Juan of a Kind Story: Family Business Helps Paychex Employee Personify American Dream
In addition to being a core sales representative for Paychex, Juan Barbaran is also a multi-cultural ambassador for the 45-year-old company. In his own words, he "helps Latino business owners with human capital management." Perhaps this description is a bit modest.
Entrepreneurship is no easy feat, regardless of one's background. But in addition to the myriad of challenges already facing upstart businesses, minority—especially newly immigrated—owners may also grapple with a language barrier, a lack of familiarity with government regulations, and perhaps having little or no local family to support their venture.
Where can such aspiring entrepreneurs find an example of success? Of beating the odds? To whom can they turn for direction?
On a path to becoming a professional soccer player in his home country of Peru, Juan suffered a devastating, career-ending injury at 21 years old. Not to be defeated by misfortune, Juan brushed himself off and set out to find a new calling.
He borrowed money and came to America, where he spent his first years washing dishes in a Cuban restaurant. At the same time, he attended the Community College of Baltimore County where he learned English. Juan eventually came to Paychex as a mid-market sales representative in 2014. Since then, he's earned sales rep of the month honors and spent time as a multi-cultural business developer, helping Paychex put Latino business owners in a position to succeed.
Just prior to starting at Paychex, Juan and his wife Christy started their own small business called Juan of a Kind Foods. Their best-selling product is Juan's Aji Amarillo hot sauce, which they make and bottle on weekends at a local church kitchen. Juan and Christy crank out nearly 250 bottles each week! They also make a honey chipotle marinade and guacamole.
Having come a long way from his soccer-playing days in Peru, Juan now holds a business administration degree from the University of Baltimore, and Juan of a Kind Foods is thriving. In fact, Baltimore-area patrons can find Juan's hot sauce in three local restaurants.
From Juan, Many: Paying It ForwardMulti-cultural ambassadors at Paychex explore how the company can better serve Spanish-speaking clients and identify opportunities to increase connections with Hispanic-owned businesses - which research shows is one of the fastest growing groups of business owners in the U.S. today. When Juan meets with business owners in this role, he's speaking from experience, and from the heart. He knows the hesitations and hurdles that they face, but he also knows how to conquer them.
"It's fun to help local Latinos with their businesses," says Barbaran. "I love people, and I love helping, so Paychex makes my job easy."
Support Juan of a Kind!Juan's hot sauce and honey chipotle marinade are available for purchase online at www.juanofakindfoods.com.
Check out this video of Juan sharing his story with the Baltimore Sun.