You went from managing a construction company to creating Femail Creations, a catalogue that sells products created by women – what inspired you to make such a change?
I wanted to create meaningful work for myself and for me meaningful work meant inspiring and empowering women. So I followed my heart and took a huge leap of faith to start Femail Creations.
Did you have any background in running your own business? What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered?
Other than running a construction company I didn't have much business experience. The biggest challenges I faced were the very steep learning curve and the financial hurdles. Not knowing anything about the mail order industry and not having enough capital were definitely my biggest obstacles.
What would you say has been most helpful as you've conquered business challenges? Where do you draw your personal motivation?
When I was exhausted and it was 2am and I was still at the office it was always the letters and email I received from my customers and the artists in the catalog that kept me going. Knowing that the work mattered and was making a difference in the lives of women gave me the motivation I needed.
It's inevitable that every business venture has growing pains - what were some mistakes that you made and what do you feel you learned from them?
I made plenty of mistakes! I talk a lot about those mistakes in my book
Dream Big because I think it is so important that we share the mistakes we make and the lessons we learn. So I tell it like it is! One of the biggest mistakes I made was trying to do it all myself in the early years and not hiring help soon enough. I thought I couldn't afford to hire help --what I know now is that you can't afford NOT to hire help. The reality is nobody does everything well and we certainly don't do it well when we are sleep deprived and overwhelmed. All the costly mistakes I made while I was doing it all myself to save money could have paid for several employees. Learning what I do best and delegating the rest has been a critical lesson for me.
In addition to running Femail Creations, you are also a mom and a book author. Can you share some advice on helping keep your life in balance when you are doing so many different things?
The key for me has been coming to understand that balance isn't really about giving every part of your life equal time all the time. Sometimes my kids have the biggest chunk, sometimes work is getting most of my attention, sometimes doing workshops is my main focus. Like a good relationship, it is not always 50/50, sometimes it is 80/20, which is fine as long as sometimes it is also 20/80. Now I am better at letting life flow and everyone gets their turn at being the 80 when they need it most, but they just don't all get their turn at the same time.
Right now I am laying the foundation to launch a new company so that is where the biggest chunk of my time is going. I am so often contacted by people who want to create meaningful work for themselves or who want to work for me or who wished they had a company like Femail Creations, that I am working on a new party plan company that will let women do just that. I am really passionate about this and about helping even more women reach for their dreams. So Barefoot Parties will be born this fall. Stay tuned!
To learn more about Lisa and Femail Creations, please visit www.femailcreations.com.