The Entrepreneurial Journey

I founded MemoryBanc after working for more than 20 years in small, growing entrepreneurial firms. I considered myself an entrepreneur because I was adept at helping small businesses define their market and grow.  I loved working in small companies where your job lines were blurry and you had to be a jack-of-all-trades.

When my parent’s health was failing and I needed to step in to help, my full-time corporate job required that I be an effective leader and demanded long hours, and I desired to be a good wife and mom; I became overwhelmed by life. I was no longer satisfied and set out to redefine how I was prioritizing family, job, health and my faith.

In caring for my parents, I stumbled onto an unmet market need and started to work on the business plan. It felt onerous. I was using a life coach at the time to help me and she asked me to define “Entrepreneur.” While the dictionary says it’s “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk” what I needed to learn was that I needed to believe 110% in the business idea and should only pursue it if not doing so would cause me greater distress.

I was scared. I was leaving a great job with good benefits and pay and leaping into an unpaid job with incredible risk and that required at least a $60,000 investment to get started.

I realized that I was passionate about the business I was building when I started to see how what I had been through was already helping others.  I saved the money to launch the business and jumped. I’m lucky to have a supportive spouse and the ability to put the money back into MemoryBanc to continue to see it grow.

In 2015, our goal is to make a difference in the lives of a quarter of a million people. That’s right, we want to educate and share our free tools with 250,000 individuals to encourage them to organize the information that surrounds their lives.  Being an entrepreneur is the unquenchable desire to build the business and the ability to be ready to make all the decisions, make mistakes, and dust yourself off and use what you’ve learned to build a stronger, better organization.

I will share more on this topic at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Conference on Thursday, February 12, 11:00 a.m.  I hope to meet you there.

What is an Entrepreneur?

Kay spent 20+years helping small companies grow and considered herself entrepreneurial. When it came time to launch, grow, and run her own business, things felt very different. In this session, you will learn:

  • What it really means to be an entrepreneur
  • How listening and mindfulness matter
  • What it takes to make it happen

Success Amplifies your Values

amplifierLast week I spoke with the founder of Influence Expansion — Lena West — who asked me to define my biggest fear. I told her that I was worried about how I would serve my family and my mother’s needs if my business was too successful. Would a successful business take me away from the things that were most important to me? Lena told me that was a fear she struggled with until her mentor told her that “success only amplifies your values.” She shared how that held true in her life and gave me renewed vigor that I’m on a true and sustainable path.

I’m confounded by the fact that success can amplify your values while dementia strips them away. Half my struggle in helping my Mom is recognizing that behavior she exhibits is not something I should let define her.  She looks like my Mom, talks like my Mom, but often says things that the woman who raised me would never have said.

I posted the poem for those who are caring for someone with dementia which is a stark reminder of the situation we are facing. As the reports from Assisted Living put it, my Mom can be “verbally abusive.” As her children, we struggle to differentiate sometimes between the stern mother who raised us while our Dad was off serving our country and the woman who has a sharp tongue that we may encounter on our visits.  I rely on my go-to tactics if I arrive to find my Mom in a harsh mood.

Back in March of this year I wrote about the gracious woman who raised me resurfacing. When my Dad turned 80, we had a party with the cohorts at the retirement community. My Mom illustrated to me the gracious woman who raised me and helped me survive more than a dozen moves. I’m still in awe of that woman. I remind myself daily to remember that woman, but show love and compassion for the woman I visit and speak with — even if she is no longer able to display what should be her defining characteristics.

My parents taught me great values. I was so encouraged by Lena West — I don’t need to worry — my values won’t leave me when my business rapidly scales. In fact, Lena went on to share, I will be able to contribute to and develop upon my values as success arrives. Inspired. 

MemoryBanc named a finalist in the GW Biz Plan Competition

gwbizplanAs my parents have successfully adapted to their new living arrangements in Assisted Living, the business that I started in response to our situation is blossoming. 

To help fill in the gaps left by my durable power-of-attorney and modern-day business practices, I created a binder to organize and manage my parents personal, financial, medical, online and household needs.  Enough people asked me about it who were facing similar situations that I brought the product to market. Like any good entrepreneur, I was driven and started to sell the product but never stopped to finish the business plan.

As I entered 2013, my goal was to create more structure and a road map for MemoryBanc. I’m crazy competitive. Two friends who were helping me with the business teamed up with me to enter the GW Business Plan Competition.

The GW Business Plan Competition  is a series of educational events and active mentorship on new venture creation. This year, 109 entries were submitted in the first round, which concluded in January 2013. From those initial submissions, only 33 were invited to write full business plans, and from them, only 8 teams made it to the GW Business Plan Competition Finals. These 8 finalists, including MemoryBanc, will present their business plans and ideas to a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, and GW alumni.

MemoryBanc will vie for $60,000 in cash prizes in the 2013 GW Business Plan Competition Finals that are being help Friday, April 19, 2013.

Date: April 19, 2013

Time: MemoryBanc will present around 3:00 PM and is the final team to present. There is the possibility they may present up to a half hour before or after this scheduled time.

Cost: Free

We would love for those of you that are in the metro DC area to join us. RSVP at http://2013gwbpc.eventbrite.com to save your spot! You will receive a name badge and can join the reception. EXCITED!