Valorie Matthews falls into two privileged groups: One, she loves her job and second, she’s her own boss.
One year ago she opened Matthews Family Daycare, an in-home child care service. Her decision to go into business for herself wasn’t on a whim but came after 15 years working in other daycares. “I felt I do could some things better than what I’d seen,” Valorie said.
A friend who worked for the Department of Children and Families recommended Valorie contact Suncoast Community Capital (SCC) and Manatee Community Action Agency (MCAA) to see if their microbusiness development services could help. Before working with business advisor Bob Terry, Valorie had little knowledge of what it took to become an entrepreneur.
“You think you know everything but I really didn’t know all the aspects of the business,” Valorie said. “I knew how to open a business but not the background in dealing with it day to day.”
Valorie added that another obstacle to opening her business was her knowledge of business finances. Bob worked with her to develop a comprehensive business plan- including the finances- for her company. He also helped Valorie prepare to present for a microloan through SCC/MCAA which resulted in her receiving a $2,600 loan. The money went towards Valorie’s licensing fees and furnishing the daycare’s classroom.
“It was a great program,” Valorie said. “Bob was very knowledgeable. I’m 24-hour daycare so I really wanted to be part of the program because it would help me in the long run to expand and have another helper.”
Oliver Cade is another SCC/MCAA client who funded a business with a microloan. He says he learned “everything” he needed from working with Bob.
Oliver had an interest in car detailing and after working 24 years for other carwashes decided he “wanted to start [his] own thing.”
As an SCC/MCAA client, Oliver learned how to market his business as well as manage its finances. Bob also helped him create a pitch for the loan committee. Six weeks after he enrolled, Oliver received a $5,060 loan to purchase equipment for his detailing business. Oliver said he wouldn’t have been able to start his business without the help of SCC and MCAA.
Of course it’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to being an entrepreneur but Valorie has taken on any challenges and even plans to expand her business. “When I first opened it, like any business, it’s a challenge and it’s up to you if you want to go through with it, but my business is doing really well now,” Valorie said. “You have to be consistent in what you’re doing, you can’t have that ‘give up’ mode. You have to be excited about what you’re doing, and I love what I’m doing.”