This week we have Monica Rivera in the Shes_Trending interview corner. She is a millennial Realtor® and founder of the #BlessMyHustle movement which encourages people to live their life with purpose. Her personal manifesto, “I believe that when our passion, purpose, and what we do in the world align— THAT is our hustle”, is a constant reminder to do what you love and for her, that thing is real estate with a mission.
ST: Who is Monica Rivera, what do you and why?
MR: I’ve done many things. From property management, investing, and marketing, to selling my first business, and now I’ve putting it all together into my true passion which is helping people, especially women, create multi-generational wealth by investing in real estate.
ST: Back in 2010, “Bless My Hustle” was the motto and today it still is the motto. What inspired “bless my hustle” and how can others apply it to their lives?
MR: Bless My Hustle started as a blog in college in 2010. Over the years, my personal motto has taken on a life of it’s own. The phrase has traveled all around the world including Africa and Dubai through the hundreds of wristbands I’ve given away. It’s opened countless doors for me- including a chance to work on a project with Will.I.Am and Nasa back in 2011. It’s what I had embroidered on my graduation stole, is engraved on the inside of my class ring, and tattooed on my skin as a constant reminder to myself. For me, it was inspired in part by being introduced to influential mentors like Tony Robbins and not always connecting with them because they didn’t look like me or come from where I came from. I come from a family of immigrants and my socioeconomic background was different, so when I got really into focusing on success principles, I wanted to make them relevant for people like me. I started taking pop culture icons like Tupac and reframing their quotes to connect with my community. Now it’s really evolved for me into pursuing my passion and encouraging others to do the same.
ST: It seems like music plays a pretty big role in your life, particularly hip-hop. Who are some of influences and whom are you listening to today?
MR: I listen to different genres of music. Old school hip-hop, jazz, rock. I have eclectic style of music and I never used to admit this, but I even listen to country. I also listen to a lot Spanish music, but I really appreciate artists like Biggie, Tupac, Selena, and Jay-Z because they highlight issues in a way that’s different. Selena talks about following her dreams and Jay-Z discusses business in a lot of his songs. Pretty much it’s whatever I’m in the mood for on that day.
ST: Your Mission (aka your hustle) is to empower women of color, especially Latinas, to live a life of passion and create a legacy for themselves and their families. Why is your focus primarily on Latinas?
MR: It’s because I’m Latina. I have a lot of friends who are business-women of color doing some amazing things in the community and I love the #BlackGirlMagic movement that’s happening right now, but it isn’t my movement. I think that’s important- supporting our sisters and brothers from other minority communities and also creating spaces that are relevant and empowering for our own. My site MonicaRivera.com is about creating content with the needs and obstacles of my community of Latina women in mind when it comes to homeownership and investing because I know that type of content doesn’t really exist right now, or if it does, it lacks relevance to the very specific needs of this community.
ST: We noticed that you were at King Taco earlier this month. We wanted to know which restaurant is better. King Taco or El Gallo Giro?
MR: Haha well it’s going to depend on what you want to eat. I recommend King Taco for carne asada tacos. But, if you’re going for something else, Gavilan for sure. Also, for tacos adobada, there’s a spot on the corner of King and Figueroa in Los Angeles. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s in the Ross shopping center and it’s bomb!
ST: Back in 2013 you did an interview with Soukle, and you said that “leadership really has to deal with making sure that you’re considering all the effects of what it is that you’re doing…. because that’s what really makes a good leader, someone who has the ability to lead, but does so in a way that’s ecological, in a way that’s beneficial to everyone.” You have grown a lot as an individual, a woman, and entrepreneur, has your definition of leadership changed since then?
MR: No. When it comes to a leadership, it really is about what is ecological. When it comes to business, you create products or services that serve the client and are good for them, you profit from it and so it’s good for you, and you want it to benefit the community. For me and working in real estate, that’s why I focus on helping educate women on being able to invest. I mean look at the numbers – as a woman, you’re paid only 79 cents for every dollar your white male counterpart makes, but if you’re a black woman, it’s only 64 cents. And for us Latina women, the number drops to a measly 55 cents. That means as a Latina, you’d have to work 22 months to make just as much as a white man did last year alone. When I help a woman purchase an investment property, I’m helping her close that wage gap, but it also creates a ripple effect. Women reinvest approximately 93% of their income into their family and the community. It’s like the saying “Teach a man to fish and he feeds himself and his family, teach a woman to fish and she feeds a village.” That’s why I’m doing what I do, because of course it helps me, but it helps the people I serve and ripples out to benefit the community.
ST: Your parents and grandparents have been very influential in shaping you into the amazing person that you are today. Can you share with us an experience that you have cherished or something that they have told that sticks with you today?
MR: My dad is a business owner and his first company was a welder repair company. Now he’s a real estate agent. He definitely put me to work in his businesses really young and I negotiated a $5 a day rate to do hard manual labor haha. It’s because of that that I have such a good work ethic though and will always negotiate.
ST: Outside of the family, who are some of your other influences?
MR: My group of inspiring friends and I would definitely say a lot of the social media users I follow. It’s all about that digital generation now who are posting impactful stories whether inspirational or motivational content and I choose to follow and surround myself with that.
ST: Being from Southern California, how did you become a 49ners fan?
MR: My best friend is a 49ers fan, my sister is a Chicago Bears fan and another was a Patriots fan. So, I literally researched all the teams in the NFL and came to the conclusion that the San Francisco 49ers was going to be my team for a number of reasons. I like how they communicate their brand, they have a good defense and they were one of the few teams that had an official women’s fan club at the time. I’m definitely loyal.
ST: Being a graduate of the University of Southern California. Give me three reasons why USC is better than UCLA?
MR: Well, our tailgates are killer for one. Even though we’re not always the best, we always keep the attitude that we are haha. And we’re a family! Fight on!
Impact Your Community
ST: Imagine yourself giving speech in front of 300 young girls who aspire to be success entrepreneurs. How would you close your speech and what advice would you leave them with?
MR: Never be afraid to ask for help. There’s power in saying I need help. When you say that, it’s beautiful. Five heads are better than one, so it’s all about coming together and uniting to uplift one another. Also don’t ever let someone put his or her beliefs on you. Let your beliefs fuel your passion and know what’s in your heart. Heart breeds hustle, so let your passion and beliefs be another reason why you do what you so.
ST: With all of our interviews we like to sign off with by saying thank you! We know that you’re trending, which is why we chose you to be one of our featured guest. In honor of our tradition we would like you to fill in the blank with the following: First Name, Last Name, organization/title. I’m trending because…
MR: I’m Monica, millennial Realtor® and founder of the #BlessMyHustle movement and I’m trending because I am touching upon issues in the community in a new way and doing things that have not been done before. I’m bringing relevancy back.