How do you start your day?
Black coffee, I have four kids to get ready for school.
What do you need to get you through each day?
Coffee and carbs.
What are you reading?
This email—I don’t like to read unless it is business article or book.
Briefly describe your business and inspiration for it.
I created Suburban Jungle, a real estate advisory firm which focuses on leaving urban for suburban. The inspiration was both my personal experience going through the process—as well as noticing there was an industry void in the marketplace for this kind of service.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
This is the American dream—and the foundation upon which everything is built. I also wanted a large family and big dog, and personality wise I don’t fit into a structured corporate environment. I don’t like being told where to be when nor looking for others to reward me. This was the only way to get everything that I wanted.
What was the tipping point for realizing you had a good business?
The rapid success and incredible client feedback. When I hired my first employee and secured my first office space, it felt very real—like it was no longer just an idea, it was truly real.
What has been the key to your success?
Move fast. If you have a good idea, execute that minute. Don’t get bogged down. Most things are not difficult to get done, even at 2am when you have that good idea.
What lessons have you learned along the way that you wish you would have known at the beginning of your start-up career?
Hiring and motivating employees is the most difficult part of the job. I underestimated how important having great people truly is and how difficult it would be to find them.
What challenges did you face in the early days of being the Founder of your own business?
Time. There are only so many hours in a day and you need to be quick on your feet in order to prioritize and divide that time between operations, business development, clients and just plain old face time.
What is the biggest mistake you have had in your business to date and how did you pull through it?
Not investing enough in the hiring process, which yields a ton of wasted money in training and time. You have to spend a lot of time upfront with the people you are looking to hire and ask them questions that go way beyond their work experience; asking them questions that need explanations going as far back as high school, and getting to know them in a more personal manner. Don’t take the standard answers, ask for specific examples.
What would you have done differently?
I would have created a more of a formal hiring process.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had in your business to date and how did you pull through it?
Growing too quickly, and bringing on people who were not up to standards. We fixed that though—I implemented new processes in place and hired a talent acquisition manager as well.
What aspects of being a start-up entrepreneur do you love and/or dislike?
I LOVE IT ALL! I could do without being on 24/7, however, and never being able to technically “leave” the office.
Which books, articles, blogs have helped to shape your business and/or leadership style?
Inc., Forbes, and Business Week.
What has been your best strategy for selling your product or service and what have you learned along the way?
People. They are the key to any successful business. If you provide a great product, and find the right client, everything else will go from there.
How did your experiences in the corporate world prepare you for entrepreneurship, or not?
Everything is a learning experience. Understanding how to motivate people was key, and it taught me to move fast as well. I mainly worked in Business Development, so I understood the art of sales and motivation.
What do you think the most important attribute a female entrepreneur/ business owner can possess?
A strong work ethic.