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Owner of Creatively Insane Gabriel Flores

Owner of Creatively Insane Gabriel Flores

Gabriel Flores  0:00  

Hello, everyone and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I celebrate the 50th episode of this podcast. And with that I bring you a self narrated episode, I wanted to finally introduce myself as a podcast host and a person. I have slipped little personal insights into my life throughout each episode, but I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on who I am as a person. So let's begin, shall we? One of the first questions I ask every guest is to introduce themselves and so that is where I will begin. I am a lifelong Oregonian born and raised I grew up in a small German community called Mount Angel. This is a town with no stoplight but plenty of charm. We will discuss my community more as it has helped shape me as an individual and today now I'm the youngest of four and I'm the son of two indigenous migrants indigenous means originating or occurring naturally in a particular place. So native, I say we are indigenous because my family roots can be traced back to southern Texas, way before the Alamo. Now, migrant migrant is a person who moves from one place to another's expecially for find work or a better living condition. Many of us are migrant workers, some of us moved to a bigger cities for work different countries or simply a new neighborhood. That is the definition of being a migrant worker. And my family was no different. I would say my entrepreneurial life began around eight years old when I learned my first valuable lesson. Once you set a price there's no going back to negotiate that price. You see around eight years old when I was beginning cutting grass and the neighbor's lawn something my older brother got me into I recall telling one of my neighbors I'd cut their lawn for $10 my eight year old self was pretty sure that was the going rate at the time. Little did I know that this lawn would take me over two hours using a lawn mower that I push for my parents house if you box away naturally the Wheeler and dealer I am I asked for an additional $10 which was promptly retorted with you said $10 the entire lawn so here's the knowledge lesson learned. Now as I mentioned, my brother helped me get pneumonia and I would say he was the catalyst that got me thinking about entrepreneurship probably unbeknownst to him, I'm sure he would always make sure I looked fresh too. And what do I mean by fresh for those folks who may not know that definition? So fresh like I felt like all my clothing items he really helped me with my shoes, my clothing items my jacket if my parents weren't able to afford it, my brother could because unfortunately you know our family did not have much grown up to be honest. I recall cutting mold off cheese before it's consuming it the rest of the cheese was still good and we couldn't afford to waste it however my brother Votto that's why I call my brother Votto also made sure I had these kicks as I mentioned on my feet then sometimes they are his kicks that you probably wished were not on my feet. Now my sisters, I have two sisters my two sisters are super strong, beautiful single women who do not take shit from anyone including their little brother hell expecially from their younger brother. They are always there for me running low on cash when I was younger the girls got me need somewhere to crash the night the girls got me need a babysitter. The girls got us for that too. Now my dad my dad is as Tex Mex as they come I recall receiving an award for outstanding customer service at work and I was in the running for the presidential award the top Customer Service Award. I had one for creating a clothes closet for our patients. You see I used to take the bus home every day for years and every once in a while I'd see a patient being discharged from our hospital in a hospital gown or scrubs now from business perspective. That was a huge financial waste right? Those gowns and scrubs were actually purchased and owned by the hospital. So once they were gone that was just gone. Now from a human being perspective, it felt inhumane to me so I asked one of the most amazing persons in the world Dr. Barbara Glidewell just truly an amazing soul if she would fund this crazy idea. I would create a closed closet using some space on the Markham Hill campus where employees could donate gently used clothing item where their laundry room and hang them and reuse them free of charge. And at work. I remember sitting at a bus stop months after the program had started and seeing this individual and a sweater I knew I had just put in the closet a few days earlier waiting at the same stop as me rubber hitting the road kind of moment for myself so I win this award and I'm going up for the presidential award and they scheduled as dinner and I've decided to invite my parents as the date those to raised me this way and they deserve the credit to and I recall my dad asked me if he should wear a shoe now if you know my dad you know my dad has never worn a suit since when he was a drummer and at the handle band back in the day looking like Adam Sandler and There's Something About Mary right on his wedding pictures decades ago. Now I never want people to look at my parents in any other way than what they are. So I asked him to wear his cowboy boots his cowboy hat his belt buckle I wanted to world to know that even though my parents were at this event to show them how proud they were of me, I brought them to show the world how proud I was of them. My mom, she has a heart of gold. I cannot express the love and gratitude I have for this woman. She never missed a game hockey, basketball, football, baseball, track soccer, I did it all. And she was always there when she could be. You see my mom at times work two jobs while my dad traveled over two hours to work daily for almost 30 years for work. Now, I said we didn't have much and I remember under our sink, we actually had this garbage camp, but it wasn't for garbage. It was actually for the uncooked beans that would eventually find their way to our plates during mealtime. All of his kids started working at a very early age. But that was not very uncommon in our community. Mount angel is a farming community. It did not matter if you were white, black, brown or green, you are probably going to get picked up during the summer by a school bus and taken to a field for a couple hours to get some work in picking berries, bone plants baling hay, Dairy Queen lens market, I


worked everywhere. Now I must admit my experience in Mount angel is not the same as everyone that lived there. And I absolutely adore that community. But the first time I felt different in my community was in middle school. As I mentioned in previous episodes, I was an IEP soon Individual Education program. And folks, I must be honest with you this was not because I was dumb. Although I sure felt that way. For a very long time, the IP program really felt like a place where you put the kids that were troublemakers that you just didn't want to deal with in class. And in my own experience being labeled dumb at an early age can really erode the feeling of self worth. The IP program was the first time I felt marginalized. Marginalized means a person or group or concept is treated as insignificant. And that's exactly how I felt at the time. There were some amazing individuals that believed in me too. And the power of someone else believing in you is huge. Miss Schmidt, Miss Waubra Miss Matson. Thank you so much. I don't think the three of you know the impact you had on my life. But it was grand dare in middle school was another program that fell intended on inflicting harm on me and individuals that looked like me. Let me give you a few examples of my interactions with our community police at a very young age. Okay, if we were to wear a belt exposed under our shirts, we would get pulled over walking home from our school for our tire. Eventually, they began compensating our belt hanging them in their local police office as examples of what gangsters attire look like. They banned us from wearing Looney Tunes clothes in middle school because they thought it was gang related. But the band didn't seem to apply to everyone at the time. Maybe that's just my recollection. I recall my parents have been in crowds out the house one time and one of the local migrant workers wanted to buy my bike I had outgrown this thing. It was very old but he asked my dad to write on a paper a proof of sell because without it the local cops would pull them over accused him of stealing it with no proof and confiscate the bike just as quickly as they confiscate our belt walking home from school. I was also generalized by my own teacher my eighth grade year and middle school basketball team we invited to a summer basketball camp it was not directly aligned with our school was a camp was a Christian basketball camp in the grand Oregon just before our summer camp, one of our young community members had been diagnosed with cancer. I'm going to leave his lame out, but I'm just gonna say that this dude was a stud. I'm talking about an all around baller back in the day. I know this because I followed my brother around, which meant I gotta follow his friends around, and his friend was a badass, and I hope his soul continues to rest in peace. Now, when this community member was diagnosed with cancer, our team paid tribute by cutting her hair bald. It was the entire team that did this a show of unity by a group of kids. I recall returned from basketball camp with my bald head and the teacher asked me what gang Did you join? I'm sure there might be folks that may defend this action with it was just a joke it over it? No. The first time I had a gun pulled out on me was actually in Mount Angel Middle School, not on the streets, not in a gang. But in the school library. Now going into my freshman year high school, I finally throw up my hands and say screw it. If you think I'm a gangster, I'll be a gangster, whatever that may mean, to be honest with you. To me at the time, it meant skipping school. That was it. I think I had a term my freshman year where my GPA was 1.25. If my memory serves me correctly, I felt choir which can be easily done if you actually don't go to class. Now I'm sure some of you are wondering, Why didn't your parents do anything? My parents never knew how good they they worked and before they got home, I would happily use the delete function on the caller ID or voice recorder and now back to eating a pizza bucket for me. However, something changed between the freshman and sophomore year. And that's when I got the new job at Oregon Health and Science University getting a job in a new community was when I really began to gain a different kind of experience and that is what helped me grow. And that is why I talk about the importance of experience on this podcast often I was 15 When I started working on the hill, I recall going to campus for the first time and thinking myself, there are more people working than living in my own town. This is crazy. My first job was with Edie Marcel and patient transportation. And he was a great role model. I had some of the best times of my life with my colleagues in patient transportation, I still talk to many of them to this day, we were a very young group of employees. But we worked very hard and we were really a small family. I recall spending several birthdays in places that were intended for of age patrons. But the beauty of starting at work such an early age and returning to school, my sophomore year, I felt different. I was starting to understand who I was. And if I wanted to lead I needed to learn first, as I mentioned, I was in the IEP program. And this continued all the way into high school. So even in high school, they pushed me easier classes. I recall coming back that sophomore year and speaking up, I'm done with IP, if I'm going to fail, these classes, all fail the same courses that my classmates are taking. So I'm asking my high school counselor to put me into normal classes, and I start naming off the classes I would like to attend. After all, I have never failed a day in my life. I either learn or I succeed speaking with the counselor. When we get to the math, the counselor paused and said you only need to go to Matt to math three is for people intending to go to college. To be honest, I do not believe this comment was set in malice. I hadn't given this individual any inclination that was planning to go to college anyways, but just like that my college career was over before it began. I took weights and PE for two years in a row and never had a six pack. It is incredible. The weight of someone not believing in you can do to you. The most marginalised I've ever felt in my life came senior year of high school. As I stated at the start, my family did not have much wealth. In fact, it was not uncommon for my brother or my middle sister to defend the family name. You see, some individuals in our community believe there was no way my parents could afford a new van unless they were drug dealers. This included some of the adults, we weren't having that nonsense. Our parents worked very hard to get to where they're at. My family is everything. And my senior year, we decided to take a family vacation to Disneyland. Let me start out by saying this trip was the first time I've ever flown so I was jet and due to our family's limited funding, we decided to go to Disneyland the week after spring break. So in April, we're headed to Disneyland for a weekend and high school graduation is June, only a few months away and I hadn't failed the class in squire. So I'm coasting when I returned from our trip. I went to class and I was told to head to the office, I get to the school's office and they informed me that they thought I dropped out of school and understandable mistake I guess. You know, this was before social media. So text messaging was the go to source of information. But that's not what got me. What got me is they thought had dropped out of school my senior year a few months before graduating, and they didn't even call my parents. Nothing on the answering machine, not a letter to school, not a shred of concern. I play basketball every year football been in the school system since kindergarten. And they just thought I said I was done month before graduating and didn't even follow up to see if I was okay. I graduated high school with a 3.2 GPA after starting my freshman year with a 1.5 asking to take harder classes. I moved out of my parents house when I was 17 and soon moved up to Portland, I was 19. I will admit I was lost for a few years I was content on just going to work and retiring in 30 years and never getting promoted. Assuming a pension would solve world hunger. When my oldest sister got cancer, a lot change. I felt this sense of purpose. This feeling that if this single mom can go to work and go to cancer and take care of these two boys and not complain. I think I can probably do more than just push patients around the hospital and wheelchairs. So I applied for a new role and got the position. Funny thing about that. Since my sister was going through cancer treatment, a host of family members, including myself had decided to go bald and to show support for my sister I showed up to this interview bald and I fill a large part of why I got the job was because of my baldness. And guess what? It wasn't because I was in a game or because I was a gangster. It was because I was a brother who showed empathy and compassion. Now I have not mentioned many names in this episode, but there's one I'm going to mention. Kimberly bass Kim was my boss's boss at the time and she would see me doing the daily crossword at my desk and come marching over with straight fury in your eyes. This lady would get on my ass and I so needed it and glad she did. Kim forced me into being better. She believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. When I look at the columns that Kim brought in and look at where we are now. My goodness. She left a wake of talented professionals and I'm fortunate to be one of those individuals. I started SLM apparel while working at OHSU. It was a fun hobby, something to explore my limited art talent and my ever growing need for experience SLM was dope I learned a lot about how not to run a business. I took my shirts and boxes down Oktoberfest and annual event and mounting and jewel and sold them all I was screen printing them in my apartment and drawn them all my own designs I knew nothing about employee identification numbers or tax laws I was just printing our own shirts and selling them but what is an EIN


EIN is a unique nine digit number that identifies the business for tax purposes think of it as a business social security number and it is very important. If you do not have an EIN by tax day you are supposed to get one Uncle Sam is going to ask for some additional paperwork if you forgot you may not be able to write off your business expenses and could face a penalty for late return if you need to refile like a social security number in ein helps prevent identity theft This is because instead of using your social security number for business needs, the business can use the EIN This may also speed up the loan application process with banks ein can also help businesses build up business credit bad credit and personal or business is not a good indicator to lenders having a good credit score is very important and building that credit score is a bit of a tactical art ein also allow businesses to open a business banking account, I would highly recommend never using a personal banking account for business purposes due to legal liabilities. Most banks will require that the entrepreneurs personal banking accounts be used for personal expenses and not business expenses and not to mention the headache trying to determine if the bill is for business or personal use. Again, take my advice. Please use personal accounts for personal expenses and business counts for business expenses. If you're hiring an employee, you need an EIN a business can use an EIN to set up a payroll system without an EIN nobody's getting paid legally Of course. Lastly, for a non US citizen entrepreneurs, some may call you illegal immigrants. I call you world migrants. According to nerd wallet foreign nationals can apply for an EIN by contacting the IRS. With an EIN in hand, you might be able to apply for the business credit card and open a business bank account before you get a social security number. This gives you some headway in launching your business. And it might even give you a competitive advantage if you need to move into that industry quickly. If the business is a sole proprietorship, or single membership LLC, the IRS does not require the business to have an EIN. The goal behind SLM apparel was to create a shirt that didn't shrink after one wash. I was I'm a tall dude. So when I buy Nike large it's too short. But if I buy Nike extra large, I feel like I'm in a sleeping bag. I wanted to create the in between. After a while I started to realize I really had no clue what I was doing. And Kim had approached me with a proposition C believe I had a talent for leadership. But I needed to check off the college graduate box taking the yearning to want to learn more about business and the possible opportunity to advance my career. I jumped into Portland Community College. This was not my first bout with college. In fact, I had taken real estate courses on Portland Community College campus when I was a realtor. I was a realtor until the real estate collapse in 2008. I loved real estate. But man that business at the time was super sleazy. Let me give you an example of the real estate market in 2008. The market crash because Realtors would sell what would call it an adjustable rate mortgage. So you had three to four years your payments would skyrocket. So after three to four years owner would need to sell their home and buy a new one. And guess who would be waiting with open arms that helps sell you and buy a new home? That's right. The realtor and mortgage broker that just sold you that arm in the first place. This place in families wasn't my cup of tea. After attending PCP and Portland State University and being promoted through the ranks of OHSU, I found myself once again uncertain what I wanted to do. But the thirst for knowledge kept going. So I decided to go to grad school at Syracuse University in New York. Go orange baby. My focus at Syracuse was entrepreneurship. And that is how the podcast came to be reading case studies of entrepreneurs. I realized I could be having these conversations myself and the pandemic really catapulted me into starting it. I've been running creatively insane as an S Corp for about a year now, in the shades of entrepreneurship is a trademark in it is own LLC. As I've stated in the past, my goal is to create a conglomeration of the shades of eat podcasts in various states to help support local economies, not just Oregon's although Oregon is my focus. I want to find other individuals that have passion for their community that want to engage their entrepreneurs to help spark conversation and engagement. There are a lot of great stories out there with some amazing human beings from all walks of life in every color. We as individuals just need to be willing to explore. Have I ever had self doubt? Absolutely. It It is something that I struggle with often the imposter syndrome. And impostor syndrome refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be even this podcast. I've been doing it for a year. And I'll be honest, I don't know if I'm doing it right. I have roughly 100 listeners per episode. And thank you all. By the way. I hope you have enjoyed these discussions. But I'm still asking a lot of questions. How do I adjust this add that make this not sound weird level, this volume, etc. Even on the business side, I am still learning. And that is okay. Do not be afraid to learn even if the subject feels daunting, like tax law, or accounting or stocks. What I changed anything, absolutely not. My experiences have helped me groom me into the person I am today. I met my wife the first day of marketing class at Portland State. True story. I saw this individual, she was sitting in the class and I sat next to her the entire time, and she didn't even look my way. The next day, we had a different class. And she was in there too. And being the entrepreneur I am I approached her with a deal. We would need group partners in both classes. So I would do the marketing work and she could do the other class work. Her response. You're in my marketing class. Ouch. She beat me one time in negotiations senior year and it hasn't stopped talking about it since right now. This podcast I'm learning about nonprofits, community grants, tech startups, and I hope you are learning something too. I have aspirations of what this podcast could be. And I am stating it openly. So everyone listening can keep me accountable. Do not be afraid to ask me how I'm doing. Which reminds me. I hope you are all doing well. I honestly have no clue who my listeners are. But I do feel the support. I feel your wind at my back's carrying me through this journey. It community of people, a community of entrepreneurs, a community of Oregonians. My name is Gabriel Flores. I'm the owner of creatively insane and the host of the shades of entrepreneurship, the podcast

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