My journey has not been easy, but my hope is that by sharing my story, I can encourage you and help you realize that you can do anything. I couldn’t possibly include every detail of my journey, so instead I’ve picked out a few key moments that I think will be most inspiring for others. The bottom line … There is so much more to my story.
A risk with huge implications
Quitting your job and committing to starting a business in your basement is a huge risk! I knew that I needed to have a big impact on the world. I had tried all kinds of business ideas and inventions, but I knew this was “the one.”
Being an entrepreneur is one of the toughest jobs you could ever have in your life.
I knew this was going to be a challenge. “I’m a mother of three kids. How am I going to handle raising great kids, maintaining a great marriage and building a billion dollar company?” I thought. So I sat my kids and husband down and said something like this to them:
“This is ‘the company.’ And I will do anything to see this company successful. I’m willing to lose my house, my car—even my jewelry—for this company. However, I will not lose my kids or my marriage. We, as a family, could lose everything! We could end up in a one-bedroom apartment with nothing … and I will be OK with that. We can recover; we know how to work hard. This is a big risk—we could either change our legacy forever or we could lose everything. So the family needs to vote: Either we all agree to risk it all or we don’t.”
My kids were 11, 9 and 2 years old at the time. The vote was unanimous: GO FOR IT!
Things were really hard the first couple of years when we were developing our software. There could be a whole chapter of my story written about starting a company with partners, which is what I did. But Comply365 didn’t become what it is today until we went our separate ways. So I’m going to skip that boring section of history and focus on what got me to where I’m at today.
We never missed payroll for our employees, and we paid all of our bills. Our family of five lived on only $50 a week. That $50 had to cover food, gas, cleaning supplies, clothes and all of our other basic needs. It was really hard, and I was no stranger to hard times (but that’s another story for another time). I was determined to do my best to not let my kids know how hard times really were for us. When I would go grocery shopping, I would choose three really cheap meals—Ramen noodles, mac and cheese, etc.—and then spend extra money on only one or two special meals. Business people would take me out to lunch, and I would eat only one-third of my meal and say I was stuffed. The rest was boxed up to take home for the kids’ lunches or dinner. We didn’t even tell our closest family members, friends or employees what we were going through. Literally, the only people who knew were myself and my husband. I didn’t file for lunch assistance through the state for my kids or file for public aid. I was building the next billion dollar company; this was my choice, and I was proud of what I was doing! When I had to fly on business trips, I would search for the lowest ticket on whatever carrier and would even take crazy redeye flights or go to multiple cities on my return home to save $50. I sometimes even drove to airlines just to save the company money.
Hard work pays off
Everything was about conserving so we could survive long enough to get our revenue ramped up. I had an incredible bank at the time. The bank president believed in me, and for a time, was more of a venture fund than a bank.
Along every step of my journey, I can say, “If it wasn’t for this person or that person, we never would have made it.” At every twist and turn the next piece to our success was there. It wasn’t easy—I had to fight every single day for it… Even if it meant I would be running payroll or paying taxes at 2 a.m. because I was busy selling all day.
But as they say, “Hard work pays off.”
I can definitely say it was worth it.