Susan Brady is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Port Stanley, Ontario. She has been a member within our community since 2013, is in her 20th year as an entrepreneur and for the past 8 years has been offering insights as “The Make Six Figures Working From Home Coach”, coaching women to build and grow businesses that not only generate revenue and ultimately turn a profit but more importantly change their lives, their families’ lives and the communities that they are part of. We are thrilled to share Susan’s Success Story!
When a woman makes more money, it not only affects her pocket book and her lifestyle, but it has a ripple effect…and ultimately affects everyone she comes in contact with and everyone she does business with. The biggest reason I love to make money is so I can live an amazing life, which includes creating beautiful experiences and memories for those I love the most.
What is your ‘Why’?
My why is my family. Working hard, working smart and focusing on the right activities when I am working my business provides me with extraordinary choices. There is nothing easy about being an entrepreneur – but the rewards it has provided me with over the years and the memories I have created and continue to create for my family are priceless.
This year my oldest grandson Max turned 13. I made a promise to my grandchildren that the year they turn 13, grandma takes them on a special one-on-one vacation to wherever they want to go. Max and I are heading to San Diego in June to visit one of the biggest skate parks in the world, spend a day at the San Diego zoo, and spend some time at the ocean.
People ask me all the time, “Why do you work so hard?”… money doesn’t last a lifetime, but memories certainly do.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I became an entrepreneur totally by accident. I got my start in direct sales and joined Mary Kay in 1998, just to buy my products for a discount; I remember telling my cousin who recruited me, “I am never going to do ‘this’; so as long as I don’t have to do anything, I will join.” Needless to say, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. All it took was me going to one meeting and being exposed to all these amazing, fun women who were making some serious cash, and I thought to myself, “If they can do that, I can certainly do that….” so there it began. I decided that I wanted to be control of my future, that I had the potential to do whatever I wanted with my business, and that there was no glass ceiling or no limit to what I could do.
What is the best part about owning your own business?
When I started as an entrepreneur it was more about flexibility. Being flexible around when I could play golf, for example – I didn’t like having to “squeeze” in 9 holes of golf after working my j-o-b, or trying to play 18 holes on the weekend when everyone else was trying to do the same. Instead, I loved having the opportunity to play when I wanted, when my husband Tom was home, and usually while everyone else was working. Not to say I didn’t put in my working hours – I would work before and after – but being out on the course in the middle of the day while most people were at work was pretty darn nice.
Now, it is a little different. In 1998 I didn’t have any grandchildren. Today I have 5 of them, and I love the fact that I can spend time with them when I want. I’m able to be there for a school function, go to a track and field meet to watch them, watch a basketball tournament, pick them up from school or drop them off; I can even surprise them in the morning with a hot batch of Grandma’s special blueberry pancakes before they head off for school.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am an early riser, I love mornings. My alarm goes off every morning at 5:25am and I am up and out of bed, I put the coffee on, and I am out the door to meet my girlfriend with my dog Harley for a 45 minute power walk through the village and down the beach. Doesn’t matter how hot or how cold it is, as long as it isn’t “pouring” rain, we walk Monday-Friday every single week, all year long.
Over the years my “typical” day has changed, depending on where I was at in my business. I am usually in my office by 7:30am and try to get my admin type work, emails, etc out of the way by 9:00am; then I am on the phone. One of the biggest lessons I have learned in business over the years is that the more time you spend on outgoing calls, the more successful you will become and the more your business will grow. If I am not making calls, I am looking for events to attend, researching speaking opportunities and networking opportunities and of course, my favourite – working with my clients and coaching other business owners.
I will normally work until about 6:00pm and now that my husband is retired and home, he makes dinner and after dinner, depending on what is on television, I may go back into my office and do some follow up or prepare for the next day.
Who do you count on for help?
I have had an assistant since my first or second year of business, and she is still with me to this day. I also have an amazing bookkeeper, an accountant, a technical expert, a social media expert, as well as a financial advisor. There have been points in my business where I have had to bring on other contractors, designers, graphic artists etc, but probably the most important people who have been instrumental in me getting to where I am today have been my coaches. I have had a business coach since my early days in Mary Kay. There have been times were I took a “break” for up to a year, but I can also tell you that my business suffered tremendously… to the point where I ask myself today how things would have been different or where I would be if I didn’t take those breaks.
When you are an entrepreneur, you are in business for yourself, but you can’t do it alone. I know we’ve all heard that before, but it’s true. You see, as a business coach, my strength is in helping people. It’s not figuring out how to make changes to my website, or setting up a marketing campaign in my email system, or doing my own bookkeeping, or my own taxes – I hire people who are experts in that area, so I can spend my time on my strengths and doing what I love. And when I am not doing what I love – I am spending time with the people I love.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
When I first started my business back in 1998, I was working a full time job, and had made the decision that I wanted to leave so I could focus on building my business. However, I had an $80,000 income I needed to replace before I could do that, so I can tell you that for 6 months I did a lot of sacrificing. My kids were teenagers at that time, and there were a lot of nights that I was not home after work to make dinner. Laundry wasn’t always done when everyone needed it to be done. I didn’t spend weekends with friends; instead, I worked every spare minute I could for those 6 months to build my business parallel to my job so I could step away from my job. I took a one year leave of absence and after that year was up, I resigned. So I know what it’s like to sacrifice, however, I say it was short term pain for a long term gain. I wouldn’t trade the past 19 years for that 6 months of sacrifice.
There was a point in time about 6-7 years ago when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and was very sick. The doctor gave him about a week to live and while he proved them all wrong and lived another 2 years, I put my business on hold, or should I say, ‘auto-pilot’. I wasn’t building it, I was maintaining what I had, but my focus was my dad. My sister and brother and I spent every single day at the hospital with him, until he was released after about 6 months. So you could say that I sacrificed my work, but it was worth every day I got to spend with my dad, and that is a sacrifice I will never regret. You see, that’s what I love about being an entrepreneur – the choices it gives you.
After that six months I was able to work extra hard to really build that momentum back up in my business and while my dad was still with us, he would always ask me how it was going. He was so proud of what I was creating and I know today, there is no one more proud than my dad; I know he is watching over me every single day, watching what I am building and the difference I have made in so many lives.
What do you do on a day off?
If you ask my friends what I do when I am not working, they will tell you I am either on the golf course, or spending time with the grandkids. My family is the MOST important thing in my life. I do everything in my power to have family dinners every other Sunday night, and of course birthdays are always a BIG deal around my house. Every grandchild gets to pick their special menu for their birthday dinners, and their favourite type of birthday cake, and grandma will make everything from scratch.
On Friday or Saturday nights, you can usually find 2 or 3 or 4 of my grandkids curled up on the couch with me watching a movie under our favorite blankets with a bowl of popcorn.
On weekends, if I’m not in the kitchen getting one of our family dinners ready, you can find me browsing around Costco, Winners, Marshall’s or at one of the grocery stores. I think I could be a professional grocery shopper, I just love it – I know, that’s crazy! When there are no kids around, then you’ll probably find me curled up on the couch watching an episode or 2 (or 4!) of Real Housewives. Which one? Well, all of them… I’m a bit of a Real Housewives junkie.
Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
- If you are thinking of starting a business, know that it is far from easy. It will probably be the hardest work you have ever done. Get help. Building a business takes time, energy and money, along with persistence.
- You don’t know what you don’t know… so take advice and guidance from someone who has already achieved what it is you want to achieve and is living the lifestyle you aspire to live.
- If you have a job and are considering starting a business, keep your job. Use your current job to “fund” your business, because you will need that money and make sure you have at least 6 -12 months of income set aside before you walk away completely.
- Always have a goal in front of you that you are working towards. You will never hit a target you don’t set.
- Accountability is a key factor – there will be days when you just don’t feel like working, because you don’t think you need to, or you want to give up or when you think it is too hard. Having someone hold you accountable and remind you WHY you started and what you are trying to accomplish will be critical to your success.
- Be very careful who you listen to and who you take advice from.