I met Nayda Maldonado during my time studying law at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law back in 2006. From the first day that I met Nadya, I liked her…odd because my first instinct is to dislike people! She was extremely friendly, smart, high energy, and driven. It was obvious that this lady was on a mission, and I respected her passion to excel.
Like many of us that are of color, Nayda Maldonado didn’t come from privilege. She didn’t step out of law school into a cushy job at the family firm. She had to pioneer her own path. However, anyone that knows Nadya, wouldn’t be surprised one bit that she has come so far in life. Over the years, it’s been a joy getting to know her and watching her success story. I’m beyond delighted to introduce her to you.
How did the idea for your business come about?
As a lawyer with entrepreneurial proclivities it was a natural progression for me to start my own firm. Both my father and my grandmother had small businesses out of their home. My grandmother had a small convenience store where she sold Mexican sweet treats as well as regular American treats. My father, now retired, is an auto body technician who had a steady stream of clients needing auto-body repairs.
My family’s small business ventures planted the idea in my mind that creating a business from scratch was possible and a very real option.
I run a personal injury practice and have focused on Uber/Lyft accidents as the DMV area is full of people who are commuting around the DMV in rideshare cars. I have tried out various areas of law but I always came back to my passion of personal injury law and I have built enough of a reputation to allow me to focus solely on personal injury. This includes catastrophic to minor auto accidents, uber/lyft accidents (representation of drivers or passengers), pedestrian accidents, bike, scooter, moped, boat, bus accidents, etc.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
My family was and is my key driving force in choosing to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to create a career for myself that was flexible in terms of balancing my time between my family and my work.
How do you build a successful customer base?
So far business has been generated from referrals from previous clients including Uber/Lyft drivers and passengers, and referrals from friends and family. This word-of-mouth business coupled with my social media advertising has helped me gain a number of clients.
How many hours a day do you work on average?
It depends on the amount of work but normally it is a steady 30- 40 hour work week. Some days are longer than others for instance, one day I can have a 10+ hour work day but can take half of the day off the preceding day.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
My typical day starts with making myself a large cup of caffeinated tea, checking the To Do List I made for myself the previous day, and then prioritizing my substantive tasks (like legal research, litigation demands, case strategy) against those pesky but necessary administrative tasks, the weekly free consultations, and any client correspondence.
How do you define success?
Success is having good quality of life. This does not have to be defined by being in the top tax bracket. This means that when I get home from work I’m able to enjoy myself without having the stresses of work on my mind.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My parents. As children they were migrant farm workers who literally worked in the fields picking fruits and vegetables for the American families that have a tendency to take this type of hard work for granted. I cannot, in good conscience ignore my parents’ struggles and attribute my work ethic and inspiration to anyone or anything else.
What is the part of your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?
I think I would alter my law school experience. While I am grateful to have learned a lot in a short period of time, as a 23 year old I did not have the confidence and self-reassurance that I do now which I believe is essential for studying law.