Today we’d like to introduce you to Steven Mejia.
Steven, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a minimalist loving dad in my 40s working with amazingly diverse and inclusive entrepreneurs to innovate and make an impact. This is my story: When I was young and poor I was brought to America with the notion to work super hard to pursue the American Dream. I grew up wanting out of life what I felt everyone else had. I didn’t want the less I was used to. So I learned to make conservative choices working hard to achieve the things I thought others wanted of me. By all accounts, I reached the American Dream in my 30s. I became a father to my amazing son, had a couple of investment properties, held a six+ figure career as a Controller, and had the ambition to keep climbing the corporate ladder.
What most people outside of my immediate family do not know is that I achieved all this as an undocumented immigrant raised by an alcoholic Latina mother. So what’s wrong with this picture? It wasn’t until I got laid off from my “safe job” that I realized I did not fit this mold. The one that defines success as get a degree, get a mortgage, play it safe, work hard to earn the promotions, and put in long years to enjoy the fruits of your labor in retirement.
In my search for a new path in life, I set out to explore the world of minimalism, self-development, and online business which led to shedding a lot of crap off my plate. This led to self-building a tiny house on wheels which I call theBigCasita (https://livingtinyinla.com/big-tiny-house-on-wheels/). It was my way to not settle and conform while saving money living in Los Angeles, which as you know has a high cost of living. Resiliency through struggle has led me to stop CHASING and START CREATING. Since transitioning to living tiny, I’m saving over 70% of household expenses versus our prior costs. By smart sizing my home and possessions, I can continue living in the city I love, with a home that is mine, and focus on building a life on my own terms.
Today I’m working on building important purpose-driven businesses such as LATCH Collective (http://latchcollective.com/), pioneering a new path for Tiny House enthusiasts in Los Angeles, and I’m taking my 20+ years of business skills and creating my tribe of diverse and inclusive business underdogs with Smart Biz Creator (https://smartbizcreator.com/) where I help business creators who have challenges building and running their online business.
Why these businesses? Because I believe that anyone from anywhere should have a fair shot at making an impact in this world and I aim to support this movement.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Struggles come and go, it is the lessons you learn from the struggles and how you pick yourself back up that matter.
Growing up in the US as an undocumented Latino immigrant carries its legal challenges. It didn’t help that mother was an alcoholic either. Getting laid off after achieving a six-figure income is a gut punch. Losing loved ones along the way makes you reconsider the choices you have made.
From this, I have learned a few important lessons:
1. I learned that I can fail in what I don’t want, so I might as well take a chance on doing something I enjoy.
2. I learned that conventional routes and life itself have NO guarantees. Put yourself in the control of something other than yourself and even if you work hard, you can’t be certain you’ll get what you want.
3. The only guarantee you have is that if you don’t take action to go after the things you want, you most certainly will not achieve them.
Please tell us about Smart Biz Creator & LivingTinyinLA.
With SmartBizCreator I help diverse and inclusive creators who have challenges running the back-end of their business, build the workflows and systems that help them achieve their business goals, so they can focus on unleashing their Creative Powers, make a profit, and make an impact in their industry.
I’m also an owning partner of LATCH Collective. LATCH is a community of support for DIY builders and tiny house enthusiasts in Los Angeles.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory as a child was playing soccer. It kept me busy and provided me with discipline, friends and support.
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Some image credit goes to Patrick Strattner & Elia Matthew Photography