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Name: Susanne Hemet

Business: Collective Herd

Location: London, Canada

Industry: Professional Services 

Reason for starting? I had not set out to start a business. My intention was to learn a trade that would make me employable so I could contribute to our family income. I chose web design and when I couldn’t find a job working for a company, a friend gave me a referral of someone his mother knew who needed a website built. I thought, “Sure… I can do this one freelance job.” One job turned into many once word got out. I never advertised. All my business came through word of mouth referrals.

Years later I realized that one aspect of my work that I absolutely loved was coaching and mentoring small business owners who came to me to establish an online presence. By now I had a lot of experience under my belt and I knew what helped businesses to be successful beyond just having a great website. When I came back from a training with Jack Canfield and everyone wanted to have lunch or coffee with me so they could “pick my brain” I realized that I could turn this love into a business and Collective Herd was born.

Related: Indulging Her Passion, A Baker Builds a Business – And Finds Herself 

How do you define success? To me success is synonymous with freedom. Success means having the freedom to do what you love, when you want to do it, and loving who you are while you’re doing it. It’s not just about financial wealth but rather quality of life, self acceptance, and service to others.

Biggest success: My biggest success to date is writing my book, Successful to the Core: Connecting to What Matters Most to Create a Successful Life, and having my beloved mentor Jack Canfield read and endorse it.

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Starting a business can be an expensive endeavor. There never seems to be an end to the investments you feel you need to make in order to succeed. Marketing expenses, equipment costs, staff or contract help. The advantage of a service-based business is that you don’t have to carry product inventory and that can really keep costs down. I’ve also had to be really good at finding inexpensive, or even better — FREE, ways to get my business out there. I choose carefully and weigh how quickly I’m likely to see a return on investment.

My spouse thought my business was a cute hobby in the beginning — something to occupy my days and perhaps bring in a little bit of extra money. He never took it seriously as a real business. This made it challenging at times to claim time for my business-related activities when I needed his understanding and support to look after household chores or the children. When he suddenly took a job that would require him to do extensive traveling, I became a virtual single mother trying to grow my business, manage a household, and raise my two daughters on my own. I did not always manage all of these roles well and I felt a lot of guilt whenever the role that suffered was “mother.” I might have been able to grow my business faster and bigger if I hadn’t put my family first so much of the time, but to me it was a no-brainer. The whole reason I started my business was to make life better for my family, not worse, and so I upheld that value sometimes at the expense of business growth.

Related: Work-Life Balance as Entrepreneurial Inspiration

Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is my mentor, Jack Canfield. He showed me that it is possible to be grounded, compassionate, heart-centered and caring and still be wildly successful! He also taught me that failure is feedback, and it’s only final if you quit. He hasn’t always been successful but he never gave up and today he can look back and know that he has touched and helped so many with his books and programs.


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Edited by The Story Exchange