Balanced Hustler: Meet Heather K. Terry, Serial Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur can seem glamorous. We own our schedules, build our companies based on work we love—and sometimes we can even work beachside. But the glamour is second in command to the hustle.
The hustle is what really defines the ups and downs of the entrepreneurship journey. And to shed some light on the work it takes to build a business, I’m interviewing fellow entrepreneurs who are ready to get real about their journeys. I’ll ask them how they manage to balance the hustle with the passion of what they do, and they’ll share what they had to overcome to get where they are today. It’s all in service of inspiring, supporting and illuminating the path for you, and we’re calling it the #BalancedHustler.
Heather K. Terry is what we’d call a serial entrepreneur. She’s launched four businesses in the span of 10 years, and she’s a firecracker. I admire how she’s creating boundaries around her work life to ensure she can maintain sanity and time with her family. Here’s what she had to say.
Fast Facts: Heather K. Terry
When did you launch your business?
In one sentence, tell us why you started your business.
I was a working actor in NYC and suddenly there was no work—NibMor, my first company was born!
How much did you invest to get the business started?
To really get it off the ground in the beginning, we raised about $250k.
How did you get capital to start?
Myself, my partner at the time, friends and family.
How long did it take for the business to get profitable?
It will always take longer than you think! At Paper Greats, we think we can come to break even in year one—that’s 2019. But that’s because I know A LOT more now than I did when I started all of this!
Are you growing your business to sell? Or this is your dream job and you want to be doing this in 10 years?
Isn’t everyone trying to sell?! Ha! It’s the dream. The nice thing about the two businesses I have now is that I can see myself in them for a long time. With Paper Greats, Selina Fletcher, who is my partner, is such a joy to work with. We share the same values, which I’ve learned over the course of time is a key ingredient to making a business really work (when you’re working with someone). HKT Consulting has been a dream for a long time. Since about year four at NibMor, I have wanted to help entrepreneurs either starting or growing their businesses because there is so little info out there. Which still shocks me.
How many hours a week do you work when you started vs now?
I was bad at time management and also childless when I started NibMor, so I was pulling 80 hour weeks, which is insane when I look back on it. Now, I have the tools to work regular work days and get more done than I did back then!
How many employees do you have?
We have three at Paper Greats and three at HKT Consulting. NibMor has six or seven now—they run a lean machine over there.
What two business goals do you have for 2019?
Well, NibMor is growing and I always do anything I can to help over there even though I am no longer in day to day operations. Paper Greats and HKT is about getting them on the map and proving out the concepts for investments in 2020.
How Heather Balances the Hustle
You’re a mom, wife, an angel investor, business advisor and podcast host, on top of all that you mentioned earlier with Nibmor and Paper Greats. Like so many entrepreneurs, you have multiple passions, which leads to multiple projects. How do you manage multiple projects?
I have FANTASTIC partners and an AMAZING team. Without them, I am nothing. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and aren’t afraid to hand something off that is not in our wheel-house. Everyone pulls their weight. I have a nanny who is literally my saving grace. I ask for help, surround myself with the best people and everything magically comes together.
What do you want us to know about the journey/hustle of being an entrepreneur?
Look, business is hard. It requires that you are so passionate about the product or service you are providing that it is literally coming out of your pores! If you don’t believe in it THAT much—stop now and save yourself a lot of heartache. I get blind with anger when I see people talking about entrepreneurship with the whole ‘work in your pajamas!’ thing. When I am working in my pajamas, I am in a hotel room in another time zone or I am depressed.
Being an entrepreneur means putting on your big girl pants, showing up every day and being ready for the inevitable fire. It means finding a way, finding the positive, giving up complaining and whining (because it is a TIME SUCK—and you should be doing something else more important with that time) letting go and finding grace.
What is your number one piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
If you are crazy enough to go on this ride, get/ask for help, find resources, do not go at it alone. Do not be penny wise and pound foolish. I can not tell you how many times in the beginning I saved a dollar for it to ultimately cost me $100 if I had just done it right the first time.
What does being a #BalancedHustler mean to you?
I have boundaries on my time. I know how many times I need to work out, take a deep breath, spend time with my daughter and my husband. I also have set work hours when I am not traveling and I only pay attention to emails at certain intervals during the day. I plan my days with all the things I need to be successful. I make promises to myself that I must keep—because if I can’t keep them to myself, how the hell am I supposed to run a business?
Want more inspiro from female entrepreneurs? Check out our full #BalancedHustler series.