Overwhelmed—it’s a common word I hear from the women I speak to in the Business Boutique community. Erika Butler was no different. Juggling an exhausting full-time job she didn’t love and her duties as a wife and mother of two left her feeling burned out.
At the lowest point in her life, Erika was encouraged by some friends to attend the Business Boutique conference in Nashville—and I’m so glad she did! At the conference, everything finally clicked. Before the weekend event was even over, Erika established an LLC for her business idea in her hotel room! Isn’t that amazing?
Last year, Erika shared her story with us and we instantly shared it with you all. We were blown away by her grit and determination to use her business to create a better life for her and her family. We wanted to see what she’s been up to since and how her business is doing, so we caught up with her for an update. Spoiler alert: She’s doing pretty darn well.
Christy Wright: What have you been up to since you shared your story with us last year?
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Erika Butler: We’re excited to be in year two of HIHR LLC, my human resources consulting firm! The biggest win has been increasing our confidence in our future and the business’ ability to make a long-term impact.
In the last 12 months, we finished with revenue in the six-figure club. Our business is steady, and we feel we have a good path forward for managing our time and money. Our clients also are looking different as we’re gaining more credibility in the marketplace and expanding our network.
Our team is a powerhouse, and I’m so proud to be associated with each one of them! Most recently, we’ve been able to give a couple promotions (which is always fun) and had a few new rock-star team members join our efforts. We’ve also become wiser in approaching our target audience and clients who are the right fit to partner with.
CW: That’s awesome! What resources have been the most helpful since launching?
EB: I love that I have access to the Business Boutique Academy for training on marketing, social media, pricing, etc. I’m not yet in a place where I can afford hiring substantial help in these areas. It’s wonderful to be able to utilize your expertise and other experts you give us access to! I’ve learned a lot that I’ve immediately been able to apply to my business and decision-making process.
CW: That’s so great to hear! What’s been your biggest lesson learned?
EB: I’ve learned to ensure everything is done above reproach with documentation and to have contracts signed 100% before starting any new client project. I learned this the hard way from one of the more difficult things that happened to me in 2019.
We won what was shaping up to be a six-figure contract with a Fortune 500 company. We had an amazing HR leader ready to resign her current job to join our team and lead the assignment.
The day she was going to resign her well-paying job with great benefits, I received an email giving me a sense that something in the contract may be shifting.
It turned out that there was not full financial approval for the entire contract—only for some of the work. This did not require a new employee joining the HIRH team. Even though I had the contract in my mailbox that I signed and sent back, it was not a done deal because it was not signed by them. Verbally we were ready to start the work the next week, but on paper there was nothing.
I called my friend right away and said, “Don’t resign!” That was the worst feeling I’ve had so far in my business. We almost majorly impacted someone’s well-being and financial security. I apologized deeply. My friend was extremely gracious and kind. I committed to myself that I would be more careful and never allow anything like this to happen again.
Now we are 100% committed to our contract process and up-front payment before starting any new project.
CW: I love how you took that difficult experience and created an important process out of it. That’s exactly how we should handle hard lessons. What has the success of your business allowed you to do?
EB: I’ve journeyed from being an overwhelmed, anxiety-stricken, full-time working mom to being a healthy, purpose-filled and energized business owner, stay-at-home mom, women’s ministry leader and overcomer! Daily life is mostly rewarding and exciting. The fact that I did something I didn’t think was possible, and now we’re in our second year, is pretty neat. This wouldn’t have been possible without taking a leap to follow Jesus’ calling on my life. He is the one who has guided me 100% on this path and blessed me with the Business Boutique movement and other amazing family and friends who supported us through this huge transition.
I get to work with incredible, kind, high-integrity people every week because I get to pick who is on the team and who we work with. I don’t have to ask a boss to take vacation or have to call in for a sick day to take care of my kids. I get to make my own schedule and stick to the part-time hours I committed to. My heart is so full. There are still the regular stresses of life that come up, but life is truly better (times a zillion) on the other side!
CW: Yes! I love that! I love the freedom you’re experiencing from following this dream. Looking back, would you have changed anything?
EB: In year one, I made some investments that were most likely unnecessary and that stung a bit. Every dollar spent on something not completely needed takes away from a more valuable investment, healthier savings, or profit in your pocket.
For example, I purchased a client/sales tracking system for over $1,000 when there are more cost-effective (or even free) resources available that I wasn’t aware of. In year two, I’m more deliberate about each expense decision to ensure revenue is bringing the most value to the business and team.
In year two, I guarantee I’ll make some big mistakes yet again, but I’m committed to growing through whatever it may be. You don’t know what you don’t know, and there’s a lot I still have to learn!
CW: That is so true. What advice would you give someone who is dreaming about launching their own business?
EB: Refuse to give up. Never let fear hold you back. There will be hard days. There will be times when you’ll make mistakes, disappoint a client/customer, have a difficult conversation, and have gaps in between getting new business. This doesn’t mean you should stop—it means you should learn and keep going. If you try something new and it doesn’t work, keep experimenting, keep trying, and keep doing the next right thing! Throughout these times, it’s a game changer to seek out a trusted mentor who can guide and advise you along the way.
My business was not an overnight success. We work hard each week and keep at it, continuing to move that needle.
From what I experienced in a short time, I believe God will continue to open doors and use my business to do such good in the world! Because of this, I’m committed to staying sharp, reading the Bible regularly, exercising, and keeping my priorities in check. God has too many blessings in store for any of us (including you) to sacrifice these things! We’re kingdom builders, and we need to stay focused, doing whatever we can to be ready for what God asks of us next.
Lastly, it’s not so scary on the other side—it’s actually awesome! I was scared of the business owner community and didn’t think I belonged. I didn’t believe I was good enough, smart enough, or capable enough. What I found on the other side was a whole new community that I deeply connect with, add value to, and gain so much from.
You can do it! This is absolutely possible. You have all the tools you need (and more) in the Business Boutique Academy for getting a strong start. If you have a dream in your heart, you have to go for it—it won’t just go away, so you might as well do something about it. Take that next baby step. It’s time to get off the gerbil wheel and live out your God-given gifts and passions!
CW: Thank you for that encouragement! Erika, what big dreams do you have for your business in the coming months and years?
EB: Having a business brings such excitement, creativity and potential into your life. The sky is the limit when it comes to big dreams, especially when you have a big God behind you!
My big dreams are that we grow to a multimillion-dollar, world-wide organization, and that we bring our mission of infusing more love into the workplace around the world and impact real life-change to everyone—from employees to senior leadership.
I dream of a sustained lifestyle for our family that gives us margin to be a thriving, healthy family with tons of quality time to pour into our children and community. I dream that my children will have opportunities to work and grow in our company and learn important life skills by observing what happens when you do it scared.
I dream we will give lots of resources and funding toward putting an end to human trafficking. This was the first year we were able to give a percentage of our profit to this effort, and we look forward to doing much more! I pray that we can achieve our mission to win, build and send as many people as possible around the globe.
How’s that for big dreams!
Don’t you just love Erika’s story? What I love most about it is that she wanted her life to look different, so she took action. She launched her business, got the help she needed, and is now learning and growing day by day. Friend, you can do that too!
With the Business Boutique Academy, you can get access to the tools and training you need to launch a business and grow it to your version of success.
And guess what? We’re gearing up for spring open enrollment!
The Business Boutique Academy only opens for new members twice a year, and April 6 is your next chance to get in. Here’s what you can do to get ready:
- Start budgeting for the membership (the Academy is $244 for a six-month membership).
- Mark your calendar for April 6.
- Get on the waitlist to be alerted as soon as enrollment opens.
So, what’s it going to be? Will I see you there?