In honor of October being Women’s Small Business Month, I had the pleasure of interviewing small business owner Francine McMahon. Her perspective and insight into the business world serves as great advice for those who are thinking of following in her footsteps. Her continuous hard work, determination, passion, and dedication are qualities that I personally admire as a fellow small business owner. Check out our conversation below!
Q: Francine, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am originally from Brooklyn N.Y. I attended the largest High School in the city, with 6,000 students. Also, I have a BA in English from Hofstra University. Most importantly I am the proud mom of Dean McMahon, and independent, creative, non conformist. I am a weightlifting fanatic, adore movies, books, fashion and am passionate about helping others achieve their goals.
Q: What is the name of your business?
A: Capital Image Counsel.
Q: How many years has your business been up and running?
A: The business has been up and running since December 2013.
Q: What were you doing, or what area were you working in, before starting your own small business?
A:Prior to founding the firm I was the Executive Vice President of The Hill Newspaper, where, over 16 years, I grew a small weekly newspaper into a leading Congressional publication and brand.
Q: How long were you in the corporate world before starting your own business?
A: I was in the corporate world for 33 years before going out on my own.
Q: What made you want to start your own small business?
A: In the midst of a lengthy and highly successful career, I intentionally and mindfully initiated a change. I could have continued as a Publisher. My decision was not easy, I loved my work and my staff. I was proud of what I built. I did, however, have a desire to build something that belonged to me, not to my Chairman or to a board. It was time for a new challenge and journey.
Q:From your experience, what has been most challenging about being a woman business owner?
A: The most challenging part of being in business for myself has been adjusting to the (perceived) security of a steady paycheck, health care and executive perks.
Q: What advice would you give women who are thinking about starting their own small business?
A: The best advice I can offer other woman who are contemplating going out on their own is to have a trustworthy financial planner who you are comfortable sharing your personal goals, your risk temperament and who herself understands being in business on her own. Working with my advisor I was able to plan and build wealth so that I could create my own safety net. Together we determined the amount of money I would need in my portfolio, given my preferred lifestyle, spending and fixed overhead in order for me to have a cushion to allow me to take the risk of going without a guaranteed paycheck if it took longer than expected to be up and running with the business.
Q: As a small business owner, how do you balance work and family life?
A: My work/family balance is actually not a challenge in this stage of my life. In fact, having my own business, learning new things, meeting new people fills the void of no longer having a child living at home who needs me. I miss those days, but now I can channel my innate desire to nurture into my business and my clients.
Q: How did you handle adversity and doubt from others?
A: Handling adversity and doubt from others is not the challenge for me. Handling my personal doubts and insecurities is a monumental task. The noise in my own head that screams “failure,” now that is a true challenge! At times, other people tend to have more confidence in me than I have in myself. The way I confront self-doubt is to pause, refocus, and remind myself that labeling myself with negativity is really the opposite of humility. I then say a prayer of gratitude and ask for Gods help to do the next right thing. And if I am still unable to redirect my mind into positive action, I then say a short prayer and ask God to rescue me from these turbulent waters. Then, even if the negative thoughts do not lift, I say, “Gam Zu L’tovah,” which means, “This too is for the good,” and then regardless of my thoughts I get back to the doing required of me to fulfill my obligations.