Adriana Gallardo is an undeniably driven Latina force of nature who’s built an empire on ingenuity and sheer willpower. The CEO of Adriana’s Insurance and Now Rise Business, Gallardo is now using her 30 years of business expertise to help others achieve their greatness. 

Gallardo shared her beautiful story of rising from nothing to become an entrepreneur, business coach and international speaker. And the inspiration behind it all? Her mother. “My mom is the one that was always inspiring me and pushing me to do better, and telling me how great I was. It was really hard for me, but I was willing to do whatever it took to make it.” 

When she was 18, Gallardo entered the U.S. undocumented, inexperienced and without a dollar to her name. “I didn’t speak any English,” she recalled. But following the many pieces of life advice from her mother, Doña Rosy, Gallardo was able to tap into her greatness and ignite a determination to build a legacy. 

Today, Gallardo is happy to share her story with others—from getting her first job at Burger King to starting her own insurance agency—and lessons on being both adaptable and confident. “I have good ideas and I have bad ideas. I’m always open to learn from anybody. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in business is that nothing is permanent.” Her morning routine, self-care rituals and hard work have made her into a multimillion-dollar serial entrepreneur. With a fierce yet elegant demeanor, Gallardo’s larger-than-life personality is telling of her remarkable past and the great pride she takes in her Latinx community. 

LESSONS FROM MOM

Adriana Gallardo: I love sharing this story because it’s the real story. I really hope that it inspires other people. One day, I was telling my mom how much I hated the adult school that she sent me to. And so she goes, “Well, you’re not going to just sit here and be pretty. You have to go get a job.” And I said, “Me? How am I going to get a job when I’ve never worked in my life? I don’t speak any English. I don’t have experience in anything.”

I applied everywhere. I was so excited to tell my mom that I got a job! She goes, “Really, where?” I said, “I don’t know yet. I’m going to have many jobs to choose from, because everyone said they’re going to call me.” That’s when I really learned my first business lesson. My mom told me, “Whenever people tell you they’re going to call you, in reality, it’s the opposite. They’re not going to call you.”

OWNING THE NEXT LEVEL OF GROWTH 

Adriana Gallardo: “Something doesn’t make sense here. That’s not your office,” her mother said when Adriana told her she became the No. 1 sales agent in her office. “I work there, it’s my office,” Adriana replied. The short back-and-forth between mother and daughter would bring revelations. “You’re doing so well, but you’re doing it for someone else. You need to open your own business—create your own thing. I know you will because you’re smart, you’re a hard worker and I believe in you.” 

Little did Adriana know her mother would take the next step to make this happen. A month after that conversation, her mother came back with a gift. Adriana recalls this memory with gratitude. “She came back one day and she said, ‘Mija, stretch out your hand.’ She put a key in my hand and said, ‘It’s the key to your new office.’” Her mother had convinced a real estate broker to let Adriana use his storage as a tiny office for only $100 a month. As Adriana faced many challenges over the years due to her gender and ethnicity, she relied on the wisdom of her mother. “Just be willing to learn, be coachable, and I guarantee you that you’ll do good,” her mother advised. 

Though Gallardo’s mother is no longer living, her daughter uses the inspiration she gave her to be a role model and motivate others. “It’s a way that I can honor all of her teachings,” she said. 

“I went through a lot being in a business that is dominated by men, being Latina and young. My mom was always there for me, always pushing me and always telling me to go on. I’ve been in business for 30 years. I’ve taught a lot of people from scratch. I believe in people, you know, because someone believed in me and that’s my core. That’s my story.”

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE 

Adriana Gallardo: I’ve learned many lessons in business. What I always teach my kids and everyone around me is to keep growing, learning and to be coachable. Something about me is that I’m not easily offended. The ability to figure things out and adapt quickly to change is what business has taught me. I learned to keep my doors open since I’m not married to my ideas. I have good ideas and I have bad ideas. I’m always open to learn from anybody. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in business is that nothing is permanent. Everything is temporary, so if you’re not willing to adapt to change and have a good attitude, then you’re going to go out of business. 

I want to take a moment to invite people to reflect on the things that we do every day. Reflection is important because a lot of the time people live on autopilot. I would like to invite people to restructure their lives and think about the people around them, the things they’re consuming, believing, reading and the things that they are allowing to influence their lives. That is why I encourage others to believe in themselves and truly believe it, because if you believe it they’ll believe it.

Interview by Tricia Love Vargas
Read Next: Richard Martinez: “You Are Meant For Growth & You Are Born To Win”

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