PROFILE: Ellen Little, Entrepreneur
You never really know that moment when your entire life changes. I woke up one day, far away from home, and made a decision that I would no longer have someone else “run” my life. Even as I was saying the words, I felt as if it was like an out of body experience.
Here I was. I had a strong career for 20 years, made a decent living, traveled the U.S and really made an impact on the employees and my business partners alike. In this instance, I was much like many of the people who were suffering with the industry shutdowns. The difference was – I was the one that shut it down. I made the decision. Just as scary. I was just as unsure of myself.
It took me three weeks to “mourn” and get back into the game. I had a plan to take a little time off, but after week two, I realized that I was not built that way. I started looking for training jobs; I wanted something that was close to home, no significant travel involved and a company that had values that resonated with mine. “A lot to ask” I thought, however my answers came fast.
I answered an ad for a training person, administrative assistant and market center leader for a large, real estate company that had a franchise in Brevard County. When I met the woman who placed the ad, I knew that it would be a match. We knew a lot of the same people and we had a similar background.
They didn’t really know what they wanted when they placed the ad, so I used my skills to design the perfect job for me, while meeting the number one priority of the organization. I learned that sometimes you have to create your job, because most companies have an idea of what they want, but have no idea how to put it in a job description. We prospered, and the upper management attributed the success to my position and the relationship that we built within the organization.
I wanted more. After a few years- four to be exact- things started to change. The management had changed and there were new owners. Once again, I didn’t feel that I FIT anymore. Reflecting back on the same feelings I had when I separated from the 20-year job, I knew this was my time for another change. We both needed it. The company needed something new, and I was not willing to provide it – we had a crossroads.
They didn’t want me to leave. As I reinvented myself once again, I was asked to stay on as an independent contractor during the merger with the new managers and owners. I did, knowing that this too would soon come to an end.
During this time, I opened the first company, Business Resolutions. I was working two days a week at the real estate company and getting my own clients by this time. The separation came much quicker for my business partner. In April of 2011, she was abruptly separated from the company and within a month we opened Atlantic Real Estate Brokerage in Satellite Beach. I was not a realtor, nor did I want to be one. I helped with the paperwork, coaching, websites and training. She was the master behind the business model – and continues to be to this day.
Many other businesses evolved over the last three years or so. Some that worked out, others didn’t. I keep evolving, and changing to meet the needs of my clients and my own personal version of success. I am so happy now that I have full control of my schedule, time and business. Most days are great, challenges always arise; in the end, I only have myself to congratulate or blame.
In the surplus of companies that I have helped start in Brevard County, the U.S and worldwide all of them have had challenges. The beauty is that when you have a network of people that can help you derive your own answers and your own productivity model, you will always be successful.
Put yourself in the way of success. Choose your friends and business partners wisely. Have confidence that anything you do is a step in the right direction. Most importantly, understand that Everything CAN work when you put a good attitude, hard work, and some common sense around it.