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4 Business Tips from an NBA Executive Turned Entrepreneur

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Saskia Sorrosa quit her executive position at the NBA to launch Fresh Bellies, an organic baby food line that has landed her in Whole Foods, Target, and Walmart. Along with sharing her entrepreneurial journey, this inspiring Jefa shared with us the four business tips you need to apply to your own.

Saskia Sorrosa, former vice president of marketing for the NBA, grew up on a farm in Ecuador where homegrown food was the norm. After moving to the United States and having two kids, she refused to continue feeding them sugary, processed foods found in grocery stores. So, she embarked on a journey to create Fresh Bellies, a healthy baby food line that is organic with a hint of the South American flavor she grew up with. The delicious snacks include mouthwatering combinations con sazón that have caught the attention of some of the nation’s largest retailers, and investors (including Shark Tank), and has health-conscious parents raving thanks to Saskia creating a business from her necessity as a mom.

We chatted with Saskia and gathered four tips from the powerhouse mama about what it takes to build a business like this from scratch.

As told to #WeAllGrow

Be honest about your fears, but don’t let them hold you back. 

After my maternity leave, I took six months before I came back to the NBA. I knew I wasn’t going to stay. I knew I was going to give my resignation, and there were so many fears. It was an adjustment going from a dual-income household to a single-income household because I knew I wouldn’t make money at the beginning. I didn’t know anything about commercializing food. I know a lot about marketing. I know a lot about sports and entertainment. I knew nothing about making food commercially at scale. Plus, where were we going to get the money? How would we fund this after I ran out of my savings? I didn’t even know that raising capital was a thing. It’s just not something I hadn’t been exposed to. But you figure it out – the natural state of an entrepreneur is figuring it out.

Balance is overrated – especially for a mother.

There’s no such thing as a balance. I wholeheartedly believe that. You just have to find your groove for yourself and your family. Entrepreneurship and having kids are extremely demanding mentally, physically, and emotionally. Find what works for you. It might be different than what works for other people, and that’s okay. You have to find what’s right for you.

Hire For Your Weaknesses

I knew what I knew. And I also knew what I wasn’t good at. So, I hired really, really early on. By day three, I was hiring people who knew how to manufacture food, make food commercially, and know the right contacts in that world. When I knew I wanted to start this business, I started networking in that space to ensure I could find the right people. Then, I started putting the team in place that I knew could help them take the business from an idea to the next level.

There is an extensive network for you to fall back on.

When I started Fresh Bellies, there wasn’t as big of a focus on female founders and founders of color as there is now. So if a Latina mom is out there looking to start a business and is a little unsure about it, I think the time is now to step into that role. There is support that exists now. Just know that you’re stepping into it at a time when there’s a big focus on helping women like us succeed.

Whether you are a mother, an executive, or a budding entrepreneur, know that you have a community of amigas behind you to support you. We invite you to join the AMIGAS community to connect with other mujeres launching their businesses.


About the Author

Chantelle Bacigalupo

Chantelle Bacigalupo is #WeAllGrow Latina’s Editorial Staff Writer. She is a Bolivian-American photographer, multimedia journalist, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work focuses on issues ranging across immigration, social & environmental justice, preserving Indigenous cultures, and reproductive justice. You can read more of her pieces here.

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