Debbie Cromack is the owner of Emerge Empowerment, LLC, where you go to unleash the power inside you and transform into the YOU you want to be. Debbie is currently in the transition stage from Corporate America to entrepreneurship. Through Emerge, she helps women become stronger, feel supported, gain knowledge, take control of their lives, and become empowered through education and self-care. Read our interview with the lovely Debbie below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve been in the corporate world for the past 20+ years and have dreaded every minute of it. But, I thought it was what I was supposed to do to have a safe and secure future. In truth, it was killing me; my body and my spirit. I started having panic attacks in 2012 and knew I had to make a change for myself as well as for other women who feel stuck or trapped in their lives, causing them to feel empty and depleted.
Tell us about your business.
Emerge offers empowerment seminars/webinars by female entrepreneurs who are highly knowledgeable and skilled in their fields. The seminars are informative, educational, and interactive. From each seminar, attendees gain a tool, skill, information, or experience they can tap into immediately and draw upon when needed in their daily lives.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
If they mention this post, I’ll give them 20% off of one seminar/webinar until December 31, 2017.
My empowerment coach certification is not yet complete.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I got onto various social media platforms to start building my following, my Emerge Family. I was (and still am) discerning about who I connect with out there. I want to build relationships, not collect “Friends” or “Followers” who have no real interest in what I offer. Connecting with people is what drives me forward. I also found a few coaches to help me find my footing. I think coaches are paramount, both when you’re starting out as an entrepreneur and throughout your career. And then, I found a fantastic website designer (who I like to call my website mistress, techno-guru, blue-haired goddess of branding and creativity!). I have found the journey is less daunting when you surround yourself with phenomenal people who have your back and help to guide and support you.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I have made my best connections through Facebook and have found that people are more interactive there than other social media. My strongest connections with local women have been through expos.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Working my corporate job while starting up my business, working on my coaching certification, and taking on freelance writing jobs has been…grueling. My corporate job consumes 12-14 hours of my days and often time on weekends. I chuckle when I hear people refer to the “9-to-5” as I’m more like a “5-to-9.” So, tackling all of this and still doing all the day-to-day errands and chores that need to get done has been extremely difficult and stressful.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! I make LOTS of lists and take each day one step at a time. There are things that MUST get done and those things DO get done. Then, I make a new list and keep on going. I also make a point to squeeze in self-care. I’m a big believer that self-care is crucial. And, it’s tough to practice in our chaotic and hurried lives. So, I focus on minutes here and minutes there. Even if it’s just making myself some hot cocoa with marshmallows or a five-minute snuggle session with my dwarf bunny, Nutmeg, it feels good and is taking care of ME.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I always, ALWAYS, keep my “why” in my heart and let that propel me. I am taking this journey as much for myself as I am for the women I desire to help. Sure, I have days when I feel beaten up and wonder if I should be doing this, but I always come back to the reason I chose to start this business. I have a passion to ignite the power inside women and help them transform into the person they desire to be; freeing themselves from the fear and stagnation that overwhelms them.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t actually see anyone as competition. I have structured my business in such a way that we all prosper by working together. When a client attends a seminar/webinar, she gains value that night. Hopefully she likes the speaker enough that the two of them go off and work together. And hopefully, she likes what Emerge has to offer that she comes back for more. So, three things have happened; 1) the client gets the help she was looking for, 2) the speaker gets a new client, 3) and I have been the catalyst to make it all happen. So really, no one is anyone’s competition. And the more we work together, the more we all flourish. One of my sayings is, “Girls, we are so much better and stronger… together.” And I firmly believe we truly are. I want to get to know my “competition” because her personality or program may be better suited for someone who has come to me, but for some reason, we just don’t mesh well. If I connect them and they end up working together, I have done my job and helped two women. Let’s face it, not everyone is going to like us. So, if I can match up two people and ultimately help both of them, all the better for everyone.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
This one is funny because it was not-so-great advice and yet, the best advice because it fueled something fabulous inside me. Someone recently told me that it was very nice that I am building a community of women to help them become empowered, but I will never make any money in my business. I let her words sink in, but not for very long. It’s not about the money. When your heart is in the right place, the money will come. After watching Lady Gaga’s performance during the Super Bowl halftime show and thinking about her journey, I determined that I aspire to be the Lady Gaga of Empowerment. Lady Gaga’s fans are loyal. And I believe they are loyal because she is just like them and treats them as such. She is raw and real and vulnerable. She doesn’t put herself on a pedestal as though she’s better than any one of them. She IS them. When you are an entrepreneur, research tells you that you must stand out as “an expert,” “the authority.” I will never claim to be an “expert.” I always want to be learning and growing and sharing. I plan to earn the loyalty of my family of emerging butterflies by opening up my life, my heart, my soul and inviting them all to see me just as I am and share our journeys… together. I want to show them that they matter. I want to provide them with education and teaching them how to care for and love themselves unabashedly. I work hard to earn their loyalty, their friendship, and their trust.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Never… EVER… give up. The world needs the gift inside you that only YOU can offer. Keep your “why” in your heart. Learn, make connections, form bonds to help you persevere. Make mistakes, fall down, get back up, and keep forging ahead. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You’ll figure it out as you go. Someone close to me once said that I never follow through with the things I’ve tried. That was her perspective. In MY perspective, I wouldn’t know what my passion, my purpose is until I tried. My lack of follow through was not failure. It was successfully understanding that I was not meant to be on that path. Having found my passion and my purpose, I’m glad I tried so many different things, because each taught me something along the way. Follow your heart. Feed your passion. Be unapologetically you. When you are true to yourself, people will feel your authenticity and want to be part of your tribe.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I have to say it’s Facebook. Of all the social media platforms I’m on, I have found people on Facebook to interact in engaging conversations that lead to exchanging emails, having phone conversations, and even meeting up in person when location allows. And for me, making those connections is the foundation of any business.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
YouTube Emerge Empowerment
Hashtags #EmergeEmpowerment #EmpoweringWomen #WomenEmpoweringWomen #WomenSupportingWomen
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur” by Cara Alwill Leyba.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
In order to achieve my exit-plan from my corporate job, I’m looking for freelance writing jobs as well as an increased awareness of the seminars/webinars offered at Emerge.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I have seminars/webinars scheduled out to December 2017. One of my goals is to spread my reach so I can empower more women. I plan to continue cultivating solid relationships with women both online and locally through networking. Another, very important goal, is to leave my corporate job this year. I plan to achieve this goal by staying the course and working my tail off every… single… day to provide value to my Emerge Family of butterflies.