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

Hi KAREN, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking can be very scary, but my mantra is, if you want to grow, you have to go for it! Many times, going for it, however, involves taking risks. The plain definition of risk states: a situation involving exposure to danger or exposing you or someone or something to some type of danger, harm or loss. Of course thinking of a risk in that manner, human nature will tell us to avoid danger at all costs, yet my personal experiences have shown me that risk taking is a must in order to grow to new levels, to open doors you didn’t know existed, to expose yourself to new things, new experiences, new opportunities, new adventures, and new friendships. The feeling of a decision being a risk comes from the fear of the unknown. At times if the outcome is unknown, we get paralyzed with fear and stick to our normal routine because it is within our comfort zone, we already know the result. But that is the whole point of taking risks. It is to do something out of your comfort zone in order to spark change. In doing so, you are taking a chance on yourself and on all the new possibilities that it will open up. If you are still stuck on making a decision, making a pros and cons list may help when deciding whether a certain action is worth the risk.
In my life I feel I have taken many risks, both big and small, and I truly believe that each one has led me to where and who I am today. From leaving a relationship, to moving cross country, to leaving a stable great paying job with benefits in order to start over in a new industry where I had zero experience, in order to chase my goal of one day owning my own business, to taking on numerous new chances and challenges like to reinvent myself after age 40, and following one of my dreams and started my own podcast, Livin Latina. Although, there was fear in the unknown, I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something bigger and be able to help our clients, the community and most importantly to be able to one day share my story and inspire other women to believe in their heart that when your intentions are good, taking risks pays off!
One thing I try to keep in mind is that anyone who’s ever accomplished something great in life has had to take risks. When I need some reassurance, I try to remember that if all does not go well, worst-case scenario, I learn a lesson on what didn’t work, or better said how to do it differently next time. Acknowledging that failure is not fatal or final somehow helps me feel better and gives me the courage to take on whatever risk is at hand. I also remind myself that I am in control of my life and the choices I make and that at any time I can make a new choice if I need to which makes taking risks a little less scary.
My mother is one of the main reasons why I am more open to taking risks, had it not been for her making the choices that she did, I would not be here as I am today. This brave woman had me at age 16 and fought against anyone who questioned her decision to give birth to a child at such a young age and no financial or other life securities. At age 21 she came to the United States as a single mother with 2 immigrant children. She doesn’t consider herself brave, but that’s one of the biggest risks any woman or person can make. Not only because she left her whole life and the only place she ever knew behind, but also because she risked her life in the hopes of a better future for her and her children. When I think of her bravery and how she could risk her life to gives us a better life, I feel a sense of commitment to also step up and take calculated risks that will help me and those I love have a chance at a better life too. I don’t feel that any risk I take can ever compare to what she did for me at the age of 5, but it gives me strength to take action. In my life, making tough, scary decisions like moving 3,000 miles away from my family and friends and changing careers in my mid 30’s have all turned out to be great opportunities. I took a chance on myself and although the journey was not an easy path, it helped me grow and become a better and stronger version of myself and that in itself has been worth all the risks I have taken thus far.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business partners and I run an Income Tax business, a franchise called Liberty Tax. We own and operate 15 locations in Greater Los Angeles and Orange County. We have a family friendly business model and are a nationwide company. We started 10 year ago with 8 locations and though hard work, great strategic planning and a strong partnership, we have been able to grow into 15 locations and are recognized as one of the TOP 10 most successful franchisees in Liberty Tax Organization across the country. Was it easy? Nothing great is ever easy. But we have a great business model, a great team, and a great partnership which has allowed us to successfully duplicate and execute our business plan and has been the key to our growth. What have I learned along the way? Many things of course. But here are 2 key things. 1. When looking to hire a new team member to our team the key is not always how much experience a person has, but I hire people with the right attitude. We can always train and teach anyone how to file taxes but a person with a good positive attitude and an open mind is everything! Another important realization I had shortly after joining the Liberty Tax Service franchise was, I discovered that we are not in the tax business – we are in the “people business”. Its all about the people we hire and people we help and the people we service. People is the key to any successful business.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love being a tour guide! I was actually one back in the day when I lived in PR for a couple years. So, showing people around is my thing. It all depends which friend is here and where they are visiting from. Most of my friends are from the east coast where I grew up so, many come out to visit me for the amazing California weather. Hence why we would start with seeing the beaches. I would plan a day for driving the coast and to a few of the local beaches. Another day I’d take them hiking to some of my favorite spots like Runyon Canyon or Zuma Canyon in Malibu. Of course, almost everyone from the east coast wants the whole Hollywood tour experience and with me they get a first class one on one VIP, TMZ style tour! We would by driving past downtown and seeing the amazing Staples Center and LA live area, then head down the 101 to Hollywood. After checking out the Hollywood walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theater, we would head down Sunset Blvd. and stop for lunch at Pink’s Hot Dogs or my favorite the Farmer’s market at the Grove. After lunch we would drive down to see Beverly Hills and check out where the rich and famous live, shop and dine. Next, we would drive up to Hollywood lake and see the Hollywood sign, up close and personal and finally we would head up PCH to the Santa Monica Pier – nothing beats watching the sunset over the ocean like from the roller coaster at the pier and we would finish up with a funnel cake for dessert. If my friends are in town more than a few days, then I’d also take them up to Big Bear Lake – summer or winter its definitely one of my favorite places to regroup and recharge.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Aww, I love this because it’s so true! There are so many special people in my life that I owe so much gratitude to. But lest start off at the beginning. First I’d like to start thanking my mother Sandra Rivera, my uncle-dad Papi Herbert, my Abuelita Jessy, my Tia Carol and Tio Moris, gracias! It was their bravery of taking the biggest risk to come to the United States that gave me, a little immigrant girl, the very first opportunity and the first chance at creating an amazing life and going after the American dream. Along my journey God has blessed me with some amazing people from teachers to bosses, mentors and friends, many who become family. These people in one way or another encouraged, inspired and motivated me to be the best version of me and to always go after my goals and dreams. Mr. Bositis, Michael Wilcox, Lou Aloise, Pastor Elizabeth Shraider, Julie H, Pastor Bruce Arbour, Pastor Ulyses Toress, Pastor Santanilla, Pastor Lara, Vice Chancellor Javier Cevallos, Jan A., Mr. Ralph Morales and Diane Hutson aka Mamas, to name a few, THANK YOU! Next is my amazing Liberty team family. We run a great and successful business because of their talents, hard work and dedication. I’m also so grateful to call many of them my very good personal friends. A special thank you to Johanna Achtmann my incredible General manager & right right hand woman, and Miss Mosheka Jones my Rockstar district manager. My entire management, operations and processing team thank you & you guys are the best in the business. I’d also like to thank my business partners, my compadre Jesus Alvarez, your support & all your hard work does not go unnoticed. To my incredible husband & also business partner Douglas Rucal, thank you my love for loving me the way you do, thank you for helping me grow as a businesswoman and wife, for all the encouragement, for always pushing me to be the best and for leading by example, I love you. I’d also like to give an EXTRA special shout out to my extraordinary group of girlfriends, so many beauties to name here, but in particular to my sisters from another mother Kathy Lopes, Rosalina Brown, Kathleen Rodriguez, Ingrid Ramirez, Elsa Ebro, Vanessa Gadea and Alisha Lopez, you ladies embody the meaning of love, courage, friendship, sisterhood and are indeed powerhouse women. I’d also like to thank my dear friend Judy Stella, thank you amiga for all the encouragement, support & the heartfelt love. I truly think we were sisters in another life. A special shoutout my awesome cousins: Mauri, Johnny, Jon and Effie, thank you for always having my back. To my nieces Samia and Naiyana, you girls are my heart & inspire me to always give it my all. And lastly but not at all least to my dear brothers: Sammy, Anibal and Franny…you have always been my WHY! Thank you brothers. xoxo

Instagram: karenmiranda_19

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/karen-miranda-7308b71

Facebook: Karen Miranda

Other: Please follow us and or check out our podcast. @LivinLatina on Instagram or Livin Latina on Facebook and you can find our Podcast “Livin Latina” on Spotify, Apple music or the Podcast app. And if you have any questions you can also email me at Kemiranda.143@gmail.com

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