Forging new lives and business south of the border, Aran and Margot Shetterly publish an English-language paper for fellow American expatriates who call Mexico home.
LatinaLista _ Margot Lee Shetterly had four great loves in her life before she met her husband Aran — business, writing, traveling and learning languages.
Margot and Aran Shetterly
Margot’s dream had always been to combine these four loves and create a business that allowed her to do all these things. As fate would have it, when Margot met her husband-to-be, she soon discovered that they had more in common than mutual attraction.
Come to find out, Aran loved all the same things Margot did.
So together the couple traveled to a foreign country — Mexico; learned another language — Spanish; and created a new media company to publish their English-language monthly, Inside MÃ©xico.
Their target audience? The over one million English speakers who live south of the border.
“When I met my husband, he had already started doing research into the possibility of starting an English-language paper in Mexico,” Margot said. “He told me about it and I couldn’t believe that there was such a large population of Americans and Canadians living in Mexico and that there was so little media.
“It seemed like a once in a lifetime business idea, as well as, adventure that would give us both the life and career we’d always wanted.”
As excited as Margot and Aran were to move to Mexico to start living their dream, they knew they had to do their homework first.
They stayed in the United States for about a year researching their idea and fine-tuning their business plan. They knew they wanted to create a product that bridged the learning gap their readers had with the laws, history, geography, arts, crafts and culture of their newly adopted homeland.
After compiling as much information as they could about the Mexican market while still living in the United States, the two knew it was time to go south.
Not quite ready to make the move permanent, Margot and Aran decided to first explore the country — just to make sure they and Mexico were a good fit. Also, they needed to find a good spot to call home.
They spent several weeks traveling the length and width of the country soaking up the culture, talking with the people, taking in the sights and analyzing the market. The couple soon realized that their idea had a good chance at succeeding.
And there was no better place to launch it than in the heart of the country — Mexico City.
Returning to the United States to get their affairs in order, not to mention a little detail like getting married, the newlyweds stuffed their Honda Element with their life possessions and spent their honeymoon migrating south.
They barely had time to set up house in their new homeland before they started looking for capital that would pay for the resources to grow their dream.
Hand-in-hand with that monumental task, the two had the daunting challenge of finding talented people who could turn their startup idea into reality.
“We raised the funding from friends, family and other angels who believed in our dream,” Margot said. “We were very fortunate to meet exceptionally talented Mexicans, Canadians and Americans with a variety of backgrounds who are now part of the Inside Mexico team.
As a result, only 11 months after arriving, Inside Mexico published their first issue in November 2006.
Content for Inside Mexico includes features, profiles, how-to articles, and a customized calendar of events section called The Guide — all aimed at demystifying Mexico for its readers.
Today, Margot and Aran have taken the distribution of Inside Mexico national. Aside from restaurants, schools and hotels in Mexico City and its surrounding suburbs, the paper is also available in over 200 sites across the country from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.
“Starting a business is always a challenge, but doing so in a different business environment and different language is particularly difficult,” Margo shared.
“Also, in Mexico, there is less of a culture of startup businesses than in the U.S., so getting to this point has probably taken longer here in Mexico than it would have back home.”
But driven to succeed because they loved what they were doing helped Margot and Aran to take that all-important first step to — hazlo.
Margot shares three tips on starting a new business — anywhere in the world:
1. Surround yourself with people who share your dream.
2. Know that it’s not easy. If following a dream were easy, everyone would do it. There will be times when the road to your dream is long and difficult, and understanding that this is part of the journey will make it easier to keep going.
3. Be flexible. Things may not turn out exactly as you planned. There will be twists and turns and surprises along the way, but don’t be discouraged. Being flexible and responsive to change will keep you moving, and may even help you find a better way forward.