Sunday, March 17, 2013
(Published in print: Monday, March 18, 2013)
NAME: Amy Woolf
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Owner, Amy Woolf Color Consulting, Northampton
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: 2006
WHAT YOU DO: I assist business owners and homeowners with color selection on everything from paint to furniture to colors for websites. If a color choice needs to be made, I am trained to make it.
EXPERIENCE: I have been working with homeowners since 2006, both locally and nationally, creating color plans for both interiors and exteriors. In 2011, I began doing more commercial work for clients such as Wright Builders of Northampton, Greenfield Savings Bank, and Cornucopia and Heavenly Chocolate, both of Northampton, as well as a complete redesign of the waiting room for Hampshire OB/GYN in Northampton.
THE MARKET: Anyone who understands the power of color and is struggling to use it in a meaningful way.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: Social media and face-to-face networking have been really valuable to me. I have also been lucky to be featured in the local media several times, and I buy program ads from nonprofits like the Pioneer Valley Symphony.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? Because so many clients find me through word of mouth, it has been hard to know when to spend money on marketing and advertising. Over time, I’ve realized how important it is to invest in other things, like tech support and business coaching. I still don’t spend much on advertising, but professional support has paid for itself again and again.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Loving what I do so much that I’d do it for free, and working so hard for my clients that I feel good about charging.
CHALLENGES: Because I really love what I do, it’s sometimes hard to shut down the computer and close my office door. I also have a tough time saying no to my clients, and that sometimes gets me in trouble with my family.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Handling the nitty-gritty of bookkeeping is just not fun for me. But, it’s even less fun when I have to go back and figure out hours for an invoice or dig around for an address. Backtracking just slows me down and dampens my spirits, so I’ve learned to stay on top of things.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: Find your people! Develop relationships with professionals in your field, either in person or via the Internet. Meet with other entrepreneurs and ask them questions. Establish a network of mentors. Especially when working as a solopreneuer, you need the support of your peers.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY: I have learned a tremendous amount over the years from other Color Consultants around the country. Locally, the Women Business Owners Alliance has provided me with terrific support and inspiration.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: I’d like to grow my commercial work, doing more interior design for businesses, retail outlets and restaurants. I also want to continue helping other businesses with color that supports their branding message.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Find something you love to do and then educate yourself like crazy. Talk about it, listen to others, study everything you can get your hands on. Attend conferences. Just eat, sleep and breathe it.
PARTING THOUGHT: Even if your field is crowded, try to embrace the attitude that there is room for everyone. Share what you know, mentor others getting started, avoid feelings of competition. It takes practice and mindfulness, but you have more to gain from being open to collaboration.
B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle, owner of Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at firstname.lastname@example.org.