Today I was recognized by the Rochester Women’s Network as one of 5 Up and Coming Businesswomen for 2016. It’s an honor that I am truly grateful to receive.

I wanted to share my thank you speech with you here, hoping that my experience may help or inspire you in your journey.

Here it is…

Three and a half years ago I left a job that was no longer a place that inspired and nurtured me. I stepped out into the unknown — excited, full of hope, and absolutely terrified.

I think it’s fair to say that no matter how prepared you are (or think you are) you never truly know what you’re getting into when you start a business.

Since that day I have had moments of struggling, moments of victory…and many days spent somewhere in between.

The world is an interesting place.  When I was a young girl, I never dreamed of growing up to build websites and manage social media…mostly because there was no such thing as the internet. But also because I had thoughts of being a teacher, nurse or ballerina.  When we were children, little girls were told they should grow up to be teachers, nurses, mothers, secretaries, and wives. It wasn’t until we were growing older that the world began growing with us, and expanding our horizons…our possibilities grew.

As I moved into my teenage years I was encouraged by a mother who always said I could be anything I wanted to, though she couldn’t foretell a digital career at that time either.

I became a single mom to an amazing little girl, Lydia, when I was 23 years old – fresh out of college, and with thoughts of basic survival…clothes, shoes and food for a growing child. But I realized that my daughter would grow out of her boots and winter coats…but not grow out of the idea that she could be anything she wanted to be…and that I was the person to model that for her.

So at 29 years old, with a six-year old, I went back to school for my MBA. I worked a full-time job at the University of Rochester and attended classes two nights a week. (And, by the way, I negotiated a salary higher than the man who left the position I was filling. It IS possible!) I waited every night until Lydia was asleep to start my homework. It’s OK for kids to see us work hard, but it’s more important to be present with them. I tried to strike a balance of making more out of our lives for us both, while still being present as a mother. We lived with my parents who helped take care of Lydia while I pushed on. One of my proudest moments was receiving my master’s degree while my daughter watched, second only to seeing her succeed in what she does.

So now, many years later, I am both proud and humbled to be where I am. Truth be known, I didn’t intend to start a business. I intended to take a month off after leaving a job I needed to be free from. I posted on Facebook that I would help people with websites and social media while I job searched. Within a week I had so many clients that I realized I had a business.

Today I am successful in helping other people grow their businesses. And although I have worked very hard to get to where I am, I would be mistaken if I said I did it all alone. I am where I am by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

My success is a direct result of education, hard work, intuition, and other amazing people who have helped me along the way.

[clickToTweet tweet=”My success is a result of education, hard work, intuition, & people who have helped me along the way. #entrepreneur” quote=”My success is a direct result of education, hard work, intuition, and other amazing people who have helped me along the way.”]

Today I wish to thank some of those people.

Thank you to Cheryl LaTray – who not only nominated me for this award, but who also is my best client and amazing friend. I love working with you. Our synergy inspires me.

Thank you to my clients who believe in what I can offer to them, and trust me to help them grow. Some of you made time to be here to celebrate with me today, and that means so much to me.

Thank you to RWN and the women I have met through this amazing organization who have befriended me, inspired me, and encouraged me…including Michelle Arbore, Angella Luyk, Tamara MacDuff, Susan Jefferson, and Sandy Richardson. You all set a high standard for success and model it every day.

Thank you to my amazing friends who don’t always understand what I do, or why I choose to work long crazy hours, but support me with phone calls, cards, lunches out, emails, liking my tweets, sharing my posts, and feeding my diva ego with their love and friendship.

Thank you to my husband, who couldn’t be here today, for believing in me enough to take over the household finances as I got my business started and being impressed with every new website I make him look at, and every blog post and press release I read to him.

Thank you to my mother, who IS here today, for singing show tunes on car trips, eating TV dinners in front of Dr. Who, handmade clothes, potato soup, pumpkin pie on my birthday, and always supporting my crazy ideas.

And thank you to my daughter, Lydia, who inspires me every day to be the person I want to be in her eyes, for always being proud of me, and for sacrificing some of the things other kids had when she was young so that we could build a strong future together.

Thank you Rochester Women’s Network for this honor today. Congratulations to my co-recipients, Michelle, Tamara, Michelle and Sarah. You are inspirational.

Let me leave you with the following idea: the world is a very big place, and we are each but one person in over seven billion. And that can make us feel insignificant. But I challenge you to look within your own circles and see how significant you truly are, and then to make an impact in those circles. Because those circles will ripple out beyond where you can see, affecting people you may never know, thus leaving your mark on the world.

Go make your mark.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Those circles ripple beyond where you can see, affecting people you may never know, leaving your mark on the world.” quote=”Those circles will ripple out beyond where you can see, affecting people you may never know, thus leaving your mark on the world.”]


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About Me

Overextended, overcommitted, entrepreneur, volunteer, and social butterfly. Avid Scrabble player. Tea snob. Mom. School board member. Marketing fanatic. 11th hour expert. WordPress Meetup Coordinator. WordCamp speaker. WordCamp organizer. Frequent WordCamp attendee.

I am the owner and marketing diva at Marketed by Michelle.

Follow me on Twitter @michelleames.