Sara went from Microsoft to owning a small business with a lot of hard work and knowledge. She share tips with other entrepreneurs about following your passion.
Where is your business located?
I am located in beautiful Saint Francisville, La. It is a wonderful small and historic town, tucked away among plantations and farms. I moved here 3 years ago to both offset the overhead of my business and let my 3 kids grow up in an amazingly safe and healthy environment. They are getting a life they would have never had in the big city.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Currently I am promoting the release of my FREE Web Design for Beginners and Small Business Owners Ebook . I will be writing a series of additional guides that address very specific aspects and these I will charge a small fee for, but the basic web design guide will always be free. I want to help entrepreneurs like myself succeed in life. By following my very easy to understand guide they can set up a professional web site for a fraction of the price they thought was possible. It should really help small businesses compete with big businesses.
When did you start the business?
When I started my company in 2005, I was a corporate web developer who was burned out and wanted to be an independent consultant. I did that for a few years and was very successful. My primary client was Microsoft, for whom I wrote many technical books and even documentation for one of their product teams.
About a year ago, I switched gears when I suffered a huge personal setback and realized that for the first time in my life I handled a big problem very well. The changes have taken a while, but I see now that they are working. I realized that I wanted to share this with others, so I wrote and self-published a book (my other books were with traditional publishers) called No Limits: How I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live the self-employed life of my dreams.
While I was promoting the book on a blog tour, I had so many people ask me questions about setting up a web site, since I was a web professional. I realized that what people really need is someone who is experienced that will honestly lead them in the right direction as they establish their own web presence.
I wrote the EBook to help these people. At first, I planned on charging $25 for the guide, but I ended up deciding to give it away for free. I really want to help people and I knew and this was the best way. I still need to make money and so I will be writing additional guides which are specific to certain scenarios or cover more advanced topics and these I will charge less than $10 per guide for. For the first time in my life I am so proud of myself. I know that what I am doing will positively impact thousands of people and that makes me so happy.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
As I said earlier, I spent 12 years as a corporate wage slave. I switched companies and even industries, but never found what I was looking for. I was always unhappy. What I needed was to be in charge of my own destiny and become self-employed. I now want to help others do the same.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
NEVER GIVE UP! That is it really. As long as you hang in there, change when you need to, and always stay positive, I believe anyone doing honest and good work can and will succeed.
Did you write a business plan? Was it an effective tool for you?
I did not have time to write a business plan since I jumped into self-employment after suddenly quitting my job as a high-end corporate web developer. I probably did not do things right, but it all worked out and I have never regretted it for a minute.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
I have a home office. This is the best part about being self-employed. No commuting. No having to deal with unhappy and depressing coworkers that only drag you down. It is also a whole lot cheaper and I spend way more time with my kids. I cannot think of a better scenario.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
Great question. I am a women entrepreneur, but I have also worked in an industry (Information Technology) that is dominated by men. That made things tough, but it also made me tougher. I liked that. I feel like I had to work twice as hard, but I do not mind. It made me into the fantastic person I am today and I know I can run circles around most anyone.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
Use my guide to design your own killer website. Seriously, everyone will think you spent thousands on it, if you do it the way I suggest. It will be huge for your business and will cost you less than $200. And even if you are not technical, you CAN DO THIS!!!
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
I expected to have faster success when I switched gears and started helping people to become self-employed. That part of my business has taken way longer than I expected it to. But, I know that I will be (and really already am) hugely successful. Attitude is everything.
I'm sure tons of entrepreneurs will look to you for help building their web sites! Thank you Sara for creating the FREE Web Design for Beginners and Small Business Owners Ebook.