Lola Rosario

Founder of Lola's Lines

Lola is a cultural journalist, content creative, and spoken word poet. As founder of Lola’s Lines, she fuses feminism and an unapologetically bold approach to her work for social justice. When not writing, she can be found supporting cultural events or guiding gentle yoga/mindful meditation sessions in her community of Loíza. After traveling to 35 countries, she returned to her ancestral motherland of Borikén.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

My schedule varies depending on what I’m working on – an interview, researching a story, crafting poetry verses, prospecting clients or whatever else comes up.
So in the sense of a ‘typical day,’ I’d say no matter what my calendar looks like, I’m either creating or learning, sometimes both. Whether it’s brainstorming new pitch ideas, drafting a different twist on an old article or getting involved with social justice movements, I’m continually flexing my brain..

How do you bring ideas to life?

Birthing an idea to fruition means trial and error. Keeping a notebook beside my laptop helps me jot down what I call ‘thought spurts.’ Another trick is to write article ideas as they come up – whether it’s on a post it note or in my cellphone.
Sometimes these spurts become full fledged stories, other times they morph into something else. For example, I had an idea to craft a story about local protests to protect our beaches and it turned into an interview with an environmental activist with the focus on preserving our natural resources and Indigenous heritage.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Being a non-conformist, I’m less a fan of trends. However, if I had to pinpoint one changing thing in our society, it would be social responsibility and accountability.

With social media and today’s technology, people are being held accountable for their words and actions. Then when I think of climate change and how much harm is being done to the earth, folks are being more responsible insofar as travel, daily habits and life choices.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

Make a to-do list, organizing same by priority. Seeing it written down on paper helps me get focused and motivated.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be unafraid of risks and follow your intuition.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

Being part of the majority is overrated.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Limit my water consumption by avoiding the faucet running while I brush my teeth/wash dishes, taking bucket baths, and filling up bottles from a leak in my garden to use for plant watering.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Taking breaks to spend time in nature helps me maintain my mental health. I’m fortunate to live near a river, be a short drive to the ocean, and have palm trees in my virtual backyard. Getting away from the computer and cellphone are proven ways to re-charge my brain.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Using social media and professional platforms to build relationships, my business is getting greater exposure. Sites like Contra Pro, Starter Story, LinkedIn, and even Facebook have proven key in connecting with other entrepreneurs.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

I prefer to avoid that f-word. Instead, I look at missteps in my journey as part of the growth process. A year and a half before launching Lola’s Lines, I had set up Third Accent, my interpreting and translation services platform. Excited to offer Spanish, French and English linguistic services, I was eager to get my business going. After managing to snag only a handful of clients, I had to shut it down.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was to not expect a fancy website to work on its own. I needed testing, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a marketing plan.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Find something that already exists, and bring a unique twist to it.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Apple’s Voice to Text Pro app is crucial in my work. Since many of my interviews are voice recorded, transcribing them has taken hours in the past. With the app, I simply save the voice note to a file and use the app to transcribe it to text format. Because much of the work I so is in Spanish, I still need to translate the transcription, but the iPhone app has greatly simplified the process.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

It was an online course on the Teachable platform. After checking out several copywriting gurus, I decided on one that I had considered two years prior. The course is thorough and user friendly (with instructional videos, templates and established former student testimonials).

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

I’m a fan of La Brega podcast by WNYC Studios and Futuro Media. La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican experience highlights our vibrant voices. I’m drawn to it because much of my journalistic work and certainly my protest poetry centers on my vibrant and rich culture.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

Two movies recently impacted me. Santiago de las Mujeres by documentary filmmaker, painter, and educator, Rosemary Berríos Hernández and Chile 76, the Chilean-Argentine film directed by Manuela Martelli.
The former film follows the daily lives of eight exceptional Afro-Puerto Rican women against the backdrop of an annual tradition in the northeast coastal town of Loíza. The latter, set against the backdrop of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorial regime, juxtaposes the comfortable life of a bourgeois housewife and a young revolutionary man.

Key learnings:

  • Surround yourself with a supportive network – those who champion your successes.
  • Be unapologetically bold with your convictions. It’s better to lose a client than compromise your values.
  • Remind yourself of your ‘why,’ and do so often. That’s the best place to start when you feel like quitting.