Kathy Cano-Murillo has been committed to debunking that opportunities for growth disappear after you’ve grown out of your first career. Through her example she’s underscoring that there’s always room for a second one.
Cano-Murillo was an established writer when she spotted a gap in the craft industry that was too big and too obvious for her not to try to fill and so began her second career.
“I loved writing feature stories about other people accomplishing their dreams,” shares Cano-Murillo. “One day I realized I wanted to be the one to be written about. To do that, I knew I had to do something bigger and better than my current situation. I had to trust my skills and talents to make the leap. Being the main breadwinner in my family and with two kids — it was scary. But I knew I had to follow my gut instinct. I knew I was meant for a bigger life.”
Cano-Murillo started Crafty Chica with a dream of carving out a voice and a presence in an industry that lacked diversity. Through her site and her brand partnerships — like her latest collaboration with Spiritu, a seasonal subscription box – Cano-Murillo has been able to do just this and inspire others’ creativity with a Latinx twist.
“My Latinidad is always first on my mind for all I do and create,” shares Cano-Murillo. “I want to show a positive representation and spread those good vibes with others. I love how our community is very supportive, not just with words, but with actions. They have always shown up for me in my career, otherwise, I wouldn’t have been doing this for so long. My Latinidad gives me purpose and motivation.”
Through the iterations of her own career, Cano-Murillo notes that the best advice she can give to anyone at any point in their career is to learn how to trust their gut.
“Keep moving, keep evolving, keep seeking new ways to grow,” suggests Cano-Murillo. “Have a strong business strategy to keep growing your business if that is what you want. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or have a beloved idea fail — that’s part of the process of success.
Figure out gaps you can (and want to) fill
When you do reach a point of inflection and are trying to figure out where to go next, Cano-Murillo suggests taking a hard look at the gaps that you can and want to fill. For Cano-Murillo it was looking at the size of the industry and what she could bring to it that made the real difference.
“I’ve always been an artist, maker, and crafter,” shares Cano-Murillo. “I learned the craft industry rings up more than 23 billion dollars a year, yet Latino culture is not often represented. [Latinos are] not only [missing] in craft tutorials online and in magazines, but also from inside the industry [in] designing products for consumers. I decided rather than complain to do something about it.”
Set your own benchmarks for success
Instead of letting others decide what the narratives of your success should be, set your own benchmarks.
“When national press took notice, like The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post! I knew I was doing something special, powerful and meaningful,” notes Cano-Murillo about the benchmarks that made sense for her. “Then when I launched my first product line in a national craft chain, I knew I found my lane.”
Second careers are just an opportunity you are better prepared for
“My advice is to think really big with a specific goal and then create a task roadmap to get there,” encourages Cano-Murillo to all those who are exploring a second career. “Get excited, make a plan, follow through! Aim to serve your community [and] connect with them. Know that anything and everything is possible, but you have to put in the research and work. If something doesn’t work out, figure out why and if you are still dedicated, try a different angle.”
Zero in on time and energy management
“My biggest growing pain has been managing opportunities,” shares Cano-Murillo. “In the early days, I said yes to everything and it worked great because I wanted my brand out there far and wide. But now, I really have to stay focused on my end goal, so I make sure to evaluate every opportunity to make sure it moves me closer to my goal – or see if I can make it work for my goal, if not, then I’ll pay it forward to someone else.”
Understanding how to best manage your time and energy are pivotal as you work to reset and launch a new career, whether it’s a passion project or an iteration of your current full-time gig.