I started my business, Jams by Kim, in 2009, after leaving a job at a major financial services company. An entrepreneur friend suggested that I attend a NAWBO half-day conference. I had lots of questions and it sounded like a good thing, so I went.
The thing about being an entrepreneur is that it can be very isolating. When I worked in a corporate environment there were so many organizations and affiliate groups to belong to, but when you own your own business, you can feel very alone.
When I met the NAWBO women at that half-day conference, I immediately felt at home. The women business owners were so warm and welcoming, and they really cared about me. Before I left that meeting, I joined NAWBO. There were women in a wide range of industries, but they were encouraging and supportive right from the start.
These business owners started asking questions about things that I hadn’t even thought about. They offered advice and guidance about where to go for more information, and they all offered their cards and encouraged me to contact them to follow-up. It was an amazing experience.
I learned so much that day. I learned about business resources, about upcoming business competitions, about NAWBO members who had skills and expertise that I would need to grow my business. I knew I was in the right place, and that I was among friends.
Now, 8 years later, I have held several offices in my local chapter, and I know that no matter what you give, you receive more in return from your NAWBO membership. Being an officer on the board of my local NAWBO chapter has tremendous rewards and provides the opportunity to really use your leadership and marketing skills. Plus, you have the chance to gain and develop new skills that you need to advance your business. I am currently the Immediate Past President of the Central and Northern NJ Chapter of NAWBO, and leading this team of business owners has been a great experience. The exposure and the growth have helped me and my business.
I’ve attended several national NAWBO conferences, and my business has grown. I won multiple business competitions with help from my NAWBO sisters. I belong to a great Mastermind group that really encourages me and keeps me moving forward. Through NAWBO, I have learned more about marketing and promoting my business, I found a bookkeeper and a financial advisor, and I have gained some amazing friends along the way. So many people helped me get my business off the ground, and I am always happy to share my experiences with others who are just starting out.
Kim D. Osterhoudt, Founder and CEO
Jams by Kim