Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Val Romero, Founder of Women Make a Difference, located in Albuquerque, NM, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Women Make a Difference was founded in 2001 as a networking platform to share a valuable resource I offer, but it soon morphed into a huge local community organization serving solopreneurs and small business owners with monthly networking events and ways to achieve more visibility thru networking, making connections, building relationships and collaboration.
Tell us about yourself
I was born a connector but didn't know it til I became an entrepreneur in 2000. I had middle management jobs, but always the self-proclaimed social director planning events and happy hours. Once on my own (leaving corporate American to pursue working with LegalShield—sharing affordable legal services and identity theft protection with individuals, families & small businesses), I needed a way to tell others what I was doing.
I did lots of networking and then decided to create my own with all the elements I liked vs. some of the things I didn't like with other groups. I started a networking luncheon with a keynote speaker so others could learn personally and professionally while networking too.
WMAD'S OBJECTIVE: provide solopreneurs & small business owners opportunities for maximum visibility through monthly networking events, personal and professional growth through expert keynote speakers, lasting connections, and collaboration.
I'm motivated to get people connected, which has created huge referral magnetism for me, being known as the Networking Queen in my local town & surrounding areas. I'm contacted regularly for 'do I know someone who...' and it feels good to be trusted to recommend others as it comes right back to me!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I was 1 of 450 women nominated for a 'Woman of Influence' award a few years back. 30 women were chosen and honored for their contribution to leadership and community. My community supported me, with 50 of my closest women there to cheer me on—I felt like a queen! Generally, just being consistent for now into the 22nd year—longevity has proven successful.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Staying positive with the cycle of networking. Covid was tough on this business model because we meet in person— it's what we do, but I pivoted to virtual right away and discovered there was a bit of a silver lining in that I could have a further reach online and get speakers and attendees from all parts of the country. Even now, it's not back to where it was, but many things won't be... in fact, I just had 3 calls in the last 24 hours cancelling for an event on Friday—covid.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Keep networking to meet new people and keep yourself visible - it makes a difference.
- Create and manage a good database as it pays off in the long run.
- Become a student of personal development. It's the continuing education (CE units) for an entrepreneur.
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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