Mahalene Dulayi of Vista Del Mar Wealth Management
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Tell us about your business.
I started my career as a wealth advisor at a larger firm in 2007. In 2018, I launched Vista Del Mar wealth management with a mission to empower millennial women with the partnership and tools to live a bountiful life of financial independence, security, and success. We strive to achieve this with three key core pillars to money management: wealth, impact, and purpose.
Wealth: Our goal is to build and preserve wealth for you, your family, and your business. We believe in generational wealth, where we help you create a meaningful legacy for future generations to come.
Impact: We believe in building wealth beyond the monetary value; your money is a resource that can make a lasting impact for you, your family, and our communities. There is power in money and making the wise decisions with what to do with it should not have to be done alone.
Purpose: YOU are why Vista Del Mar Wealth Management exists. We want to build your dreams, not just your dollars. We protect what matters most to you, not just your assets. More importantly, we approach everything with your best interests at heart. Our goal is to help you achieve the life you envision and to do that with purpose.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My story to entrepreneurship started before I was born with my parents immigrating from the Philippines to the U.S. The both worked 9-5 jobs, but realized that they wanted the opportunity to build their wealth based on their passion for helping others. They opened their own business and ran it for 25 years. I would say I got my entrepreneur spirit from them!
My kids are one of my core "whys" for what I do. It's important for me to show them that there is harmony in finding a passion in what I do and be successful at it. Owning and running my own business in a predominately male industry is not easy; I want my kids to see and acknowledge that women don't have to wait for a seat at the table... we can build our own table and create our community from there.
What would you say is your greatest business success to date?
My greatest business success in my entire career as a wealth advisor so far is branching out on my own. I left my old firm with a 5 month old, 3 year old, and my husband was transitioning between jobs. Starting over again to an extent was really hard; there were long nights and weekends to set my foundation. I was so determined to prove to myself and others that I could achieve my dream and build a financial planning firm that is more than just about money. I created my firm with the foundation of education in financial literacy, using money as a powerful resource for the world, and empowering women in their wealth journey.
What is the greatest obstacle you have faced in your business?
One of the greatest obstacles in the beginning was creating authority in my role. As a woman of color in a predominately white male industry, I've experienced some very uncomfortable and disheartening situations. I've been asked if I was the assistant to my male colleagues at events and tradeshows; there wasn't even a thought that crossed people's minds that I was an advisor. I've had to leave in the middle of meetings because men would make sexist and demeaning comments. I've had to deal with microagressions and constantly "prove myself" as an expert in my career.
These experiences motivated me to create a financial planning firm that supports and empowers women, especially women of color, in building and sustaining financial success in both business and their personal lives. Representation matters--and that is a narrative I'm set on changing!
What are the things that help you stay organized and get things done?
1. Writing 1-2 sentences/thoughts in my gratitude journal to set my intentions for the day and to remind me of the things, moments, people, experiences, etc. that I can celebrate that came out of each day.
2. 3 D's: delete, delegate, deliver.
I've been very intentional about finding ways to leverage and scale my business, so that I can spend more time on my personal and professional growth as well as time with my family and things I love to do. I review what people, things or tasks can be deleted; in other words, does it bring purpose to my life and my mission? Delegating gives me the ability to seek out other who have strengths in my weaknesses; in finding this harmony, I'm a believer that growth and success are better together.
3. I time block like crazy! Part of this time blocking is also giving myself 3 manageable goals that can be/need to be accomplished for that day.
4. I set my goals for the year and then break them down quarterly. This helps me to also stay accountable and check in with my progress towards those goals.
Since you are also a mom, how do you balance everything?
I chuckled a little to myself when asked about “work-life balance” because it has changed so much for me after having kids. Prior to motherhood, there was a lot of flexibility to be more spontaneous and do things on a whim. The perks of being a wealth advisor and creating my own schedule gave me the opportunity to take last minute out-of-town trips with little notice. It was nice to have no one but myself to worry about in that season of my life! Now, as a mom and business owner, work-life balance is much different. For example, any trips, whether on my own or with my family, planned or unplanned, requires more prep time (and definitely a lot more patience when my kid can’t find the shoe I literally just handed to him!).
I love my role as a mom, but I’ve also had my struggles with finding where this “balance” truly lies. Aside from the expectations that I place on myself to be 100% in all areas of my life, there are inherent societal pressures to fill the many hats I wear. The realization I’ve come to is that this work-life balance as a mom and business owner is a false narrative. So if it doesn’t exist, how does one juggle it all? Instead of focusing on finding this unicorn of a true “balance”, I strive to be more intentional about where my time is spent and being aware of whether or not that moment, person or task brings purpose to my life. Here is what I’ve learned:
1. Setting healthy boundaries helps me and everyone around me. Though I’m still learning the art of time management, I’ve implemented tools to help me prioritize my time. Self-care and my family come first, so I’ve been able to model my business schedule around them. I dedicate block times to help me create those boundaries. More importantly, I communicate these boundaries with my family and business team, so they know when I can be fully present for them. I’ve also become more comfortable with saying, “no” both with myself and others, so I don’t stretch myself too thin. Of course, it’s not always perfect (hello, A-type personality), but it helps to have a foundation for me to work from.
2. Lean on my support systems. As the old saying goes, “It takes a village.” I’m incredibly fortunate to have a very supportive community of family, friends, team members and mentors to make sure I don’t stray too far in one direction or the other. It also helps tremendously to have other mom business owners who relate to what I go through; they celebrate my wins, share in my frustrations and are genuinely there to lend a helping hand in both my personal and professional growth. The people I surround myself with is important; good vibes and being with others that want to help me succeed comes full circle when I can support them right back.
3. Delegate, delete, and deliver. A large part of being intentional with my time means I have to acknowledge that I am one person, and my time is valuable. I’ve learned the importance of what aspects of my business and home life can be: delegated or outsourced to someone that can do just as great, if not a better job, than I can with certain tasks; deleted because that task (or person) was not bringing purpose to my life; delivered by my strengths to bring growth to my business and more time with my family and myself.
4. It’s OK to love many things at one time. A friend of mine once told me, “You make time for the things you love.” This helped me put a completely different perspective on where I should dedicate my time. As a multi-passionate person, I can easily find myself taking on more than I can chew. Though it’s perfectly OK for me to be a part of many things, it also means constantly asking myself if these activities (or people) help make me and those around me a better person.
5. How I spend my time is ultimately my choice. Different seasons in my life will require more devotion and time to one area over the other. At the end of the day, I am still the one that makes the conscious choice of how I spend my time. Though a true work-life balance may not exist, I really believe that there can be harmony in the time for both these areas to be successful and exactly how one envisions it. I’m constantly learning and re-affirming these lessons, but have embraced the conscious effort of being present, intentional and authentic in both my personal and professional life.
Do you think being a mom has helped you with the success of your business? if so, how?
Absolutely! I've connected and am a part of different communities of other successful mom business owners that can celebrate the small and big wins. My community of women has been a huge support system and backbone to success because, well, they get the beautiful chaos that is motherhood 🙂
What advice would you give to other moms who dream about starting their own business, but they don’t think they can do it all?
1. Get a mentor or business coach! Having a string accountability partner is helpful in getting and objective perspective on starting a business.
2. Take risks. Starting your own business can be scary for many reasons, but being a mom is a badass role in itself.
3. Lean on your community! Through support, collaboration, and networking I've learned so much from others on what has worked and what hasn't worked. Collaborations also give you an opportunity to either trade services or find cost effective ways in the beginning to build yours and your networks' businesses.
Do you have any stories you’d like to share that may amuse, entertain or inspire others?
One of my legacy visions is to create curriculum on financial literacy and money for the public school systems starting as early as kindergarten. I look at generational wealth as 2 main parts: the money component and the knowledge component.
When it comes to building financial generational wealth, here's the basic blueprint of a solid plan:
1. Always start and end with your "why".
2. Understand and build positive cash flow through being intentional about where your money goes.
3. Build an emergency savings.
- in the market where appropriate for your risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals
- in yourself where you can find ways to increase income
- in your business where you can find opportunities to scale and grow
- in other and the world where you can give back your time and money
5. Have the proper defensive plan in place.
- enough and the right type of life insurance, especially if you have young kids
- disability, liability and long-term care plans for "what if" situations (this is especially important for business owners!)
- a written will and trust from an estate planning attorney to protect your wealth
Generational wealth, like I mentioned, also includes the knowledge we pass down to our kids. Aside from learning about the importance of saving, investing ,and the types of accounts that are out there, it's important to talk about healthy money habits. The relationship we have with our money can be a direct reflection of how we make our money decisions. By having the conversations about money early on with our kids and getting them involved with money in age appropriate fashions, we as moms can instill valuable knowledge that can be passed down for generations to come.
Yes, yes it does!
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