Resilience is an essential part of every great entrepreneur’s story, and Patricia Boral, the co-founder of Boral Agency, a Houston-based digital marketing firm, is no exception.

Patricia recently met with Aubrey Johnson, the host of the Road to Rediscovery podcast and the author of “Relentless: Empowering Stories of Overcoming Adversity,” to talk about her experience as a business owner and the hurdles she has had to overcome throughout her life.

Read on to discover some of Patricia’s greatest life lessons, as well as her top entrepreneurship tips.

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Developing Resilience and Overcoming Adversity

Developing Resilience and Overcoming Adversity

Patricia’s interview began with a look back at her childhood and the adversity she experienced early in her life — starting with the loss of her mother at just 12 years old.

Patricia described her mother as “a great mom,” an entrepreneur, and a “resilient person.” After a bit of reflection, she also noted that much of what she has learned throughout her life originally came from her mom.

She talked about her mother’s influence and shared that she “would say things like…you follow your dreams, your passion, don’t follow the money because money will come if you are the best of what you love and if you love what you’re doing, you’re going to be the best.”

Patricia went on to share that when she was growing up, her mother ran an afterschool program in Bolivia (where she and her siblings grew up). After her mother passed away, Patricia and her older sister, Brenda (who also co-founded Boral Agency), took over the family business so they could continue supporting themselves and their siblings.

The pair had to learn quickly how to become effective entrepreneurs, and they rose to the occasion — although their experience and collaboration certainly weren’t without obstacles.

Learn Patricia’s full story here.

A Marketer Was Born

A Marketer Was Born

Patricia and Brenda ran the afterschool program for several years, and they learned a lot as they went (and quickly recognized the need for more education and training if they wanted to succeed).

Patricia noted that she took accounting and typing classes at fourteen because the business was “losing clients left and right.” She and her sister eventually realized that they needed to market their program more if they wanted to succeed long-term, so they began learning about marketing and advertising as well.

She explained, “I learned about marketing and how it’s a combination of business and creativity…it was an instant connection.”

Patricia also shared that her love of marketing stems from her creativity and passion for art. She loves to paint and is regularly working on new pieces. Spending time on creative projects inspires her to try new things in her professional life and take on new challenges.

Several years after taking over her mother’s business, Patricia launched her own branding company in Bolivia — a company that is still running successfully to this day.

Houston, Texas_ The Birthplace of Boral Agency

Houston, Texas: The Birthplace of Boral Agency

After successfully running their mother’s afterschool program for several years, the Boral sisters and their siblings moved to the United States one by one.

Shortly after she moved to the States, Patricia had the idea to use her knowledge and experience to start another marketing and branding company, and she decided that she wanted to work with her siblings.

Ultimately, Brenda was the only sibling interested in joining Patricia in starting the business — and she took some convincing, in part because she was worried about harming her relationship with her sister.

To avoid strife in their relationship, the sisters decided to sit down and create an operating agreement before they ever started their business. This agreement, which they still reference to this day, creates a sense of accountability, helps with decision-making, and ensures they have an effective partnership.

Patricia recommends this practice for any entrepreneur, even if they’re not working with a sibling.

She shared, “Write down how many vacation days you’re going to be able to take…literally every single detail that you can think of. What happens if someone gets sick? If somebody passed away? If somebody decides to leave? Anything that you can think of put it there.”

Relentless in the Face of Setbacks

Relentless in the Face of Setbacks

When asked about how she responds to tough times and setbacks in her business, Patricia explained that even though setbacks and bad situations hurt, quitting and not accomplishing your goal hurts more.

As an example of her and her sister’s resilience, she shared the story of how Hurricane Harvey affected their business when it touched down in Texas in 2017.

After the hurricane hit, Boral Agency suffered greatly. Patricia and Brenda even went five months without receiving a salary so they could pay their employees. Patricia even found herself applying for other jobs to try and generate an income while they worked to get their business back up and running.

The sisters refused to give up, though, despite the setbacks the universe sent their way. Instead, they committed themselves to revising their strategy and making the business profitable once more.

Patricia shared, “I would sit down on my computer and be like, no, this strategy needs to work, and I will review it again, and I did that three times, and you know, here we are…Now, that’s a story in the past. We literally doubled our business the following year.”

Lessons Learned

Patricia also learned a lot from the setback of Hurricane Harvey. She explained that she and her team had to turn their agency into a fully digital business back then because they couldn’t go to their office.

Because the business was already running successfully virtually, when the COVID-19 pandemic happened a few years later, the team at Boral Agency didn’t experience any interruptions because they were already doing everything online. In Patricia’s words, “You never know what you’re getting ready for!”

She shared that the experience also encouraged her to ask herself “the tough questions,” about herself and her business.

The list of questions included, “What do I truly want? Where do I see my business going? And how can I avoid this to happen? And then what other experiences or tragedies, right? Can happen in the future, and how to prepare for that?”

These are all great questions for any entrepreneur to ask themselves, especially when they’re facing a difficult situation and feeling unsure of what to do next.

Avoid making the same mistakes that Patricia experienced by reading The 8 Most Common Business Marketing Mistakes.

The Minority Experience

The Minority Experience

During the interview, Aubrey also spoke to Patricia about her experience as an immigrant and minority living and working in the United States.

As Hispanic women and entrepreneurs, the Boral sisters have experienced unique struggles since starting their business 12 and a half years ago.

Patricia explained, “We are Hispanic-owned, minority, and women-owned. So, that makes us really different.”

She added that it’s important to adjust your perspective regarding these differences, though. “If I choose to be a victim, then I’m going to see that as an obstacle…If you see it as a challenge or if you see it as a limitation, then it’s going to be a limitation, it’s going to be a challenge. We didn’t see it that way.”

From Obstacle to Opportunity

Rather than seeing themselves as victims, Patricia and Brenda chose to leverage their uniqueness into new opportunities. She noted that they got certified as a minority-owned business and proudly advertise that they are women-owned and Hispanic-owned, pointing out that “that actually helped us open new doors.”

Patricia also shared that growing up in South America has also influenced how she views her life as an entrepreneur in the United States. She has gratitude for her early life experiences and explained, “Growing up in a third world country, you have to come up with, you have to get creative to find solutions. Because over there, not everything is tenderized. Not everything is ready and set and packed.”

Because she’s used to thinking creatively and finding new solutions, she automatically does that when working with clients. She enjoys coming up with different solutions and finding ways to help clients set them apart from their competitors.

Patricia likened life to a game with multiple levels as well. When asked to summarize her main message, she said, “When life throws you obstacles, it’s just so you can get to that next level in life. So, look at that obstacle as a learning experience and go over that obstacle with a smile on your face because you are going up. That’s the way it is.”

If you want to learn more about how Patricia overcame minority struggles, read Conquering Minority Barriers with Technology

Connect with Boral Agency Today

Connect with Boral Agency Today

Were you inspired by Patricia and Brenda’s passion, resilience, and resolve in the face of adversity? Do you want to work with them and their team to take your business’s marketing strategy to the next level?

If so, get in touch with the team at Boral Agency today. You can reach them on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube as well.

You can also watch the full podcast episode here and visit Aubrey’s website to learn more about the “Relentless” book, which is full of stories about inspiration, motivation, and growth.