Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Perkins, Founder and CEO of Mabely Q, located in Silver Spring, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a champion of disability rights and an inspiring entrepreneur who advocates for greater accessibility, inclusiveness, and understanding within the business world. As a deafblind woman myself – founder of the small online business Mabely Q – as well as an experienced speaker/educator, my message has been heard by CEOs around the country. My unique gifts are my life experiences which I compassionately share with others through keynote speeches, private workshops, or one-on-one consulting sessions to foster true inclusion at all levels — allowing people with disabilities equal opportunities to succeed professionally.
Tell us about yourself
I took the leap and started Mabely Q five years ago out of necessity. After being laid off from my corporate job of 12 years, applying for jobs wasn't getting me anywhere. Rather than repeat the same cycle for the next decade, I discovered an opportunity that would include providing virtual assistant services and continue building on my already established graphic design skills.
Since then, Mabely Q has evolved into an Accessibility Education business that meets a widely overlooked need in small businesses. Inspired by preventing anyone with disabilities from feeling left behind or inferior, I am dedicated to helping organizations learn how to take their online presence up a notch in terms of usability and accessibility.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, my proudest accomplishment is being a public speaker. I'm usually the one behind the scenes, so to be the face of my business and share my own experiences with an audience is 1000% nerve-wracking. The reward has been seeing how my messages make a positive difference in so many people's lives. It's definitely worth it in the end!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Running a business can be a lonely journey — I'm the one responsible for making all the decisions, and it can be challenging when I don't get it right. On the other hand, the rewards that come with running your own business are significant. Building up a community of like-minded individuals and experienced professionals has made taking on this challenge much easier.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Network and build a community of mentors and peers that can provide knowledge and guidance in areas you may not be as familiar with.
- Set clear goals, objectives, and strategies to work towards them and regularly evaluate progress to ensure your business is heading in the right direction.
- Staying focused and avoiding the 'shiny object syndrome' is essential. It may be tempting to invest in everything that looks appealing, but remember, there will always be other deals later on. Reevaluate your priorities and only invest in what you need now.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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