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From Mentee to Mentor
Kerry Rego and her husband were in the process of starting a family, when Kerry decided to start her own business.
What made you want to start a business as an organizer? How long did you do it? What type of clients did you work with?
My husband and I started our family while we were living in Indio, California and decided to return home to get the support of our mutual families. I was out of work and thought about the types of skills I had that were marketable.
I had excelled at office and personal management in the past and decided to start my own business capitalizing on those skills. I started my business as an assistant-for-hire and the title and value proposition shifted to organization based on what my clients were asking for. I worked with individuals and small businesses to streamline their physical and digital assets for increased efficiency. I organized homes, closets, garages, filing systems, technology setups, and work spaces. I did that for three years before switching over my services to social media consultant.
What made you want to switch from organizer to social media consultant?
When the economy took a downturn, my clients were losing their money, homes, businesses and belongings. They didn't need me in the same way any longer. When I noticed that the introduction of the iPhone and the growth of social media brought with it many new questions and needs that I was uniquely positioned to answer, I made the shift.
How did you hear about the Napa/Sonoma SBDC?
I believe it was a one day class offered on patents, copyright, and trademarks taught by Steve Schneider. I took the class out of curiosity and was introduced to the services of SBDC.
What did you discuss with SBDC counselor Janet Wentworth? What years did you work with her?
We worked together in the summer of 2008. I believe it was only two sessions. We talked about what I thought my needs were, where my organizing business was going, and what opportunities I had.
What was the best piece of advice or guidance she gave you?
She taught me about the concepts of guerrilla marketing. I learned how to promote and market my business with little money and taking advantage of the opportunities available to me. This is the cornerstone of what I do for work today.
What did you do with SBDC counselor John DeGaetano?
John worked with me on every aspect of my business from September 2011 to May 2015. We worked on financials, growth projections, budgets, marketing, promotion, expansion plans and more. He guided me through the process of self-publishing my books.
What was the best piece of advice or guidance he gave you?
The guidance that he gave me covered a few things. Mostly, he acknowledged my hard work and how successful I am. When I doubted myself, he was supportive and objective in his assessment of my accomplishments. Secondly, he gave me the financial tools I needed to make smart decisions around budgeting and financing.
How has business been since you got the counseling?
Business is booming. I simply wouldn't be doing much of what I'm doing without the counseling.
Did getting counseling allow you to hire? How many employees do you have?
Counseling did allow me to hire. I've had several part time employees and interns. I've scaled back my work a bit and no longer need the help; so, I currently employ no one else.
What are the titles of your books?
- The Social Media Starter Kit
- The Social Media Starter Kit Workbook
- What You Don't Know About Social Media CAN Hurt You: Take Control of Your Online Reputation
I also speak an average of 52 times per year.
Do you have any advice for someone starting their first business?
Create a business plan. It forces you to envision what your business is about, what your goals are, who your competition is, and who your audience is. It's crucial to business success.
Do you have any advice specifically for other women business owners?
Find mentors and a support circle. Find other businesswomen that can shed some light on what the challenges, obstacles, and rewards are in owning your own business. You will need their support when you doubt yourself and when your fears are holding you back.
Who approached you to become a teacher at SBDC? Have you done any counseling as well? What’s your favorite class to teach?
Mary Cervantes of the Napa Sonoma SBDC approached me to be a trainer back in April 2014. As soon as I taught my first class in September 2014, students were asking to work with me as an advisor. I began working with my first counseling clients in December 2014.