Meet Debra Blue, Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Moon Estate Sales

Tell us about your business.

Blue Moon Estate Sales is the leading estate sale franchise in the country that helps hundreds of families annually overcome the complicated and overwhelming burden of selling a personal estate in the event of downsizing or loss of a loved one.  Blue Moon Estate Sales offers an extensive list of services provided during the liquidation process: from determining a convenient time line to sweeping up at the end of the sale.  Blue Moon also offers a complimentary and extensive evaluation of the home, appropriate pricing from antiques to everyday items, categorization and staging of the home, marketing, hosting and staffing of the sale.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

We started the business in 2009, in the middle of a recession and rapidly became the busiest estate sale service in Raleigh despite the economy.  People were having sales every weekend due to downsizing. What started as a hobby and a way to keep our family afloat turned into a way to create jobs and help the community. It seemed like a scalable business and franchising the concept seemed like a great way to assist others with establishing their own business.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

I probably don’t have one person, but many.  When I was a physician, our practice had a practice manager who managed the back end of the business while my time was utilized on the front end, so I wasn’t particularly involved in the “business” aspect of the practice.  So when it was time to open my own business, I had a lot to learn. I read a lot, asked a lot of questions and learned along the way.  I trusted my instincts and added people to manage aspects of the business that I rapidly figured out were not my forte.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Aside from getting through medical school as a single mom, I would have to say that it was being brave enough to retire from medicine and dive headlong into owning my own business.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

I was told to always “hire people you trust and continue to trust them.”  The goal is to figure out what each person on your team is great at and let them own it. Trusting yourself is always very important because you are the person who knows yourself best!

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Marketing in the digital age doesn’t need to be expensive.  In the estate sale world, business is found by word of mouth, so clients will tell their friends about a sale or about our company. Our website is also where a lot of people get their information, so we made sure to focus heavily on having an easy to read site. Having great PR folks has been very helpful, too!

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Provide great service and take the time to let clients know what to expect. Your business is only as good as your name, so if people trust you and your brand, it will pay off in the long run.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?

I would say reading and learning as much as you can. If you don’t know something, research that topic. There is always more to learn. When you grow your knowledge, your business will grow naturally with it.

Do you have any new projects coming up?

We are currently working with a software company to develop a software that runs all aspects of the business so that it makes business life easier for our franchisees.  It will be very exciting once everything is up and running!

What do you do for fun/relaxation? 

I love to drive to the nearest beach, listen to the crashing surf, and take long walks.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

We have doubled our size each year and plan to do at least that this year.  We are poised to make a great leap!  Stay tuned…

You want to write a book on …

Following my moral compass.  What I learned in medicine while dealing with patients, the compassion and honesty people deserve has served me well in the business world. It is something I credit our successful business to.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t get hung up on the small stuff.  When I was studying to get into medical school, I hated physics but I knew there wasn’t a medical school in the country that would admit me without it.  I also would look ahead and wonder how I would ever get through it all.  I learned that we have one eye that looks ahead and one eye that looks at what we are doing right now. The whole trick to life is knowing when to cover which eye.  If I looked ahead and started hyperventilating, I would stop and look at the next physics problem and when I couldn’t stand another moment of physics, I’d look ahead and keep my eye on the goal.  No eyes for looking back.  Keep marching ahead!

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?

Facebook: www.facebook/bluemoonestatesalesusa