The decision to change career paths in pursuit of more autonomy requires bravery, perseverance and dedication. When Ann Connor decided to leave behind her successful career as a Senior Buyer for the retailer Sam’s Club and other large organizations and make the move to start her own company, it took every ounce of courage that she possessed.
Every year, WEBB Women Empowered By Business®, an organization designed to support, encourage and empower women to go into business and to grow their businesses, recognizes select female entrepreneurs for their exceptional success and mentorship to other women in business. For her outstanding achievement, mentorship effort and work ethic, Ann Connor, who co-owns the AdviCoach® in Keene, N.H., was awarded with the WEBB Crystal award.
The Challenges of Going from Corporate Employee to Entrepreneur
Ann left Sam’s Club and started an independent company that developed and sold products to retailers. Shortly after, she made the decision to relocate to New Hampshire and re-entered the corporate world. Yet, after finding success as an entrepreneur, Ann struggled to find enjoyment in the corporate environment and left her job to find a new path. After meeting with a business coach at The Entrepreneur’s Source, Ann discovered the AdviCoach business opportunity and invested in an AdviCoach license in 2008 in order to operate the franchise in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
The first six months with AdviCoach were not as Ann had hoped. With 25 years of experience as a buyer, Ann felt she was at the top of her game, and starting over in a completely new business was difficult. She points to a few personal decisions that created roadblocks to initial success. For example, within the first six months she had only taken on probono work for clients and made no income.
“The first six months with AdviCoach were tough,” Ann said. “Due to my previous success in retail buying, I thought that I was at the top of my game, but I was wrong. I had to humble myself and embrace the AdviCoach system and the tools for success they provided me. I am so grateful for the award because it’s really a testament to the hard work I have put in to get here.”
Once she completely engaged herself in the AdviCoach coaching process and utilized the many resources available to her, she closed a platinum client in January 2009. Her confidence returned and she closed five clients in that same month. Ann hasn’t looked back since.
She learned that the key to success was gaining the trust of her clients.
“Today, our clients truly value what we do for them. We have built strong relationships with them and our community, so we get a great deal of referral business.”
The Benefits of Being a Business Owner
In 2011, Ann and her partner Michelle Connor expanded their business adding five more units throughout New England. In addition to her success with AdviCoach, she has also been recognized as The Readers’ Choice as Best Business Coach in Mondanock region for four years running and provides coaching services for two local Chambers of Commerce, the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Women & Enterprise.
As a business owner herself, Ann feels immense pride in what she does. She feels comfort in knowing that she is helping other business owners while actually having fun and enjoying her work each day. Plus, she is able to control her lifestyle, which allows her more time with family and the ability to give back to her community.
“Ann is constantly going above and beyond the line of duty for her clients and for the female entrepreneurs she mentors,” said Judy Stoleson, co-founder of WEBB. “Her work ethic and dedication, not only to her own success, but to the success of other business owners in her community, serves as an inspiration to the women in our network.”