Women Owned Business Day: My Spotlight on Women Entrepreneurs

I love owning my own business (or I should say businesses)! To me, there is nothing more rewarding than making an income from a business I created and nurtured. In honor of Women Owned Business Day, I decided to spotlight inspirational women business owners I have had the pleasure to meet and learn from. These women all believe in creating community and empowering fellow entrepreneurs, which to me is an important measure of success! Interestingly enough a couple of them actually mentioned each other in their responses… and I didn’t even tell them who else I asked to be involved in this post. I just love that!

Christine Wilson, MtoM Consulting

Christine Wilson, Founder of MtoM Consulting

Christine Wilson, Founder of MtoM Consulting

What is your business and how long have you been in business? What was your inspiration for starting your business? MtoM is a digital agency specializing in social media, influencer marketing, and PR for brands that want to market to moms. We have been in business for 2.5 years (hard to believe!). I was on the board of a large moms’ group called MONA (Mother’s of North Arlington) and so many businesses came to me asking how they could market their product or service to our members. I started giving them ideas and strategies and next things I knew, I was in business.

Do you think there is a difference being a woman business owner? Are there advantages and/or disadvantages? I think there are inherent differences in how women conduct business and that definitely has an effect on how I run my business. I cried when I had to let people go for budget reasons, and I have made many decisions based on emotion rather than strategy. I have learned a lot from that and I think sometimes it helps me and sometimes it hurts. I often think about how a male business owner might not take things so personally, but I like that I have a lot of feeling in all that I do. The biggest difference that I see is that I am a mom- and I am truly juggling two full time jobs. It can be incredibly exhausting and stressful at times but I have found a balance that lets me feel successful in both endeavors.

What is your best advice to someone thinking of starting a business? Interview 2-4 women that have started their own business- take them for coffee or do a Skype call. Ask them about the lessons they learned in their first year, second year, etc. It is also great to network with other entrepreneurs to get their advice and opinions. Examples are Femworking and The Modern Mompreneur. Be sure you can live without a solid income for awhile, keep your overhead as low as possible, and find amazing online tools to streamline the workload.

What women business owners do you admire most? I have been really inspired by the message that Arianna Huffington has been sharing lately about getting enough sleep. I was always so disappointed that very successful business owners seemed to do work until midnight and get up at 5 am to workout. I can’t live in a productive way without 7-8 hours of sleep a night and I worried that meant I could never be successful if I didn’t sacrifice sleep. I am thrilled that the importance of sleep is being discussed!

Locally what support do you have as a business owner? I love meeting people and networking and using other small businesses in the area. I have a graphic designer and web designer that is a local mom-owned business, a local attorney, a local SEO consultant, etc. They all provide incredible support for projects and for the success of MtoM. The biggest support is my full time team- Amy, Tracey, Nicole, Diane, and Chelsea right now! And of course my husband, nanny, and parents that make it all possible to juggle so much!

How Can People Connect with You?

 

Shayla Boyd-Gill, LABOR Business Coaching

Shayla Boyd-Gill

Shayla Boyd-Gill, Founder of Labor Business Coaching

What is your business and how long have you been in business?  I am the CEO and Founder of LABOR Business Coaching.  I have helped savvy service based women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to six figures and beyond for over two years.

What was your inspiration for starting your business? LABOR was started because I watched so many family-oriented women entrepreneurs put their dreams on the back burner as they tried to nurture their families.  Their businesses became hobbies and they never generated the revenue that they deserved.  The common complaint was the lack of time and money to run a business.

Do you think there is a difference being a woman business owner? Are there advantages and/or disadvantages?  As women entrepreneurs, we tend to be nurturers.  This carries over into our businesses along with guilt and can impact the way that we do business.  The advantage, especially for moms, is that we know how to delegate and get things done with time limitations.  The disadvantage is that we know how to get things done so we will often try to do it all alone.

What is your best advice to someone thinking of starting a business?  Get super clear around your intentions and revenue goals.  Seek out help to streamline the process.  Find someone that is doing what you want to do and ask them to mentor you.  Hire a great business coach that has a skill set in the areas that you need the most help.  No matter what, always ask for help.

What women business owners do you admire most?  I love the journey that Oprah Winfrey took to get to where she is now.  I grew up watching her win and fall publicly.  She never allowed her pride to stop her from achieving her dreams.

Locally what support do you have as a business owner?  My local support is as follows:  1.) My family never question my big vision.  2.)  My friends who have supported me for over 10 years as an entrepreneur. 3.)  My clients are on the list because I absolutely would not have a business without them.  4.) My coaches who have saved me from making mistakes over and over again. 5.)  My local networking groups that help me to remember the importance of community.

How Can People Connect with You? I would love to connect with more women entrepreneurs.

 

Kelley Sanabria, Femworking

Kelley Sanabria

Kelley Sanabria, Founder of Femworking

What is your business and how long have you been in business? I own and operate Femworking, the premier mastermind networking organization for female bloggers and business owners.  We’ve been in business for a little over a year.
What was your inspiration for starting your business? Before it was a business, Femworking was a group meeting to support each other and help each other grow.  It was always organic and we knew before long we had a concept women loved and that it could be converted into a business.

Do you think there is a difference being a woman business owner? Are there advantages and/or disadvantages? I would guess that there are more stay-at-home mom business owners, like myself, and many who launch and run businesses solely to be able to be with their kids or to have freedom in their work schedules.  There are definitely advantages – the women of Femworking are strong, smart, caring women who care about each other’s success in a way I think is unique to women.

What is your best advice to someone thinking of starting a business? Make sure you have a viable business, make sure you can actually make the money you want to make the business worth it, and make sure you can scale the business.

What women business owners do you admire most?Arianna Huffington for balance, Gabrielle Bernstein and Marie Forleo for being themselves and Gabby for being open about her spirituality.  Shayla Boyd-Gil for her confidence and professionalism.  All of the Femworking business owners (including bloggers!) who are out there learning and growing every day to be able to do whatever it is that they want in life.  I support alternative metrics other than money and power, so I admire women who are creating lives they love in terms of their own metrics, whether it be time to spend with family, quitting their career to do what they love, or measuring their success by their health.

Locally what support do you have as a business owner? My own company, of course!  Our Femworking members are so kind to me, letting me ask for help from them even though I run the organization they belong to.  They’re incredibly giving and Femworking wouldn’t be what it is without them.  I also have an amazing team, Nicole Dash (yay!) who’s been incredible support from what feels like the beginning, Lisa who is working as a Director of Leadership, Amber who is coordinating all of our events, and our assistant Natasha!  I also have lots of friends (Katie, Amy) and my fabulous husband who are tremendous supports for me.

How Can People Connect with You?  I love to connect!

 

Nisi Bennett, Business Stargazers

Nisi Bennett

Nisi Bennett, Founder of Business Stargazers

What is your business and how long have you been in business? I own Business Stargazers.  I have owned a business since 2005. I am on a new adventure since the beginning of 2014. When I started my first business, I was afraid to network, didn’t know how to promote my business, didn’t have a business plan and worst of all, I was an introvert. So asking for help was like the kiss of death. When I had to financially rely on my business, things changed. I started networking like crazy. I would spend 20 plus hours every week at different networking events. I learned how to develop business strategies and plans that were successful. I duplicated this over and over again. Once I started sharing with other business owners, my dreams changed. So now I organize target specific networking events and host weekly training sessions to help solopreneurs gain the same advantage as a multilevel corporation.

What was your inspiration for starting your business? When I started my first business, I was afraid to network, didn’t know how to promote my business, didn’t have a business plan and worst of all, I was an introvert. So asking for help was like the kiss of death. When I had to financially rely on my business, things changed. I started networking like crazy. I would spend 20 plus hours every week at different networking events. I learned how to develop business strategies and plans that were successful. I duplicated this over and over again. Once I started sharing with other business owners, my dreams changed.

Do you think there is a difference being a woman business owner? Are there advantages and/or disadvantages? I think there is a very thin line we walk. Sure we want to market to others similar to us because it’s easy, but we have to be careful not to miss the mark when we research our target market. My target market includes introverts and solopreneurs. I have advertising to cater to both sexes, but men need help in the area just as much as women. If I go all lovey / pro women, I will exclude potential business that fits into my market.  With so many companies catering to the new phenomenon of women business owners, I have a feeling men will feel left out and I want to be balanced enough that they want to do business with me as well.

What is your best advice to someone thinking of starting a business? Do It! Even if the plans you have don’t pan out you will have learned so much about yourself, your strengths, weaknesses and realign your priorities. You will become a version of yourself that you didn’t even know exsisted.

What women business owners do you admire most? The business owners that keep fighting. Fight Solo. Get knocked down and get back up. I especially love any that don’t fit into some mold. The underdog. There are so many. Nicole Dash for her voice. Keri Drugan for energy. Ann Alexis Hamilton for her class. The list goes on and on. Way too many to name. I love the ones that didn’t think they could do it at first, and blossom into this amazing and fierce being.

Locally what support do you have as a business owner? I love being members of social media groups. I work well virtually and anything I can do in my PJs makes me happy. I love these groups, because it’s like the cool kids meeting in the bathroom at school to share hair and outfit secrets so all the other kids think it was effortless. No judgment. Pure understanding and lots of laughs.

How Can People Connect with You?

About 

Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.

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