‘UndocuHustle’ event provides financial advice to undocumented students

Ethan Bennett, Managing Editor

Students learned ways of making money and being financially independent even when undocumented at the UndocuHustle event on Oct. 16.

“This event is about making money regardless of immigration status,” speaker and UC Davis graduate Alejandro Espinoza said.

Speaking alongside him were Katiuska Pimentel, future attorney from Peru, and Valeria Guerero, a mechanical engineering major from UC Santa Cruz.

“It’s important for people who don’t have or lose DACA to know that the alternative is being an independent contractor,” Espinoza said.

The speakers asked students about their thoughts on what entrepreneurship means and asked to give examples.

Students mentioned family members owning small businesses and offering services like flower shops, welding and construction and vendors who sell tamales.

Espinoza said that each of those people who work hard at their jobs are “hustling”, working hard so that they can provide for themselves and their families despite their circumstances.

“Some myths about entrepreneurship is that its always about big corporations and big bosses but most of the time, it’s our families,” he said.

Pimentel recounted her experience working as a community organizer for SIREN, an organization dedicated to helping immigrants in San Jose.

“You have to invest in yourself,” she said. “You have to get training to develop your skills just like how I did being community organizer.”

Pimentel told students that with the talents and skills they have, they are able to provide a service or a product to their communities.

Guerero added to this and said “experience builds expertise.”

“You’re going to need a degree plus involvement opportunities and past job experience or certificates,” she said.

To be a successful independent contractor, Guerero said that one has to be really creative and connect with people who have the same passions and goals.

“Do a lot of informational interviews,” she said. “These people get flattered when they talk about themselves.”

Pimentel told students to be strategic about what to look for interviewing people and to come into the conversation expecting what to hear from them.

Endorsing oneself was also an important topic discussed in becoming an independent contractor.

Espinoza said that endorsements are about “telling a story about yourself.”

“It’s saying this is what I have, these are my skills, I’m ready to get hired,” he said. “You can do it anywhere on social media and it helps to have your own LinkedIn.”

Pimentel encouraged students to maintain connections with college and highschool professors, to build a community and to hustle, working on oneself and one’s own product.

Before the presentation ended, Pimentel told students to be humble despite their situation or their immigration status.

“You will try, fail, succeed, and grow as a person. You need to accept there are people who know more than you” she said.

Espinoza encouraged students that though things don’t fall into place easily, they are not alone and that there is a whole community who are hustling and have their own business despite being undocumented.

“You’re not alone. There are so many people out there who are making it happen,” he said. “What’s important is to connect and get a lot of guidance.”