We had the good fortune of connecting with Giovanna Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Giovanna, how do you think about risk?
I haven’t taken much risks in life until recently. This last June, I quit my stable corporate job for the unknown. I resigned from my job because I felt I needed time away from the hamster wheel and “do me”. All my life I’ve done what I was supposed to do. I went to college, Got the stable job. Paid off my student debt. And I wanted to feel what it felt like to have complete control of my time and pursue things that mattered to me. By having the space to explore personal interests, I was able to start my own business doing what I love. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to explore this side of me because the work I do now is much more meaningful.

Even though I took a risk by quitting I think it was a pretty calculated risk. I had 14 months of my living expenses to cover me while I was away from work, gave a four week notice at my job to leave on a good note in case I needed to return, and built up my network by attending career fairs and networking events.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is called The First Gen Mentor. I created it after finding success with my TikTok acount by the same name @thefirstgenmentor. On my TikTok account, I share financial education and career advice for young professionals- specifically for the first gen community. The way I earn money is through educational workshops at colleges and universities, helping individuals through one on one money coaching, and collaborating with brand partners through influencer marketing. I’m also working on developing an investing course and writing a personal finance book.

What sets me apart from others is that my account focuses on serving the unique needs of the first gen community. I address some topics traditional financial experts don’t, like how to help save for your parents retirement or how to set financial boundaries with family.

What I do for work is easy- I know money like the back of my hand. I’ve been a money nerd for years now, I read personal finance books for fun, I was a volunteer financial educator, and I worked in investment management for almost 7 years. It’s truly my passion!

The hardest part of running my business was shedding my corporate identity. For example, when I first started working for myself, I tried to keep a 9-5 schedule similar to my corporate job. After some time I found the creative work I do works best in the afternoon and late evenings. One of my most viral TikTok videos (2.2 million views) was recorded at 11:30 pm! Another challenge has been trying to figure out the logistics of setting up a business; LLC vs sole proprietorship, tax write offs, marketing etc. I’m learning a lot as a go and I’m also thankful to have the support of my husband who helps me a lot with these types of issues.

I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in the 6 months that I’ve been in business. I’ve had to learn to get help with coaching. I’ve used coaches for business, legal contract review, influencer marketing, and book writing. I’m not an expert in any of these fields so working with one helps get me up to speed fast. Imposter syndrome and the comparison game definitely come into play. It’s easy for me to start comparing myself to others in the industry who have done it longer. At first I used to get a little jealous, but now I use it as a form of inspiration to what is possible for me. This took a lot of mindset work and thought reframing. Another lesson I learned was to know when to outsource. One time, I spent about 8 hours trying to format a PDF on Canva. I’m not a graphic designer so it took me much longer than needed and the work still didn’t look good. I decided to hire a freelance graphic designer who did amazing work for a great cost!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hi, I’m not from LA, do I have to be from LA to be a part of this? I’m based in Phoenix (but did live in Pasadena for a year about 10 years ago!)

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Latino Business Association of UC Santa Barbara. That student run organization was instrumental in my development as a young professional during my time at UCSB. With LBA, I was a part of a community of other young and highly motivated students who wanted to be proactive with their professional development. We learned how to do a proper handshake, interview skills and learned how to write a resume. I also met some of my best friends through this organization- many who I still talk to today!

Website: https://www.thefirstgenmentor.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gigithefirstgenmentor/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/giovannagonzalez/

Other: TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@thefirstgenmentor

Image Credits
Black photo, credit to TikTok, blue photo credit to FinCon21

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.