To the typical bystander, the world of a woman entrepreneur may appear daunting as she embarks on a new path in a world mostly dominated by men. Surprisingly, if you ask the majority these women the secret to their success, you’ll find they look at things with a different perspective. They see the world as one filled with opportunity — especially as it relates to women in business.
Pamela Evette, QBS President/CEO is one of these women. Below you’ll find her “words of wisdom” as it relates to work-life balance, taking risks, and overcoming obstacles as she built a multi-million dollar business from the ground up.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
A: If I could do it again, I’d definitely take more chances. I’m a CPA by trade and I believe this makes me more conservative. Still, your worst failure is an opportunity missed. You’ve got to get comfortable with a certain amount of failure. Take risks early on in your career — when you don’t have quite so many people depending on you — because big risks can have tremendous results.
Q: In addition to running an almost $1 Billion organization (QBS), you are a wife and mother of three. How do you balance it all?
A: First, it’s important to have specific blocks of time set aside for family where I don’t allow work to interrupt or cross over into. I’m not sure if anyone can truly “have it all,” but you can make things work optimally if you set boundaries and manage expectations — for yourself as much as with your family and your employees. You can be a great mom and a strong business woman, but you will have to make tough decisions and sacrifices along the way.
I’ve also been blessed with an incredible support system — both at home and at work. At home, my mother helps me out tremendously. She helps me with the kids and also acts as a sounding board. At work, David and I have built an incredible team of people who we trust and who are always willing to go the extra mile when we need them to.
Q: Have you ever felt that your gender has held you back?
A: I know this may not be the most popular answer, but I don’t think being female has ever hindered my career. I never felt this was something that should or would hold me back – and I’ve never allowed it to intimidate me. I have three older brothers so I’ve always felt very comfortable working alongside men.
Q: What other lessons have you learned along the way — financial, business, personal?
A: If you choose to hire and work your family and friends, know that it will be challenging at times to keep your business and personal life separate. At the end of the day, your management decisions may not always make your family and friends happy and this can bleed into your personal relationships with them.
It’s important it is to really listen more deeply and talk less in order to get to the bottom of the issue at hand. Give people the room to dig deep and you will have a greater understanding, greater ability to empathize and a better grasp of how you can help. Make sure you get to the root of the issue before you begin making suggestions or looking for solutions. Above all, never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. You don’t want to be caught off guard.
Find a business partner who can compliment your skills and balance you. David has been a huge part of the success of QBS. I’m conservative and he’s more of a risk taker. I love building and managing relationships with new clients, but he’s much more comfortable in the role of Business Development – going out and making calls and initiating new connections. We are a great team.
Lastly, owning and running a company is more than a full-time job. Yes, you may have greater control over your schedule, but you will also need to work greater than 40 hours. Being an entrepreneur and a business-owner is not a 9-5 job.