My journey found me, I didn’t find it. I had my eyes set on a comfortable life as an architect in Michigan. I found out early on in university that I couldn’t see that as a lifelong career. So I dropped out after my first year and headed to California. I discovered that I am a creative person, but working with my hands is what suits me best. I’ve written three books (one a Best Seller), a television episode, as a news reporter and currently contribute to a local news program as a lifestyle expert. I’ve discovered that I enjoy sharing with others how to live their best life without having to spend their life savings doing it. The message that I give to others is, “Just do you!” Life is too short.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
After working for others for many years I decided that following my own dreams meant working for myself. I was terrified at first, but it was the best kind of motivation. Sink or swim it was. There were a couple of times where I wasn’t making enough money to live so I had to work for others for short periods of time to get back on track, but I always promised myself that these would be short term gigs. I have had the beauty of living a great life and I’ve always wanted to share the feeling of that with others. That was always the motivation for making sure I worked for myself in order to make that happen.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
I had no idea how to start my own business so it was on the job training. That also meant on the job mistakes as well. My passion kept me on track. Focus on your goal must be the priority in order to succeed.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I’m not a huge reader of books. I honestly don’t have the attention span to do so. Having said that, I read the financial papers ferociously, daily. I also read many blogs and lifestyle magazines as that is my business. But more than anything I listen to and talk with my friends and clients about what they want and like. Whatever your business I feel the best thing you can do is understand your product and clients needs fully. Learn what they might need before they even think of it. That is how you succeed.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I learned a long time ago when I was a news reporter to never ask the opinion of anyone about what they thought about my work. There will always be someone who thinks that they know better for you. I simply don’t ask their opinion. If ever I’m given an opinion, I simply thank them for the advice and I keep it moving. It doesn’t matter what they think. It’s what I think that matters. It’s my business and my passion.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I always go into a project with the belief that I will do well. If I give it my all, no matter what happens I am pleased because I did my best. I trust my instincts and they rarely let me down.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I wish I knew my own worth. I always tried to offer the best price or would spend more time on a project than I would charge for it. Being an entrepreneur and small business owner means that your time is extremely valuable. Know your worth and charge accordingly.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
My advice is simple: Believe in yourself, believe in your business. Be prepared to have setbacks. Be prepared for things to take twice as long as you think, but never give up.