From an early age, Dominique De’Vizia, had a unique ability to relate to people emotionally – no matter how old they were. People often told her that she had an “old soul” and was “wise beyond her years”. Once she started dating though, she had a child, and was forced to Co-Parent and it wasn’t until later that she met the love of her life. However, it was through those obstacles, coupled with her educational background in Sociology and Psychology, that she decided that being a blended family coach was perfect for her. So she founded De’Vizia & Co, a full service relationship boutique that handles everything from coaching dating couples to divorce mediation and everything in between. Read our interview with the lovely Dominique below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I remember feeling so empty, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, after some soul searching I realized my passion and decided to create my own career because it was nothing like that available on the job boards! I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and so, it only seemed right to get in line. My daughter is also a major reason why I stated my own business. I want to watch her grow; she is still pretty young so I look forward to school plays and recitals and a 9 to 5 just will not afford me that luxury.
Tell us about your business.
De’Vizia & Co. is the first of its kind. D & C is a boutique style relationship agency that specializes in Divorce, IVF, Guardianship and Family mediation. We offer coaching for single moms and dads that may want to re-enter the world of dating or need assistance blending their families. We also host a variety of quarterly singles, couples and family events designed to reunify and restore broken or estranged familial relationships.
Where is your business based?
We are online! Although I reside in Indiana and some of my face to face clients are in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Skype and Google have made it so easy to reach people across the country!
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I am actually, my 30-Day Lovers Rock E-Course challenge is $20.00 with promo code “ladyboss“ and it is great for couples everywhere for the month of December. I am also scheduling a free 30-minute Phone or Skype conference for single moms/dads that may have questions on mediation or coaching sessions, they can go out to my website and fill out the contact form and reference “parentingpartners“.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Aside from making up my mind to take a leap of faith? Getting certified as a mediator. I completed my training at the prestigious Northwestern University in Chicago. Then I set up a website, various social media channels and I hit the ground running sending cold emails to prospects, and trying to get a handle on my social media content. I simply left no stone unturned.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The presentations I give simply educating people about mediation and its benefits as well as speaking to women and men on the possibilities of co-parenting and blending their families. I am very transparent with my clients as well as my audience and I think it is that sense of openness that they relate to me.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Getting in the door! Most mediators are attorneys, judges, psychotherapists or social workers. I am none of these. In fact, my background is in insurance! Though I have reached out to numerous people in the field for advice or guidance I have been met with more no’s or pure silence than one could ever imagine. The field is very lock and key, and so I was forced to think outside of the box. I rely on books, events, continuing education, seminars, etc. to fill in the blanks.
How did you overcome these challenges?
At first I took it hard, then I realized that this thing is far greater than me. I prayed, I still pray, I cried and sometimes I still cry. However, I have people around me that are business owners, executives, managers and the like and I tap them for info that I can apply to my business and it has been working out so far. Creativity doesn’t just have to be applied to the product or service, sometimes your marketing and promotion requires a bit of creativity as well.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I pray constantly, I know I have worn the lord out these last few months since quitting my very secure insurance job in June of this year and launching D&C in August, but I keep positive people around me at all times and I do what I can and then I beg God to do the rest.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I am not your traditional mediator, like I said my background is in insurance and I have added coaching services for a specific group of individuals that are often looked over. I am very transparent as well, I will cry with my clients, I will also hug it out with them, but I distribute a bit of tough love as well… I will look them square in the eye and let them know it is time to get their ‘ish’ together, I do not hold back. I am passionate about what I do because I was them at one point in my life, and I wish I had someone to coach me through the complexities of leaving my daughter’s father, getting back into the world of dating and then blending my family to best fit our daughter’s needs. It was not easy, but, it was possible.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Enjoy the journey and stop being so hard on yourself. We live in a microwave society where want everything right away, and I for one am no different. I work with the end in mind and so I get so excited to get to the end that I forget to enjoy the journey along the way. The ups and the downs, the good with the bad. Its cliché but, you truly cannot have one without the other. Since starting my entrepreneurial journey I have become even harder on myself than ever before, and so now, I tell myself to give it all you’ve got, and God will take care of the rest because I cannot afford to burnout before this thing really takes off.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Fail! It sounds crazy, but we all enter new situations with the fear of failure and eventually you never really get started. I had an online boutique last year that flopped miserably – I was devastated! However, this is what I know after getting over my disappointment: I was not as passionate about that business as I am about this one, at the first sign of trouble I ran and tucked my tail, I learned to be true to myself instead of looking at every other business. I honestly believe that because I took such a “L” with that business that I became relentless with this business. I am nurturing this thing every day I literally feel like I am taking care of a second child and I am in love. When you are an entrepreneur you are going to fall a few times, but, when you get that first taste of failure out the way, you develop this attitude of relentlessness that will make you want to take anyone down that stands in the way of you and your dreams and I am a living and breathing example of that. I am unapologetic about my business and if I do fail at something I will get back up because I have fell and it wasn’t so bad!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Speaking engagements are by far my favorite, because it allows me the opportunity to let my personality shine through and it’s not like a sales pitch or anything I am just educating the audience through conversation on my profession and in turn they come to me afterwards and ask questions or a little later book a session, buy an e-course, or refer a friend.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Hashtags #deviziaandco #relationshiparchitect #mediationmaven #blendedfamilycoach #relationshipadvocate #divorcemediation
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Make Mediation Your Day Job by Tammi Lenski.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am finishing up my studies in Psychology and Sociology which helps a lot with my line of work and just in general, but, I am gathering information on using mediation in untraditional ways like IVF is one of the areas I want to get deeper into.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- I am currently working on E-Courses for Single Parents and Blended Families which is new for me.
- I am also working on securing a partnership for mediation with an organization with an incredible mission to assist the elderly.
- I have joined a network of women who all are on the journey of entrepreneurship with me and it’s a beautiful experience. I want to bring more awareness to mediation as well as coaching for blended families because the conversation surrounding the topic is so tainted and the truth is that it is just a lot of misinformation floating around out there. As a matter of fact, I am working on some products that will help shift the conversation and I am so excited about it!