Career Development, Jefa Conversations

Jefa Conversations: When You’re Scared, Do it Anyway

Have you ever let fear stop you from pursuing your dreams? It’s happened to the best of us, so if this has happened to you, you are going to love today’s Jefa Conversation featuring Yasmin Maria Santiago.

Yasmin is the proud founder of Cookie Crumb Cookies located in the Greater Los Angeles Area. She specializes in handcrafted premium cookies like the galleta de mazapán and the churro inspired cookie.

Her journey has been unconventional, but with perseverance she is finally making her dreams come true.

Here is her story:

What inspired you to start your business?

I’ve always loved to bake. Years ago, I started baking cookies, and I would hand them out as gifts. People would give me compliments and encourage me to start selling them. Last year, I bought equipment to start my business but I didn’t do anything about it. I was scared of investing so much money and it not working out. At that point, I was baking for fun; I wasn’t selling or promoting anything. When the pandemic hit, I knew it was the right time to finally start.

How did you know that starting a business was the right path for you?

Many people don’t know this, but I didn’t graduate from high school. I started working at the age of sixteen, and it wasn’t until earlier this year that I went back to school and got my GED. When you are younger, you are taught that you have to get an education, go to college. Even though I felt the pressure and felt like I was falling behind, I realized that I didn’t have to wait to get a college degree to start the business I’ve wanted to create for so long.

What do you want people to know about your business, Cookie Crumb Cookies?

Every cookie I make is made with a lot of passion and hard work. The cookies are made with love and a lot of work goes into making the product. It’s very important to me to give back to the community, so one of my goals is to get more involved in the local economy and find ways to give back. I would also love to see my business grow and would like to partner with local coffee shops.

What has been the most challenging part of starting your business?

Getting over my fear of failure. That’s been an issue since day one. The reason I waited so long to start this business was that I was afraid to fail. I didn’t want to go through that pain if it didn’t work out. When I try something new, I always wonder if people will like it, and in the back of my head, I think, “what if it doesn’t work out?” Many people only see the success stories and don’t see any of your struggles, and this is definitely one of mine.

Where do you think your fear of failure stems from?

It has a lot to do with my upbringing. Growing up, I felt a lot of pressure to be successful. My parents immigrated from Mexico, and they always stressed the importance of hard work. I constantly think about what they would say if it doesn’t work out—I’m scared to let them down.

How do you work through your fear of failure?

My husband always tells me that if something doesn’t go as planned, I have to get back up and keep going. And he’s right. I always tell myself that if a recipe doesn’t work out, I can go back and try a new one—and it’s not the end of the world. It’s something I’m constantly working on. I definitely regret waiting this long to start my business, but like my son always says, “It is what it is.”

What (or who) inspires you to keep going?

Definitely my children. My oldest child sees me working hard on my business and it’s inspired him to say he wants to own his own business too when he’s older. I love watching my kids get excited when they talk about mom owning a business. My husband has also been very supportive and constantly encourages me to keep going.

Any parting words of wisdom?

Don’t give up on your passion. Always fight for what you want. Take the initiative and don’t let opportunities pass you by. And of course, don’t be afraid to fail. That is when you truly learn how to pick yourself up and keep going.

You can support Yazmin’s business by visiting her website:

Instagram: @Cookiecrumbcookies