Welcome back to the Moms That Inspire Series on the blog or as I like to call it-my favorite series. I never tire of getting to spotlight amazing women in business. I have learned something from each and every one of the women in this series that I take along with me on my own journey. I believe that we have much to learn from each other and that in motherhood we have a special bond that unites us. We understand each other-we truly get it, we know about balancing responsibilities, loving with all our hearts, giving tirelessly and yet still wanting something for ourselves.
I have talked to you before about my own journey towards following my passion. It led me here to this moment right now and continues to lead me in my writing. To say it is always easy to add in this new blog and career to the career I already had as a full-time mother would be flat out lying to you. I have never and will never lie to you! It has been very fullfilling to write to you each week but the path is not always clear on what the next steps should and will be. Today I want to share with you the story of an inspiring businesswomen that helps other entrepreneurs map out their paths in business.
Pamela Lewerenz is a wife, mother, grandmother and a businesswoman like no other I’ve yet met. Her business is to help guide entrepreneurs towards their definition of success. She is there to talk goals, strategic ideas, and to focus you on your path of entrepreneurship. She is your sounding board and your advisor. Before I met Pamela I actually wondered if there were people like her out there to talk to about my own path. Where do I start? What do I do next? What are my ultimate goals for this endeavor?
I want to say for the record that Pamela sent me her answers to my questions in a time I needed a bit of inspiration business wise. As I read through some of her responses I immediately felt that Pamela was someone I would want to talk to at time of being at a crux in my business. She inspired me with her words and her story. She inspired me with her goals and her drive. She also sent me a follow-up message and encouraged me, which so many of us need in times of challenge. Maybe you’re not in a place in your life right now where you’re an entrepreneur or looking to go into business and that’s OK-this article is still for you!
I am very happy to share Pamela and her story today and hope that you become as inspired as I have been by her accomplishments, advice and real honesty. She is a woman who knows herself and what she wants, has a plan to reach her goals, is willing to alter that plan if need be to accomplish those goals and brings out the best in those who spend time with her. So please join me as I talk to Pamela about motherhood, being a grandparent, the path that led her to this business and the passion for it that drives her on to more:
Tell me a little about yourself and your family:
“I have been happily married to my husband John for 21 years. I have five children and five grandchildren (the sixth will arrive around Thanksgiving). I lived in Connecticut for 51 years of my life and recently moved to South Carolina! This was a goal that John and I had set five years ago- to move to a warmer climate (winters are harsh in Connecticut). My husband had a double heart attack and triple bypass in November 2004. My father died in February 2005. Both of these events totally changed my life and for a while I lost myself trying to take care of everyone else around me. I made the decision to make myself a priority in 2013 and that set into motion an entirely new, positive outlook on my life!
In my spare time, I love to travel with my husband. I also love hiking, beach combing, reading and geocaching.”
Tell me about your business:
“I took business courses during my high school years (I know I’m dating myself..) and started working part time after school at the age of 15 in my high school’s guidance department. I was given a full scholarship to attend a business school in Massachusetts, where I majored in Accounting and minored in Business Management. I then attended a Connecticut community college where I majored in Business Management.
I’ve been in the business world for over 30 years. I started out working at a Junior/Senior High School as an Administrative Assistant. Next, I worked as an Administrator in the healthcare field for several years. After that, I ran in a local election and was elected as my town’s tax collector. I took three years of tax classes, sat for the State of Connecticut’s exam, and received my certification for municipal collection. In 2014, while on vacation with my husband, I decided that I wouldn’t run in the 2015 election cycle but I would take my part-time side hustle of bookkeeping and business management and turn it into a full-time business. It took me 12 months to build it up to replace my full-time income. In 2016, I decided that although successful I was also burnt out with working 70+ hours each week. I knew that I had to scale my business and focus on what made me the happiest-helping other entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. And voilà, The Brick Wall Coach was born!”
Is this your only business? How do you manage your time and schedule?
“Yes, this is my one and only business right now. I use a combination of the Google Suite and Trello to keep me organized. My calendar tells me where and when and I schedule client work around my own needs. I make myself available 5 days a week, 1 evening a week, and set time aside for content creation, administrative work, and bookkeeping 1 day a week. I am flexible with my time, can work from anywhere I might be (remember I love to travel) and only take clients that fit my business model. I set boundaries around work and personal life and try to stick to those the best I can (we all have our days!).”
What made you decide to get started and how long did you think about it before you did?
“I decided that I wanted to own a business and be an entrepreneur, just like my parents and four of my six siblings were. I had that thought back in high school but didn’t act on it for many years because I married, took a 9-to-5 job, and raised children. It took some soul-searching and a serious business plan to figure out just what I was going to offer to potential clients. When I started my side hustle in 2009, it was because I had been approached by a fellow library board member that needed someone to help him run his business. His wife took care of managing his business and bookkeeping but had fallen ill. I started out working about 16 hours a week for him in addition to my elected position as tax collector. When she subsequently passed away, I kept working for him anywhere from 16 to 25 hours a week on top of my 35 hours in the tax office.”
Why are you passionate about it?
“I am super passionate about helping others. That is one reason that I created the business I have today. I wanted a way to bring together my love of helping others with my business experience that would make me happy and provide an income. Helping entrepreneurs who need clarity, a desire to build their confidence, and want to build a successful, sustainable business are what drives me to do what I do today. It gives me great satisfaction to have clients tell me about the huge impact that I’ve had on their lives both professionally and personally.”
Do you have any advice for a fellow woman getting started in a new business?
“I recommend, first and foremost, to have a solid business plan. Many entrepreneurs feel they don’t need a business plan because they aren’t looking for monetary assistance. However, I feel everyone needs a business plan to help them focus on growing their business successfully.
I also believe that keeping your “why” in mind, every day, is very important. The constant reminder of why you are doing what you’re doing really helps you keep the focus and the positive mindset that are needed for having a successful business.
Also, having systems, processes, and procedures documented; using automation, and delegating to save precious time are also valuable tips that I share with entrepreneurs. Without all of that, you may spend countless hours spinning your wheels, not making much headway, or not utilizing your talents wisely.
Lastly, be consistent and don’t expect miracles overnight. It’s easier to set up a business than it is to grow it. Sticking to your why, your goals, and your positive mindset really are the keys to growing a successful business.”
What challenges have you faced in your business?
“Like most business owners, I have faced many challenges. The biggest challenge I had to overcome was “shiny object syndrome”. There is so much information out there and it’s easy to get lost in one rabbit hole or another. Setting aside time to continually learn is important but not to the point that it overtakes your day.
Being strategic and purposeful is very important. If the activity does not flow with your goals and plans, then it does not take priority. You also need to keep a positive mindset, which is not always easy when you are a solopreneur, so choosing a mentor or coach and surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people are very important. So is having an accountability partner-someone who will help keep you on track and remind you of your commitments.”
What have you learned about yourself or your business along the way?
“I have learned that I am much stronger than I first thought. It’s easy to get discouraged but I have a great support system and I also practice self-care and mindset hacks every single day. I adopted “focus” as one of my core business strengths and that has been very helpful, not only for me personally but also for my attitude and outlook.”
What are some benefits of what you do?
“The benefits of what I do for you and your business include:
* Strengthening your strategies
* Empowering your growth
* Guiding you in a powerful and positive direction
* Living with routines that work for you and your ideal life
* Supportive guidance
* Positive mindset and encouragement
* Effective time management skills”
What are your goals as you continue with your business?
“Some of my goals are:
* Continue my 1-on-1 consulting
* Taking on more speaking roles around the USA
* Growing my business building club membership, which is my group coaching model
* Growing my recently launched time management audits
* Launch more eCourses and Live Classes (around productivity and time management) that are accessible to globally owned businesses”
What inspires you?
“It is a myriad of things that motivate and inspire me. First, I have meditated daily for over 20 years. This I find extremely helpful in focusing me and preparing me for the day ahead. I also practice affirmations out loud each day in front of the mirror (this is super helpful). I love searching for quotes and have created a quote book so that I can find the one I need, when I need it.”
What mistakes do you think women make when starting a new business?
“One of the biggest mistakes is that entrepreneurs in general don’t allow enough time to let their businesses grow or set them up to be sustainable. This is why I am so passionate about helping people build solid business foundations and steps to reach their goals.”
What expectations should we have in the early stages of starting a new business?
“You need to set goals for yourself but they should be chunked into manageable and actionable steps. Time is always a factor with new entrepreneurs. They want what they want and they (often) want it quickly. It takes time to grow a successful business. If you set unreasonable time demands or deadlines, you will set yourself up for failure. Give yourself room to grow and to experience challenges because every business faces challenges.”
Is it possible to start a business with very little capital?
“It is very possible to begin a service based business with very little capital. Those are the types of businesses that I work with. Product based businesses will most likely require much more capital.”
Any other tips once a business gets going?
“Once your business plan is written and all the pre-planning business steps have been tackled, find a business coach or a consultant that specializes in helping to grow your business. These types of people are what help you to focus on what you need. Each business is different and each person is different, so you need someone who can help you figure out how you are going to achieve all those goals.
If you get stuck on the goalsetting part, reach out to the coach to help you with that. If you already have the goals written but just don’t know how to put together all the pieces, a coach or consultant is great for assisting.
Don’t ever try to do everything on your own because you can be saved a lot of heartache, time, and disappointment if you just ask for help from someone who may have either experienced it already or someone who is able to put the pieces together in a manageable fashion for you.”
Best memory of a successful moment doing what you do:
“When I received feedback from three clients in one day that after meeting with me for one hour, they all felt they had been empowered so positively to introduce some of the things we had discussed during our call. Without being asked, all three of them went on social media and shared that with others, tagging me in it. That was a very proud moment for me and one that I desire to have many more of!”
What has surprised you about motherhood? What gives you the most joy and the most?
“My “secret” that I’m sharing about motherhood is that it doesn’t end when they are 18. I mean, my mother told me this but I didn’t really understand what she meant at the time. Now that all my children are over 18, I definitely understand your children will always be “children” in your eyes and in your heart. The most joy I received from being a mother is having them cup my face in their hands and whisper how much they love me in my ear. The most challenging was when I worked full-time and needed to ensure that they were taken care of by responsible people before and after school. Supervising your children, even when teenagers, it’s not always fun but it is a necessary part of life.”
Tell me about being a grandparent:
“I am absolutely a hands-on grandparent. Up until the time that I moved to South Carolina, I was the emergency contact for all of my grandchildren. I would be the backup sitter, the carpooler, the one that attended all the concerts, dance recitals, and art shows. Every Sunday was a family day and we would all gather and do something together. Now that I am in South Carolina it is both an adjustment for me and for them. I still keep in close contact with my family by visiting when I can and using video calls. I spend summers with them and I’m looking forward to having them visit in the other seasons so I can spoil my grandchildren in my new home.”
What advice would you give your grandchildren or gave your children about life/business?
“My best advice to my children and grandchildren is always: Do your best. If you know you have done your absolute best, then you have succeeded. Success isn’t always tangible. Sometimes it is heartfelt and satisfies the inner self. I also tell them (a lot) that they are all special and have so much to offer the world. They can grow up and be anything that they want to if they put their minds to it. All of them know that I own my own consulting firm. I made it clear to them that I built it to be the business that I envisioned-and that I get out of it what I put into it-and this is something that I tell them they can do with any situation they are faced with. Most of all I tell them, do what you want makes you happy. You have to live with you and your decisions. If your decisions make you feel good, that makes for a happy life. And no matter what happens, they are always loved unconditionally. Also I tell them don’t ever hesitate to ask for help when you need it because I am always there (and so are the many others that love them)!”
I want to say a big thank you to Pamela for talking with me today! She has offered a copy of her beginning to setting up a business checklist which I am sharing with you: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ec5708_baf623f72ace4e919bef8f1bf68a39dc.pdf. She also stresses to use a business plan outline, she has one available for free if contacted. If you’re interested in using her services you can find Pamela at on The Brick Wall Coach’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BrickWallCoach/ or at her website https://www.brickwallcoach.com/.
My favorite thing I have taken from talking to Pamela (there have been many things) is to believe in what you have to offer in your business and keep growing and learning so you have even more to offer. Also to know your “why” as she stated above and remember it. She is one of my “why’s”, I wanted to create a space to showcase incredible women like Pamela. The women that have appeared in this series and the ones yet to come are one of my motivations on a busy, stressful week. (I also really like our other conversations too just to be clear!!).
To my fellow entrepreneurs, seasoned or new like myself I say to you that I’m proud of your bravery. It is a brave step to believe in yourself and what you have to offer! It is also brave to try something (anything) new as an adult with multiple responsibilities.
One of my current definitions of success is knowing that I went for it! There are no more what if’s and there will be no regrets later on. No “I wish I would have’s” but in my case-no matter the future outcome-this will always be an “I’m glad I did that”! I hope to see you again next week for the next lovely lady that inspires! If we have to get up on Monday’s we should at least have inspiration to wake up to! Janet