Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Think Outside the Jewelry Box for Do-Good Business Success: Confessions of a Golden Mompreneur

From mom to mania

Deanna Brown of Golden Girls

Deanna Brown

After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, I was ready to re-enter the workforce and focus my energy toward new avenues. I wanted to achieve the personal satisfaction of creating something new and seeing it evolve and grow. Tapping in to my affinity for watching a plan come together—visualizing and achieving results—I wanted to try making it outside the home.

Ultimately, like many American women, I was searching for the self-worth and confidence I could achieve outside my role as a stay-at-home mom—I was ready to move to “phase 2.” For me, that meant joining forces with some great friends to start our own business. Though I didn’t quite anticipate all the juggling, I take advantage of the flexible hours my company provides to integrate my career into my family’s lifestyle.

A lustrous venture

When I got together with two friends, we really did strike gold (if I do say so myself!) when we founded Golden Girls, a company specializing in the in-home purchase of precious metals. Our like-minded, entrepreneurial spirits allowed us to partner our creativity with our determination for a winning combination; we were able bring together several diverse professional backgrounds to form a unique business partnership.

Our perspectives and life experiences led to plans to weld together two significant avenues. First, we wanted a flexible means of extra income that fit our busy schedules. Second, we wanted to find a way to fulfill our desires to give back to our communities at the same time.

Doing good with gold

When we started Golden Girls in May of 2008, our goal was to create a company with something more. We wanted to affect change in our own lives, the lives of our employees and the lives of our neighbors. Ultimately, as the mother of three young girls, I felt I wasn’t doing enough in my community; I was looking for more. That’s when a dear friend, Kate Atwood of Kate’s Club, inspired me. She was raising money for kids to go to camp—and it just clicked. If we were going to do anything to add to our business, it had to benefit people in need; this was my light-bulb moment. I was helping to start a new business, and this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate a charity component.

My co-founders and I decided that, at each gold party we host, we’d donate a percentage of all purchases to charitable organizations selected by party hostesses. In fact, I chose Kate’s Club as the beneficiary for the first party I ever hosted. Kate was so thrilled—she had no idea Golden Girls adopted this do-good business model—and it was such a great way for me to confirm that we were on the right track. With such awesome feedback, I knew I wanted similar takeaways from each party we hosted.

In recent years, the business world has seen an emergence of entrepreneurs taking social responsibility to new levels. These forward-thinking businesses, like Golden Girls, have woven the concept of giving into the very fabric of their companies from day one. While it’s generally expected that companies make charitable donations once they have made it big, it takes an entirely different mindset to create a profitable business model strategically based on the premise of helping others.

As a cause-oriented, for-profit business, Golden Girls has expanded this concept further by putting giving power in the hands of our customers. In just two years, we’ve donated more than $605,000 to thousands of charities across the country. The beauty of this business model? We empower our customers and buyers to have a say in the philanthropic impact by allowing them to give to the charities of their choice.

Tools of the trade

When I started building my business, I relied on in-person networking; never underestimate the value of a good face-to-face meeting! That said, there is also a great deal to be gained from online social networking. For me, they’ve always gone hand-in-hand.

Like many start-ups, our company had a very limited budget at inception—and word-of-mouth referrals and grassroots efforts quickly took hold and built a strong reputation in local communities. I helped spearhead these efforts by tapping in to my various social networks, I was able to increase Golden Girls’ presence and gain visibility for our foundations. As a result, I’ve become especially adept at building and maintaining valuable and genuine relationships.

At the beginning, as a stay-at-home mom, my social network was limited to parents of my children’s friends, neighborhood acquaintances and the like. But as Golden Girls grew, I leveraged many tools to reconnect with friends and family—including online social networking outlets. Running a business with certain elements of risk, it was vital for me to hire people I knew.

In fact, my first recruits for the business were all classmates from high school and college, church friends and neighbors; we grew from there. Our first line of people extended even to Canada and California; we were fortunate to start out with such broad connections. Other than these face-to-face connections, Facebook is a “number one” tool; in fact, we found five of our first line people through social networking. We reconnected with people we hadn’t talked to in five or 10 years—and it was the perfect fit.

Today, we are fortunate enough to count 250 people – in 32 states and parts of Canada – among the Golden Girls family.

Stepping off on a bright foot

From time to time, people ask me about the best advice I received as I started my business; this question always stumps me. Truth is, I never really got any sage advice going in. But the thing I wish I’d have known—and the thing that I’ve discovered the most—is that balancing family life with starting a new business is difficult, to say the least. I certainly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And if I could share any advice with potential entrepreneurs, it would be to dedicate specific time to your job and specific time to your family; you can’t do it all at the same time. Nobody wins when you try to juggle kids, spouses and employees all at the same time.

Going from full-time mom to full-time business owner—and managing employees—has been quite the transition. I have definitely worked to better implement my management skills—and to strengthen my problem-solving skills (I feel like I solve problems all day long!). I want to manage people effectively and make it work, whether it’s five people or 250. I am constantly evolving; and throughout all drama and worry, I’m finally getting the hang of it!

Another thing I pride myself on is building in a charity component. Even with all the uncertainty that can accompany running a gold-buying business, I never regretted or doubted that part at all; it’s what’s put us a step ahead of other business trying to compete in the same industry. The Golden Girls concept resonates with our guests, hostesses—and even buyers.

The golden rule

I know it sounds cliché, but you have to lead with your heart—and know what is right. Throughout my time as a business owner, I feel like I’ve probably made some less-than-stellar business (read: bottom-line, monetary) decisions, but it always worked out for the people involved. I follow my heart and simply treat others how I’d want to be treated. They don’t call it the golden rule for nothing! It’s not all numbers and logic. In fact, I try to ask myself, if I were in their place, what would make me happy? What would motivate me? At Golden Girls, we keep our people connected to us—even in times of struggle and as we work together to overcome challenges. And that’s what it’s all about.

For more golden perspectives, visit my blog at www.ourgoldmine.typepad.com. And learn more about Golden Girls at www.golddoesgood.com.

Deanna Brown
Co-Founder, Golden Girls
[email protected]

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Shoestring Book Reviews

Shoestring Venture Reviews
Richard Hooker on Jim Blasingame

Shoestring Fans and Followers


Categories

Archives

Business Book: How to Start a Business

Shoestring Book

Shoestring Venture in iTunes Store

Shoestring Venture - Steve Monas & Richard Hooker

Shoestring Kindle Version # 1 for e-Commerce, # 1 for Small Business, # 1 for Startup 99 cents

Business Book – Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible

Shoestring Book Reviews

Shoestring Venture Reviews

Invesp landing page optimization
Powered By Invesp
Wikio - Top Blogs - Business