Moving from California, Karen came to New Bern in 2007 because she wanted to be closer to her family who were all on the East Coast.
Prior to relocating, she had extensive experience in office management and accounting in the construction industry. She looked for work in New Bern. Wanting a flexible work schedule, she considered working for herself and decided to look into providing a service with which she was already familiar.
As a member of LegalShield, a corporation which provides affordable access to legal services for small businesses and individuals, she decided that she believed in it strongly enough to share the service with others. As a LegalShield independent associate, she became certified in small business and employee benefits.
Like many new business owners, Karen had doubts. However, as she started working in her business, she found she could make a living while helping others. She finds it is easy to sell the services because she believes in them.
Her advice for someone hoping to become an independent agent of a company is to first make sure that it is a reputable company. “If you are willing to use the service as a customer, then you are more successful in sharing the benefits with others,” Karen said.
She also advised to look for a company like LegalShield that provides continuous training, conferences, and other support. “You want to be in business for yourself, not by yourself,” she said.
Karen’s ideal customers are families and small businesses with under 100 employees. She primarily reaches them through networking and customer referrals, and she regularly attends the SBC Roundtable and other classes offered by the SBC.
She feels that her key success factors as a business owner are providing great client service, obtaining referrals, and post-sale client engagement. “Follow up is very important,” said Karen. LegalShield provides a customer relationship management system to help manage client follow up.
The main advantage of working for herself is the flexibility to work from anywhere so that she can travel and spend time with family, including grandchildren.
The downsides Karen experiences are isolation and the distractions associated with having a home office. She offered a piece of advice for someone working from home: “As tempting as it may be some days to stay in your pajamas while you work or make phone calls from home, get dressed and make your bed. It changes your mindset.”
One of her favorite related quotes from U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McRaven (Ret.) is:
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed… If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made, that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
For more information > https://karenmonroe.wearelegalshield.com/
Deborah Kania, director of the Small Business Center at Craven Community College