Irene Szabo is an Elite+ Mompreneur Member based out of Guelph, Ontario, and is an Independent Realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. We are excited to share her Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs; my father and brother both had their own businesses. I have always loved working for myself – in my 40 year career I have worked for a company less than 10 years.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
There is no glass ceiling and no one telling me what to do. I get rewarded for what I do and don’t have to worry that someone plays the political game better than I.
Can you describe a typical day?
I start my day at 6:00AM with a 10 minute meditation, writing in my gratitude journal and writing my affirmations. After that, I get ready for my day and walk my dog. I am usually at Planet Bean downtown by 8:30AM having coffee with someone, and then to the office. My day includes phone calls, visits with my clients/friends, appointments and paperwork. It can end at 5:00PM or at 10:00PM. Usually at 9:00PM, I take some me time – I read, watch TV and do mindless computer stuff.
Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
I count on my husband, and I also count on my teenage son. He is independent so I don’t have to worry about help with him. I have a personal assistant who helps me with house tasks like shopping, dishes and general errands.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Absolutely! But I don’t see it as a sacrifice. I often work nights and weekends, but I love what I do. I make sure I make time for family and friends, but some parts of my year there is only time for work. I generally take the month of August and between Christmas and New Years off.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I do take days off. I make it a point to take one weekend every quarter, and Sundays. I spend time with family and friends, read, go to the cottage, decorate my home and go see movies.
Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I love my community. I shop locally, I give my donations locally, and I volunteer locally. Currently I am the chair of the Board at Trillium Waldorf School, where my son went to school before high school. I also volunteer at the Chamber, and I volunteer for Ed Video.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
I am inspired by many women entrepreneurs, too many to mention here. All of them have managed to love their families, carry the younger and older generation, and volunteer in schools and the community – all while dedicating themselves to their growth and business.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
As a realtor I am about slow and steady growth. I want to be able to support my clients and not just have them feel like a number to me. This takes time and limits the amount of people I work with. I like working with clients who would like to work as a team and have a collaborative experience in buying or selling their home. This year I have moved back to my favorite area, downtown. I will be supporting downtown businesses and charities.
Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Be persistent. Don’t give up.