After attending several networking meetings, business owner Karyn Fagan recognized the need for a more “user friendly” system. Confident that she could create a networking organization offering more than a card exchange, she founded Team Women. With twice a month meetings, the members help each other increase sales through direct business referrals. Mrs. Fagan is redesigning the face of networking with meetings that are supportive and fun. I asked Karyn to tell us about starting Team Women and about her experience as a business owner.
As a busy mother of two with an already successful home based business, what motivated you to start Team Women instead of joining an existing networking organization?
"I decided to start my own networking organization a few months ago after attending a number of local networking meetings each week with various groups. The meetings and yearly fees were expensive.They seemed stuffy, and I never felt like I fit in. As I sat in the meetings and looked around the room, the members did not seem to be enjoying themselves. How can you truly be involved in networking if you are not enjoying the process? I decided to change the way networking chapters are run. I took away everything I did not like about them and added fun, friendship, and support. The three things that seemed to be missing from the meetings and functions I attended. My theory in life has always been to enjoy what you do. If you don't, change it!"
Tell me a little about how you came to start your first business? What were some of the struggles and challenges?
"My first business was actually making candles out of my garage. It was called Annie's Country Attic. I remained successful until the arrival of my first son and could no longer keep up with the order level. I then started an online resource website for women and work at home moms. I just got tired of working in the corporate world making money for everyone else but myself.
Anyone can do it with the right ideas and connections. Some of my struggles and challenges seemed to be learning what to do and what to stay away from as a business owner. You can make a lot of mistakes starting out. I was lucky enough to have some amazing mentors to help guide me through the processes step by step. Starting and running your own successful business pretty much requires 24 hours a day of your time. Of course none of us have that, and usually that is a challenge. I have a wonderful supportive family and am very lucky for that."
Why is it so important for women to be a part of a network? What are some of the benefits of Team Women?
"We all need help in building our careers whether we want to admit it or not. Even the strongest woman needs someone to bounce ideas off of every now and then.
Networking allows you to quickly and easily get your name out there to the public without a lot of leg work and advertising costs. It's "word of mouth" advertising which is the best way to increase your business.
Some of the benefits of Team Women are that we only allow women into our chapters. This encourages a more relaxed environment. Each meeting is individualized to support the needs of every woman. That support is consistent from chapter to chapter.
I created this organization to help women succeed in their endeavors. Team Women is like having thirty successful, business women working for you every second of the day. The biggest benefit is that our atmosphere is all about enjoying what we do and learning from one another."
Women often find it difficult to work as a team. How do you maintain the sense of unity in the organization?
"Team Women encourages our members to treat everyone like they are a friend or family member. New members and visitors should be treated as though they have been here all along with us. The theory behind Team Women is: If I give you a business lead, you will get one for me. Unity is naturally created in a networking setting that thrives on team building, support, and success."
Can you share a story of how a business woman benefited from your organization?
"Team Women is a very new company. We started in December of 2004. My favorite story is about a woman in one of our chapters who never thought she could be successful at sales. She told me that she was shy and timid when it came to presenting herself to customers. Well, as you know, in order to be successful in sales you really need to show some confidence. She told me that after about five meetings with the other ladies, she is now able to knock on doors and call companies that she normally would have been afraid to. She made a huge sale the other day and called me about ten minutes after closing the deal to thank me for starting Team Women. She finally understood that we are not just about business and referrals. Team Women is about support, training, and guidance. Her sales have grown more in the last month then they have over the last year. That is why I started the organization."
I recently wrote an article asking women to share their top ten success tips. Would you share with us a few of the success tips that you have learned as an owner of two businesses?
"One thing I always tell women who come to me for advice is: never doubt yourself or your idea. We have the ability and resources to do anything we want as women. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. If things don’t work the first time, just try it again. I never want to look back on life and think: If I had only tried.
Be sure to ask everyone for advice and help. You may not get all the right answers and support, but there are people out there who have been there and done what you want to do. Allow the experiences of others to keep you from making unecessary mistakes."
Team Women Founder
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