After 19 years in the Community Association industry, I thought I was completely burnt out on it. In the first weeks that I spent feeling sorry for myself and sending resume after resume, it finally occurred to me that my love of the industry is still there, but my passion lies in trying to make it better, not sticking with the status quo. Ideas that had been circulating in my head for several years, finally started coming together and making sense. I sat down and started putting it all on paper, and I think I have a business plan that is profitable fairly quickly, if I can market it properly. THIS IS NOT AN ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT COMPANY! This is a consultancy firm to help purchasers to make an informed decision prior to purchasing in a community association, as well as multiple other consultancy roles to community associations and their members. I hope to be a partner to Realtors, communities and management companies.
What I've also learned is that starting a business costs money. Obtaining a business license, starting an LLC (though I think I'll go with Sole Proprieter until I actually see that it's viable long-term), getting a website set up, setting up a business account, financial software, marketing materials, business partner fees (to be able to market to Realtors within a brokerage), trade shows, etc. All very difficult to do when you don't have a job.
Speaking of a job, I am actively looking for one, and will continue to do so. However, the more time I can dedicate to getting my business off the ground, the more quickly I believe it will be profitable.
Once the business is set up, operating costs will be minimal. My goal is set well above what will be needed to start the business so that the mortgage can be paid and heat can stay on while I get this started, should I not find steady employment (so far I've heard "We'd love to have you on the team, we just can't afford you"). We do not have health insurance right now, and while I am hoping to qualify for some assistance, especially for my son's very expensive medications, this is a consideration as well.
Those of you that know me, know that I am a fighter. My little family has endured substantial hardships over the years, and with the support of family, we have come through every one a little bruised, maybe even with a few scars, but stronger than ever. I truly believe that we can get through this as well, but this time I am asking for help from all of you.
I'm happy to share my business plan with any substantial investors, just ask.
Thank you for your consideration.
Update: Many of you also know that my son has some emotional and behavioral (psychological, not a lack of discipline) struggles. Without going into too much detail, on the evening of January 5th, he had an issue that I could not handle. For the third time in as many weeks, I had to call 911 for assistance with him. This time was so severe that the police handcuffed him for his own safety, and gave me the options of having him transported to the hospital for a psych evaluation, or he was going to have to go to a juvenile detention facility. They were too afraid for all of our safety (he was calm at that point and I could have handled it from there, but there were weapons involved and some self-injury, so they weren't going to let it go). I agreed to have him trasported to the ER, where they did full labs and a psych evaluation, and then luckily let us go home instead of a 72-hour hold. I applied for state medical assistance for the kids in December, but the application is still pending, as is my food stamp application.
I am so grateful to you all that have helped; every dollar counts. I know many of you can't, and I respect that. I especially thank my family, who has helped both on this campaign and off it, as well as offered more support than I could have ever hoped for.
Best wishes to you all.
- Teri Sheppard
- Marc Fiore
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