Employee to Entrepreneur

From Sales Superstar to Successful Entrepreneur

Sales skills are invaluable for new entrepreneurs. So, it's no surprise that Debra Freligh has successfully transitioned from employee to entrepreneur. Her marketing firm, based in Sparta New Jersey, has become a go-to destination for business owners in search of effective media strategies.

They say 50% of small businesses don't make it past the five year mark.

From Sales Superstar to Successful Entrepreneur

Debra Freligh recently blew past that hurdle, but it's only one of many successes she's been able to achieve since she made the transition from employee to entrepreneur.

We asked her to share some information about her transition into owning a company, as well as offer advice to some of you who are about to make the jump to being your own boss.

Debra, what type of firm were you working at before you decided to start a business?

I worked at Cox Communications, the third largest cable operator in the country, for 5 ½ years. I was the top salesperson out of fifteen states in the northeast.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of simply looking for another job?

You can always work for someone else. Being my own boss removed the glass ceiling that previous employers had placed over me. Now the sky was the limit!

When did you start your business? Did things go as planned?

I started my business five years ago.

At the time my mother who was in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease moved in with me until we could find her a permanent residence. My Dad passed away in the interim.

I continued along and found that no matter what life throws at you if you believe you can you can...

So, what's the name of your company?

I own and operate DMF Media Services, L.L.C. Folks can go to: www.dmfmedia.com to learn more.

In starting a business, did you go it alone or did you consulting with others for advice?

I hired a business coach after about the second year. Her advice was wonderful. I used her only when I needed her. I fly solo now only consulting once in awhile.

I have found networking with other business owners (non-competitive of course) is invaluable. I founded an organization called Women Winning in Business. We meet monthly very informally to discuss leads and the perils of business ownership.

Those types of networks are very helpful. So, I'm sure owning a business is very different from working as an employee. What are some of things that folks who are thinking about starting a business should be aware of?

The long hours. Be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your life if you want success.

At the end of the day it is so worth it. Do not let the fear of the unknown stop you.

Were your loved ones and family supportive of you making the transition to entrepreneurship?

They were at the time. There have been times I have felt guilty because of all the time I have put into my business.

I have two sons and failure was never an option for me. I knew they were watching me. I wanted to prove to them that no matter what happens you can survive anything.

My husband has been wonderful as well.

It appears you've done well. What has given you the confidence to be successful in running your own business? Why did you think you could start a company and do well?

Because of my years of experience. I was successful working for other companies so I felt I could be equally successful working for myself.

Anything else you'd care to share with us regarding the transition from being laid off to starting a business?

You have to be able to let the small stuff go and keep your eye on the ball.

The most important thing to remember is to respect and honor those that have helped you, especially your clients. They can spend their money anywhere. If they choose to spend it with you, treat them like gold. They will tell others about you and your business will grow -- guaranteed!

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