How did you know it was a viable idea?
I did a lot of research and I found out that the size of the market was a 240-billion-dollar business at the time. And of that, there's about 90 billion dollars-worth that are purchases made by women, yet there was nothing for them to buy. I also realized there was nobody else out there who was an expert or authority in this genre.
How did you know what steps were involved to get your business off the ground?
I didn't! It's like the law of averages: You talk to as many people as possible. When people were able to see my passion and hear my presentation and the fact that I was a divorced woman of a son, it kind of all fit into place.
Did you face a lot of adversity in the beginning?
God, yeah! Being in construction as a woman, people immediately want to know if my father or brother was in the business or who I was a front for. It's not an overnight success. It takes many years of working, focusing, being patient, and proving yourself.
What do you wish you would have known before you started?
That success takes 15 years! But you can't think that it's going to take forever, because if you worry about success, then you might never know where you're going to get to.
What's one piece of advice you have for a mom who wants to launch a similar business?
Start small. If you have a job and still bring in a little bit of income, you can use that to fund your business venture in a very small way. Make a two-page plan of your ideas, and look at your demographics. Join some local businesses and networks and start writing a piece in the local paper about your craft. You just have to stay focused, take classes, get as much as information as you can - and believe in yourself.
How do you manage a work/life balance?
I get my son involved as much as possible. I would ask him to create some ideas that he had and now he has his own sketchbook with a number of ideas. When I'm out for a meeting, he knows that I'm working and when I get home I'm going to tell him all about it. I try to do things around his schedule, and I'm always home to make him dinner.
My goal is to be the Martha Stewart or the Oprah of the home improvement sector. I'm working on both a TV show and another book.
For more information, visit www.barbarak.com.
Also see: Pregnant in Heels: Mompreneur Rosie Pope