Andrea with paper routeI’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart.  When I was 5 years old I went from door to door selling my paintings for a penny.  I always sold them all.

I had various lemonade stands, a fresh squeezed orange juice stand (that didn’t work out so well) and a farm stand where I sold my dad’s beets from his garden in the backyard (that also didn’t work out so well).  I also had a paper route when I was about 10 or 11 (as you see in the picture).

What I’ve always loved about the entrepreneurial journey is that you are in charge.  You are in charge of how successful it is, how much you decide to work, and how you incorporate your skills into your business.  It’s exciting (and scary) to build something that is all your own.

When I went to college, there wasn’t as much information on startups and being an entrepreneur as there is today.  So I decided (with a little help from my dad) to be an Engineer and got my degree in Mechanical Engineering.  I enjoyed math and it was a good fit but I was always more on the sales side of Engineering which was also a good fit.

I ended up in the world of Telecom at Agilent Technologies as a systems engineer helping people navigate through the complex equipment.  When the telecom bubble burst, I was laid off from that job.

But by that time I had a 1-year-old son and I was happy to spend more time with him at home.  My husband and I decided to make the severance package I got stretch as far as we could.  We budgeted better.  We didn’t travel as much.  And some months it was pretty tight.

By the time my second son came along I knew I didn’t want to leave them for a traditional job but I was itching to do something that didn’t involve diapers.  So I started an in-home wine tasting job (actually the perfect complement to being a stay-at-home mom and sort of my dream job).

I was working with a network marketing company that sourced all the wine and had the system in place.  Although I had built a decent team and worked hard, the company went out of business.

That’s when I knew…..

I wasn’t going to let anyone else be in charge of my destiny ever again.  I was going to tap into the entrepreneur in me and build something that was mine.

It was hard sometimes.  Really hard.  And some nights, when I’m up late with a deadline, it still is.

But it’s also been amazing.

When I started, I also decided to bring something that I loved doing into my business – my comedy.  And so Grandma Mary started to blog.  Grandma tells her side of the story in this video:

She also shares a bit about why you shouldn’t be afraid to be different and how using your unique gifts can help your business.

I took my love of marketing and helped businesses get more customers through social media.

But I also wanted to help others do what I did – have the freedom to stay home with their kids (or do whatever they wanted to do) while starting their business as a social media manager or consultant through Social Media Manager School.  Phyllis Khare and I started this a few years back and we are now running it twice a year.  We’ve helped hundreds of students start their businesses and make a good living while doing what they love. Classes start Thursday April 17th and the next one will be in the Fall.

The thing I didn’t expect from all of this is the wonderful feedback from both my clients who have their own businesses, and from the people who have taken the course.  That is what keeps me going – it’s knowing that I’m helping someone on their entrepreneurial journey and giving them freedom.

SMMS testimonial

While that keeps me going, it’s not my true “why”.  The true reason I do what I do is so I can be home for my kids before and after school while I help people on their entrepreneurial journey.

It’s not always easy.  But luckily, I get to spend more time with my reasons every day. While this picture is from a few years ago, it’s an image I treasure – running around the park and having fun. I am truly blessed.