Small Business Interview with Yvonne DiVita, President of Windsor Media Enterprises

Tell us about your business.
WME, as we call it, was started five years ago as a print-on-demand publishing company. Our focus was on serious authors willing to put time and energy, as well as a cash investment, into creating “book as brochure” – the better to market their expertise to clients. Over time, we also ventured into the world of blogs and social media and today, our company encompasses the print world with the digital world by offering Publishing 3.0: we work with you to create a business-focused online presence in social media, and, if you wish, to take that expertise and experience to the print world by writing a business book using POD technology.

Our focus is on women – as I am deep in the marketing to women online world, and I know the talents and experiences my professional connections have are extremely valuable, especially in today’s down economy. Many of our clients are men, however. Professionals of the male gender are eager to share their knowledge and expertise with everyone, today. They are open to mentoring new business owners – and welcome the chance to help small businesses flourish.

Therefore, above and beyond all else, our audience is business professionals of any gender or experience. We exist to serve. If you are ready to write that book, we can help. If you are venturing into the social media world, we offer design, training, and ongoing support.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Very much like others before me, I started my business to fill a void. When I published my book on marketing to women online, I purposely used Print-on-Demand because I did not want to (1) give away my copyright to someone else – i.e. a traditional publishing house, and (b) I wanted the book to come out in less than 2-3 years, which is the average time a traditional house takes.

However, the company I chose was less than helpful. The cost was low – and I paid dearly for that. Once my book was out, and I discovered the POD company who published it was outsourcing the printing to my hometown, Rochester, NY… I knew I could do better. I began my company within six months of the book’s release, and built it on the premise that personal service is key. Today, our personal service is the thing that stands out most, for our clients. We are often available when other company’s are not, and we make each individual, on each project, available to the client.

Being a business owner is an interesting adventure. There were many business activities that I had to learn (and am still learning) such as keeping records properly for taxes; negotiating fees and project deadlines; remembering that to give is to get – by giving to the community at large, you will get double back, whether in the form of referrals or references, or just connections that turn into business down the line; and learning to know when to stop. Being your own boss can be all-consuming and that’s not a healthy way to live. Yes, in the beginning we put in 20 hour days, and sometimes we still do that. But, we also build downtime for ourselves, time to relax, time to refresh, time to be with friends and family.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
First, it would be my Mom. She was an entrepreneur, and she didn’t let people push her around. This was back in the early 1960s, mind you. She was a strong woman and she worked hard at her business to not only make it succeed, but to have enough income to support a family of five. I didn’t realize back then how hard that is – I sure do now!

But, today, as I continue to build my business, the biggest and most important influence is Tom, my partner and soon to be husband. Tom gives me the courage and the encouragement, to keep moving forward. Tom reminds me that I’m smart and talented and a lost business deal is just that – a lost business deal. It’s not a failure. There are many more waiting for success, around the bend.

Tom gave up what he was doing to become part of MY business, and has worked tirelessly in it ever since. He comes from a successful legal background, which also helps a lot, but more importantly – he shares the same life values I do. We both believe in the law of attraction (it’s what brought us together, after all), we believe in finding the right answers, if we don’t have them at our fingertips (rather than lamenting on our ignorance), and we both believe that people have to come first. It’s always about the people – not the technology.

Without Tom, I would be struggling to make this business a bright star on the Internet. With Tom, I have created something that is notable, enduring, and worthwhile. People ask how we can live together and work together (at home, no less), which means being together 24/7, and the answer is easy: Tom takes care of me because he loves me, and I take care of him because I love him. What else do you need?

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
My greatest professional accomplishment to date is being there for so many small business folks who are just getting started – and being able to help with words or advice or encouragement. I do this as often as I can, and I do not ask for payment. There is no greater reward that to see someone else succeed because you reached out your hand in support. Many of these women, as most of them are, may not create that business they first started forming, but they admit that they learned from something I may have said. They go away with the realization that help is only an email away – and I know that I have done something unforgetable. Nothing else I have done compares to the thanks I get from these women.  None of the big named clients, none of the campaigns, none of the speaking engagements – can compare to the happiness of the women who have innocently approached me and allowed me to be a part of their lives.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
The best advice is this: Do these 3 things and you will succeed: (1) Survive: find whatever means necessary to keep your business afloat; (2) Make the deals – you are the face of the company, if you are not the salesperson, make sure the person who is the salesperson is a bricoleur (someone who can make things happen with whatever is at hand; no excuses about a budget too small or lack of staff); (3) Find the river of cash – what do you do that will really bring in cash to keep the business afloat? FIND the river of cash in your products and services, and put your energy and time into it.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
I’ll use two quotations here. One is from Harriet Beecher Stowe who said, “Women are the real architects of society.” I live by that rule. Women create the world as they want it to be. I try to remind them of this, often. Next, I so truly believe this quote, that it greets me at my desk every morning, “We shape our lives not by what we carry with us but by what we leave behind.” My 3 children stand me in good stead for that one.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you succeed?
Small Business Trends: , also, Michael Port’s new book, Think Big Manifesto, short and powerful, a must read. Another book, The Anatomy of Buzz Revisted by Emanuel Rosen, a must-read for those who would embrace word of mouth marketing. Also, because we live in a highly technical world, I advise every business owner to learn some HTML. It will serve you well in your online pursuits.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
We are planning to launch a new and bigger Lip-sticking. Details are under wraps at the moment, but it will be THE place for small businesses to go to get the knowledge and expertise they need to begin their business. It will include resources and more. The one thing it will not do is ask visitors to create a user-name and password. I’m sure they have enough of those. Stay tuned for all the juicy details.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
 A last bit of advice would be to learn how to say no. You do not have to take on every client who comes your way. If your instinct is against one particular client, for an undetermined reason…but it’s a gut feeling…let him or her go. Give a polite, sorry, but this does not seem like a good match to me. Move on. If you’ve taken on a client that is gouging you, or being disagreeable, or accusing you of failure in the project, when it’s their fault, let them go. Yes, you can fire clients. Do it with polite firmness. Complete the tasks you were paid to complete, and bow out. Do not allow their negativity to linger in your life. Move on.

How can our readers find you online?
My website, where we do our Publishing 3.0 – combining all forms of publishing, online and off – is at: . My blog, where I write about marketing to women and about women’s issues, is . If there are any petlovers out there, I would love to have you stop over at my petblog, sponsored by Purina, at . And, you can find me on Twitter at these accounts: @y2vonne and @lipsticking and @mypetblog . See you on the net!