The Story Exchange, Sharon Davison, Red Sky Blue WaterYour Name: Sharon A. Davison, Ph.D.

Business Name: Red Sky Blue Water LLC, a business and marketing communications firm

Type of Business: Design/Marketing & PR/Communications

Business Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Twitter   @shazzy.doo / @redskybluewater

Reason for starting
Wanted to put my money where my mouth was and build a better work environment with interesting projects, employees and customers. I had helped two other business grow and thought it was about time I started my own business. Fix the things that I never liked about where I worked and create something that represented my vision. In hindsight I learned that I got a few things wrong and it cost me a lot to fix but it was a great learning process.

How do you define success?
Financial independence with no debt. Being viewed as a business owner that has a solid reputation for quality, customer service and problem solving abilities. I become more success by making my customers more successful. It directly reflects on me.

Biggest Success
Being recognized by peers as a good mentor, strong leader and successful business owner. Winning enterprising women of the year was great visibility and validation. Making it onto Inc. 500/5000 top businesses in the US. Seeing our business name on the top fastest growing companies in Washington state. Being a finalist in Nellie Cashman business owner of the year 2013.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Scalability and lack of funds to support. Ongoing issue. Never enough cash to grow business and having to take risks. The rising costs that hit small business with healthcare, taxes and additional costs associated with running a business. It is way more expensive to be profitable than I ever imagined.

Who is your most important role model?
Any woman who is financially independent, strong and has an air of confidence that only comes from making mistakes and growing. Maturity and being proud of her own accomplishments. That is who I care about and strive to be like.