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Description

Our guests today are Alex and Yvette Valencia from We Do Web

Both went into banking in their early years where they began laying the groundwork for how they would manage and build their business today. 

When the 2008 financial crisis hit and they had their first child, Alex and Yvette were let go of their jobs. Alex would end up taking this time to be the primary caretaker of their first born and Yvette would start exploring how she should could use her skills in ways outside of banking.

The result was We Do Web Content. 

It’s become more common place for companies to talk about human connection. But some cynics, like me, wonder how real this is at times. In today’s episode, Luke, Alex, and Yvette talk about how a passion and drive for human connection really is at the heart of everything they do, overcoming the discomforts of networking, and what it is like to tag-team entrepreneurship.

Transcription

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Yvette Valencia:

You have to keep your mind and your heart open to people.

Alex Valencia:

And you’ve got to lead with love.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. And as much bad news as we see every day, there are many, many, many more good people in this world. And so don’t allow yourself to become jaded.

Luke W Russell:

Welcome to Lawful Good, Powerful Partners. A Series about interesting and caring folks that we know and trust, whose journeys brought them to collaboration with the legal community. I’m your host, Luke W. Russell. I’m not a journalist. I’m not an attorney. I’m trained as a coach. I love human connection and that’s what you’re about to hear. My guests today are Alex and Yvette Valencia from We Do Web. Both went into banking in their early years where they began laying the groundwork for how they would build and manage their business today. When the 2008 financial crisis hit and they had their first child, Alex and Yvette were let go of their jobs. Alex would end up taking this time to be the primary caretaker of their firstborn and Yvette would start exploring how she could use her skills in ways outside of banking. The result was We Do Web Content. It’s become more commonplace for companies to talk about human connection but some cynics like me wonder how real this is at times.

Luke W Russell:

In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about how a passion and drive for human connection really is at the heart of everything they do, overcoming the discomforts of networking, and what it is like to tag team entrepreneurship. Alex, from my understanding, you were a pretty tight knit family growing up. Where did you live in those formative years?

Alex Valencia:

Well, we started in Paterson, New Jersey and then moved our way into Clifton, New Jersey, then Columbia for a series of months or almost a year, then to south Florida. I’ve been here since, so over 30 years now in south Florida.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I believe your dad came to the US in the ’70s and I’m told he was a mathematician and a great seller.

Alex Valencia:

Yes. So my dad got a scholarship surprisingly to University of Florida. It was called the Albert Einstein Scholarship for mathematicians. So he was able to study in UF for quite some time, but still considered entrepreneurship and working in the family business more important and went back to Columbia. And then I think they left that and then moved to New Jersey and just kind of started the whole American dream, working at factories, just trying to learn English and growing from there.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. By the way, what was the family business back in Columbia?

Alex Valencia:

My dad and his brothers grew up very, very poor. So they would go from city to city selling things. So they would either buy fabrics, costume jewelry and stuff and sell it all over the country. So my dad’s older brother, George was the one selected to go to school. And then my dad at around 11 or 12 had to go with his older older brother to sell. So they went from house to a house selling in the neighborhood. Eventually having one of the biggest stores in the Caribbean part of Columbia, [foreign language 00:03:25] where he met my mom. He had a store so he would be one of those soapbox salesmen outside of the store selling, screaming, bringing in … Really charismatic type person. And he would see my mom walking because my grandfather had a hardware store across the street from their store. So he’d see her walking to school all the time. So he went and asked her dad if they could date at a very young age. So that’s how they met and eventually moving to the United States together.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I love that. What type of brother were you?

Alex Valencia:

Following my brother’s lead. He was like a big hero to me. He’s seven years older than me. My dad was gone a lot traveling on business. So it was my brother, myself and my mom a lot. So just kind of growing up, he was one of those really good brothers that wasn’t like, “Hey, get out of here kid. You’re bugging me.” He was one of those kids that embraced it. Took on that role where he took care of me. Always bought me clothes when he got to a certain age. So I guess I was the one that always looked up to him. I would always say I was generous too because I always saved all my money. Birthday money. I was a very young entrepreneur stuff. So I would sell stuff in first, second grade. Whatever I’d find I would sell it. So I’d always have a lot of money for Christmas and stuff. So much so where my dad and my brother would always borrow money from me and I would tax them on it.

Luke W Russell:

That’s fantastic. So your brother described you at least at some point in your growing up as lazy when it came to cleaning and helping with chores.

Alex Valencia:

Still. I’m still that guy.

Luke W Russell:

He said so much so that your parents would tell your brother that he couldn’t go out and play outside until you Alex had done your chores.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. So he eventually had to pick that up and I guess without knowing, manipulated the situation where it was like, “Well, I’m not going to do anything if you’re going to do it.” So my brother is a freak at laundry till this day and cleaning, where I got to get to the place where we’re paying somebody to do it or Yvette’s going to do it. But I still don’t enjoy it. I’ll do it because I have to do it and show the example to the kids. But yeah, I was very lazy when it came to laundry, cleaning up. I kept my room tidy, my toys tidy, but cleaning bathrooms or doing laundry or even raking up the leaves or anything in the backyard was horrendous and I hated it.

Luke W Russell:

A survey recently conducted by a parenting forum, Mumsnet, they surveyed roughly 1,100 parents and 1,100 grandparents and asked if they had a favorite child or grandchild. And while the question’s touchy best, 23% of parents answered that they do in fact have a favorite child while 42% of grandparents also agreed. Of the parents who said they have a favorite, 56, so more than half, said they preferred their youngest child. Yvette, do you think Alex grew up with the privilege that comes with being the favorite child?

Yvette Valencia:

If you ask him, he would say yes.

Alex Valencia:

I would agree and disagree. I think along with the privilege of being the favorite … And there’s a long history of why it could have happened that I became the favorite. It’s because I almost wasn’t here. My mom had five children and lost … My brother was the first and she lost three in between and I almost did not survive either. So I was a three month old preemie. So it was hard for them to almost lose me. I was in the hospital for five months. Full blood transfusion from my father. So I think their fear of losing me was one thing. The second thing is not only was I privileged, but I believe I also carried the burden of the family for a really long time too.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Today you have a beautiful family, kiddos. Growing up did you have that sense that you’d want to be a dad someday?

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. It was a dream, a passion. Sometimes I’ll look out in my yard and think, thank you God for answered prayers. Like the dream came true. And I always tell myself, you always got to be careful how specific your dreams are because they do come true. Your prayers are answered. So I would say, God blessed to me with an amazing wife, two amazing children, and he knows what he’s doing with everyone that he gives to, that he blesses. Because he knows I can only handle so much as far as patience and stuff. So I have two very amazing, easy kids. I would say they’re fairly easy. A wife who is trusting, loving. I mean, you know my personality. I travel a lot. So to have someone that supports you and trusts in you and allows you the Liberty to be yourself is one of those things that only God can do and bring a person in your life that compliments you. And I think we both compliment each other that way.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Did you all grow up going to church with regularity?

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. I grew up Catholic. I think Yvette did. Kind of Christian more so right?

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. Baptized Catholic but as long as I could remember as a kid we would go to Christian services and my dad was always preachy because he didn’t really follow his advice, but he definitely built that foundation for us where we had that moral compass and that voice in our heads that would steer us away from making really bad choices.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now Alex, did you fall in love with theater in grade school?

Alex Valencia:

I fell in love with performing because I was so bored and lonely for so long. So my sister-in-law would come over all the time and I would entertain her. I was never really into sports. Like I said, martial arts, ninja stuff growing up. And I never really found my thing. I’d always play stuff. I’d be with my friends. But I was just discouraged from it because I never had that person showing me how to do it. So once I got into ninth grade drama was a class that I took and it was like, wow, I think I finally found my people. It was enlightening. I just couldn’t believe that there were other people like that that liked to perform, that felt something that whatever bottled up energy or emotion they had, you could turn it in and become someone else.

Alex Valencia:

And I think that’s what was so great about acting. It was like, I don’t know that I loved being who I was. I’d rather be somebody else. We all I think eventually create a persona that we’re happy with based on the people that you surround yourself with and you learn from. But acting was so great because there was this bottled up energy that I felt like I wasn’t expressing. And I had two really amazing drama teachers. Mr. And Mrs. McCabe. They were a husband and wife team and they were absolutely awesome. They taught me so much and almost psychologically brought out this talent. I still to this day will probably go back one day and do theater because I’m pretty amazing at it to be modest.

Yvette Valencia:

One time I can remember we would take the boys to this basketball clinic that was run twice a week and there was a very small community theater program there. And we would walk by it to get to the boys’ gym. And they were holding auditions for an adult community theater-

Alex Valencia:

Play.

Yvette Valencia:

Right? Play. And Alex just out of nowhere says, “I’m going to go audition.” And he auditions and they fall in love with him and offer him one of the main lead roles.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. They called me that night. They’re like, “I don’t know if you were expecting this, but we sent everybody home and you’re the lead.” And I started cracking up and I’m like, “There was no way. I have to apologize. I travel a lot for work.” There was no-

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah, you were traveling.

Alex Valencia:

“There was no way I thought I would actually ever get this part. And I’m so sorry. I don’t know that I could make the time commitment.” They’re like, “Well, can you try? We’ll work it around you.” And I’m like, “I’m sorry. It’s not fair to everyone else for me to take this on, especially if I can’t give 100%.” But it was funny. It was one of those things like, man, do I still have it?

Luke W Russell:

Oh my gosh. That’s so fantastic. Yvette, what kind of kid … How would you describe yourself in your maybe, I don’t know, elementary grade school years?

Yvette Valencia:

I know that I always wanted to do everything at 100% and I’m still that way. Some people might call it a perfectionist and maybe so, but I when I do something, I want to do it to the best of my ability. So I was studious. I loved school. I always tried to get involved with things happening. We had a big writer’s conference happening every year. Student council. Just whatever was going on I tried to get involved. Chorus. I wanted so badly to be in the gifted program and I finally achieved that. And so I was an overachiever I guess but maybe not as apparent as one would think.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Your friend Kelly recalled a time when the two of you created a book together and she said she was the author and you were the artist.

Yvette Valencia:

I was, yeah. That was a book that I worked on with her. That was the second year that they held that conference. The first year I wrote a book and illustrated it and I won first place for my grade in the county that year. And then our book together won first place for our grade in the county that year also.

Luke W Russell:

Oh my gosh. And dancing. When did you discover a love for moving to music?

Yvette Valencia:

Oh my gosh. I love dancing. I obsess watching videos of people who can dance really well and if my kids wouldn’t be so traumatized over it, I probably would have a TikTok. Oh my God-

Alex Valencia:

She’s like music video dancing. She’s good.

Yvette Valencia:

But they would hate it. Yeah.

Alex Valencia:

She’s good.

Yvette Valencia:

I’ve always loved to dance as long as I can remember. Alex and I have a joke but my dad used to come home really late and he would sometimes bring friends over to the house and he’d wake us all up. And he would ask me to do whatever cool trendy dance I knew at the time. Whether it was the snake or whatever it was. And he’d have me do it for his friends.

Luke W Russell:

Your mother is Cuban if I have that right and you grew up with a lot of Cubano meals.

Yvette Valencia:

Oh my gosh. Yes.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Did you cook alongside your mother growing up?

Yvette Valencia:

No, never. In fact, my aunt was the one who showed me … My two aunts. Once we moved to Miami, they were the ones who showed me how to cook and would often invite me into the kitchen. And that’s where I really finessed my culinary skills.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. At what age? I believe you grew up in California and then moved to Miami around 16. Is that right?

Yvette Valencia:

Yep. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. When you got to Miami, do you remember that getting acquainted to new school, new friends, new environment?

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. I felt like it was such a time warp. Moving from Los Angeles to Miami even though Miami would be considered another metropolis, it was so backwards to me. Everyone seemed like they were from another era and I was this alien transplant that just didn’t really fit in with anyone. So it was really strange. Especially that first year. It was difficult to adjust but I was a strong kid. I have a strong personality, so I didn’t feel brought down by it but rather just another thing I had to get through.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. When you were looking to the future as you’re nearing the end of high school, what were you looking forward to or hoping to get out of the next stage of life?

Yvette Valencia:

I really wanted to go to an amazing university and I didn’t have the grades at the time and the money honestly. So I didn’t even bother applying to any big universities. And so I ended up going to community college and I got pretty far there before I got a really good job and decided that I’d rather be working.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Yeah. Now Alex, you studied I believe finance and arts for your undergraduate at Broward. Do I have those two right?

Alex Valencia:

Yep. That’s correct.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. What does a degree like that entail? It feels like two opposites.

Alex Valencia:

My dream was I was going to be this amazing New York stockbroker. I went through so many things. I remember watching different TV shows and that’s what I was going to be. Then I was going to be an actor. So finance was just one of those things where I just needed to learn enough to continue to stay in the banking industry and eventually go get my series seven and stuff. But I didn’t do that. Again, like I said, you’re always … I felt like I was carrying and helping my parents a lot and school wasn’t my thing. I did much better in college than I ever did in high school or middle school. I think finally it clicked and school started making sense where it didn’t make sense before. Probably just because of the independence and the creativity. Teachers are different.

Alex Valencia:

So in college it was better. But then I got a job at an amazing company. Actually Yvette and I were in the same drama class. I think it was my second year of school. And I shortly quit class. I quit drama too just to go full-time. I got this job at a company called First Mortgage Network. That skyrocketed my career for the next decade. And the money was so good there was no point in going back to school. There was nothing that I didn’t learn there that school could teach me. And at that point I just knew my path.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And so did you actually know each other when you first met each other? Like, did you actually get to know each other at this time when you’re in your drama class together or were you strangers for quite some time after that?

Yvette Valencia:

At our drama class, they loved to have these improvisation exercise moments and that might have been our first class ever that semester for that particular class. That was the first day. And they did this improv exercise and they chose scene partners. And I think for our scene there was maybe six people and Alex and I were sitting next to each other and we had been given the task of being students in this classroom. And I think it was an elementary classroom and Alex decides he wants to pull my hair.

Alex Valencia:

I was sitting behind her so I was the annoying … I liked her and pulled her hair.

Yvette Valencia:

Right, right. And so that was our fateful meeting. The day that we met was in that class, in that scene. I think had one more class together. And then yeah, he was gone. And I was like, “Whoa, what happened to that guy?”

Alex Valencia:

What happened to that really handsome annoying guy? Yeah. And then we ran into each other in line at the bar for my company’s Christmas party. And she was behind me. She’s like, “What are you doing here?” And I said, “What are you doing here?”

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. That was a year later.

Alex Valencia:

And it turned out she was working at the same place while still going to school.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. So our company … Alex said it was a pretty big company. They had maybe three or four buildings at that time where different staff was performing different functions for the company. And they brought us all together during that Christmas party and that’s where we saw each other a year later.

Luke W Russell:

So you two meet at the bar for this company party, then you reconnect. Then what happens between the two of you?

Yvette Valencia:

So we were both in relationships at the time and whether there was some attraction there or not, it wasn’t anything we were looking at seriously, but we did build a friendship through sharing audition information with each other and talking about crazy situations we might have come across at these auditions and we even saw each other at one. And that was pretty much it. And then over time, Alex really, really grew on my heart and I loved his personality. He was so funny. He always made me laugh.

Alex Valencia:

Yvette’s the type of girl who’s more of a guy’s girl. So she was the only girl allowed out with me and the guys for lunch or breakfast. It was all a sales team and Yvette obviously had hustled and worked her way up into a big position in the company. So now at this point, we’re all in the same building. So she would be invited to lunch with us and all the guys all the time. And one of our other really good friends, Mark Alfrey was like, “Man, you guys just have way too much chemistry. You guys are going to end up together.” This and that. It wasn’t the right timing. Like so much so where guys would be like, “Oh my God, Yvette’s gorgeous. Are you dating her?” And I’m like, “No, man. Go date her. Go talk to her. Yeah, here’s some tips. Here’s what she likes.”

Alex Valencia:

And she would be like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you did that to me.” It wasn’t the right timing and she was so special that it had to be right timing because there was an attraction. We did grow an amazing friendship. A trusting good, fun, honest relationship where we didn’t hold anything back. So much so I think I probably burdened her with all my relationship troubles. So she knew enough about me to still like me. So it had to be the right timing. And eventually Mark Alfrey said, “I told you so.” So much so where our old bosses are like, “Man, you guys are one of the most amazing things that came out of that company.” Like we still keep in touch with the people from that because we built such a big family.

Alex Valencia:

They were such a pivotal-

Yvette Valencia:

Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Alex Valencia:

Part of our lives. We were young. We were in our early 20s. We made a career because of what we learned from the opportunities they gave us. Our home, learning about children, learning about business, learning about life. Just learning about things that we would’ve missed out on based on the culture that we’re in. Because it’s not common for our culture to learn that. To step out above where we’ve become to the states that we are in our lives. They were amazing at it. And we were very fortunate to have that part of our lives together with them.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. So in May … If I have my days right, May, 2008, Yvette is when you start We Do Web Content. Do I have that timeline right?

Yvette Valencia:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

And so was this your idea or … And also I guess maybe in the backdrop, are you two together yet in 2008?

Yvette Valencia:

Yes. Alex and I started dating officially in 2000 and we got married in 2004 and bought our house a year before that. So yeah, we are definitely together.

Luke W Russell:

Okay.

Yvette Valencia:

When I started We Do Web Content just to give you a little bit of background, I was still working in the mortgage industry although I had left that company that we speak so fondly of and started working for another company that was based out of New York City. And my department was all in New York City and they wanted to start something similar in south Florida. So I had the background and they offered me the position and I was going to be starting up this training and development department for this other mortgage company. And in that time I got pregnant and went on maternity leave. And the mortgage crisis was happening all around the same time. And when I was set to come back, I call my boss and she says, “I’m so sorry to deliver this news but we’re laying you off.” And it was a blessing in disguise to me because I had no idea that a three month old baby would be so tiny and that I would not be ready to go back to work and leave him at home.

Yvette Valencia:

So she follows that news up with, “We’re going to give you six months severance.” And I was like, hallelujah. I don’t have to go back to work. I can stay with my baby and got pregnant six months after having our first child. And about nine months after that, after having our second child, I just started putting my feelers out again for work and knew that I had really transferable skills and could really go anywhere with the training that I’d had.

Yvette Valencia:

And got in touch with a good friend of ours. He had a project that he didn’t want to work on himself and it was a website and he needed someone to be a project manager for that and write all the content and do everything that needed to be done for it to perform well. He was ahead of his time as usual. And once I did that, I taught my myself SEO. At least the on page SEO. And I guess user experience. It wasn’t labeled at the time, but how people would look for information on the website. And we just worked together to build this amazing resource for his law firm. And when the site launched, it did really, really well. And the web design team was really shocked at the performance. And they said, “Who did your content? Who wrote all of this stuff?” And he said, “Yvette did.” And a light bulb went off in my head like I can easily do this for other busy attorneys. And that’s what I did. And they started sending me business.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And Alex, you joined maybe a year later?

Alex Valencia:

Yes.

Luke W Russell:

And what was your role at this point? Were you coming straight to do sales?

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. I came in directly to do sales and grow it. So by that time Yvette had three clients and probably four writers already?

Yvette Valencia:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex Valencia:

I just started hitting LinkedIn and introducing myself to other lawyers and Ben Glass was pivotal in our growth. He recognized a lot of the work that we did and invited us to his conference. Foster Web Marketing conference, Great Legal Marketing. And there we were able to really grow our business substantially and quickly. Just what we were doing was working and working immediately. The internet wasn’t saturated yet. We were the only content company out there. Nobody was generating content. And I don’t even mean in the legal space. Like there were no content companies developing content outside of teams internally. And if there were, it was like two or three. So Yvette really kind of pioneered this whole content growth, especially for law firms.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Did you have a detailed business plan or were you all taking things in stride?

Yvette Valencia:

There was never a formal business plan. At least not on paper. Ken is an extremely astute business person and a great guide and mentor for myself, for Alex. And so he definitely helped me to see the direction in growing the company as far as being able to sustain the amount of volume that would be required to take a website from zero to performing really, really well bringing in thousands of visits a month. So I still use that benchmark as my guide when we grow our production line.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. He was pivotal in the building the foundation of our business because even though I managed my own business, it was just my own thing. I still worked for a company, but I managed my own big book of business. So we never imagined where it would go. At the time we were charging differently. Prices obviously went up. Instead of recurring income, we would be charging quarterly. So a lot of things evolved and changed but we learned so much about how he did business and structured a business that that’s how Yvette built the operations our team.

Yvette Valencia:

Not much has changed because it’s such a strong foundation.

Alex Valencia:

And we deal in volume. So you have to have a production line, you have a process, and you have to have a system. And at this point we have a formula for production, for growth, for volume, and for quality. It’s something that a lot of people cannot compete with.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Now, how did you two relationally … Not only Yvette co-founded this company, Alex is coming in, but you also have a two year old, a three year old, roughly and that’s stressful just for anybody. And how did you two find yourself maybe being challenged as a couple and also maybe how did you surprise yourselves?

Yvette Valencia:

Good question. Before Alex joined us, as I mentioned before, there was a mortgage crisis going on and I had been laid off and Alex was slowly on the same path and was also set up with a nice severance. So when I went back to work, he stayed home with the boys and then he had help from my mother-in-law and my mom. And thank God for them. And I always say to people when they’re having kids, if you’ve got your in-laws or your parents around, it’s the most amazing thing. We never ever had to worry about hiring a babysitter or putting our kids in daycare, nothing. The first time they ever saw a building was when they started school. They were always at home. So that’s what really helped us through was Alex during that first year of business and then my mom and my mother-in-law the rest of the time. If we didn’t have them, I really don’t know how we would’ve dealt with the stresses of starting a new business.

Yvette Valencia:

Looking back, I don’t feel that tremendous stress or pressure that one would think you’d go through starting a brand new business. It almost came so easily in the beginning. It grew very quickly. And I think the most stressful thing, which is still one of the most challenging things about running a business is getting talent. Getting and keeping it.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Did you ever feel like things were growing too fast and maybe like you were going to lose control and things would implode?

Alex Valencia:

I don’t know that we thought it was going to implode, but you always like it’s too good to be true. Like the same thing happened with the mortgage industry, right? Like this is only going to go for so long.

Yvette Valencia:

It was a whirlwind.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a lot of things like you don’t see on Instagram or like everybody who’s saying, “Oh my gosh, my business is growing. We made the Inc. 500. We did this.” But nobody sees all the backend stuff. Nobody sees the struggles. No one sees the stress. Like, “Oh my God, we lost a client. We got to make sure we’re providing for the client. We got to do this.” So now you have the pressure. Even as an entrepreneur, you always have a boss and your boss is your client. And how do I perform the best for that client? How do I perform best for my employees and continue that leadership? But honestly, I don’t know. I think we have such a strong foundation and faith that we don’t let stress take over. I think we have a 24 hour like all right, I’m going to lose my shit for a little while and then-

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah, that’s true.

Alex Valencia:

Get back on the horse. Let’s go. We can’t wait around for stuff to happen. Let’s make it happen. So I think we both live by that. And then as far as a couple working together, I don’t know if that was one of your questions. We were so used to working in the same environment for so long that it felt like it was already set up. Yvette always worked the operations of our old business and I worked the sales. So even coming into this, it was the same roles. Like we know our strengths.

Yvette Valencia:

You play to your strengths. That’s the key.

Alex Valencia:

Like I don’t drive into her section and she doesn’t want anything to do … Although I know she would excel way more than I ever have in the business development of it. But we just stay on each other’s side.

Luke W Russell:

I would imagine certainly over the last 12 years there had to be some moments where you two butted heads. As a couple and professionals collaborating on this company, how did you approach that? How did you get through it in a way to where you’re still joyfully working together years later?

Yvette Valencia:

There was a lull in our business life that I don’t know that we … We just couldn’t find a way to continue growing and we were just stuck. And it’s hard when you think you see opportunities and the other person doesn’t see it and you’re their wife or you’re their husband. And to say to that person, “Hey, this is what you have to do.” Then it becomes this thing where, okay, my wife’s telling me what to do, or my husband’s telling you what to do. And so you have to be very mindful in how you present things so the person feels as though they’re involved in the decision making and you’re not just being told what to do. So it’s maintaining a level of respect and appreciation for that person’s talent. If things fail, they fail and like Alex said, you pick yourself up, brush your shoulders off and start again.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. And there have been … I’m not the organized detail type. So I tried to take over our website development. I think two failed attempts at it till Yvette finally thank God took over. Because to me everything’s like, all right, that looks good, whatever. Misspellings, bad design or anything like that. For me, it’s just like, let’s get it over with. I want it done. But Yvette’s more specific, more planned, more appropriate, which is why I should have stated my lane.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. When you’re pragmatic and you pay attention to detail at recognizing that if that’s not your strength, you need to give that task to someone else. And Alex is great at so many things. He’s an idea person, a visionary, and I’m very detail oriented. We write content for a living, so it has to be perfect. And we’re not always going to be perfect, but it has to go through the right measures so that things are correct.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. And have you learned anything about teamwork that you never hear about in books?

Yvette Valencia:

I’ve never seen it said in a book that you really need to put your ego aside and your desire to want to be heard aside a lot more than you think. When you’re working as a team … And it goes back to what I was just saying. You really have to recognize what each person’s talents are. And sometimes you don’t want to admit that that’s your talent, but if that’s your talent and everybody sees that it’s the strength of yours, then you best heed that call. So that’s the overarching thing about teamwork is assign things, assign tasks to the talents that you have and that team will flourish.

Yvette Valencia:

If you’re making someone do something that they’re not great at, even if they want to do it, chances are they’re not going to feel good about it. They’re not going to feel successful. They’re not going to blossom as part of that team.

Luke W Russell:

When we come back Alex and Yvette will talk about the challenges of imparting empathy and a meaningful work ethic to their children and why gratitude is essential for living a fulfilling life. Stay with us. I’m Luke W. Russell and you’re listening to Lawful Good.

Luke W Russell:

Season two is about powerful partners. Interesting and caring folks that we know and trust whose journeys brought them to collaboration with the legal community. In our next episode of Business Spotlight, Alex and I discuss what their company, We Do Web has to offer and if it is something that would benefit you or someone you know. By highlighting companies like We Do Web, we create an opportunity to help make Lawful Good possible financially. As you can probably imagine, Lawful Good requires an enormous amount of resources to make happen. One way we’re making this show possible is by featuring people we know, like, and trust. Many of whom we have a referral relationship with. After you finish up this episode, check out the business spotlight to learn more about We Do Web and how they help attorneys thrive in their markets.

Luke W Russell:

When we left off Alex and Yvette were telling us they helped to pioneer web content creation for the legal profession. As we pick up the conversation, we’ll learn how introverts can succeed in sales and how they’re communicating the lessons they’ve learned to their teenage kids. How has your faith affected your approach to your business?

Yvette Valencia:

Wow. In so many ways. For me it’s really allowed me to be empathetic, compassionate, and patient. And I use those virtues every single day. Because when you’re working with a big team of people and so many personalities, you have to take a step back and say, what could this person be going through? How can I alleviate some of that burden and support them in some way so that they feel cared for and valued? And in turn they’re going to give their best to you.

Alex Valencia:

On my end … And I’m going to take this. It’s a quote from a show I recently saw. It said, “If you’re going to ask God to move mountains, make sure you know you’re going to wake up next to some shovels.” Because you got to do it on your own. You ask and you have faith in it. This whole business, like Yvette said, there’s been very little bumps, very little stress. It just seems like sometimes it came so easy and I think that’s all faith based. Our goal has always been to be generous and give back although it’s not one of those things we publicize and all that. But it’s important to us. Not only to our staff, but to everyone around us in generosity.

Alex Valencia:

I travel a lot and I think when I first started, it was such a scary thing. Although I’ve always been in sales, I was never really in the networking. I think I love the new word introverted extrovert. Because I had a hard time talking to people that I don’t really know or getting over the fact that these are super wealthy, successful people and I feel like I’m burdening them by trying to sell them something. So for me it was how do I get to know them? How do I feel who they are? How do I make them inclusive? For so long it was so tough for me to meet people going to these conferences and I remember being lonely. So when I built my popularity and got to be part of the cool crowd if you will, for me it was important to bring in other people that I saw that were new and bring them around and introduce them and show them. I wanted to make it easier for them than it would be for me.

Alex Valencia:

And that all comes through what would Jesus do? Faith. What would you do in that situation? Because it was horrible. I remember calling Yvette in my hotel and being like, “Oh my God, I feel so lonely. I don’t even know what to do.” It was horrible. It was really, really hard. And for years it took me to actually get into it to build the courage to actually do it. And when she traveled with me, it was a lot better at the time. It’s always better to have a buddy. When Jason and I started going and traveling together it changed the world. Because I just fed off him. He has such a good energy. He’s the type that can walk up to anybody. Compliment them and do that. So you learn from that. You learn from it. And that was one of the things that we didn’t learn from Ken because he was the same way.

Alex Valencia:

We’d all be three in a networking. He’s like, “Well, you go first, you go first, you go first.” So it was nice to be put on stage. Being on stage is a lot easier than walking up to and networking with people because now once you’re on stage, people come to you. So that was one of those amazing benefits and blessings.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. I’m curious, how else did you find yourself cultivating that courage? Because for anybody who knows you in today’s form and like I think of Alex, I think of the person who’s at the bar telling the story that everybody’s listening to. If I think of somebody who’s like, wow, that person’s an amazing networker, you’re going to be one of the people who’s on the top of my list. Are there any other markers along that way? And I can totally relate to this speaking making things so much easier when people come to you. How did you build that? How did you overcome this fear of going up and starting conversations?

Alex Valencia:

I still have the fear. So I don’t know that I’ve overcome it. I just attack it head on and I find someone. There’s a book and actually a TV show that we used to watch. The Pickup Artist. So if you’re the person at the bar at a table, someone laughing and creating an environment, other people start showing up. So it’s easier when they come to you to do that. If I am the guy at the bar it’s always been very easy for me to, “Hey, I’m going to pick up the tab. You remember?” I grabbed a whole bunch of vendors. It was easy for me to meet all the vendors and become friends with all the vendors and just buy everyone’s shots. Now they would invite people. So they would do it.

Alex Valencia:

That would be like my herd. As opposed to walking up to somebody feeling like I needed something from them. I wanted to give something back. So now when I meet people … And one of my partners, Gary now said to me the other day, he goes, “You’re the guy that everybody loves and wants to be the friend, but not necessarily buy something from.” So it’s still a thing that’s burdensome because it’s hard for me to make that next step and close that deal. For me it could be a short relationship where eventually they ask, “Hey man, how can you help me?” Or eventually, it could be five years down the road. I remember I was friends with an attorney for years till he did business with me. But we would text and talk all the time and never said, “Hey man, when are we doing business?” So I think it’s still a burden. It’s just now I don’t need to worry about it now because I think we hired someone that’s going to do that for me. But I think for me, it’s just, I just like building relationships and eventually they’ll see the value in what I provide and it’ll come from there. It’s probably a slow sale, but that’s kind of what’s worked till this day and it’s just what I had going on for me.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Alex, was there any defining moments for you when you look back that feel like things started to shift for you in your sense of being lonely?

Alex Valencia:

There was a period between fifth and ninth grade where family life and finances and everything were a big burden. Kids shouldn’t have to carry that. And I carried a lot of family burdens. It wasn’t my family. I had a loving, nurturing family. My father was amazing.

Yvette Valencia:

But they expected a lot from you.

Alex Valencia:

My mom was great. But they expected a lot or I just knew too much. You just know too much. And you carry that. You bring it into school with you. You bring it in your relationships. And you when I was growing up in south Florida and especially in Broward county, I was probably one of the only Spanish kids in a white neighborhood. So all my American friends, their parents were well off. They had a beautiful house, they owned their homes. They had cars that worked. They probably had two cars. We could barely keep the lights on or the water. Credit cards were … Actually not even credit cards. Either the light bill or water bill was in my name. The cable bill till everything got shut off. We pawned stuff to turn the lights on and stuff. So it was like you were kind of living this whole other life in a world where everyone else was progressing and no one really knew what you were going through.

Alex Valencia:

But yet my house was the safe zone. All my friends loved being in my home just because my parents were loving. They were cooking. They were nurturing. They were there. They never knew the lights were off. They never knew we got kicked out of the house. They never knew any of that stuff. Because there was always love. There was always love. But you just feel alienated because here I am living this life and hiding all this stuff because you would never even know what it’s like. So I think like I said drama was a big thing. Getting my own job. Once my parents got a little bit of stability we all worked together doing janitorial work. So that was good. We worked together as a family. My brother was working. He was helping out. And eventually he left early on and got married. But stability helps in that.

Luke W Russell:

And then when you find yourself in the 2010s networking and initially in those early … You commented that you still felt really lonely at these events. When you go now, I guess, do you still feel lonely or do you feel like you’ve overcome that to some degree?

Alex Valencia:

I get anxiety three days prior. And then I get there … I get off the plane. I’ll probably usually grab a drink. Just like all right, let me grab a drink with a friend or something and just kind of bring the anxiety down. Meditation and prayers helped a lot. But still I still get there and it’s lonely and it’s … It’s just a different part of your life. Like you’d always rather be home with your family, but you know it’s one of those things you got to do. And don’t get me wrong, I have fun. Once I get in there and all my friends show up and we’re going out and we’re having dinner and we’re having conversations … Like how amazing was your dinner? You would’ve never thought in one moment that I had anxiety going into it.

Alex Valencia:

And everyone I sat around, it felt like because of your questions or because of whatever questions the Lord puts in me, I was able to bring out the people that were around me. So much so were they’re now having personal conversations with me, telling me how they feel, whatever. That’s the world I like living in. I don’t want to be there selling somebody. I want be there getting to know someone. What is it about them that makes them thrive? Why do they love what they do? What’s burdening them or whatever? I remember leaving that and every single day after that dinner, I had those conversations where someone felt like they had to come to me and release some kind of burden. And that’s a happy place for me. That gets rid of the anxiety. That gets rid of the loneliness because I feel like I’m giving back.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. How then did you all start to merge this idea of human connection and your values into the business of writing and selling?

Yvette Valencia:

I mean, it’s at every point in our process. That human connection. It starts with connecting with the client and figuring out who their target audience is. And yeah, one can say that all personal injury attorneys have the same audience, but not necessarily. You’re in different locations. People speak in different ways. Describe things differently. Ask questions differently. So it starts with getting to know the client. And we’ve always said that about our business that makes us stand apart was that we would have this long interview with our client and have a profile built on them. And that profile is something that we use for each of our … Well, we create for each of our clients and it just lays out the groundwork for the content that we’re going to produce for their firms. But then you also connect with the writer. When I’m recruiting writers I have to feel that certain something. And not just with my writers, but with my editors and the supervisors and just everyone. There has to be a certain something that I feel from them and that maybe they feel from me and we connect in a way that will benefit the entire team. Culture is huge for us. And you can’t get culture without making a connection. A human connection.

Alex Valencia:

And I think we look at them as friends. I would say 95% of all of my clients, I’ve had a beer or a coffee with. And that’s where you know what are their goals? What culture do they have? Who’s their family? Why are they doing this? Why do they want to grow their firm? Why is this business important to them? And that’s where it comes in. That’s where you get that human connection.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Do your kids participate at all with the business?

Yvette Valencia:

No. I don’t even think they know what we do. They don’t even think I work. They only think Alex works. So that’s hilarious. That’s a running joke at our house. We’ve wanted to get our oldest son who’s really into the arts … He’s an amazing graphic artist. And just in any medium he could really kill it. And so we were thinking that he’d be great at designing websites or logos. He has no interest. He refuses to work within parameters and timeframes.

Alex Valencia:

Like many artists. A true artist.

Luke W Russell:

Yep. Yep. Thinking about the last year and a half, people have experienced a lot of challenges with the pandemic. Were you forced to make any new decisions that you hadn’t really previously faced?

Yvette Valencia:

Yes. Alex and I come from a big office culture environment. That’s how when we first started working, it was you were in an office. There was no question. There was no flex time. There was no work from home days. It was you were in an office Monday through Friday and at a specific time and that was it. If you couldn’t keep that schedule, you needed to find another job. So when the pandemic hit, we had already been giving our staff flex time and allowing people to work from home. So then when the pandemic hit we were forced to make the decision that the entire workforce would be remote. Luckily for us, it doesn’t matter where we do our work. We can do it from anywhere, at any time and the interruption would be minimal. And that’s exactly what we experienced was everyone maintained their productivity.

Yvette Valencia:

The one thing that was lost … And I don’t know that our staff would agree with us is … Maybe some of them would. Is that human connection. It dulls. It really, really dulls when you’re forced to do it on a screen. And when you don’t have those little spur of the moment conversations that can spark up in the kitchen or outside the office or at a happy hour, whatever, you lose that. And that’s been the biggest loss for me. And I know Alex really feels that loss too. And I hope that we can one day soon get back to being in an office environment. But I don’t know that today’s workforce really looks forward to that. And that’s kind of sad. That’s sad for me.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah me too. And I’m still working on it. But I’m actually writing an article on it for entrepreneur.com. About everything you lose by working from home. Like I met Yvette in an office space. And not saying that so much so here in our office, someone was going to make a love connection and eventually find their soulmate, but so many other offices all over the country. Everyone’s-

Yvette Valencia:

You make good friends.

Alex Valencia:

You make good friends. You go out, you do lunch. You want to go to Subway with somebody. Go do something. Leave the office for a minute and build that human connection back to what’s on our page. So I feel extremely strongly about it. We still have both our offices. I come in every single day. I love having my office. I love having a studio. I love being away in my own little environment. And it’d be cool if we had some of that energy of the other staff to share it. Florida allows you to come back. They just have made the decision that they kind of prefer working from home and it’s not hurting them. It’s not hurting our productivity so why force them on coming in? Especially if they were not really going to-

Yvette Valencia:

So that was the biggest thing that our government allowed for all of us to reopen and not have to wear masks and things like that. But when your workforce says that they prefer for whatever reason to stay home, then you as a business owner have to make that decision. Okay. Well, what’s the best thing for the team?

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. When you look at how the two of you have grown as leaders, and you think back to 2008, 2009 when you were first starting and especially Yvette, you said earlier that you had three or four writers at the time. I know you had some experience supervising people before. When you think back to where you were when you started, and this is your own operation, and you look at how you show up to your team today, what are some of the things that you look at and you’re just like, wow, I have really, really grown?

Yvette Valencia:

I’ve always loved to pour into people and help them to achieve their best. And I’m most pleased with my ability to do that in my team. Helping them to fish rather than fishing for them. And I have to really hold back sometimes where I want to just do something or get it done or I’d rather not explain. And really give my team the opportunity to learn on their own and give them the resources or allow them time with me as a mentor I guess. And developing people is the biggest accomplishment that myself in 2008 would look at myself today and see that side of me being able to develop people and watch them grow year after year in not only their knowledge, but their ability to lead others. It’s great. That’s the best part of it.

Luke W Russell:

And what about you, Alex? When you think about how you’ve shown up to the business as an entrepreneur and you look back having been in this now 12 years, what do you delight in about yourself in that transformation?

Alex Valencia:

My 2008 version would be like, wow. You really created some great hustles and opportunities. We went on a really good stint when I got creative with our webinars and our instruction and teaching the personal injury and the legal industry about content and SEO. And that really built our business. Like really going out there and saying, “Hey, here’s how you do it. You could do it yourself.” And poured into them. And in turn that turned into building really solid relationships and partnerships with a lot of our clients.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Yvette, you have described yourself as someone who overcame challenges from your youth as a person who has lived a life of beauty and overcoming things in your path. When you think about the woman you are today in your role as mom, what do you hope to impart on your teenagers?

Yvette Valencia:

I hope that they would see me as someone who is a fervent advocate for them and who’s loving and who’s not afraid to be fair and tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it. Often I’ll have to tell my teenage sons, especially my older son, “I’m still your parent. I love you and we could be cool and we can have fun, but I’m still your parent and I’m still going to want the best for you and have your best interest in mind. So I’m going to tell you when something’s not good enough or when maybe that wasn’t your best or that that decision was a poor decision. I’m not going to just tell you what you want to hear so that you’ll like me. I want you to respect that. I can love you and have fun with you, but yet be honest with you when you need to hear it.”

Alex Valencia:

Yvette’s an awesome parent. A comedian said it best. Not everybody’s drawing deserves a spot on the fridge. And I think that’s our way of parenting. We live in a society where I think everybody feels like they need to win. But I think everybody needs to realize that they need to hustle and they need to earn the win.

Luke W Russell:

How do you teach that to your children?

Yvette Valencia:

We celebrate their accomplishments and we focus on the work it took to get there rather than the end result. So even if in my mind, I want them to strive for an A for example, what I want them to figure out is that the reason you got that A was because you spent three days, an hour each day studying for that test. So hard work produces that outcome. You’re not just going to have things handed to you. Things aren’t just going to fall in your lap. You need to work for them and your outcome is going to be a reflection of your work. So it’s just helping them to see how they can be better versions of themselves by producing a good work ethic.

Alex Valencia:

And not just in school. How do they become better versions of themselves in everything? And it really all goes down to foundation. That whole work ethic, the whole foundation of everything that you build. Just kind of like training your body. Everything’s foundation, or building a business or building a house. It’s all having that foundation. You can’t put windows if you haven’t put up walls.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. As parents, how do we teach our children about empathy?

Yvette Valencia:

You beat them over the head with it.

Luke W Russell:

Tell me more.

Yvette Valencia:

You’re not born empathetic. Very few people are and understand that concept early in life. You have to teach it to them. And you teach it by exposing them to things and allowing them to feel and ask questions. And if something doesn’t seem appropriate, then you educate them on it. And you say, “I understand that’s your feeling, but let me give you some background about where that person comes from or where this particular group is coming from.” That’s all it is for anyone to feel empathy is to understand the other person’s story and where they’re coming from and keeping an open mind. We tell them that you have to keep your mind and your heart open to people and-

Alex Valencia:

And you’ve got to lead with love.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. And as much bad news as we see every day, there are many, many, many, many more good people in this world. And so don’t allow your self to become jaded.

Luke W Russell:

Is there such a thing as too much family time?

Yvette Valencia:

They would say yes. Yeah. I think there is definitely a time when there’s too much family time. Alex and I always continue dating each other. And it’s important for us to go out and have dinner and go to concerts and do things that keep our love alive and not just continue to keep us in those roles of mom and dad. And it’s also important for them to experience life without us too.

Luke W Russell:

Because one day they’re going to be out of the house and then you’re going to be stuck with each other.

Alex Valencia:

I wouldn’t call it … We get to be together. I wouldn’t say stuck.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah. We’ll be like, yes, finally.

Alex Valencia:

I always tell the kids and I tell Yvette, my relationship’s with you, they come secondary. I think it’s been an amazing example because our home life … I’m not super PDA, but we’re very affectionate with each other. We spend a lot of time together and the boys see that. So if we’re not on the couch watching TV, we’re outside, or just going to dinner, doing something, the boys see that their mom and dad have a pretty cool relationship where they’re friends and crack up with each other. It’s not … I don’t even know what you would call typical, because I don’t know, outside of our own relationship, what it would be like. But we just have fun together and they just get to be around to hang out and see it. And then we’ll parent them. Yvette does more of it than I do because I’ll go on some three hour lectures. And all my knowledge comes from TV. So it’s not the most reputable advice.

Luke W Russell:

Oh my gosh. Do you seek to pass on any of your Cuban or Colombian or otherwise heritage into the boys?

Alex Valencia:

Oh my gosh, I’ll take this one. I struggle with that one. They used to speak Spanish growing up and then it was just easier to yell and communicate in English once they started school and got a little older. But we haven’t brought them to our countries. One, we think it probably would’ve been boring but we don’t know because we haven’t even done it. But I’m very, very close to my Columbian heritage. I love the music. I love the lifestyle. I can’t wait for them to see the poor kids on the street. Everything my dad showed me, I want to do for them and I pray that it’s not too late in life. But I want to do it sooner than later because I want them to embrace it and carry it on. I hated my dad’s music growing up. But that’s the music I listen to all day long.

Alex Valencia:

I work out to it. I’ll listen to it in the office. That’s home for me. And I love it. And it’s probably sad music or whatever it is. But for me, it makes me feel amazing. The food is a culture. Like I don’t even know how to make [foreign language 01:04:00]. Yvette learned how to make it, which is amazing. So she makes it for the boys. We do [foreign language 01:04:05] but it’s a combination of both the Cuban and Spanish. So I think they’ll take that culture side of it with them forever. But I don’t know they know how cool it is to be Hispanic. To be partly Cuban Columbia. The history. The flavor and the sexiness that comes along with that. I wish they would embrace that and hopefully they will when they get a little older.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah.

Yvette Valencia:

My mom came to the states very, very early in life and my dad as well as a late teenager. So they’re both very Americanized. Especially my mom. I remember when during President Obama’s tenure and the travel ban was lifted from Cuba and I said to my mom, “Hey, do you want to take a trip to Cuba?” And she … There’s that meme out there. No, just no. Just a flat no. That was her. And I didn’t experience the Cuban heritage until I moved to Miami. And I don’t think it’s too late because I was 15 going on 16 and it was something that I fully embraced and I got a lot of joy from. We still listen to-

Alex Valencia:

To music. The food.

Yvette Valencia:

Salsa music and enjoy the food all the time.

Alex Valencia:

Yeah. We like to entertain so the music’s always playing in the background. It’s there in our house. So they’re getting part of the culture. They’ll see it.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah, for sure. The one thing we do regret is not continuing to speak to them in Spanish so that they’re both fluent like us. That’s the only thing.

Luke W Russell:

Also earlier we were talking about kind of your different personalities, the different ways you’ve grown as individuals in your business. From the outside looking in people might see Yvette as the quiet, reserved, composed, Alex is the … Again, you’re at the bar. You’re telling stories. Do people misjudge the two of you?

Alex Valencia:

Yvette’s very professional. So she-

Yvette Valencia:

In a work-

Alex Valencia:

In a work environment. Whether it here or there. I’m me, no matter what. Which is probably why I stay away from most of the employees, because I’m me no matter what. I say what’s out of my mind. Where Yvette’s more conscious of what she does. I don’t change. I’m me whether I’m on your show, at the bar, at home, with friends, out with my parents, I’m me no matter what. Yvette knows how to control that.

Yvette Valencia:

I can compartmentalize.

Alex Valencia:

Compartmentalize. And she only comes out her intimate real self with probably a handful of people.

Yvette Valencia:

Yeah.

Luke W Russell:

What are some of your favorite things to do as a couple? I know you mentioned you enjoy entertaining.

Yvette Valencia:

Eat.

Alex Valencia:

Eat. TV.

Yvette Valencia:

Travel.

Alex Valencia:

Travel. We like watching a lot of film and traveling and definitely enjoying flavors. One of my friends said it best the other day where especially within a couple, but God gave us five senses for a reason. You get to hear either the food being made or the drink. The cackling of the ice or the smell of a delicious meal or a drink or place that you’re at. You get to sense it, right? And then you get to taste it. So we were given all these opportunities to seek pleasure. And when you do that combined with someone that you’re together with and you can communicate about it and actually even delegate, it brings on this new awareness and new … You continue to know each other. It just allows you to share something.

Luke W Russell:

Now, you two have known each other for quite some time and you’ve worked side by side, which has given you probably a really interesting perspective into each other that maybe some couples don’t get to see when … Most of us aren’t building a business together. What are you most proud of about the other person?

Yvette Valencia:

I’m most proud that Alex just tries to outdo himself every single day and has really hustled his way to where he is

Alex Valencia:

With Yvette, she wants to learn so much about herself and never making the same mistake twice that she just compounds daily in her own growth. Not only as a mother, a leader, a wife. I can’t say … People complain about leaving the toilet seat up or something like that. If that was the situation, you know it would never happen with Yvette. Or like if Yvette once ever said anything to me, be like, “Man, that hurt my feelings,” you know that never would ever happen again. Or I didn’t like the way that was done. She’s the type of person that absorbs and executes. And that’s actually been a longstanding, amazing trait about Yvette’s growth, whether it’s spiritually as a mother. She wants to educate herself. How can she be a better sister-in-law, a better friend. In every single way she tries to … Just like she talked about her as a little girl. How do I Excel? How do I continue to get better? How am I going to be in the top of my class with this? And she just excels at absolutely almost everything that she really gets passionate about.

Luke W Russell:

What does gratitude look like for you in this stage of life?

Yvette Valencia:

Being mindful of what you have. Being real careful not to desire over things that really don’t mean anything in the end. I mean, you can strive and you can want to achieve bigger things in life and that’s great, but never lose sight of what you have because tomorrow may never come. So if you live your life constantly thinking about tomorrow and not appreciating what you have today, then you’re not really living life.

Alex Valencia:

I love giving gratitude with entertaining. I love to entertain. We love to have people in the house. I love opening up a good bottle of wine or a drink and Yvette will cook a meal or we’ll cook something out. And I love having people around to share our gratitude. I think it oozes out of you. When you have that true love and sincerity for thankfulness, for happiness, for where you are, it exudes and you have people around you and it’s so easy to share within the things that have come to you. And it’s also kind of been a struggle with success. It’s like, all right, it’s hard to when you live in an environment, so many people that have a lot, that have succeeded and actually bought that new house or went out and bought that beautiful brand new car. I think we’ve been very good about being conservative and modest with our things and not keeping up with the Joneses and trying to do that because it’s fearful. Don’t lust over things that a moth can eat. But still, you want to … So I spend it on sneakers, I guess.

Yvette Valencia:

Mm-hmm.

Luke W Russell:

Yeah. Thinking about you talking about oozing gratitude with people, I hear back to that human connection again.

Alex Valencia:

You nailed it with that page, that human connection page. It really does say everything about who we are. I think there’s such a connection with everyone. I don’t think there’s mistakes when you meet someone. Another person said it well. Sometimes a detour isn’t really a detour, it’s the way you were supposed to go.

Luke W Russell:

I want to fast forward to your 80th and 81st birthday celebrations and people from all throughout your life are present. A gentle clinking on glass can be heard and a hush washes over the room. People raise their glasses to toast to both of you. What are three things you would hope that they say about you?

Yvette Valencia:

What a great example of love, of generosity, and kindness.

Alex Valencia:

I’ll go with that.

Luke W Russell:

To learn more about Alex and Yvette, visit wedoweb.com and be sure to check out our business spotlight conversation, which is available as the next episode. Thanks so much for listening to us this week. This podcast is produced by Kirsten Stock, edited by Kendall Perkinson and mastered by Guido Bertolini. A special thanks to the companies that make this project possible. Russell Media and the SEO Police. You can learn more about these groups by visiting our website, lawfulgoodpodcast.com. I’m your host, Luke W. Russell, and you’ve been listening to Lawful Good.