Pamela Ayuso, Author of Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century, on creating innovative spaces and solutions

Pamela Ayuso_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Celaque is a real estate development company specializing in office and residential buildings. We also manage a portfolio of properties. I am also the author of Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century – click here to check it out!

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I was a partner at my previous firm, and during my time there, I developed a vision of what I would like to do if I started a firm. When we saw the opportunity, I felt ready and excited to take the leap. It was the next step in our growth, and my partner (my husband) and I co-founded Celaque in 2015.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I always knew I wanted to run a business. Everyone in my family is an entrepreneur: my mom, dad, grandparents were all entrepreneurs. Given my history, starting a company seemed the natural thing to do. 

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Because Celaque is a successor of our prior firm, we continued using the networks we had already built. We relied primarily on real estate agents and traditional marketing. For a few years now, we have used digital marketing strategies as well. Marketing is something we continue to learn about and to improve every day.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

The first time I hired someone for our team, we did not go through a hiring process. A colleague referred a candidate; we met him and hired him on the spot. The results were not the ones we expected, and that is when I threw myself into learning about hiring. I knew we needed to get good at hiring people if we wanted to grow. I read books and articles and designed a formal process, which we continue to improve as we gain experience and knowledge. 

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Building a company. It is not an easy thing to do, and I have made plenty of mistakes. Yet, I am very proud of the team we have formed and the company’s structure. I love seeing what we can do now as a team because I can clearly remember what it was like before when we did not have the same capacity. For example, I was talking to one of our engineers the other day, who is responsible for making sure our buildings are 100% ready with all the details in place by the date we say it will be finished. I marveled at how efficient she was at getting it all done on time. Before, we had many last-minute details that cropped up, and it was never a smooth process at the end of construction.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

What did you learn in the last six months? How did you teach it to yourself?

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We build and manage office space, a sector of the industry that the pandemic has impacted. Other segments, on the other hand, like residential, have been doing much better than expected. We have adapted to this reality and focused on creating more of what the market wants. We have also grown significantly – we have doubled the size of our development team. We were fortunate enough to be able to hire some great people.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We will keep improving to make our business products as close to what our clients want as possible. And, hopefully, we will keep doing what we love doing best, which is creating innovative spaces.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

To take care of myself. I knew this at a superficial level, but it was such a demanding time that I had to discover how to live it during the pandemic. I learned to create a routine that was built to include spaces for me. If I am not ok, I will not be able to do any of my jobs well. This also included realizing that there is only so much that is within my control.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

I wish I could have given myself my book, Heptagram, as a guide to build my company. This is the main reason I wrote the book – it is the book I wish I had when I started.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

By writing, drinking hot tea, meditating, taking walks, and cooking and baking. I have made it a point to take these times for myself. As my coach told me, the level of performance required during the pandemic is akin to that of an athlete in the Olympics, and during the Olympics, you need top levels of training. I was very disciplined about following my routines.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I think it is important to balance the different aspects of our lives. Sometimes it feels like I am juggling, and I am close to dropping a ball. But more often than not, I am clear about my priorities and make sure I am giving enough time and attention to each one. The best tip is to plan time in your schedule for all of your priorities, especially personal ones, which is not something we tend to do. If you give the necessary time to the things that matter the most, you will be able to achieve that balance. It will not be easy, and sometimes that means you have to let go of something you do not want to remove from your schedule.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I had not baked anything in over 20 years. Along with many others, the pandemic prompted me to rediscover this wonderful hobby. I gained a few pounds during that time, but it was also a great bonding experience with my daughters, and I now love baking for my family.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Create spaces of time during which you do what you want to do. 
  • Create routines you follow automatically.
  • Avoid distractions: remove notifications from your phone, leave time for focused work and make calls only during certain times.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I’m excited to share my story with other entrepreneurs and to connect with like-minded people.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Ruby Russell on her Innovative Bedding Solution, Befitted Bedding

Hi Ruby! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Ruby Russell, an inventor and founder of Befitted Bedding. I am following in the footsteps of my hero, Bertha Berman, a Black woman who invented the fitted sheet 67 years ago. My innovative bedding designs will be a game changer that will…

Protected: Powering Your Business with Alibaba.com – Told By Entreprenistas

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Mamaprenista Pallavi Pande on Her Sustainable Brand, Dtocs

Hi Pallavi! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m Pallavi Pande, a mompreneur championing a sustainable brand, Dtocs, which are palm leaf tableware reshaping the world one palm leaf plate at a time. At Dtocs, I rescue fallen palm leaves in India to give them one more use and make sustainable…

Relationship and Network-Building Tips with Stephanie and Carlyn

“You don’t need to always feel like you have to belong to six or seven networking relationship groups that account for thousands and thousands of members. As I always say, go narrow and deep.” –Carlyn Bushman  Hey Entreprenistas! It’s Stephanie and Carlyn here and we’re talking about some of our favorite relationship and network-building tips.…

Building a Product-Based Business with Dr. Ronak Mehta

In this episode of Entreprenista, we sat down with Dr. Ronak Mehta, founder and CEO of Nerdbugs, anatomically correct plush toys aimed at educating and engaging people about the human body. With a background as a family medicine doctor, Dr. Ronak has leveraged her expertise to develop the toys’ educational content. Her mission with Nerdbugs…

Entreprenista Announces Winners of its 2023 Top 100 Women Business Leaders Awards Presented by Chase Ink

Leading Membership Community for Founders Amplifies Stories of Outstanding Entrepreneurs New York, United States – February 20, 2024 — The Entreprenista League, a leading membership community for ambitious, entrepreneurial women, is excited to ​​announce the winners of its 2023 Entreprenista 100 Awards. The Entreprenista Awards, presented by Chase® Ink®, honors the achievements of 100 women business leaders across…

Pitching Yourself and Finding Your Voice with Brianna Ruelas

“I see that a lot of these young women are struggling to feel like their impact matters and I really want to create something that incorporates my own stories, my own journey, to show them that our choices matter. But more importantly, that they matter, and that everything they bring to the table is significant…

Franchising, Scaling, and Selling a Business with Jillian Lorenz & Ariana Chernin

“You really, really need to trust your gut. Human nature is everything. It’s like your first date where everyone’s on their best behavior. But when there’s smoke, there’s fire. If you feel something in your intuition, it’s not right.”  –Ariana Chernin In this episode of Entreprenista, we sat down with Jillian Lorenz and Ariana Chernin,…

The Finishing Touch with Stephanie Purzycki

“I time block and I say, ‘This is going to be the time specific to managing the business.’ Being able to manage my time correctly and know when I’m doing what. In this post COVID era where we’re all working remotely, being able to connect face to face is also important. So, our weekly zoom…

Growing Through Partnerships with Abby Price

“If you’re not good at it, that is 100% okay. You don’t need to be good at everything. But just make sure, in the beginning at least, you’re spending a little extra time figuring it out—or you can lean on someone to look into it for you to make sure you’re doing it right.” – Abby…

Minisode with Steph: Spilling Wellness Secrets

Hi Entreprenistas! It’s Steph here again with another quick minisode. Today, I’m sharing all about the inspiration behind making my 2024 all about wellness. You’ll hear some of my favorite wellness tips and secrets, why it pays to give yourself grace, and all about the importance of having an accountability partner.  You’re going to hear…

Minisode with Steph: Making the Most of Your Founders Weekend Experience

Hi Entreprenistas! It’s Steph here and this year we are going to be bringing you content beyond our weekly interviews with founders. This is our first Minisode of the year and I am excited to share with you some of my best relationship building tips and how I handle events as an introverted extrovert. Plus…

Ali Hicks-Wright’s Mission to Help Creative Entrepreneurs Build and Scale with Amari Creative

Hi Ali! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Ali Hicks-Wright is the Founder and Creative Director of Amari Creative, a branding studio that specializes in building strategic brands and websites for ambitious entrepreneurs by pairing engaging copy with striking design. Since starting Amari Creative in 2016, Ali has worked with hundreds…

Grants You Need to Apply to For Your Business!

BMO Fellowship Application Notes Note that when applying, be sure to acknowledge the impact of the virtual workshops and resources provided by BMO and how that will support you just as much if not more than the prize $ itself! What you could receive: $15,000 across select applicants Deadline: Jan 31, 2024 DearGod Grant Application…

Making the Bed with Ruby Russell

“I’ve had a few setbacks. One was our first [launch in] March 2020. And guess what? The world shut down. And so I tried again on March the 13th 2023. I was at the London Stock Exchange when, guess what? That was the day that Silicon Valley crashed. So, all you can do is laugh…