Q 1. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. BizBolster Web Solutions develops exceptional, brand-consistent websites for small businesses and non-profits…for people who are smart and talented, but just don’t have the time, energy, and/or technical expertise to build and maintain the ideal website. We also offer SEO and social media solutions for our clients. We are based near Jacksonville, FL, and work with clients around the country.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I am the Founder and Chief Solutions Architect for BizBolster. I have a BS in Business Management and over 20 years’ experience in Information Technology, including website planning and development, project management, software testing, technical writing, and more. I have also owned two small businesses and have a broad overall background in business operations so I understand the challenges small businesses face.
Q 3. What inspired 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?
A. When I developed a meningioma (benign brain tumor) in 2015, I had to leave the stress of the corporate world and re-focus my energy. Since I have always loved technology and am passionate about helping small businesses, I started building websites… and found my calling! I love everything about what I do… it literally gets me up in the morning! This business has given me the perfect balance for my technical, communication, organizational, and creative skills.
Q 4. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. My integrity, reliability, communication skills, and my ability to create amazing websites that people love. I attract people to my business because I am likable. I keep them because I treat them right and they can depend on me to get the job done when I say I am going to do it. And I am good at what I do so they like the results!
Q 5. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. The vast majority of my business comes from referrals and networking. I also advertise locally and run Google Ads.
Q 6. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. I have not required any investors. I started off very slow and built steadily from the income I brought in. I made a point to avoid going in debt in this business and have stuck to it. Fortunately, I have very low overhead or upfront costs required to sell my services.
Q 7. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and burned out as a small business owner. I believe we have to manage our workload and keep it reasonable, outsource when/where we can, and make sure we take breaks and vacations. It is also important to avoid going into debt and to closely watch spending, especially the first few years. Grow at a rate that makes sense and invest where it is critical to the operation and success of your business. I also believe it is important to continuously pursue education and self-improvement, especially in areas where we may not be experts – like marketing, technology, financial, etc.
Q 8. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. I plan to grow to the point where I have steady enough business to easily support 3 to 5 employees who stay busy with each of the services – web development, SEO, and social media. I will continue to be very involved in my community and BizBolster will be the go-to resource in our area and throughout the country for other growing small businesses and non-profits.
Q 9. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. Spanx! Sara Blakely is such an inspiration to young women everywhere. Se started her business just 8 years ago and has already been named the world’s youngest, self-made billionaire by Forbes Magazine and one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People.
Q 10. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. I have primarily worked on my own, only recently bringing on a sub-contractor to help out. However, I absolutely value the input and assistance from others and am already seeing how getting help is allowing our organization to move to the next level!
Q 11. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. It depends – it’s important to pay attention and determine if an idea is worth sticking with. If I have an idea that I know in my heart is KEY and all the data supports it, I will stick with it all the way. However, if I have an idea, I try it out, and I realize it is not the best solution for me or the business, I will let it go.
Q 12. What motivates you?
A. Number one – the passion I feel for what I do and the desire to do it to my full ability. I am also motivated by being able to help others achieve their goals through an exceptional website, SEO, and social media as well as exceeding my client’s needs, and receiving their appreciation.
Q 13. What are your ideals?
A. I believe in being the best person I can be – in my business and in life. I treat others with respect and consideration, and always hope for the same in return. I believe in honesty, transparency, and integrity and surround myself with others who feel the same. I also believe in equality for all, and working together to resolve tension, whether it be interpersonal, racial, or political. No one is one hundred percent correct. It is vital that we meet each other where we are at and work to achieve common ground whenever possible.
Q 14. How do you generate new ideas?
A. Brainstorming with others. Research and reading articles regarding digital marketing. And spending time listening to other businesspeople and what they really need.
Q 15. How do you define success?
A. Success is a very personal thing. It is as much financial as being healthy and happy! For me, success is making enough money to save for retirement while enjoying life with my husband to the fullest. It is also knowing that I am doing my very best in whatever I do. I don’t expect to be a billionaire, but I do expect to live a life that is full of joy and accomplishment!
Q 16. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. First and foremost – treat clients right. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Under-promise, over-deliver, do what you say you are going to do (or more), and leave clients feeling like their investment was worth every penny and more. I also make sure I regularly communicate with clients – active and inactive. I keep clients for current projects regularly updated on their progress and I engage with them as much as I possibly can. My goal is for my clients to know that I care about their success because I do!
Q 17. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A. Freedom! Freedom to work when I want, how I want, and build my business according to my values.
Q 18. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. That moment when I realized this really is a business, not a hobby. That BizBolster can truly be a success and that other businesses NEED what I have to offer!
Q 19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. Entrepreneurs have a drive and ambition that “employees” don’t typically have. We are typically not satisfied with status quo and know we can do something to make things better. We are not clock-watchers and don’t do well with the structure of showing up to work at x time and leaving at x time. It is much more about WHAT needs to be done and by WHEN. We are dreamers, but also realists because we don’t just dream – we act on the dream! We also get bored easily with work that is done for the sake of being done and focus on doing what will truly make a difference. And we’re usually pretty independent and maybe a little stubborn!
Q 20. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A. It has been great! The freedom to work my schedule around my husband’s job and when he takes off has been great for when we need to relax and spend time together. It has also greatly reduced my stress from the rat-race I was in when I had demanding IT jobs working for others.
Q 21. How did you decide on the location for your business?
A. I always knew I would work out of my home or co-share office. We moved from Denver, CO to the Jacksonville, Florida area 3 years ago (specifically Yulee, near Amelia Island) to be near the ocean, which had been a dream for both of us. It was the perfect move as we live in a fairly small community with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Q 22. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt – because she got it! She truly understood what women struggle with and how important self-esteem and following your heart is. She was clearly a woman full of incredible wisdom. I would love to glean more from her than just her quotes.
Q 23. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
A. Michael Hyatt – Free to Focus and Lisa Nichols – No Matter What
Q 24. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
A. Going into debt in my first business and not planning ahead with savings. Also not valuing my work and giving away my time in areas where I should be charging.
Q 25. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
A. Pay attention to more than what is happening right now. What needs to be done to prepare for the future? Where are the areas in business where the processes are likely to break down under pressure? When these areas are identified, start putting backups and tests in place now. Where is more education and knowledge needed? Make time to get the education and knowledge. Where is the market going? Make sure the services we offer will sustain market changes.
Also pay attention to what clients are saying. If there are more negative comments or reviews or a lot of apologies are needed, something is going wrong. Stop. Find the problem and solve it. Often that problem is being overworked or overwhelmed and help is needed. Other times it’s a case of being distracted or focusing on the wrong priorities. Our clients will tell us something is going wrong far in advance – if we listen and pay attention!
Q 26. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
A. I absolutely love the beach, which is why we moved to Florida! We go to the beach every chance we get. I also love floating in the pool, playing with my fur babies, reading, and spending time with friends. And I have a little addiction to playing games on my phone!
Q 27. What makes you happy?
A. Being connected in the right areas – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I am happiest when I make time for myself, and when I make sure all areas of my life are getting the attention they need!