When Paula Roeske was knocked down, seeing a large part of her initial $250,000 investment stripped from her business PRK Products, Inc., she was determined to pick herself up and keep going. This is her inspiring story...
What inspired you to start the business?
I helped my husband start his own company in June of 2009. Once we got that up and running we decided it was time to act on my product ideas. So we started in April 2010.
What was your start-up cost? How did you acquire the money and what did you use it for?
$250,000. My husband is very successful, so we had the money in an account which is a loan due back to ourselves.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Manufacturing. My first manufacturer committed fraud. It cost me one year and the $250,000 listed above. I ended up suing; settling out of court; collected less than half of my initial investment.
How did you rise above the tough days?
The support of my husband, children, friends and family. I am a firm believer in getting back up when you are knocked down. Life is hard at times and it is at those moments where you learn the most about yourself.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
Still is not; we are just now releasing our second product so we are very infant.
What do you love most about being your own boss? What is the downside?
I love what it shows our children. They see mom as "mommy" and Dad is CFO - and my mom is an inventor. Our children see both of their parents living the American dream and the work that is really necessary to accomplish it. What is the downside? There is none. It brings me such personal pride and self fulfilment.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
I hired my sister, who received a marketing degree from Michigan State University. SEO is a huge part of PRK Products. Elizabeth is very active on the web everyday getting our name out there.
How have you been using public relations to grow your business?
Currently we have a distributor that we hired to help grow our business.
Who are your entrepreneurial role models? What's so inspiring about them?
Any mom and pop shop out there. I have always tried to send my business to the ``little guy''. My husband works with exceptionally wealthy business owners. For years I have heard their stories through Dan. Everyone sees the end product and never the beginning or middle. It is VERY hard to go into business for yourself. They are all my role models and if they can make it, so can I.
How have you acquired the skills and knowledge you have to make your business successful?
Lots of reading online and speaking with other successful business owners. There are a lot of woman out there that are more than happy to share the do's and don'ts.
Your three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Learn your industry before you jump into it
- Find several people online in your industry and ask, ask, ask. Compare all their answers and get started
- Everyone is busy and everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. It is not about finding the time to start your own business, it is about making the time to start your own business.
How would you cope if this happened to you? Would you be able to pick yourself up and keep going?