Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Mariet Ostos moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2000 at the age of 19 with $1,000 and a baby on the way when her country was in turmoil. In Georgia, she initially lived on the street and cleaned houses, toilets, and offices for her survival. Subsequently, she moved to a shelter home for domestic violence victims and gave birth to her daughter Mary Ann Ostos. After six months, she left the shelter home and moved to Florida to pursue her dream of founding her own business.
Ostos studied accounting to become a professional tax consultant and started helping people in her neighborhood and small businesses in 2006. However, success did not come instantly to her, as she had to knock on the doors in her neighborhood to introduce herself and the services she offered. Today, Ostos is a successful entrepreneur and was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Society of Emotional Intelligence for her service to the community.
Her journey was long and arduous. Recently, Ostos opened her heart to WomELLE and talked in detail about her life, career, beliefs, passions, and, of course, her daughter Mary Ann. Here are the excerpts.
1 Early Life
Mariet Ostos was the youngest of three siblings, and when her mother went to a night college to study accountancy, she took her along. Ostos says that this made her aware of what accounting is from a tender age. Later in life, this also served as her inspiration to become a professional tax consultant. “My mother was among the best accountants. Perhaps, this inspired me to become a tax consultant myself,” she said.
In 2000, when Mariet Ostos was still a teen, she was forced to leave Venezuela with just $1,000 and a backpack of grains. As a homeless in Georgia, she led an extremely hard life sleeping on the street and cleaning people’s houses, bathrooms, and offices. In advanced pregnancy, one day, Ostos met a woman at the local church who offered her to stay in a shelter for victims of domestic violence. She gave birth to her daughter Mary Ann at the shelter and, after six months, left the place for Florida.
She says she was scared when he was taken to the shelter blindfolded. But she left everything to God because she believes that He has sent everyone to this world for a purpose. She trusted her faith in Him and went along with the stranger to the shelter.
2 Life in Florida
In Florida, with a little girl, Ostos decided to study accounting to fulfill her dream of founding her own business. After completing her studies in tax laws, she opened her tax preparation service in 2007. Unfortunately, though she possessed a degree in accounting, there was no place to start her business. “In those days, I did not even have a desk, let alone an office. A friend helped me with a space and prepared a makeshift desk for me using two doors,” Ostos recalls.
Soon, she realized that sitting in the office would not help her take her business anywhere. So, she started knocking on her neighbor’s doors, introducing herself and her services to them. Gradually, people started coming to her to seek advice and help to manage their money matters.
In the meantime, she took up a part-time job in a local office earning $20/hour for five hours a day. With this money, she employed a person to take calls on her behalf while she was at work, and, in her free time, she continued knocking on doors explaining her services. By 2009, Ostos was hired to undertake a market study in the state of Florida. This led her to another great opportunity in Orlando.
3 In Orlando
Having established herself in the business of tax law consultation, Ostos moved to Orlando with her daughter. After the market study, she started all over again – knocking on the doors of people promoting her services. It did not take long for Ostos to establish herself in business as her name and word spread fast. In 2014, she received her life coaching license, earned a certificate in emotional intelligence, and later joined the John Maxwell Team.
“I fell in love with tax laws and wanted to help people know how to manage their money well. When one can manage their money, it can help to change their life for the better,” she said. While she was managing her money and devoted more time to her business, she flourished along with her business. Today, she has numerous happy clients – both individuals and businesses.
By 2016, Ostos started giving back to the community. She started giving leadership and motivational talks to empower and influence people. Ostos has received many awards, certifications, and recognitions during her long career. “They are a blessing for me,” she says.
When asked what keeps her going strong, she said, “My dreams and my kids.” She is determined to continue helping people by providing her services and tools so that they can keep dreaming.
4 A Successful Entrepreneur
Ostos’ goal is to assist small businesses to jump to the next level of success. “This career is my passion, and I hope that people will allow her to help them and their company.” She uses Quickbook consultant, which is one of the programs she recommends to her clients. “I love to teach. That is why I also offer Quickbooks classes to companies or individuals who would like to learn this system.”
Mariet Ostos emphasizes financial education and believes that it should be made an obligation in schools. In Venezuela, people don’t even talk about money. They think having money means being involved in drug deals and other negative businesses. But she believes that talking about money helps change people and change their society and the world.
5 Message for People
Ostos calls herself a Latino Tax Pro and is a member of an association of Latino tax professionals who believe in serving their clients with ethics and morals. Her message to people is, “Organize your life, be honest with yourself, decide what you want, what you have to do to get it, and what you need to do every day to get closer to it. “Forget about the future; it is uncertain.”
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