Where did you go to college? What was your major? I went to New York University, and graduated with a double major in Economics and Near Eastern Languages and Literature
Tell us about your business. Steamwork Center is a workspace and resource hub for entrepreneurs in the Santa Clarita Valley. We offer a variety of flexible space arrangements to people who need to host an event, lead a class, have a private client meeting or just a quiet desk for the day. We support entrepreneurs and connect them to emerging talent in the Santa Clarita Valley from our local schools, colleges, returning graduates and experienced freelancers.
What inspired you to start your business? Seven years ago, I was working remotely for a large advertising agency. While my clients were huge companies with interesting projects, I loved my team in Dallas, New York and San Francisco, and I got to work from a home office, it was lonely! During the recession, we had travel restrictions so I was doing high level work with demanding clients completely over the phone and internet. I wanted to work face-to-face with clients, have more control over my schedule and choose assignments that aligned with my values.
At that point, I quit my full-time job to become a strategy and marketing consultant specializing in working with startup businesses, mainly software (websites and mobile apps) and I haven’t looked back!
What is rewarding and challenging about having your own business? The differences between owning your own business and working for someone else are many. On the rewarding side, you can choose your path, make your own schedule, and there is no ceiling on your income. If you make more money, you can decide how it gets allocated. I’ve been able to play a bigger role in my children’s lives than I would have if I had stayed in a hard charging corporate job with a long commute and lots of travel.
On the challenging side, you need to be willing to take risks, go through some lean times and make your own opportunities. If you have a bad day, get distracted or discouraged, you will feel it in your pocketbook! It can still be lonely too, if you do everything yourself and don’t build a good support network of peers and other professionals who can help you be more successful.
Did Santa Clarita pick you or did you pick Santa Clarita as a home for your business? We picked Santa Clarita to be our home and a home when we moved here 9 years ago. We love the area and are so grateful for the wonderful schools for our three children. Because I want to work close to my home and family, I chose to make Santa Clarita the home for our business as well and I’m happy to say that the more we invest in helping entrepreneurs and emerging leaders in Santa Clarita, the more rewarding our business has become.
What do you love most about your career? I love being able to use my talents to help really talented, deserving people achieve their dreams.
What is on your wish list for the next 10 years? I’m looking forward to sending my boys off to college and launching their careers. The next 10 years will also see many changes in the workforce. You can count on the employment outlook changing quite a bit. Already ⅓ of American workers are independents - freelancers or working in micro-businesses with under 5 employees. That population is growing extremely quickly and is expected to be 40% by 2020, and in some industries even higher! The bigger news is that entrepreneurs create ⅔ new jobs in the economy which is great news for all of us. Successful entrepreneurs create successful communities and we should all encourage and support local business owners.
My career is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, so I feel like I’m in the exact right place at the right time to make a huge difference here in Santa Clarita, and hopefully other parts of the country as well.
What advice would you give to a High School or Middle School student? The rise of the “gig economy” will mean that more people will need to develop entrepreneurial business skills, including financial management, marketing, sales, customer service, project management and product development and software development alongside their core skills.
Having these extra entrepreneurial skills will help you steer your career and earn a healthy income in any economy.
What did you do for fun this summer? My family took a fun road trip stopping in LA, Orange County and San Diego, I took my oldest son on college visits, snuck off to the beach. Of course, opening our new Business Growth Studio for Entrepreneurs this summer is a dream come true and we are having a ton of fun! We are looking forward to our Grand Opening and launching new and expanding businesses for many years to come.