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Advertising in local business publications has drawn in more clients, and she now routinely accepts bulk alteration orders from local dry cleaning shops.

The trick, she said, was teaching them to stop thinking of their work as a hobby and start approaching it with the zeal of an entrepreneur. It was a transition that didn't come easy.

Despite their successes so far, the reality is that most of these businesses won't ever expand beyond their current state, if they survive at all, Millet said.

Her secret, she says, is that without formal training, she lets her imagination rather than traditional designs guide her work.

income women become entrepreneurs

One woman who grows organic vegetables in a garden in her backyard said she had settled on the price of her product by going to a chain store, finding a similar offering and cutting a few cents off.

Sara Mendoza has already discovered that coming from a small venture sets the jewelry she makes apart. Her customers have praised for their unique style the necklaces, bracelets and earrings she makes out of a workroom attached to her Mission home, she said.

All came with business ideas ranging from organic gardening to printmaking. But for many, like Llanas, this was their first brush with concepts like financial projections and business accounting.

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"A lot of these ladies did some of these things already seamstress work, home decor, sold items at local flea markets," said Janie Caballero, an adviser with the UTPA Small Business Development Center. "They just Fendi Monster Bag

Carefully guiding the fabric through the sewing machine in her living room, her fingers dodge the bobbing needle until what was once a flaw that rendered the garment unwearable can barely be seen.

At a recent meeting, Millet spent the better part of an hour convincing the women that they needed to value their own work if their businesses were going to succeed.

But if even a few of them can make a little bit of extra income and pick up business skills they can apply in other jobs, the program will have been a success, said Ramona Casas, a community activist with A Resource in Serving Equality, an immigrant advocacy group better known as ARISE.

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In May, Llanas and 15 other low income women living in Hidalgo County colonias received startup grants to help them launch their own home based businesses.

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It's a skill she picked up fixing clothing for family as a girl in Reynosa, but now at 49 she hopes she can use it to launch a successful small business.

weren't used to thinking about them in a business sense."

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"It's not about just selling your product," he reminded her. "It's about making a profit. You have to understand the Fendi Bags Selfridges value of the time you put into it."

And for Llanas who has seen her business grow in the two months since receiving her grant a shot at success is all it takes to stay motivated.

The women of Latina Hope face other demands, too, like the need to care for children and cook for their families all during traditional business hours.

"Most of these things start off in some way as a hobby," said Eduardo Millet, vice president for business development at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. "But in a few years, who knows? It could expand from there."

traditional small business owners, half of whom fail.

Micro entrepreneurs with limited resources face even greater challenges than Fendi Handbag Blue

the program this year and put the women through a business boot camp offering training in marketing, obtaining financing and competitive pricing.

"I tell everyone now teachers, secretaries, neighbors," she said. "It all comes through word of mouth."

She spent her money buying a hemming machine she installed at her home in Las Milpas. It now sits nestled next to an industrial steam iron and other tailoring equipment.

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"These are people from the colonias, people who are really struggling to survive with low, low incomes," she said. "This is another way they can be with their children and be able to get some money to support the family."

Part of a program dubbed "Latina Hope," the awards aim to prove that with a little outside investment, extremely small business ventures can prove successful even in a difficult economy.

The chamber, along with the University of Texas Pan American's Small Business Development Center, the United Way and Wells Fargo Bank, designed Fendi Monster Backpack Blue

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