It all started with the purchase of a trailer and today this businesswoman owns two companies
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Miroslava Magaña has such an inspiring story that when I finished interviewing her at the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Direccion de Empresa (IPADE) I left there feeling empowered. At 17, this entrepreneur already had a gym with a nutrition center. Before being a gym, her place was a spinning room, which she managed to put up after saving a year teaching classes as an instructor. It took him almost three and a half years to pay off the credits for the gym equipment, but he was already earning between 60,000 and 70,000 pesos a month free before reaching two decades of life.
But, Miroslava did not feel happy because she was always tired and exhausted. He had been with the gym for seven years and one day he asked himself: do I really want this business all my life? It was not an easy decision. At 14 she had been a mother and had to support her son, but she had only studied until high school.
How did this career change come about? Miros' inspiration came from an unlikely source: his brother Roberto, who was then a federal highway patrolman.
One day he went to visit her at her house and, while she complained about how tired she was of serving people 12 hours or more in the gym, he had a drink.
"I told her: 'Help me think about a business where I don't have to work a lot and that doesn't depend on whether I'm present or not,'" the entrepreneur recalled in an interview with Entrepreneur en Español .
His brother told him that a good option was to buy a cargo truck. Miros asked him incredulously what someone like her could do with a trailer, he suggested getting contacts and offering them freight transport.
“'You're not going to do anything, you're going to earn a lot and you can even become a millionaire,' Roberto told me. For some reason it seemed such a practical and simple idea that as soon as my brother left, I started looking for credit at a trucking agency ”.
They did not give it to her, but those words her brother told her were etched in Miroslava's brain and were what prompted her to get up every day.
A company that started by paying on credit and is now a millionaire
Scrap is a good deal because any type of ferrous and non-ferrous material can be 100% recycled. In the transport business, it is complicated by the theft that is increasing, as well as the price of gasoline.
Today, Miros Magaña owns two companies: Miros Transportes (fleet dedicated to cargo transportation) and MM Chatarrera (purchase and sale of scrap metal). Both companies employ 130 people. She started Miros Transportes with a used trailer that cost her 500,000 pesos; which made 15 trips a month. Today there are 15 trucks that make 250 trips a month. In Mexico there are around 4,000 companies dedicated to cargo transportation.
With his scrap metal business he started buying loads of 30 tons every 15 days. This year it goes for 30,000 tons. It currently works with three governments: Sonora, Michoacán and the State of Mexico. Nationally there are 3 million scrap dealers.
However, the origins of this entrepreneur's brands were very humble.
After the talk with her brother, Miroslava bought a used trailer for a down payment of 500 thousand pesos and the rest was settled on credit. His brother, who was in Michoacán, told him that they would upload scrap metal to the Lázaro Cárdenas municipality and that he could return with a rod. So, the entrepreneur went to knock on the doors in that state.
“A very important factor for this business to be able to compete with the other lines was to make an appearance. Go personally to the CEO and the person who pays. When they already know you, they take you into account, ”said the interviewee, noting that honesty also made people commit to her. "The owner of a company asked me how many trucks I had and I told him one."
This was the most difficult time for Miroslava because it was not the best deal nor did she earn the millions she expected. Having a trailer working back and forth every day without charge was like suicide. The first bill he was paid for hauling cargo was six months after purchasing the truck. He became enslaved. Not only did she not leave the gym that she already had (and which at the time prompted her to look for another business), but she taught in other places to earn double. He was also a model and aide-de-camp to earn more. It exploited his image 100 percent.
“To this I add that I did not know how to handle a trailer or how it was made. It was all getting money in and out of that truck. I screwed up horrible and thought: if this doesn't work, I'm going to have to go back where I don't want to. At this point I said: 'If there are some four thousand freight transport companies throughout the Mexican Republic, there must be a formula for this to be business.' So from being the most terrifying experience or the worst failure in his life, it became the greatest challenge. Because he had to find out how those companies worked.
But the road was not going to be easy. A year after starting operations, the trailer was stolen. It was a tremendous blow, however, with what he was able to save in the first six months of operation, he hitched another truck and then replaced the one that was stolen through insurance. By the fifth year of operations, it already had 10 trucks serving different states.
Image: Courtesy Miros Transportes
A second company and a new opportunity
It was precisely in the fifth year of operation Miros made a reflection that led her to create her second company, MM Chatarrera. "If I never run out of cargo, then what I load must be a better business than the trailer itself."
The friends who employed her were steel workers or scrap metal workers, so she approached them to be a scrap dealer.
“Everyone was telling me: 'No, Miros. You don't have the experience, the infrastructure, or the money. ' But my thought was: if they have industrial yards, I can also have mine. If they can, why can't I?
In one of those negotiations, a client said to him: "Hey, Miros, do you really want to be a scrap dealer?" to which she replied that that was her goal, her dream. " This valuable contact gave him some good advice: “If you want to compete there is something that scrap dealers do not have which is good business or political relations. If you lobby the government, you go to tender and you win an important project, you will be the owner, the one with the upper hand and you will be able to tell all the strong scrap dealers in Mexico I invite you and none of them will tell you no ”.
The first business that Miros began lobbying was the corralones of the State of Mexico, a project he won four years ago. He partnered with a steelmaker and a scrap dealer, and although in this company he earned the least because he had no experience, he learned a lot. Then he got the tender for the metro and corralones in Mexico City and is currently removing scrap from Michoacán.
“I didn't need to have all the money to launch a project. What I did was find that they gave me the 'Yes' and then I put together the work team. Four years ago I built my industrial yard and bought my first machine. Volvo told me: 'You have no credit history with us. But if you buy the first machine in cash and pay for it, we will sell you the second in payments. '
When he bought the machinery he encountered many enemies and last year Miros had five of his trailers stolen. "I was about to fall, but I thought about the 10 years that I have been with this business and how much I have fallen in love with it because I have learned law, engineering, politics, accounting, finance, etc."
"When your words and actions work, people follow you"
The entrepreneur recalled another day when her brother went to her vacation home , but found her angry again, this time because another trailer had been stolen. Miros was so stressed that she had not slept for several days and was fussing over her head.
However, something very curious happened: the same scene that had inspired her to start her business years ago was repeated. His brother was sitting in the living room again watching TV while having a drink. Miros approached him to ask why he had told him that the "trailer business was the simplest thing in the world and that apart from that he was going to become a millionaire."
His brother almost choked on his drink and replied laughing: “Oh, skinny! Forgive me. What happens is that that day I saw you very stressed and since you asked me for a solution, the only thing that occurred to me to tell you was to buy a truck, but I never imagined that you were going to do it ”.
Now that brother is the general director of Miros Transportes.
Miros's father is also part of this family business, although the relationship has been very difficult.
“When I got pregnant, my dad, a retired general, got so angry that he stopped talking to me for 12 years. I saw him again at the christening of a daughter of my sister and he criticized me, saying that it was going from bad to worse ”.
His father complained that he had gotten pregnant so young, for setting up a gym, modeling and, to top it all off, buying a trailer and working in Michoacán. But life had a surprise for them. Three years ago, Miros' father sought her out for help because he wanted to invest in a business and proposed to buy another trailer for the scrapyard operation.
"When your words and actions work, people follow you," he said in the interview.
Today Miros is preparing to launch a third company that manages trailers. “If people invest like two million pesos in a truck, I manage it and I charge them 10% for administration and I give them their utility. But my intention is not to handle one or three trailers, but 100 or 200 ”.
How to undertake without going crazy in the face of adversity
The interviewee gave us three tips to succeed in a complex industry (especially when you are a woman and the sector is predominantly male):
1. Turn a deaf ear when you want to undertake a project
“The criticism is almost always negative. You are already creating an idea, dream or expectation and maybe the person who listens to you has already failed or their dreams were broken or they do not have that inspiration and automatically tells you: you are going to go bankrupt, "said the businesswoman, stressing the importance of doing Ignore empty criticism and instead listen to your own instinct.
2. Don't throw away a project no matter how desperate you are
"Things do not happen quickly. Since I start a project it takes up to a year to land it. Never take your finger off the line. Be patient. It's like babies or pregnancies, whatever your project has to mature ”. Miroslava reminds that true successes do not happen overnight.
3. Dream, but act
“You are the only person who can make your dream come true. It does not depend on anyone, only on you ”, said the interviewee. "Some time ago I told a great friend: 'One day Aero Miros will exist.' Why not? Maybe in 10 years it will happen ”.