My introduction to Sue Blumenfeld is a classic example of the power of networking and social media. I posted on Facebook one day how much I hate grocery shopping and how I would happily pay someone to do it for me. Shortly afterwards, the post was commented on by Facebook friend Steve Abshier, suggesting I contact Sue. Steve knows both of us and knew that I would be extremely interested in Sue's business. Sue and I made contact and the rest, as they say, is history. It's amazing to me that Sue lives right here in NWA and yet if not for Steve's introduction I may never have met her or discovered her amazing business. Now I get to share her with you. Meet Sue Blumenfeld!
1. Sue, tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Illinois. I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1982 to go to the University. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Special Education in 1986. I went on to get my Master's Degree from UALR (commuting on weekends!) in teaching the severe and profoundly mentally retarded in 1995. I taught special education in the public schools in northwest Arkansas for 12 years.
Brian and I do not have any children but we do have one fur baby - a cat named Ruby. We enjoy foreign travel, camping and gardening.
2. Tell us about your business
I started The Errand Girl in January 1997. I worked alone for the first few years but then eventually I had to hire on some contractors to help with the work load. We provide prompt, professional handling of all types of errands. We specialize in customized lifestyle management - the ultimate personal assistant. We will assist with those time-consuming tasks that can rob you of your freedom and cause lots of stress for you and your family. We take pride in an extreme level of dedication and thoroughness, and we go above and beyond just running errands. We offer a wide variety of services (house cleaning, pet sitting, deliveries, grocery shopping, mobile notary services, organizing, etc.) and are willing to tackle anything you might have a need for. People are always calling and saying, "I've got a really strange request and I am not sure if you will do this" - After 17 years in business it is very unlikely that we come across something we haven't done before.
3. Why did you start your own business?
Teaching became very stressful for me and my doctor told me I needed to quit. I knew I needed to work for myself in whatever my next endeavor was to be.
4. How did you choose this particular niche?
When I was teaching my teacher friends would tell me that they would pay me to do their grocery shopping. They all knew I loved to grocery shop. I figured that was a starting point to capitalize on what I enjoyed doing.
5. What do you like most and least about being your own boss?
Most - Hard to pick just one thing!
Least - Bookkeeping, paperwork, and taxes!
6. What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business?
The ability to handle conflict, outgoing enough to sell yourself, Self-confidence.
7. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
I do NOT get to set my own hours! People always assume you can set your own hours or just work when the kids are in school. This is not the case. If you want to have happy clients you need to be available when they want you. Another very hard thing has been finding the right people to hire. They will represent you and your business. Finding people that are as dedicated as you are to put the client first, pleasing people and just customer service in general are just plain few and far between.
8. Do you have any resources that you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
I did go to the Small Business Development Center at the University when I was getting my plan together.
9. Do you have any tips to share on promoting yourself?
Putting my information on my vehicle is the best investment I have ever made. Networking, networking, networking!
10. What other advice would like to share with someone starting their own business?
Find a good accountant and check with them the best way to set up your books so that it is much easier for both of you at tax time. Find a wonderful techie to get you set up with a great website and to help you with other tech issues.
11. How can we contact you to learn more about your products and services?
My cell phone is 479-841-0299. Please leave a message I will return your call. I have a policy of not answering the phone when I am with a client. Our website is http://www.errandbiz.com
12. Is there anything else you would like to share?
We are insured and bonded.