Interview with Samantha McGraw – Co-Founder & CEO of The Boss Ladies

Samantha HeadshotTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

I have always believed that women can do anything they set their minds to.  For years I have offered support, guidance and advice to other women about growing, learning and becoming more powerful but I didn’t really take that advice for myself.  I knew that I wanted to start my own company, but I was waiting until the time was right.  Only the time never really seemed right.  Then, after 3 layoffs in 3 years, the Universe told me the time was now, whether I was ready or not!  I decided that I could offer myself better job security than anyone else ever could so I set out to create my dream job!

What did you do before launching your own business?

I spent over 15 years in sales and marketing in the hospitality industry.  Through my career I learned everything I could about providing great customer service, growing a successful business and becoming a powerful networker.  I’m now able to put all of these skills to work for me to create a successful business of my own and help others do the same.

How did you fund your business?

Starting a new business can be expensive.  Especially if you come to entrepreneurship like I did, somewhat unplanned. I had to find ways to get my business off the ground for as little as possible.  It required some creativity and thinking “outside the box”.  When I couldn’t afford a professional web designer to create my site, I contacted the computer sciences department of the local university.  They connected me with a student who had over 7 years of experience at half the cost.  I found some marketing partners to help me spread the word about my new business through social media.  I had an artist friend create my logo and then I started networking.  I also found referral partners to help me generate more business.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

How much I work varies week by week.  That’s the nice thing about working for myself.  Sometimes I put in over 50 hours when I have a lot that needs to get done, and other weeks I may take an extra day off to go enjoy some fresh air if I don’t have anything pressing on my calendar.  I do spend about 15-20 hours a week outside of my home office at networking events, client appointments and one-on-one meetings with possible referral partners.  And no matter what else is on my calendar, I try to plan at least one full day a week that I don’t have to leave my office at all.  Those are my most productive days.

How would you rate your success? 

I love my life!  I love my job!  I’m happy every day.  What could be better than that?  I love connecting with other great women business owners and getting to know them better!  And I love it when people walk up to me at networking events and say “I’ve been hearing about you and I think I need to get to know you better.”  That’s success to me!  People are talking about, and saying great things about what I do, even when I’m not around.  That shows me that my passion for my business is obvious to everyone I come in contact with.

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

Finding time to get everything done.  Right now, I am a one-woman show.  I’m the CEO, IT Manager, Marketing Director, Office Manager, Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper.  I know many women business owners struggle with this.  I just try to live in the moment and be present for wherever I am at the time.  If I’m with a client or at a networking event, I try not to think about the emails that might be piling up.  If I have to sit in front of my computer writing my blog posts or responding emails until 10 at night, then that’s what I have to do.  At least for now.  I know that the only way I can get to the next level is to make some sacrifices now.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

Don’t give up!  It’s always much harder in the beginning than you think it’s going to be but usually right about the time you’re ready to give up is about the same time that things really start happening.  Just keep moving forward, something big is waiting for you on the other side!  And make sure you find time to take care of yourself or you’ll burn out fast.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

I try to keep them separate.  Work is done as much during working hours as possible and I try not to take too much personal time during those hours so that I can stay focused.  Going to the gym and running errands happens early in the morning or later in the afternoon, hardly ever in the middle of the day.  But almost every Thursday evening you can find me at my favorite restaurant for some quality girlfriend time and martini night.  That’s what gets me through the week!

Connect with Samantha McGraw and The Boss Ladies…

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