Q&A 4Her – Dana Brownlee, Founder of Professionalism Matters
With her two companies, Professionalism Matters and MeetingGenie.com, Dana Brownlee is using her expertise to help busy business women reduce their work stress, better manager their time, enhance their leadership skills, and put together motivated and hardworking teams for their businesses.
The highly sought out corporate trainer and speaker may be running two successful companies and has a myriad of speaking engagements, like her recent appearance on CNN, but Brownlee makes plenty of time to relax and spend time with her two young children.
We had a chance to speak with Brownlee about her business success, what she loves most about what she does, and more. Read her full Q&A 4Her interview below!
Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
Actually, not really. I probably envisioned myself on a more traditional, corporate path and I was on that path for the first decade or so of my career.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
I think that I underestimated in general how difficult it can be to win business. I’m a corporate trainer/facilitator and I had enough experience to know that I was much better than most. For some reason I thought that because I was great at what I did, it would be fairly easy to win business and I quickly discovered that that assumption was naive at best. Part of what makes entrepreneurship so exciting and interesting is that there are so many factors that come into play when it comes to winning business – skill/talent, yes but oftentimes factors like timing, relationships, website search engine optimization, sophistication of marketing materials, and press, just to name a few.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Focus on your strengths and don’t obsess on your weaknesses
What do you love most about what you do and why?
I LOVE the flexibility and autonomy. I create my own schedule, and that is invaluable to me (particularly now as a mom of a 3.5 and 1 year old). If I want to jog most mornings or take 2 months off, I can do that without sacrificing much revenue.
If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently and why?
I probably would have spent a bit more time relationship building before I took the big leap to start my own business. Having just one or two solid clients Day 1 (or close to Day 1) is invaluable and those preexisting relationships can make all the difference. On the flip side, sometimes ignorance can be your friend. I embarked on a product development endeavor (creating instructional DVDs for sale online) that turned out to be about ten times the work I’d anticipated, but by the time I figured it out, I was too far into the project to turn back. In retrospect I’m so glad that I did it because having product along with my training services has been helpful in a number of ways, but I fear that had I known how much work was involved, I would have been intimidated.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
First of all, most of the time I’m not working (by design), and I love that! I enjoy jogging (slowly), pilates, picking up my daughter from school daily, traveling, and pondering business expansion concepts (that doesn’t feel like work and that’s great too).
How do you define success?
Success for me is working because I want to and not because I have to.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business, what would it be?
It’s true that a dream is not a plan, but you really do need both. You need the passion and emotion that drives you, but you also need the tactical plan that defines how you will reach your goals.