Hometown: Windsor, ON Canada
Current Residence: Harrow, ON Canada
Education: I graduated from high school and then completed 1 year at the University of Windsor
Professional Background: Most of my background involved retail management prior to becoming an entrepreneur, though one of my favourite jobs was when I worked as a bartender. You learn a lot about people over drinks.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: I was pretty ambitious and wanted to be a pilot until I found out I was afraid of heights. Then I really wanted to be a teacher. I still love teaching people things – it’s the type of situation I truly excel at.
What you are: I’m an entrepreneur who owns and operates a virtual assistant firm.
Brief Summary of your Start Up: I started mondaymorningva.com out of need and desire. My husband was out of work, I had a 2 year old at home and the economic forecast for our area was bleak. I had worked as a VA briefly the year before and began to look more closely at the industry.
What inspired you? My son – I wanted to be a strong figure in his life by not only being home with him, but also to show him what hard work and determination can provide.
How long have you been in business? My 1 year anniversary was February 9, 2010.
How did you fund it? A dream and a prayer. Seriously. When I started my business I had about $20 in the bank. I had the basic components that I needed – computers, internet, software and a strong business sense. It took about 2 weeks to pick up my first two clients and (thankfully) it’s constantly progressed from there.
Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? Not really, but I do have people that I look to for sage advice and insight when I need it. Danielle LaPorte (www.whitehottruth.com) is someone that I look to for inspiration and grace; for my niche, I look to people like Dave Navarro (www.thelaunchcoach.com) or Naomi Dunford (www.ittybiz.com) for stimulating ideas; and when it comes to finances and general business sense, I love Manisha Thakor (www.manishathakor.com).
Current Business Challenge? I’m facing two challenges right now: the first is the fast growth due to client referrals over the past two months (which seems great until you realize that it can actually cost you business) and the second is that the company currently tries to cater to a too-large audience.
What are you doing about it? I’ve been working on bringing new associates into the company (thank goodness for my team) which should help alleviate some of the pains we’ve experienced. I’m also starting to move more into a niche area which can be categorized as “online presence” and includes things like product launches, internet marketing and social media.
Favorite motivational quote: Quit looking at the door that has been closed. You’ll miss the new door that has opened.
Family? My husband Tom, my son Spencer and our two cats Marbles + Oliver.
If so, how do you balance family and business? Balance is hard because at 3 years old, my son doesn’t always understand why I can’t come out and play with him or kiss his boo-boo better as soon as he falls down. I use my laptop some days while he plays outside and I generally work at the laptop in the evenings while hanging out with my hubby. While weekends still aren’t completely work-free I do try to keep one day where work is completely shut down. Having an in home office means I can usually come out and have a sit-down lunch with my family which is a great way to rejuvenate myself (and my family) for the rest of the day.
Favorite book? As a child, I loved reading the Little House on The Prairie books. There was just something about the simplicity and hard work of the characters lives that always sparked my interest. Today it’s harder to put my finger on a favourite book, but I do love reading anything related to business, personal development or mystery novels.
What do you do to relax? We have a few trails around our small town that I love walking along with my family. Despite working on a computer all day, I love scouring the internet for new resources and catching up on my favourite blogs. Lounging in the couch with a great book is right up there too.
What do you want to change most about your world? Truthfully, not a whole lot. I’d love it if I didn’t have to divide my time so much between work and family.
What are you most proud of? My business. The fact that I was able to grow this business from absolutely nothing still astounds me.
What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses? Choose a business that will highlight your strengths. Remember the saying, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” When you rely on your strengths – that is something in which you excel AND something that makes you feel empowered and strong – you are likely to have much more success with your business. And while you should keep plugging along if you run up against any walls, you’ll need to learn when to quit. There are times where quitting an idea quickly is a good idea. The trick is to determine which is which.
Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)? Hands down – WordPress. It functions as a blog and website and allows anyone to manage their own site.
If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use? Amethysts for wisdom and hope; rubies for wisdom and sound judgement; and emeralds for stability and balance.