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Being Tara Knowles

Being Tara Knowles

I have been on my own small business adventure for almost four years now. Although things started off unsteady, thankfully my confidence and business have grown and allowed me to reach my personal goals. It was a long road but, in the end, completely worth every sacrifice and hard day that has come. Having a family and a new small business is difficult for anyone, but as a new mother and business owner, the difficult times often produce the most rewarding results in your life. This is very true for me.

I find it’s best to talk about my background and struggles so that other small business owners might learn from my experience. I find that learning from those who have been where you are going is the best way to direct yourself in a positive situation; so I decided to dedicate an entire blog to telling you about my background and hopefully answering questions that you may have had yourself but didn’t know who to ask! These are things I believe can help anyone owning or working in a small business to reach your own goals and understand that if you make it worth it, you’ll never regret it. It’s all up to you.

I’ve been a hard worker all of my life. I definitely get it from my Mom. I started working in high school and I had to work a full-time job (sometimes two) throughout my undergrad and grad school. I learned early on that if you want something, you have to earn it and can’t wait around for it to fall into your lap. My mother was a school teacher and made it a point to teach me how important goals are in life and to do what needs to be done to reach those goals.

After receiving my undergraduate from LSU, I graduated from the Metropolitan College of New York with my Master in Business. While at MCNY I was also working at Goldman Sachs full-time. Completing a rigorous, accelerated one year Masters program while working at a fast-paced, high volume investment bank taught me how to prioritize and manage my time efficiently as well as how to interact with professionals of all levels in all areas of the world.

There are many reasons why I chose to start a small business from home. I actually live out of the city of New Orleans and enjoy not having to commute every day. But, that is just one reason.  I commuted in the rat race to Wall Street every day for six years when I lived in NYC. When I moved back home I decided that I would rather not fight the weather and traffic each day just to earn a paycheck.

I also liked the idea of mobility. No matter where life takes me, my job can tag along! Also, living in an area prone to hurricanes can make some days unpredictable and I will be able to maintain my clients’ work even if I am temporarily relocated.

I also realized early on that I wanted a family and enjoyed the prospect of being with my children in their early years. Being away from them 40+ hours a week was not a happy option for me.  I knew there had to be better options out there. I put a lot of pride in my work and hated the thought that if myself or my child was sick, then that would postpone me from completing tasks. Working from home, I can work while caring for a sick child or nursing my own cold.

Every business owner struggles; it is a fact of life. I started my business in 2008, which was an economically difficult time for our country. I persevered because as a virtual assistant I believed that I had a service that could help small business owners keep themselves afloat by lowering their overhead, alleviating their workload and allowing them to focus on current and new business relationships. Working diligently and relentlessly to elevate my own business helped me better understand what struggles my clients face as business owners. Thereby, allowing me to not only relate to them personally, but also to locate areas in their business where I can step in and aid in increasing their and my own productivity.

It is not easy to work from home. Having a family, it is hard to be motivated daily and determined to get work done. These are where my mother’s skills have been an invaluable asset. There are many distractions that can block your productivity and discipline is so important in these particular instances. It’s also difficult when friends and family don’t really comprehend the time management it takes to work from home. Many people believe that you are your own boss and you can play all day or talk all day… things they would never assume if you were stranded in an office. It’s also a concentrated effort to not carry work over into personal time. It’s very easy to send “just one more e-mail” and neglect your family. Everything requires balance, as does working from home.

All of my life I have worked for other people and have not had something to call my own. I am passionate about my small business because I have created it and brought it to fruition. I choose who I work with, not for; my clients are fellow business owners and we have a mutual respect for one another. I have no limitations as long as I keep dreaming big and working hard.


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