SEASIDE, Calif. (KION-TV) Danica Alvarado is getting ready to open her Seaside pizzeria location sometime in April.
As she sat down for an interview at Tricycle Pizza on Monday before lunch, she peeled off some paint from her pants.
She and her family have been busy plugging away at their new production facility and carry-out restaurant at the corner of Playa Avenue and Fremont Boulevard.
KION reached out to the 38-year-old as Women's History Month wraps up.
We wanted to know what advice she has for women interested in starting their own businesses.
Her best advice is to start small.
"Focus on the next step. Maybe, I can sell to my friends and family," said Alvarado. "Also be ready to walk through the door when the opportunity opens up."
A decade ago she was laid off, along with 80 percent of the employees at a company in Watsonville.
After a few months and inspiration from small business owners at the Alvarado's Farmers Market in Monterey, she found a new purpose.
"Do what lights you up and doesn't feel like work," said Alvarado. "Building a business is a lot of work and requires perseverance. Hone in on what feels natural, that if you didn't get paid for it, you would still do it."
The first-generation Latina has a love of pizza and cooking with her family.
She added being an entrepreneur came naturally to her.
As a child, she says she would resale school supplies like pencils in grade school. Her mom would buy items for about ten dollars and Danica and her twin sister made a business out of reselling them from their desks.
She's come a long way since selling pencils.
Danica is the daughter of farmworkers. She was born in Brawley and grew up in Salinas. She remembers picking strawberries for fun in the fields of Watsonville as a child.
"My parents wanted to instill a good work ethic in us," said Alvarado. "I don't take this country for granted."
Alvarado is living the American Dream and she's looking to help open the door for others.
At her new Seaside location she has a section filled with merchandise made by local entrepreneurs.
She hasn't stopped dreaming big either.
Right before the pandemic she closed her Monterey location. Instead she focused on selling her frozen pizzas to local shops from her Sand City production facility.
Tips from Alvarado for aspiring business owners:
- Think Big, but start small if needed.
- Find out if there is a need for your product or service.
- Get funding to start your business but I recommend you keep it at the lowest cost possible to launch! Usually, it will have to be friends & family to start off.
- Find out who is the best in that industry & why they are and work hard at reaching or even bypassing that level of quality.
- Think about how you can start small, but while you figure out what that step looks like; spend time getting very very good at your craft.
- There is not only a lot of competition out there so you have to set yourself apart, but you will also walk in greater confidence because you know you’ve put in the time and work to be the best in whatever area you choose to venture into.
- You don’t have to be great in a lot of things, but you do in the one thing you offer; it has to be your specialty & in turn you will never be short on customers.
- Your product has to be something people love and can’t wait to have or buy again.