Jaime “Jim” Serratos is a 41-year old owner of an IT company located in Miami, Florida, called Da Blue Box. He grew up in Mexico City and attended University Emilio Cardenas, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Among his pleasant childhood memories, Serratos recalled that his family often traveled to Las Vegas or Houston for the holidays. During visits to the United States, the family especially enjoyed driving through different neighborhoods, learning about the houses’ property values and meeting people in the area. Jim gained an early appreciation for the differences between Mexico and the United States.
“I met American children who were my age. They had a very stable and comfortable lifestyle,” he said. “They had access to good schools, sports, and other activities that would eventually translate into a path for a successful future.”
Jim decided at a very young age that someday he wanted to live in the United States.
After he graduated from college he started looking for employment opportunities. He saw the need for Mexico to grow its market in the technology field, so he started working as a computer analyst for a company called GICSA.
Incidentally, this company had offices in Florida. Jim worked hard and was promoted to IT manager assisting the Florida office remotely. Thanks to his efforts, the company grew and, in 2005, he proposed a plan that would increase growth without the need to outsource. The company was pleased with his proposal; he relocated to Florida that same year under a work visa.
At first, Jim struggled to adapt. His work style had served him well while he lived in Mexico, but, in the United States, things were different. He learned it was challenging to live and work in a culture that was completely foreign to the one to which he was accustomed. His new “extremely fast-paced” environment required him to adjust.
Another thing that was very surprising to him was the way people related to one another on a personal level.
“It was shocking to learn the differences in the concept of ‘friendship’ because Latinos are very clear in their intentions,” Jim said.“They either like or dislike someone and they are not shy to let you know how they feel. In the American culture, I learned that friendship was defined to the extent that there was a benefit to the other person, so it was difficult to read people’s intentions. I still struggle with this even to this day.”
However, that did not stop Jim from succeeding. He became IT director in 2006. Unfortunately, the real estate market crash of 2007 affected many businesses. GICSA, the company he worked for, had to fire 90 percent of its employees, and those who stayed had to accept a pay cut.
Jim started to look for ways to make up for his lost income. He had worked with many people in the industry and he knew they needed consulting services, so he started offering those services on his own. Companies were pleased as they started seeing sales increase when they applied the strategies that Jim proposed. After that, more companies began seeking his services.
At that point, he started researching the requirements needed to establish his own business. Jim looked into obtaining the needed license, a taxpayer I.D., and a name for his new business. Step by step, he developed his plan, and eventually established his own consulting company as Da Blue Box. His business grew quickly and, in the first three years, he significantly increased his revenue. By 2015, he doubled his sales — which in turn increased his ability to hire local workers and contractors.
When asked about the most important things to take from his story, he shared:
“In Mexico, I never thought about owning a business; it was about being an employee. Here, things happened because the environment was conducive to it.” “The business has been successful,” he continued. “However my biggest contribution has been about shifting the perspective that most people have about Mexican workers. Most people do not have an accurate idea of the talent that Mexicans bring to the country. We make great contributions not as laborers but as skilled workers. Thanks to my work, people have come to understand that fact — at least here in Miami.
“My business has also allowed me to achieve what people refer to as ‘the American dream’ and I live happily here with my wife.”
Jim also had some words of advice regarding staying motivated.
“Accept yourself and embrace your strengths,” he said. “Use your skills to create something that other people can benefit from, and do not stop believing in yourself. You may fall 10 times, but those falls will be opportunities to learn and move forward.”
Jim continues to operate his business from Miami, Florida, where he lives with his wife, Nad.