I believe that there is no better way for a woman to succeed than to have her own business.
I went through the information technology revolution and was on the bleeding edge of both technology and the acceptance of women in the workplace.
I left the corporate world after 35 years with my self-esteem in tatters and reputation tarnished.
Why? I had written a book in which I discussed:
After 30 years of successfully climbing the ladder near to the top as I could go, I gave up the quest to break the glass ceiling amidst a lawsuit against the company I loved working for. I put “SuperWomen Do IT Less”First Edition 1992) into the closet, and became my own boss.
It had never been my dream to own my own business and become an entrepreneur. But when I felt as if I was under assault in my position as an account executive and global account manager for the largest oil company in the world, I knew I had to do something for myself and my family’s well-being.
I became an entrepreneur.
How do you begin to become self-sufficient and use your innate abilities to build your own company? It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, education, and a willingness to focus on the long term.
While working full time, the first thing I did on my quest to have my own business was to take a course on entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. A friend recommended it to me, and it was the single most important thing I did on my journey as a business owner and operator. It taught me the most important thing: How to prepare a business plan and work that plan.
I decided to buy a small, boutique hotel like one I used to stay at near Cupertino, CA, where I often went for business. It had 21 rooms with a suite that had a conference room for small meetings with my clients. I used it for presenting new products and negotiations for future business. The hotel also offered a buffet dinner in the evening, an open bar for the guests to help themselves, and a huge cookie jar that you could raid at any time, day or night. Our customer service was terrific.
Once you decide what you want to do, you have to do your homework. To do that, you must go to school to learn the essentials for the type of business you want to have. One course that is invaluable to any business owner is accounting—you must know your numbers every day!
Choose the industry you want to be in, and then figure out your expected expenses and the level of income you’ll need to get into that business. Decide where you want to live and work, how much money you will need, and where to get it. It may take all your savings and lots of guts to put it all on the line.
I took a course on innkeeping through a company in Florida, found through online searches and reviews. Not only did I learn a lot about the ups and downs of the hospitality industry from David Caples of Elizabeth Point Lodge, Fernandina Beach, Florida, but I also made a great friend.
Through his class, I learned what to expect as far as occupancy, cost of goods, insurance, taxes, real estate needs, and more. It helped me put together a business plan that was realistic and not just numbers thrown together. The course also brought in experts in the field who provided insight as to what could be expected from this type of business.
Find the right location
Some of the parameters I had for my new business location included things I knew benefited me in my years of sales and marketing out of Dallas:
If you were to choose a business to buy strictly on your liking coffee or tea or exotic pets without educating yourself on each of those industries, your chances of success would be limited by your lack of knowledge about your marketing potential.
I hired David Caples as my consultant for the purchase of an inn in Florida, and he introduced me to a realtor who showed me properties for sale.
I did my research, prepared my business plan, and sent it to several financial companies for financing. I got an SBA loan and purchased my business within months of beginning my search.
Learn from your mistakes and successes
The first year of my business was a loss. I learned some great lessons in the first year:
I loved my innkeeping business. When I sold it after 10 years, I made a considerable amount of money on the sale and set myself up for the future. When you are an entrepreneur, you are solely responsible for your success or your failure.
You do not need anyone to tell you what to do and how to do it if you get a good start and have done your research. You must love what you are doing every day and have confidence in yourself that you know what you can or cannot do.