Meet Cindy Freland, President of Maryland Secretarial Services, Inc.

Tell us a little about your business.
 I help busy business owners with their administrative tasks so they can work on what they do best. I offer word processing, data entry, desktop publishing, and transcription services at very reasonable rates to businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and individuals throughout the United States.

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 I get to be in control and make all the decisions. I have more freedom to help my daughters or stay home if a repairman comes. It also makes me very proud that I actually thought of starting this business and I made it happen and it has been happening for me for 12 years.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
I really can’t say one particular person. But my family has accepted that I work from home and they encourage me. They are very excited for me when I get a new client. I have been doing a lot of networking and Rose Woodruff has been a great inspiration to me. She owns Executive Decision Coaching and she started a free networking group. I have been a member of Bowie Business Start-up and Support Group for over a year.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I was able to quit my full-time job of 25 years after acquiring a data entry job that paid me over $100,000 for a year of work. This was accomplished by meeting a business owner at a chamber of commerce mixer who needed my assistance. This project kept me and 10 subcontractors very busy for a year.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Don’t spend too much money in advertising. Your best marketing money is spent on events where you can meet your prospects face-to-face. I suggest that you join your local chamber of commerce. To quote Bob Burg, “people do business with people they know, like and trust.” Bob is the author of Endless Referrals. It is a wonderful book on how to talk to and follow-up with people you meet at networking events.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
I highly recommend your local chamber of commerce. I met my best data entry client at a chamber event three years prior to actually doing business with him.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Get payment before releasing the work for new clients. I have clients that pay me after the project is complete, every two weeks and at the end of each month. Most of my work is delivered through the Internet so I get payment before sending the work.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
Social networking is great to promote your business. I use plaxo, linkedin, facebook, twitter, hi5, tagged, mySBX, hubpages, and kiwork.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?
For fun and relaxation I like to watch movies, garden, walk, shop, go out to dinner, dance, go to the beach, sit in my yard and watch the animals, and read. I am also the event chair for a non-profit group, Bowie CLAW. We are trying to get an animal shelter in Bowie, Maryland.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
I plan to order specific addresses for business I want to contact. I will make up mailing labels and send them flyers and introduce my business to them.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Starting a business can be very exciting but very scary too. Be sure that you can pay your expenses if you decide to go full-time with your business. It doesn’t always happen the way you would wish and you can’t always depend on the money coming in the way you want. I suggest you try it part-time to start out. Start out slowly and think our every expense to be sure it is necessary. Some expenses can wait until you are better established.
In addition to your website at, how else can our readers connect with you online?