Kathryn Christiansen had a magnificent dream of becoming a famous columnist living in a New York City penthouse. With a pair of Manolo Blahniks strapped to her heels and a vanilla latte effortlessly tucked in her left hand, Kathryn would be unstoppable channeling the Devil Wears Prada.
“The Universe failed to include me in her planning process. The high heels were replaced with baby shoes and in place of my latte was a bottle of formula. After a decade of marriage, and three beautiful children later, I found myself in the throes of a difficult divorce,” says Christiansen.
She found herself in a predicament many single mothers do: figure out a way not only to survive but how to support her children.
“I knew that if I was going to make money I needed to surround myself with it, so I chose something I thought I was good at, found people who were great at it, and prayed we would have food on the table.”
Fifteen years later, Kathryn is a powerhouse with several successful businesses to boot. She owns MyBusinessBar, the first cowering business center in Utah and Royal House Management in Park City.
“I hope my experiences can help other women who are finding themselves having to ‘reinvent’. I hear every day from women who think they are too old, too inexperienced, or are too fearful. There are huge benefits to starting a business later in life and there has never been a time more ripe with opportunity and resources than there is right now for women in business!”
The self-proclaimed alpha female who isn’t afraid of criticism shares how to take a brilliant idea and turn it into big business like she has.
“I have learned that being a business owner is a lot like being a parent. There is never a perfect time to ‘become one’ and every day is a learning experience. Owning a business is just like having a 2-year old. Sure you can leave the room for a minute, but if you are gone too long you are bound to find a mess waiting for you.”
She offers helpful tips for the aspiring entrepreneur:
- Find a Mentor. This means finding someone who has already blazed a similar trail or who can create connections. Align yourself with experts in the areas that you are not, who motivate as well as elevate you. Many cities now have co-working business centers that offer support services to startups. Chambers and community colleges also offer small business development centers with free resources and funding opportunities.
- Talk about your idea to anyone who will listen: Don’t worry about someone stealing your thunder. The more you talk about your goals and ideas the more they evolve and you never know who will be listening. It could be an investor, a strategic partner, a visionary, or just someone who has an outside perspective you haven’t thought about. Each of my businesses have been developed based on feedback and customer input. Talk, talk, talk!
- You are only as successful as you act and as the people you choose to surround yourself with. Seek out those with more experience. Learn to take risks and push past the fear. The rewards are worth the hard work.