Following a particularly brutal snow storm in the winter of 1977, Bianca Moreiras, Owner of Bianca Moreiras & Associates, packed her possessions and headed for sunny South Florida. With a background in finance and computers, she dabbled in banking, insurance and commodities, before discovering a great fit as a Legal Administrator for several law firms. By 2004, she made the decision to take her experience and package her services as a consultant with a focus on marketing, billing procedures, reconciliations, HR, acquisitions & mergers and more. Moreiras shared the story behind her journey, explained how her background is tailor made for coaching, training and consulting and gave some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“When I first moved to South Florida, I lived in Miami,” she said. “At the time, however, neither my new job nor my apartment was ready, so I unloaded the truck and lived in a campground in The Keys for a month. While there, a group of workers that were building the 7-mile bridge – who were also staying at the campground – hired me to cook for them. It was quite the experience.”
Moreiras continued, “After a few months I started my job and spent almost 20 years with that first law firm. I did their books, HR, marketing and even introduced them to computers and a fax machine – something that was pretty revolutionary at the time. When that firm disbanded in 1999, I went to work for one of the largest minority law firms in South Florida. After two years and great success, another firm wined and dined me away only to stay with them about 18 months exceeding all their goals with little appreciation. I decided never to work for someone else again.”
Three weeks later, Moreiras landed her first contract and never looked back. The story behind her first client is a good one and demonstrates the importance of confidence and persistence.
“A vendor friend of mine told me about an opportunity to help a well-known Broward County attorney, Scott Mager, who was looking to be the largest defense firm in Florida,” Moreiras said. “After the interview, the CFO told me I was perfect. However, they wanted me to work there as an employee. I told him I was available for hire as a consultant. He said, ‘How long have you been in business for yourself?’. I said, ’20 minutes ago’. Impressed with my response, he took me to meet Scott and I spent the next eight months helping that firm grow from 20 to 100 employees.”
From 2004 through 2008, Moreiras found similar success as a consultant for other firms. However, during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, she took an in-house legal administrative position to make ends meet. She then spent a year or two on her own before a client agreed to pay an exorbitant amount of money to hire her. For the three years leading up to 2015, she devoted most of her time to this firm, while also doubling her salary. By 2015, Moreiras was increasingly being treated like an employee – rather than a consultant – and decided it was time, once again, to go on her own.
“2015 through 2016 was a big struggle,” Moreiras candidly admitted. “I easily met with 60 prospects and nothing came out of it. Eventually things picked up and the last four years have been the craziest and most rewarding time of my life. When the pandemic first hit, I thought I would take some time off, only to find myself just as busy as I was before the pandemic.”
Moreiras continued, “I now have a package for coaching, business plan development and other services. In addition to just law firms, I’m attracting many different types of clients. From a car leasing company to a sprout company and even a business that develops music lessons for children, my clientele is now a lot more diverse.”
Moreiras has grown her business through the use of social media platforms, in particular LinkedIn, and public speaking engagements. She cares deeply about her clients and, as you might expect, takes advantage of any and all opportunities to give back to those in need.
“First of all, I’m very straightforward with my clients,” she said. “I always want them to be at their best. Along the way, I’ve become a good authority with understanding people and getting to know their businesses. I love helping them achieve what they didn’t think was attainable. Along those lines, I’m working with a federal organization that helps the blind as they’re attempting to gain employment and, 11 years ago, I, along with three other parishioners at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, started a ministry called Back on Track that helps people with career transitions. We meet every Monday and work with individuals on interview skills, resume writing and coaching. I also work with managers for Broward County School’s Food and Nutrition Services. I’ve been teaching them conflict resolution and soft skills for three years now.”
Moreiras continued, “On the volunteering side of things, I hooked up with TheSoFIA – a free program for veterans and seniors to learn different computer skills. They can use them for apprenticeship, a job or to sharpen their skills. At the same time the socialization during the pandemic is important. Many are home alone. We just graduated the first class and I taught many of them how to use the Internet. It was extremely rewarding.”
Looking ahead, Moreiras is focused on continuing to build out the career coaching and transition piece of her business. She’s also focused on publishing a book or two and has a personal goal of being the oldest person to walk out on stage to give a presentation. “I’m 64 and I don’t ever see myself stopping,” she said. “I’m so passionate about what I do. My husband asks me when I’m going to retire, but I don’t even know what the means. At this point in my life I feel very wealthy – wealthy with friends and relationships.”
What advice does Moreiras have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “A dream can only become a reality if you stop and put it into action,” she said. “Stop, think, write a plan, get help with the plan and then put a budget together. I’ve seen people dump their life savings into things that don’t make sense to begin with. Understand what you’re getting into. Along the way, you’ll need perseverance, determination and thick skin. Always be positive and seek out people that have gone before you. Read books and take only what you need from them.”
She continued, “A few books I recommend include: Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Theodore B. Kinni, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck and of, of course, my book, Haven’t We Met Before: The Complete Guide to Everything You Need to Know About Networking in Every Aspect of Your Life. I am working hard to get my book into the hands of young people, including it as a must read in high school and/or colleges. It would be a great give away for the Chambers of Commerce to all their new members.”