The Key to Progress When Starting From Zero

An image of Ninfa Espinoza with her eight kids.

An image of Ninfa Espinoza with her eight kids.

Female entrepreneur, Ninfa Espinoza, started living when she realized that her life might never get to be ‘easy’.  Working seven days a week at multiple side hustle jobs, she decided she was going to start living on her terms instead of reacting to the stream of unfortunate events that never seemed to stop.

The first ‘unfortunate event’ that turned Ninfa’s life around happened when she was 16 years old. Ninfa fell in love with a boy she thought was going to marry her, and became pregnant. The boy had other plans and asked her to get an abortion, but she refused.

“When my mom found out I was pregnant she told me to leave the house immediately because my dad would kill me,” she said.

And just like that, Ninfa was 16 years old, pregnant and homeless. She took a few of her belongings and left for Mexico City by foot, crossing dangerous roads and mountains by herself. Not long after arriving in Mexico City, Ninfa decided to pack her things again and head to the United States, where she started from zero as a young single mother.

After three months in Austin, Texas, Ninfa met a man she would later marry and have two daughters with. For nine years, she was a housewife and enjoyed taking care of her home. Until one day, her husband disappeared.

“I was pregnant with our second daughter when my husband took a trip,” she said. “He came back from his trip with another woman when our daughter was 8 months old.”

Feeling abandoned, mad and lost, Ninfa had to find a way to provide a living for her three daughters. She got a job as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant and started from zero, once again.

“I was full of anger and sadness, I cried so much that my manager told me to wash dishes instead of waitressing,” she said.

Ninfa describes her manager as her living angel. One day, she took her to a beauty salon. It took Ninfa a facial, a haircut and a little bit of makeup to snap back into life.

“My ex-husband never let me put on makeup or style my hair, when I saw myself in the mirror that day, I felt a change, I was born again.”

Ninfa went back to being a waitress for a few more years until the Mexican restaurant went out of business. Not knowing English, she did not have many options, so she started working at a hotel as a cleaning lady.

“I worked 7 days a week for $3.25 an hour, I almost never got to see my daughters,” she said.

Overworked and stressed, Ninfa asked for three weeks of unpaid vacation, time she used to apply to other jobs. That is how she ended up working in construction, for a wage of $4.75 an hour.

“It was hard, especially during the summer, but I felt blessed for having a higher paying job,” she said.

Shortly after, Ninfa says she was a victim of a hate crime. According to the entrepreneur, her construction team leader tried to poison her lunch, “because I was a wetback.”

“After the incident, the company’s manager fired her and started courting me,” she said with a smile. “He has been my husband for the last 26 years and we have five kids together.”

Ninfa’s husband inspired her to start a side hustle or a hobby she felt passionate about. This is how Ninfa decided to become a Mary Kay consultant and joined the JUST community. The entrepreneur remembered how she felt the day she got a facial and wore makeup for the first time and decided she wanted to share that feeling with other women.

“I went from construction boots to high heels,” she said laughing. “I enjoyed looking so perfumed and professional, but most importantly, the time I got to spend with my children.”

While climbing up the ladder and growing her Mary Kay customer base, Ninfa took care of her elderly mother and sent her kids off to some of the most prestigious universities in the country, such as The University of Georgetown in Washington and UT Austin.

“It is beautiful to be successful, but the best part is getting to share your success with others,” she said.

The entrepreneur attributes her achievements to her hard work and the peer coaching offered to her by JUST. Every month, Ninfa buys herself a notebook, where she writes daily lists and weekly reflections. She reads her reflections while planning her goals and actions for the next month and now, she can’t imagine her life without this ritual.

“I think about everything I have achieved and what I have yet to achieve,” she said. You have to seize every single day and act now in order to live the life you want.”

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