"The biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur is to believe that you can succeed without making mistakes."
- Ana Maria Carrano, Founder of VOYZ.ES
We sat down with CEO Ana Maria Carrano to learn more about the triumphs, hurdles, and lessons learned that have come during her time launching, and running, VOYZ.ES. Read about how she is making a space for you to Record Your Life and your story.
Q. What prompted you to start your venture, VOYZ.ES?
I’m a journalist from Venezuela, a country where access to information is practically non-existent. I learned how important it is for a society to have access to multiple voices in order to avoid abuse, as well as to strengthen collective memory and freedom. I was interested in finding a way to help Venezuelan people find the voices that matter to them.
I partnered with Juergen Fesslmeier, who developed a service that automatically transcribes audio into text, with the idea of creating a place where we can share voices from around the world.
This is how we started Voyzes, Record Your Life. Now we are starting to offer a customized storytelling service where we can produce your story with your own voice. It will be curated by us. We’ll guide you through the process of collecting voices and memories. We’ll also help you to do any research needed to complete the work.
Q. What has been your greatest success so far in your entrepreneurial journey and why?
To have achieved a partnership with a Venezuelan news media and have found resources to train a group of more than 40 journalists in audio storytelling. The stories produced will start an archive of relevant testimonies about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, as well as the first group of customized multimedia publications in Voyzes. This partnership will allow us to have relevant content in our platform.
Q. What is one of the most important things you have learned while building your venture?
Being more flexible and more aware to listen. Understand that there is a time when a company has a life of its own. As it happens in “6 characters in search of an author”, by Luigi Pirandello, we need to understand that the product imagined at the beginning has its own life, it gets transformed with the contact and the needs of the user, and we must learn to listen to it.
Q. What advice do you have for other aspiring women entrepreneurs?
It is important to review the personal notion of success in order to learn to see and applaud the small achievements. Being able to recognize progress at the end of each day helps us understand that progress is actually being made.
It is also necessary to understand that sustainable professional growth needs a personal balance. The road of entrepreneurship has many ups and downs. Being aware of personal values and nurturing them helps maintain a foundation of personal stability.
As a recommendation, a great resource for anyone who want to start a business is the free course “How to Build a Startup”, by Steve Blank. It provides easy information to follow, step by step, on how to build a startup. https://www.udacity.com/course/how-to-build-a-startup--ep245
Q. What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
It came from Carlos Martínez de la Serna, a fellow journalist at the J.S. Knight Fellowship 2013-14. He recommended me to review the resources I actually have and to concentrate my efforts on them, instead of spending time looking for resources I don’t have.