Lourdes Carreras-Balepogi, otherwise known as Luly B. (Photo/Alex Fagundo, Soul Echo Studios)

Latina Leaders: Luly B., helping “mompreneurs” have it all

Just a month before Sheryl Sandberg’s conversation-starter book “Lean In” hit shelves earlier this year, Cuban-American Lourdes Carreras-Balepogi — otherwise known as “Luly B.” — also came out with a best-selling book to empower women, called “Balance is Bull$h!t.”

“I think what happens with the word ‘balance’ is not going to the extreme in anything,” says the mother of two boys, 7 and 9. “I feel saying to ourselves all we need is balance is a myth, because you’re so focused on balance, you’re not doing anything right.”

Seven years ago, Carreras-Balepogi thought she had it all figured out. After giving her all in positions at Warner Brothers and the American Red Cross, she thought she’d make her life more “balanced” by creating her own company — Chispa Marketing — and working from home. However, it wasn’t that easy she soon learned.

“I thought that I would just pick up a few clients…I’d be able to exercise in the morning and play with my kids,” says the entrepreneur who was born and raised in Miami. Within six weeks of starting Chispa, I had one of the world’s largest wine festivals as a client, and the state of Florida’s largest real estate company. I was in reaction mode for years like a hamster on a wheel.”

She also says instead of feeling more energized and having more time for her kids, she found herself exhausted.

“I thought that’s not why I started my business,” says Carreras-Balepogi. “I can’t be good at everything and I’m not enjoying it.”

However, instead of giving up, she figured out how to simplify her life.

“I closed down my physical office, I made my employees contract employees and fired all my little clients,” says Carreras-Balepogi. “I’m now working half the amount of time and making the same amount of money. It’s not that pressure that I used to have, and I’m really able to have that entrepreneur lifestyle where my business revolves around my life, not my life around my business.”

She says she explains her journey in detail in her book, which she says she was inspired to write after attending a MasterMind session last year with like-minded female entrepreneurs. After talking about marketing and the pressures of “having it all,” Carreras-Balepogi blurted out, “Balance is bull$h!t!,” and that’s how the name of the book was born. She admits she was a little nervous about the title.

“What are people going to think? I’m a classy Cuban girl,” says Carreras-Balepogi, who now thinks it might have contributed to being a bestseller on Amazon within 48 hours. “I think it resonated with a lot of people…People now say to me, ‘Oh my God, that’s true – What does balance mean?’”

After missing some very important events in her childrens’ lives, she learned that doesn’t make her a bad mom, instead she says she’s teaching her children the power of being a strong Hispanic in America.

“I come from a very authentic and vulnerable place,” say Carreras-Balepogi about her book. “I share things that are embarrassing to share like my poor 3-year-old not getting quality time from their mom. I created the business to spend time with my kids, but they weren’t getting it.”

Today, she owns her own marketing company, as well as her brand “Luly B.” through which she speaks at various conferences throughout the year and holds weekly Twitter chats to empower “mompreneurs” to ditch the guilt and have it all.

“After I had my first son, I was on maternity leave and I called my mom and said I can’t stay home, and I felt really guilty about that,” says Carreras-Balepogi. “My mom said to me, ‘The most powerful thing you can do for your kids is make yourself happy, and you are going to be a good mom.’ She said to take care of myself. As women we consider that to be selfish.”

With time, she says she’s learned that guilt is a useless emotion. So she’s empowering women not to fall for guilt or for people that put you down and will be launching a podcast and a web channel by September 1st, which will be completely free on her web site.

“I was put on this earth to be of service, to empower women and to motivate them to truly have it all,” says Carreras-Balepogi. “Once you answer what you want, create a business around that. If exercising every morning is important to you, figure out how you are going to make it work. That’s the beauty of our country — it’s a great time to be a women, be an entrepreneur, and have it all.”

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