TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I am the sole proprietor of two businesses. Under the business Permit Services, I handle the hassle of processing building permits for contractors. I also am the owner and operator of Emily’s Oils & Essentials, an aromatherapy supply company that has been in business for more than 40 years.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I began Permit Services when I needed to quit waiting tables. I knew that was a piece of project management that could be easily outsourced and that I could do the work and monetize it. I also initially envisioned that as one piece of a more encompassing construction services business. Emily’s Oils & Essentials was created when a restructuring of Leydet Aromatics became necessary after international moves and staffing changes and office relocations. A close friend began Leydet Aromatics began in the 1970s, I worked there in the 1990s and apprenticed with her for years.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
These are my first businesses. I’ve had a few jobs before starting them, jobs- not careers. I started my solopreneur career in my 20’s.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
You will have to give it more than you think you will.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
The greatest obstacle is inconsistent income. Some months I can make what I can in a week, that can be anxiety-producing and crushing. I can also make in a week what I can in a month, and that feels great. I’ve been at this long enough and have developed some self-talk to ride out those income swings pretty well.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
I’ve got a great home office with two dog beds under my desk. I’ve earned enough to be quite comfortable as an entrepreneur and being a single parent thru most of it. That was damn hard at times and I don’t think most people could have pulled it off.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I don’t think work is ever really over when you’re a solopreneur. Mine isn’t. My office is in my home, it’s always there for me to do, I always think about it, I don’t leave it at 5 o’clock. I’m not strong-arming my business to give me the life I want, it IS the life I want. I wanted to be at the elementary school when the bell rang at each end of the day and these businesses gave me that. I want to stay home and garden when the weather is calling me and I’m able to. I want to volunteer and these businesses give me the flexible schedule to do that.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
People that plan.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
They were both something I knew I could do and knew I could monetize and grow. I suppose they are also complementary in a way, processing building permits isn’t very creative or particularly interesting – learning the upcoming changes in residential energy requirements for example, but it’s a skill set I’ve got and am able to use. There are, however, creative and interesting aspects of Emily’s Oils & Essentials. I look forward to opportunities to continue my education because I am interested in that and must be creative when developing new labels, developing a new line of blends, formulating for a client, managing materials and stock.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
Sharpen your blades. I really do believe that if you aren’t improving, improving something in you or about you, somehow… you risk a lot. Continuing education is huge, I’m always on the lookout for that. I also am a big believer in volunteerism. It will grow you in so many ways. I’m almost reluctant to share what I’ve gotten out of volunteerism because what I’ve found isn’t necessarily what someone else will find.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I didn’t, not at the beginning and not in the decades since. I can’t think of how I’ve gotten away without doing it either.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?
I want to say I’m not even going to answer this one and leave it at that. And….. I can’t. I feel compelled to say that there are no advantages or disadvantages to my gender.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
My own brain.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
What can you stop doing?