service. We have a three part system to ensure that we are at the top of our game. Our emphasis on Training, Communication and our system of Supervision is what sets us apart from our competitors. We invest time Training our staff. Too many companies take this for granted. Even seasoned employees require ongoing training to make sure we are serving our customers as we should and ensure a high level of quality. It doesn’t matter how much the owner or management knows and how experienced they are if the trades-people doing the work don’t have the same know-how. We invest in ensuring that our people are applying best practices to every project. We understand that Communication is paramount to a successful project. There are many people involved in every project from the estimator and the client to the tradespeople involved. By making sure everyone has the proper information at the proper time we are able to ensure a high level of quality and efficiency. We communicate in a timely manner with our clients keeping them up to date along every step of the way! Finally Supervision. We train our people to ensure quality but we also understand the importance of accountability. We know that it takes quality checks not only by the foreman of the project but also by a superintendent that will periodically check on your project to ensure a high quality finished product! At Yanover Painting and Remodeling we are most proud of the experts that we have on our team. Our clients can feel confident that from the Owner, down to the Superintendent and on down to the Tradesmen, we are all doing our very best to provide we with the very best service around!
What were you like growing up?
As far back as I can remember I had an entrepreneurial mindset. When I was five years old I remember I set up a “store” selling my old toys. I was constantly coming up with little business ideas. It was a hobby for me. I also collected rocks. Who knows, if I hadn’t started a business I might have become a geologist! I was a dreamer, rarely was I in the present. I was always looking forward and fantasizing about my future as a businessman!
By Yanover Blanco
Why did I leave the company that I spent 10 years building?
The short answer is that I was forced out. I started the Fillo Painting with my father. We never made up a contract, we didn't have an operating agreement. It was informal because I trusted that my father would respect his word. He, like many other people, is honest in that they believe that they are honest. When they do something that goes against that belief they rationalize that for some reason or excuse "technically" they are still being honest. My father did this by promising me ownership but later rationalizing that he had meant as an inheritance. I had understood a 50/50 partnership, why else would I take part in it? .
We continued in business for 10 years. Every bit of that time I was working hard to build the company up and at every turn he was either hanging back refusing to participate in planning, even when I would repeatedly invite him to strategize with me, or he was hanging out taking it easy. While he was taking it easy I was working 12 hour days 6 days a week sometimes 7. I worked during the day and dreamed about the business at night. Over the years I fought for ownership finally settling on 45%.
He was convinced that the business existed thanks to him because he invested the small amount of capital we started with in the beginning but he didn't count the investment that I made, which was my unpaid or underpaid time for years. When I say underpaid I mean not even minimum wage. I did this with the understanding that we were partners! For years! In his mind he thought he was somehow doing me a favor, something that he would say to me when we fought, and we fought often. I say we fought because anything with him was a fight or you would get run over.
I knew I should have left in the beginning but I was already invested. By the time I figured out the situation I was in, a year had passed, then two, then three. I was in too deep to let it go. All of my hard work, how could I? I tried bringing up a contract, an operating agreement… He refused. I should have left 1000 times…. but how could I abandon MY company… MY hard work!
He was abusive, just as he had been throughout my childhood. Verbally and physically as well. We fought every year when it was time to split up our earnings. He would run all of his expenses through the business… profit was to be split after that. He thought that was honesty. He felt entitled to that. He undermined my decisions at every opportunity. My successes, even when they made him money, were offensive to him. They hurt his ego. The accomplishments of his son hurt his ego…
Our last fight wasn’t out of the ordinary for him, it was indicative of our entire business relationship. The reasons for the fight were also the same as always. I went to talk to him about business… He took my business concerns as a slight… I don’t know how but he did. Actually, I do know how... I know it was his traumatic childhood, coming from a war-torn country. I know it was that he was not wanted or loved by his mother or father. I know.
He somehow found a way to think I was trying to take control. Maybe he thought I was trying to cheat him because he was doing it to me. There was no logical reason but I know my father and this was normal for him. Everyone is out to get him. Everyone will betray you. Your mother, your father…. He raised me the same way. It took years for me to understand that this was not the right way to be, I still struggle with it. I know it stems from the rough life he has lived.
When we had our fight at the height of our argument he swung at me, he charged at me. I could have easily taken this opportunity to get back at him for his lifetime of abuse and anyone that knew of his abuse would say I was justified… but I had restraint. I am proud of my self control. Coming from the childhood that I came from, coming from having a violent father like him... He repaid me by hitting me with a metal patio chair.
Days later after things cooled down… I reached out in an email. Obviously we could not continue as partners...
...He refused to dissolve our partnership. As the majority owner he had the control. He thought he could hold me hostage, I suppose. Maybe he thought I would let it go… he had gotten away with beating me my whole life, beating all of my siblings, my mother… Why wouldn’t he assume that he could get away with it now?
Not this time. It wasn’t the last straw, the last straw passed years ago... but I was done with him this time. I was not going to back down. He was going to have to figure something out.
After months and lots of pressure, he bought me out. He bought me out, but at much less than what I put into the company, at much less than the company was worth… and he is still somehow mad at me. I had disrespected him. I had put him through a nightmare by not allowing him to get away with his actions. This IS MY FATHER…
To understand his mentality I will share a short anecdote that he reminded me and my siblings of our entire life. His grandfather, who raised him because his parents abandoned him, was a man that none of his children would have the audacity to look in the eye…. They could not look him in the eye because this man would beat them. My father would recount this with a gleam in his eyes. With pride. That is what a man is supposed to be... That is my father. That is what he expected from his children.
I have started my own company. My father might say he bought me out. He did but for at best 60% of what I put in. He is upset at me. I am going to let him go. I am letting go of the company that I built. I am letting go of any business relationship. I am letting go of any resentment. I am letting go of any hate or anger. I am also letting go of any love for him. It is not an easy thing to do. There are consequences for me and my family over it, but it is the right thing to do. I can’t raise my children around someone like that. I can’t allow them to believe that this kind of relationship is acceptable. I won’t.
This is my Club Contest Winning Speech from 2021
Lets talk about it
Religion, race... lets talk about it.
Politics, immigration, police brutality... lets talk about it
Keep in mind I DID NOT SAY... LETS YELL ABOUT, LETS ARGUE OR FIGHT ABOUT IT..
I said Let's talk about it...
Many of us are concerned with the direction our society is headed in... especially due to recent events
and we ask ourselves How did we get here... ill tell you
We don't talk to each other...
Not with those we agree with... that's easy... we have to be open to talk to those whom we do not agree with...
If you're going to talk to someone you disagree with... you also have to listen to each other.
Do I mean....when you're in a meeting and your boss says Liberals are going to ruin our country... is that a moment to discuss your political views... probably not...
Do I mean... when you sneeze and someone says bless you... is that the moment to discuss your opinions on the church? NO
There is a time and a place for everything....
I'm not saying do it every single time something comes up... but do it.
When a friend or family member says something inappropriate, offensive or inflammatory and you don't let them know it's wrong, then you are tacitly giving them your implied approval....
They now feel more emboldened in their belief....
...as we know, very bad things CAN happen... like when some of these people believe they are the "silent majority"
if we just speak to those closest to us
it doesn't even have to be that extreme, many small evils are perpetuated for the same reason and they go largely unnoticed....
and maybe these little evils don't affect us directly but they become part of the culture of our society and someone somewhere is suffering because of the perpetuation of these evils...
But you know what that is how police brutality, and racism has gotten to where we are now....
We need to speak up...
We also need to listen, we need to listen to other people's opinions...
If their ideas are a little crazy sometimes people need a sane person to bounce their crazy off of... so they can hear a different perspective from someone...
As a society we are too afraid of conflict... Too afraid to ruffle any feathers or antagonize anyone...
If your racist uncle says something inappropriate... his feathers need to be ruffled...
I was in a social group a while back and I kept hearing comments that made me feel like I was in the 1960's...
and I said something... That makes me uncomfortable... It's offensive and I don't agree with it... and believe it or not it did not go over well HAHAHA....
Pause for 5
At first... but then the direction of banter changed... and the group became much more fun and inclusive... I know your efforts won't always be successful...
But if we want to make our society a better place... we are going to have to accept a little discomfort...
...and don't always just confront... be more indirect... ask them to explain their point of view...
if we start listening to each other...
Listening to understand...You don't have to agree to have a conversation...
I am definitely not saying to attack people for their opinions but they need to know that people disagree with them... and even if they don't admit it... they are being exposed to a different perspective...
at the very least they are realizing that not everyone thinks that way!
Maybe in expressing their feelings out loud to a person that patiently and politely responds they may change their mind...
How many of the crazy things that have happened lately and in history would have been prevented if people were simply listened to
or if people were sometimes told... I disagree with you and let me tell you why...
I saw a story a while ago about a man of color was interviewing klan members... and in listening to them and showing them kindness they found their way out of that awful organization...
If this man was able to do that... we can talk to our peers and empathize as well....
The next time a friend, a family member... a colleague says something inappropriate, offensive or inflammatory....
Let your response be. "LETS TALK ABOUT IT."
Yanover Blanco and Julia Blanco got married on October 5th, 2019. It was the three year anniversary of their meeting. They were surrounded by friends and family as they celebrated the start of a new phase of life together.
In October of 2019 Yanover Blanco and his wife Julia headed to La Ciudad de México. They spent two weeks touring the area and seeing as many sights as they could. They made sure their trip was in the latter part of the month and extended into early November in order to be able to participate in the famed Día de los Muertos celebrations. The whole city came to life with parades, celebrations, decorations, dancing and music around every corner.
So far this year we have had a lot going on (understatement). It is important to stay positive and focus your emotions that way, but I also believe it is equally as important to be aware of what is happening.
Obviously this has been the year of the Pandemic. Covid-19, The feared "Rona." lol. We have had 1 shutdown and are winding up to another. Trump has failed us in his response, so have so many weak and partisan politicians. Many other politicians have shown courage and stepped up, especially local politicians. So far we have around 136k deaths in the US.
There have been many killings of POC by police caught on video, as of now the only ones that have received press have been members of the AA community. Latinos are being killed and attacked at high rates and while we are protesting and speaking out on social media, we have not received the attention to our suffering that we deserve. Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood was brutally killed and the Army leadership response was nothing short of disgusting.
The great thing about this year is that people have been protesting these injustices! The black lives matter movement had nationwide protests with a diverse coalition of support. Latinos have been protesting and slowly but surely are gaining national attention. Our frustration at being ignored is propelling our community to stand up and I hope that this will translate into more activism and involvement in politics by our people. Vanessa Guillen's death has provoked many to speak out against the culture of sexual harassment in the military and more victims have spoken out.
We still have kids in cages who are put at risk of many evils from sexual assault to exposure to Covid-19. Much work needs to be done.
For me my personal life has been great. I have been married for 9 months now! So far everything is great... It takes work, but it is wonderful. A part of my life that felt empty is no longer. My wife and I are happy together, we are enjoying each other's company immensely and I have never been more excited for the future!