Meet Heather, founder of Whole Web Impact. Heather is offering a special “Online Quick Start” service to Embarkability Blog readers. Go to www.WholeWebImpact.com/Embarkability-Special
What inspired you to start your own business?
I moved to New York to attend NYU, where I studied comparative religion, feminist spirituality and mythology at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. When people would ask me “What are you planning to DO with that?” I would always say “Enjoy school, then do something else.” I wasn’t really clear on what that “something else” was, though.
I suppose I have had an entrepreneurial bent ever since I was very young and would sell stationery to my neighbors. I used to dream about starting my own inter-faith religious bookstore, but a few summer jobs in retail convinced me that a brick-and-mortar shop probably wasn’t going to make me happy.
While at NYU I fell into technology. I had a campus job which put me in intimate contact with an MS Access database system I was expected to use – and improve, and I took on the volunteer role of “Web and E-list Mistress” at the Womyn’s Center on campus. Even though most everything I knew about technology I had to teach myself, I was fascinated by the challenges and the possibilities.
When I graduated I thought I would look for an entry-level web design job, but this was right at the time when the “tech bubble” had burst, and any companies that were hiring were looking for a computer science degree. Just to support myself I began taking on freelance clients, and tech temp jobs. After awhile, I realized that I was happier working from home than commuting to a cubicle, so in 2004 I set up “Floyd Innovations LLC” and got serious.
In 2008 I decided to refocus my business from general “everything and the kitchen sink” technology services to high-quality website development and online marketing strategy for sole-proprietor businesses. I wanted to have a chance to develop excellence in what I am giving to my clients, which was hard to do when I was offering too many different services. Plus, being a sole-proprietor business myself, I can relate to my clients and what they are struggling with when starting or growing their businesses. Thus, “Whole Web Impact” was born.
What has been your biggest success?
After 11 years in business, to still be in business is a great thing. Through “lean years” it is really just determination and optimism that help me survive. I feel very strong when I look back at everything I have done and been through. Plus, I am more excited each day about the possibilities and the new things I am working on.
What was your proudest moment?
Every time I launch a client website I host a “Virtual Launch Party” for them. At 9:00AM when I start the “party” and launch the new website, I feel so much pride. I love the work I do and take pride in the visible result, and I also have a lot of pride in my clients, who are on their way with their awesome businesses.
Do you have any major regrets about starting your business or a choice you made when starting it?
After all these years I am still glad I have my own business. “Entrepreneur” and “businesswoman” have become part of my identity. Even if I’m not a millionaire – yet – it feels super to be independent and in-charge of my own destiny.
What is the best lesson you could give a young woman who wants to start her own business?
It’s important to stay focused on a plan. Make sure you give priority at first to taking care of the essentials – your legal setup, your branding, getting a website and professional-looking business cards, having a decent revenue model. There are a lot of people out there who will claim to be able to help your business, and some will be worth the investment, but when you are starting out, try to take on only one coach, or program, or “latest, greatest, you-absolutely-have-to-be-doing-this-to-be-successful marketing program” at a time. See it through to completion before getting distracted by the next “must-have-it” thing.
How do you stay calm when your business stresses you out?
I try to stay off my computer on the weekends. As tempted as I often am to get some things done when I know no one will be emailing or calling, I’ve found that I need some time to just sit on my couch and read a book, or bake some cookies, or make from-scratch pasta, or go for a walk with my husband, or have coffee with my girlfriend. I’ve realized that life can get pretty bleak when things aren’t going well in my business, and I don’t take some time to appreciate that I actually have a life outside of my business. It gives perspective, and some relief. Besides, the problems will still be there to deal with on Monday.
What do you do or say when you feel like giving up?
Give up? It’s kind of impossible for me – after so many years I don’t even know what the alternative would be.
If I ever feel despair, I just remember that I am tough and determined, that I am being honed on the crucible of challenge, that “this too shall pass.”
And that there is no other option but to make it work.
Whole Web Impact