Niurka Castaneda is an Army veteran and media host of Amor Umbrella TV. That's a TV show that is set in giving and restoring hope one story at a time, in order to help heal and empower our military families to live in alignment with who they are and who they can be.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 491
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[03:48] Tom's introduction to Niurka Castaneda [06:01] Turning Amor Umbrella TV idea into reality [14:28] From umbrellas into a TV show [16:32] Coming from Cuba to the military [18:48] Finding opportunity in the United States [20:31] Who's on the TV show and what it's about
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Episode 491 – Niurka Castaneda
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode four hundred and Ninety One of Screw the Commute podcast. We're here with part of Vetrepreneur Month every September. We really want to highlight all our wonderful veterans and all the great entrepreneurial things that they're doing. And so we have Niurka Castaneda here. Hope I got that right. And she's a mom, she's a veteran entrepreneur, she's an explorer, she's a world traveler and she's a TV host of Amore Umbrella TV, and we'll get her to tell you about that. And another thing that she calls herself as a multi potentially highlight, and I had to look that up to see if that was a real word. And it is, so we'll get her to tell. Tell us about that. Now, how would you like me to send your big checks? Well, if you're in our affiliate program, you can make anywhere from eight dollars and fifty cents to in excess of five thousand for certain speaking engagements in anywhere in between. So if you're interested in that, email me at Tom and screw the commute and we'll give you details now. Pick up a copy of our automation e-book. This e-book has saved me enormous amounts of keystrokes. We actually estimated it at seven and a half million keystrokes over the years, and that was two years ago, so it's way more than that now.And that's just one of the tips in this book, and it helps you ethically steal customers from your competitors that are too slow to get back to people. And it knocked your workload down like crazy. So pick up a copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And while you're over there, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. You can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road. Now, besides trying to do some good with Vetrepreneur Month, my school is got a pilot program going to help persons with disabilities and we actually have two slots left and I'm hoping hoping some veterans apply and we're doing a Go Fund Me campaign to finance the whole deal. And we're also going to use some of the money to hire persons with disabilities to help run the program. So when I say it's a pilot program, that means I'm going to prove the concept that I can get these people trained at a distance so they don't have to get in wheelchairs and and two of the people are blind and just fight to get to school. They can do it all at home.
[00:02:58] And once we get them hired and or start their own business or both, then I'm going to roll it out really big to go, to try to get foundations and big companies to roll it out, big to help loads of persons with disabilities. So that's what we're doing. I'd love to have your help with the Go Fund Me campaign, so visit IMTCVA.org/disabilities. You don't have to think about that. It's in the show notes. You can just click on it, click on the Go Fund Me campaign, and you can see some of the people that are in there. It's really inspiring that the one guy did an update video and he can't even see the camera took him a week to do it, but he just would not quit, and he got a beautiful video update to tell us all the stuff he's learning. So you'll see that over there, too. So check it out and a little bit you can help is is great.
[00:03:50] All right, let's get to the main event. Niurka Castaneda is an Army veteran and media host of Amor Umbrella TV. That's a TV show that is set in giving and restoring hope one story at a time, in order to help heal and empower our military families to live in alignment with who they are and who they can be. Niurka, are you ready to screw? The commute?
[00:04:18] And I'm ready.
[00:04:20] You're ready. How you doing?
[00:04:22] Thank you for having me.
[00:04:23] Oh, it's my pleasure. I was thrilled to see the story of what you're doing. And but are the first thing I got to ask is what the heck is a multi potentially light? What is that?
[00:04:38] Yeah, I still have trouble pronouncing it. Well, that's a person that has multiple talents and skills, and they get really good at it, you know, and they get passionate about something and then they try something else and they become really good at it and they just keep moving on. It's just, you know, that question that we get when we're children. What do you want to be when you grow up? Yeah. And um, you know, that kind of put us in a little box, right? Mm hmm. And so a lot of people, maybe they have an answer, that's fine. But there's some people that don't have one single answer. I know my list was about a hundred things I wanted to do at that time. I think I'm getting through the list.
[00:05:27] Well, there's another crazy answer for that question. What do you want to be when you grow up and the people say, Well, don't worry if your kids don't know because it probably hasn't been invented yet. There's so much change. Yeah. And so when I did read about that, I thought, you know, that's me too, because I just have, you know, I've excelled in quite a few different things and I'm too bored to do one thing all the time. I'm always trying to learn and do something new, you know, got all kinds of interests and skills and. And so, OK, so that's what that is. Now let's talk about this Amore Umbrella TV. Now you have an umbrella that's shaped like a heart. How the heck did you get that to happen? Just take scissors to a regular one or what? How did you get it?
[00:06:14] No, exactly. The product was already out there. Um, funny enough, I had a class project when I went back. Um, from the army. Back to school and we have to build a class project around one product, it has to be a global product. And so when I did my research. I came across this hardship umbrella. I love umbrellas. You know, I've been all over Europe, Asia, even South America, where umbrella or our fashion statement. Oh, and I like hearts. So I saw these heart shaped umbrella like, Wow, that's perfect, right? So I made it for you. I said, OK, this is not going to be a class per year. I'm going to make it to a real business. What it really got me, what sparked my creativity? Right? That's how it got me entrepreneurship. Because, OK, I'm going to make this war is a heart shaped umbrella. But here, like people can go buy a five dollars umbrella. Right, right. It's a throwaway idea, but I didn't want it to be just a throwaway object. And I look into what it means. Umbrella means shelter heart is the universal symbol for love when you put it together. It just means hope. And I started telling the story because that's what it was about me, about the company. It was just about hope.
[00:07:48] Did you did you get them imprinted with a more or are they they just. Are they different colors or what?
[00:07:56] So we have red and pink, and they used they come with the logo, amore umbrella. And that actually turn it into a TV show that we used to launch earlier this year.
[00:08:10] Amazing. So so before we talk about the show, you know, since this is an entrepreneurial show, people would want to know like, OK, how did you source the umbrella? How did you get it printed? Did you have to buy thousands of them? You know, what are the business parts of turning that idea into reality?
[00:08:30] Well, luckily enough, I had twenty five years of logistical experience in the military.
[00:08:38] Yeah, but I thought that you you were in charge of food, weren't you?
[00:08:42] I was in charge, so a lot of things. Oh, I think sort of, you know, repairing, sourcing, getting rid of stuff that were obsolete or that needed repairs. So that was my whole background. I had two different positions when I went back to school, actually. That's why my degrees is a bachelor supply chain management, and that was the class project. So. Yeah, that's all we have to go search globally because we're supposed to do a global supply chains from scratch. I see and yes, and so yes, they have to figure out what was MOQ that we needed to order. We also had to, you know, when we go to a store, we got the product. We pick it up. The process already made for you is pre-pack is right. It has all the tags, everything. When you actually order your product, you have to make sure everything is to your specifications. That means the tag that means the the packing, the design. I think the measurements, so all that is very involved process. And then you have to deal with the ship and you have to find the one that's the most affordable or the fastest, depending on what you need. And deal with all the delays I out of mind. That's why we got hit with the trade wars. That means my shipment got stuck in Hong Kong a month. Oh yeah. So I said it was paid after it was already, you know, we had to quality all the stuff that we had to go through. Used to get it manufactured. So there's a lot of details involved in acquiring any product.
[00:10:43] Did they try to charge you extra for shipping because it got stuck? Because I remember when COVID hit, a lot of suppliers were saying where the shipping charges were going crazy for products that they had normally paid a certain amount. And then that's three times or four times the shipping amount.
[00:11:05] Well, luckily not, I'm sure that there's some kind of way, but not because I already have paid the bill and the shiny side, so the only thing I had left to pay was the taxes and there. And the cheap thing over here, they're
[00:11:22] Custom fees when they come in the country.
[00:11:25] Yeah, and that get help as well. I know the three weeks over here in Miami.
[00:11:31] Wow. So you got almost two months delay.
[00:11:35] Three months, almost.
[00:11:36] Three months, wow. Amazing.
[00:11:38] Yes, yes. So and that's something else to say to understand that when you are pregnant, you might be a small business and you are from another country. They got different holidays, so especially in China, they got like a whole month to take off. Wow. So don't have them do anything. And also when he gets close to Christmas time, and that means almost three months before Christmas time, who orders the Walmart Amazon, they get preference right? Right? So your order is going to get put in the back and the back burner, so that's something else to take into consideration.
[00:12:25] Amazing. That's why I like to sell e-books and digital products because it's just electrons.
[00:12:31] Yeah, less complicated.
[00:12:34] So so I thought I saw somewhere where some of the profits go to something. What what's that all about?
[00:12:42] Yes, so right now, we are a sponsor of an event that's coming up in the next couple of months because she talks, they're going to be in Arizona and Texas and later on Florida.
[00:12:56] It's called She Talks.
[00:13:03] And is hosted by Lead and Empower Her, the nonprofit. And what they do is they empower. Females, you know, they. They they give them a voice to talk and. Just to be the better self, I
[00:13:22] Thought that females have no trouble talking.
[00:13:28] Yeah, but sometimes we need to. We need to feel like we are being listened to.
[00:13:34] Well, yeah, you ought to have an event called, he listens. Much easier than though she talks or it's probably harder. Harder?
[00:13:46] Yeah. So yeah, I really identify with that organization because one of the things they do is that they actually give back to female veterans. I say they help them with education and just transition. I have female veterans, so I can identify with that. So for the support of these events, we are actually donating 50 percent or every sales of our umbrella. Oh, amazing.
[00:14:13] Now how do they find these umbrellas?
[00:14:16] They can go to amoreumbrella.com. And I can send you the link amore. The Spanish translation is love umbrella.
[00:14:27] Yeah, yeah, that's that's easy. And we'll have it in the show notes, too. So so how did that evolve into a TV show?
[00:14:34] Well, when COVID hit, we had to do everything slow down, of course. And, you know, fashionable umbrellas were not something that everybody was rushing to go get right.
[00:14:46] Yeah. For in the house and when they're right.
[00:14:51] But I give me everything to slow down a little bit. So it gave me an opportunity to reassess everything and dig down exactly what it means and what I was doing it. And for me, always being about hope, it's about giving hope one way or another. So I started my own podcast and that kind of got me, you know, and in front of the camera, I got familiar with it. And then somebody told me you wanted to be a TV. You want to have a TV show like, yeah, why not? Why not? Now I can have a bigger impact. Mm hmm. Now everything I was doing, I used to be able to reach a lot more people and do a lot more good. So that's what I call it, amore umbrella, because that was the basis for everything and what my show stands for, because every time we tell stories, people listen, we are conditioned to write from the first time that we hear once upon a time. So I want to go and tell the stories of the organizations in the business that are giving back to our military community and better community, and they're doing something to better the life because. With the hope. That when somebody is looking for help and they use they, they're going down to that hole and they don't know where to turn and they take those desperate measures. Um, we can avoid that because we're going to be highlighting exactly where the help is that what they need it?
[00:16:32] Beautiful, beautiful idea, that's for sure now. Now you came from Cuba, right?
[00:16:38] Yes. So I grew up in Cuba.
[00:16:41] How old were you when you left Cuba?
[00:16:43] I was 18.
[00:16:44] Did you have to like swim or how did you get out of there?
[00:16:48] I was one of the lucky ones that still got to fly a plane. And I came with my family. And, you know, we got we actually we can't the legal way. That means we took a long time to get here. I was actually four years old when my parents did all the paperwork and we left when I was 18 earlier because of the Guantanamo thing was going on at the time. Mm hmm. So yeah, and a year later, that's when I go in the military.
[00:17:20] I see. But you've got a lot of education. Did you do it while you're in the military or after you got out or what? You got an MBA and everything.
[00:17:30] I got two bachelors. I actually know I went back to the college once I left the military. That was my Plan C and. And I just started studying, and it was different this time when I was in the military. Sometimes we have to move so much that it's hard to go to college and then we have all these benefits, so I decided to use my benefits before they expire. So I went back to college and you know, it makes sense to get the degree on what I had experience on. But once I was there. I realized that I wanted to learn more, and that's what I started my company, and like every class I took from that moment on, it was just another way to build my company because I was getting mentors. I was getting feedback. You know, I was building while I was there.
[00:18:31] I mean, that's powerful. Yeah. Use your school to do your business. That's what my school is to. A lot of people are using what they learn in their own business as they go. So it's not just learning concepts and not applying them, they're applying them directly. And that's that's very efficient in a smart way to do things now. What do you remember about? And how would you contrast life in America with what you were spent 18 years in Cuba?
[00:19:01] Opportunity. There's something that you kind find in Cuba or in a lot of other countries around the world, but here it's up to you. You have to fight for it to make it happen. But you have the opportunity to make it happen. That's a totally different thing. Where in Cuba said enough, you get engineers that they have to work in hotels to get tips just to survive. Wow. You know, and people, yeah, they might have a. They might have a college degree or whatever. It doesn't necessarily mean that they choose what they were going to study because it's to the knees, to the government. It's not what they need and there's a lot of waste in that because we're not passing about what we do. How good are we going to be?
[00:19:56] Right, exactly. So yeah, there's a lot of a lot of turmoil there, and I hope I hope things work out for many of the people over there. You're you're you're based in Miami or that's just where you are today.
[00:20:12] Yeah, that's what I'm that's my home away from the military. My family's here. And so that's why I came back to
[00:20:21] Yeah, it's I know there's been a lot of protesting in DC and support for the Cuban people, so we're all we're all thinking about them for sure now. So tell us about some of the episodes on your TV show, what they've been about and who was on it and so forth.
[00:20:43] Well, we lunch actually with Steven Kuhn and let him belong. We traveled all the way to Peru to meet them in person.
[00:20:53] I saw a part of that episode. Those are friends of mine. I really he couldn't have picked two better people.
[00:21:00] I know it was amazing, I knew I was actually part of the tribe and I've been watching what they'll be doing, you know what they've been building to help entrepreneurs, veteran entrepreneurs. And so I travel all the way to Peru to meet them in person. And talk about what they're doing, they have the better empowerment movement, so. Older veterans can find amazing as well, because I think sometimes we when we transition, the only choices almost to a point is getting a job right. But not every veteran is fit to have a job. Because when you're dealing with civilians that are at the respectful when you just watching the clock to get out and you used to. Always be at the movie, you always being in the field or you're being in special forces or doing something else. Being stuck for eight hours. That's super hard. You know, on top of whatever mental and physical challenges that they have. So entrepreneurship is actually a very valid answer for a lot of them. Because you get to make the rules as long as you are here to whatever the society dictates, right? But you get to choose who you work with. You get to make your own environment and you can just lay a lot of the skills that you learn in the military to apply to entrepreneurship.
[00:22:45] Yeah, and a lot of people coming from the military have hidden disabilities, that a lot. Yeah, you can't. They look fine, but inside from what they've experienced and seen and done, it could be very devastating. So they're being an entrepreneur. They're able to avoid those situations better than if they were stuck in a going to a job, I guess.
[00:23:11] Yeah, it's a way to manage the triggers because we all have trauma, but usually veterans have a little bit more. Yeah, yeah. So and sometimes it's about triggers. And I know for me, like when somebody talked to be respectful, I have a problem with that. So I prefer to avoid those kind of people at all.
[00:23:34] Oh no, it costs me too. I mean, I've never had a job myself. I'm not been in the military. I mean, it was in in ROTC, in college, and that didn't work out very well. And then I got an appointment to the Naval Academy, and then I went up to visit and I saw people jogging to class and I said, Oh, no, that's not for me either. So, but I've never had a job. So, you know, if I don't like you, take a hike, I don't have to deal with you. That's that's what I love about entrepreneurship, that's for sure. So. So what's coming up? What's the big vision for the show?
[00:24:13] The big mission is to we're going to try to reach as many veterans of many military as we can the whole military family. And I want to go meet them where they are. That means everywhere because we are very mobile community. We are overseas. We are rural tongues. We don't have a city. And sometimes the first help that we need to go look for is the ones that are local to us. Mm hmm. So I want to tell the stories. It's about organizations that are doing something to change, to impact lives. It doesn't matter how small or how big they are. It's about the story about what they're doing.
[00:25:00] And what I've enjoyed about my the way I've helped the veterans is that I don't have to be local. You know, so with the distance learning school, they can be anywhere. I don't know if you saw the military page on my school website, but I helped lots of people all over the world veterans and then I was in the tribe. I gave lots of free training in there and so they didn't have to travel. I didn't have to travel during COVID and I could still help them. So it's really proud of that. So and I got to meet you. Thank you. That's the best thing of all right. Yes. You can't.
[00:25:36] You can't argue it for one night, right? No, definitely not.
[00:25:41] So tell them the the so the vision for the show is to just help more and more and get the word out bigger, right?
[00:25:50] Yes, and if we want a story that we tell one episode that we tell, we're able to say one life. Well, to stop them from taking that. A desperate measure than we did, Roger.
[00:26:05] Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, so. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show and I want everybody to go to amoreumbrella.com. And then is there links to the TV show there, too? They can buy an umbrella and then see the show also?
[00:26:20] Yes, they can. From from the website, they can actually link to the legacy TV app, and I can put that link as well directly, and they can go there directly.
[00:26:33] Beautiful. Beautiful, so. So thanks so much for coming on and the great work you're doing for veterans in and wish your your family well. And and I know you're going to do a great big things because that's in the short time I've known you. That's that's what you're all about. So thanks so much for coming on.
[00:26:53] Thank you. Thank you for having me.
[00:26:55] All right, everybody. That's just another one of our great, great, great veterans that have kept us safe all these years and sacrificed so much for us. And this is part of veteran Preneur Month. That was the Niurka Castaneda and Amore Umbrella TV. Alright everybody we'll catch you on the next episode. See you later.
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