After losing her husband of many years to cancer, Janet Shepherd in time realized that most men are navigating the dating waters with much needed guidance. She determined men question dating scenarios exactly the same way women do. Recognizing an opportunity and utilizing her expertise in styling, she began consulting with men in Chicago giving them not only fashion advice and home styling services but insight on how to date women. Now having released her first e-book on the topic, she hopes to help men make better connections and give them a peek in the mind of a woman. Read our interview with the lovely Janet below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
What propelled me to start Janet Shepherd Designs was the many hurdles I personally experienced when I began the new way of dating in the 21st century. It began as a roller coaster of emotions and questions that got me thinking, “there has to be more information that is readily available to educate the 40+ age group and especially those in their 50’s to offer sound advice when it comes to online dating – because what often happens is that people throw in their hat and give up all together.”
Tell us about your business.
Specializing in the transformation of interiors, wardrobe, and lifestyle from the ordinary to extraordinary, I am guided by my clients’ needs and spirit. Whether I am designing residential spaces or updating their individual style, I have built a reputation on achieving successful and distinctive results for my clientele. I inspire them to realize their personal vision. Recently single bachelors and bachelorette’s often require the assistance of and profit from the help of life-styling. Janet Shepherd Designs is a place where singles can get advice through Dating 101 packages which are inclusive of online profile critiques, style advice, and home decorating consultations. I firmly believe that if Your Home, Your Look and Your Life are in sync, everything tends to fall into place including the new way of dating in the Twenty-First Century.
- Made appearances on ABC 7 TV and WGN Television.
- Work has been featured in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, Skyline and The Free Press.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I knew that I had valuable information to share, I just need to share it with the public. So first, I wrote an e-book and shortly thereafter, I launched my website JanetShepherdDesigns.com. I reached out to many resources to launch the website and they directed me to social media experts and PR professionals.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The most effective thus far has been networking, social media and creating a strong referral business.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Creating public awareness that a dating coach and dating advocate can be very beneficial to those struggling.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have re-directed and assessed what was and was not working and currently joined forces with a very specialized social media expert to bring awareness to my brand.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
The most difficult time in my life was losing my husband to cancer. After I came out of the storm of grieving I knew I could accomplish and do anything. I take it one day at a time and always think positive.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I differentiate myself because I believe that your home and look are an essential part of the dating journey. With my home design and wardrobe consulting experience, I help my clients feel comfortable with themselves. My personal experience is also a major differentiator. From being in a long and successful marriage – to grieving – and to taking the steps to have courage to meet new people, lets those who I help have trust that I understand the journey of meeting new people let alone to start dating after a long relationship ends.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Don’t give up and to associate yourself with people who have succeeded and who can share their best business advice with you. These business owners and entrepreneurs typically know your struggles and can advise you accordingly. Set goals and try to meet them.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Stay positive and keep networking and meeting people. Everyone you encounter knows someone or may possibly be interested in your services as well. Keep yourself visible to the public.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
- Track your income and spending with WAVE. More than a million business owners use WAVE to track income and spending – all for free. WAVE’S app suite includes solutions for invoicing, accounting, payroll and payments. It’s 100% free to entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses.
- ZENEFITS is an all-in-one free, cloud-based software platform that gives you a single place to manage all HR needs, including benefits, compliance, and payroll. Keep your existing insurance plans, pricing, and carriers, or set up new benefits include FSA, HRA and commuter options in just minutes.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Smarter Startup: A Better Approach to Online Business for Entrepreneurs” by Neal Cabage and Sonya Zhang.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am learning all the ins and outs of social media to drive business to my website and e-book.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I have hired a social media expert and PR person to drive business to my website www.janetshepherddesigns.com. They will work in tandem to effectively market my business and build brand awareness.