Cheryl Himburg is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Kitchener, Ontario. She is the CEO and Principle Solutions Provider of Key Element Solutions, a one-stop-shop for all of your business needs, including assistance and expertise with Project Management, Business Development, Meeting Facilitation, Training, and more. We are thrilled to be sharing her Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I have always been driven with a variety of interests. Law was always my plan, but when that changed due to circumstances beyond my control, I fell in love with business. Having a broad skillset to draw upon I found people seeking me out for advice, yet I didn’t take the plunge into consulting. It wasn’t until after I was working in a job, after being downsized from a company and career I loved, that I began to consider leaping. I was going to work every day not enjoying what I was doing. I dreaded Mondays and started tensing up on Sunday afternoons. So, with the support and encouragement from my husband, I followed advice from my Dad after he asked a me a crucial question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid”. I created Key Element Solutions, and never looked back.
The response has been incredible and I find myself excited for Monday mornings. Doing what I love has been the most uplifting and freeing experience ever. I am able to help empower others to succeed, and also be present with my family. Who said you can’t have the best of both worlds?
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
There are two things that are the best part of owning my own business. First, the freedom it provides me to be able to provide my daughter with the emotional and physical support she needs in her medical challenges. I am able to manage her medical appointments without the stress of not being “present” in the office.
Second, being able to do what I am passionate about and help others succeed has been the most fulfilling career opportunity I have ever experienced. Every day I wake up with a renewed sense of engagement and excitement.
Can you describe a typical day?
A typical day for me is typlically untypical! I always start my mornings reading. Throughout the day I am in touch with my clients, via phone or skype, or in office. I plan and action strategic undertakings that are key to my clients and my business each day, and love having that guide to keep me on track and successful. Spending some quality time with my daughter after school is always a highlight, and then family dinners together with my daughter, husband and son recharge me to tackle my schooling requirements in the evening. When I am finally winding down, I take the time to truly reflect on the day focusing on all that I have to be grateful for.
Who do you count on for help?
My husband is my greatest cheerleader and supporter. I also have a few very close girlfriends who are always there for me, one of which is a successful entrepreneur herself. My mother is a very special part of my world, and even though we live 3 hours apart, I can’t count the number of times she has driven over to help and provide support.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Absolutely. Running your own business is a huge time commitment. I have perfected my art of delegating and prioritizing to ensure I am focused during my work hours and present with my family during off hours. There have been times I have missed social gatherings to ensure I am providing the absolute best to my clients. Nothing ever comes easy; there are always choices to be made.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Anytime I can get to a live baseball game, or live music, I am happy. I spend the majority of my time with my family and friends, travelling and enjoying laughs. If I can sneak in a couple of hours at the spa that is wonderful! I have learned how important it is to take the time to recharge and fuel my soul.
Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I am very active within my community. I have spent a number of years volunteering for different events including sorting/packing/delivering food baskets at Christmas, to involvement with homeless people. I am a Board Director, as well as the Chair of Program Development and Evaluation, for a local non-profit charity called Monica Place, which supports young, unwed women in pregnancy. I am also involved in a variety of projects surrounding gender equity and the advancement of women in business, often in predominantly male dominated industries, with the goal of empowering our next generation of young men and women to challenge norms. I have chosen to transform challenges and obstacles I have had to overcome, and channel that into bettering my community.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
I have always been intrigued by Richard Branson. Starting from a garage, with no formal education, working hard, succeeding, failing, but still trying and chasing his dreams. His story has always made me look for the positives in the negatives, the lessons in the failures and enjoy the journey and everything it brings along with it.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The future is bright! I am looking forward to expanding our service offerings, growing our client base, and providing future workshops helping others to continue evolving, reaching and exceeding their goals.
Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
I think a big thing is to have an open conversation with your partner, children (if age appropriate) and close family and friends who are your support system. Ensuring those who will be there to support you understand the time commitment involved, the sacrifices that will need to be made, as well as what supporting you will look like is extremely important. If those closest to you are not on board it makes the journey much more difficult. Be ready to lean on others and let some things go, making sure to take time for yourself to recharge.