Immigrant Translates Her Way to Top 50+ Entrepreneur Award
She did it as a little girl when she and her parents fled Cuba for the United States. She did it again at 44, when she battled back from a stroke that left her unable to work for two years.
Given those experiences, starting a business was just one more challenge, a challenge that Mugford successfully tackled.
The 56-year-old Florida woman is the owner of The Translation Link LLC, a company that offers translation services in English, Spanish Brazilian Portuguese, French, German and Russian. SCORE, the network of business retirees who mentor entrepreneurs, recently honored Mugford as the country's top small business owner over 50 for 2010.
"It's a reward, a recognition that all the effort, the willingness, the perseverance paid off, not only the perseverance of starting a business, but keeping it going," Mugford says.
Mugford studied modern languages in college and spent her career working in marketing for a series of multinational companies, often translating materials as part of her job.
In 2003, after living in Venezuela, Mugford moved back to Miami, where she dabbled in teaching and volunteering before hitting on the idea of opening a translation services company.
She was comfortable with languages, but Mugford had never run a business. She turned to SCORE, which paired her with mentor Greg Hoffmann, a local attorney and businessman who offered advice on issues such as incorporating and helped create a business plan.
Three years after starting her business, Mugford has up to 20 contract employees at a time translating materials from English to Spanish and from various other languages to English for her company's clientele. This year, revenue will reach somewhere under $500,000, she says.
Mugford, who now lives in Bradenton, won her local SCORE chapter's award for entrepreneurs over 50 in 2009. Hoffman encouraged her to apply for the national award.
He says Mugford deserves recognition for carving out a niche in an underserved area, becoming a link between the area's Latino and Anglo communities. "You can tell she takes in everything you say and develops her own direction based on what she feels comfortable with," he says.
Mugford's advice to other would-be entrepreneurs: Don't let circumstances get in your way. In life there will be obstacles, but, "There's always a way around," she says. "When you have a Plan A, you have to have a Plan B to get there, too."
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