The Insider's Guide to Starting a Business

| Mary Shores


I started my now-multi-million-dollar business with no handouts and no help from anyone. It all started with a question, an unlocked door that I opened. I took a leap of faith at age 24, and it paid off. Big time. And guess what? You can do it too. Let me explain.

To be honest, I always knew I was born to be a businesswoman. Many of you knew that I wanted to be a businesswoman from a young age. I played bank while the other little kids played house. I ran a behind-the-scenes shop in school (and eventually got busted.) All that entrepreneurship had to come from somewhere, right?

The truth is, I had a family history of entrepreneurship. My mom owned a debt collection agency, which I worked in as a child. I saw firsthand how the business worked as I licked stamps and folding envelopes. (Back in those days, they weren’t worried about my toxic load.)

Then, everything changed. My mom went through hard times, and so did her business. A hard divorce and bankruptcy followed, which resulted in my mother losing the business I’d grown up with.

In the meantime, I’d started trying to work on my own. But it didn’t end well. I share the full story of my lowest career points in this blogpost. The CliffNotes version? I was let go after just 90 days of working what I thought was my dream job.  I was devastated, and since my mom’s business had been lost, I had no cushion to fall back on.

I saw an opportunity, and I took it.

I realized that I had experience in the collection agency. I thought I was an expert. And I was desperate.

I was wrong about being an expert businesswoman at that point, but I did have a solid foundation. And I had connections from my experience. I decided I’d found my own collection agency. So I reached out to my mother’s old clients to handle their now-open accounts, and it jumpstarted my career.

That was the start of my business. My life went from a bankruptcy and dead-end job to owning a business that would turn into an empire. And it all happened because I seized the opportunity. I took a chance and asked the question. I leveraged my connections. And ultimately, I did business differently. But it all started with a question.

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