Sheryl Schuff, President of Where Spirit Leads, Inc.

Tell us about your business.

In 2007, I organized Where Spirit Leads as a “sister” company to Schuff & Associates, a professional corporation through which I practice as a Certified Public Accountant in Indianapolis, Indiana.  WSL provides small business training services and educational products to entrepreneurs throughout the United States. 

WSL is the proud “parent” of the Business Startup Success Club (BSSC).  BSSC specializes in private individualized consulting for women in their 40’s and 50’s who are in the startup or early growth stage of their businesses as solopreneurs.

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

Being a business owner means that Im in control of my life, rather than being an employee who is dependent upon my boss for work assignments, business and educational resources, performance reviews, raises, retirement, etc.  I dont have to ask anyones permission for what I do (or dont do).  Im free to choose my clients, choose what services I perform (and how I perform them), set my prices, choose when to work, and choose when to take off.

My financial success is determined by me and limited only by my choices and the quality of my work.

I became an entrepreneur over 30 years ago so that I’d be responsible for my own future.  I wasn’t good at corporate politics or dealing with bureaucratic red tape.  I wasn’t willing to compromise my integrity in order to get ahead.  I was tired of being held responsible for certain outcomes when I wasn’t given the authority to accomplish them.

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

The advancement of technology has had the greatest impact on my business.  Calculations that used to take days now need only nanoseconds.  The Internet gives me access to more people and information than I ever dreamed possible.  I’m able to easily provide my services to anyone with an Internet connection.The tools I use enable me to compete effectively with bigger businesses and deliver affordable, high quality services to other entrepreneurs.  
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

I’d say that my greatest professional accomplishment is keeping my own business up and running for 33 years. 

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

The best advice I’ve received is to listen to the market and give them the products and services they want instead of trying to convince people that they need something that I think they should want.

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

I can get my way more often if I have more than one way.  In other words, I’ll do better if I’m flexible and can learn to change with the times (and the technology).  The best answer is not always to do things the way they’ve always been done.  If our predecessors hadn’t been willing to learn, and change, and grow, wed all still be living in caves!

As a small business owner, I’m not subject to that corporate red tape I mentioned earlier.  If the market changes, I can change, almost immediately.  I just need to be willing to change in order to improve myself, my life, and my business.

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

Some tools which I currently use every day to stay organized (especially when I’m mobile) are Evernote, Dial2Do, Remember the Milk, and Google calendar.  They’re all free, by the way. 

The other resource that’s been a big contributor to my success is WordPress.  It’s well-known as a free blogging platform, but it’s also great for web sites.  Im using it for all of my mine.  My most recent fantastic find is the free theme Atahualpa. 

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

My primary goal is to continue to listen to new business owners to learn their most challenging and important concerns and to find new products and services to help them succeed.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I’m on a crusade to refute the myth that you have to spend a lot of money and be willing to risk a lot in order to succeed with your own business (no risk, no reward = baloney in my book). That might have been true in the past, but it’s not true today.  In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite.  Spending a lot of money and taking on a lot of risk (as in producing a better widget or rolling out a new service that you think/hope/pray people will buy) is totally unnecessary.  With the tools and technology available today, you can do market research pretty inexpensively before you invest hundreds or thousands of dollars on product development, advertising and promotion, and web site design.

To sum up, I’d just like to say that the best way I’ve found to succeed in business is to help others succeed.  Even those you might view as competitors (they might just become your best allies, affiliates, and/or JV partners). 

My Haiku message:

We’re all connected
There’s enough of everything
How may I help you?

How can our readers find you online?

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Web Site ~
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