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Stephanie Weaver | Great Minds Creative

Posted in INSPIRATION by msceonet on January 23, 2010

Incidental entrepreneur shares her path to success

A leap of faith and simple approach are key ingredients

By Felicia Joy
Senior Correspondent

You could almost call her the non-businesswoman.  Sure she enjoys what she does, is apparently great at it, and entrepreneurship has afforded her a comfortable lifestyle; but Stephanie Weaver says she’s no hero or person to be revered.  In her mind she took a leap of faith to go into business, while her expenses were still close to college days, and it just so happened to work out.

(Read fun facts about Stephanie!)

“I was working at an agency, which is a really aggressive environment.  It was okay but I wasn’t all that happy,” she said.  “I had written something for a client and she really liked it so she asked me about freelancing for her.  I was kind of scared to do it because I wondered just how much work one person could have for me but I decided I had no husband, no children, low expenses and nothing to lose, so I did it.”

Stephanie Weaver, January 2010 Ms. CEO of the Month, shows off her business savvy, boldness and style in a classic Ms. CEO tee.

With no business plan but sharp writing skills that were pleasing to clients, Stephanie’s firm, Great Minds Creative, flourished.  Her first client told someone else, who told someone else and 11 years later she is still going strong.  She works on an average of four client projects at a time and is contacted by upwards of 30 clients on a regular basis. 

In addition to her creativity it seems that a keen focus on the customer has been a feather in Stephanie’s cap.  She is so client-centric that even her business name was inspired less by herself and more by who she would be working for and with.

“I didn’t want a business named after myself—I wanted a business name that described what I did rather than who I am.  My business name speaks to the collaboration of different people coming together to create something.  So the great minds aren’t people in my business working for me, it’s everyone who is part of the process. That includes the client, me, and other creative contributors—like maybe photographers or graphic artists,” she said.

Stephanie says the world is full of writers but she has been able to grow her business by establishing a niche and specializing in technical, tough-to-understand industries.  “I focus on large clients that have complex communication challenges, whether that’s trying to get positive information out to educate the public—like a public affairs issue.  Or a company trying to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace where there are a lot of other companies doing something similar,” she said.  “I also work with companies that have complex businesses.  I simplify their messages so other people can understand what they do.”

(Video: Learn more about Stephanie in a behind-the-scenes interview.)

While Stephanie says entrepreneurship has been more a means to an end, or simply a way of working that made sense for her, she has enjoyed the perks of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

“I have enjoyed the flexibility of being an entrepreneur.  When I got started it was a plus to know that I could transition into a part-time schedule if I were to have children.  I haven’t had any but knowing I had that option was good,” Stephanie said.  “Recently, it’s been great to have control over my schedule too because my mother has a disabling disease and I am able to visit her often and have lunch—that’s not something I would necessarily be able to do if I worked a job.”

More money conscious than she used to be—in part thanks to her husband who is a good money manager, she says—Stephanie also likes the fact that her flexible schedule enables her to do work around the house that she might otherwise have to hire someone to do. 

Her financial prudence has also helped her easily weather fluctuations in business around the time of the terror attacks of September 11—and during the economic crisis and slump of the past couple years.

Stephanie’s approach to life and business ultimately seem to be simplicity and candor.  “I don’t have any illusions about being this great businesswoman.  I’ve just been really fortunate,” Stephanie said.


One Response

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  1. […] If she were starting her career over she’d be: An engineer. (See how Stephanie got started in business.) […]

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