Big Horizon Mortgage Corp.
35 Western Ave., Kennebunk
Sharron Eastman started Big Horizon Mortgage Corp. in 2003, in an effort to help individuals with their mortgage planning. A fully licensed professional mortgage broker, she has weathered the storm in the mortgage lending industry since the financial crisis in 2008 and her business is still growing.
Eastman grew up in Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University. Prior to moving to Maine, she was a commercial real estate broker and leasing manager in Boston. She spent five years as a Maine Association of Mortgage Professionals board member and Education Committee chairwoman.
Eastman, a single mother, is involved in the Kennebunk community, where she lives and works. She has served as vestry member and warden of Kennebunk’s St. David’s Episcopal Church. She also has been an Odyssey of the Mind coach in Regional School Unit 21, where her two daughters attend school.
Eastman has some high-energy hobbies. She plays tennis, winter paddle tennis, and is a level 3 certified professional ski instructor. She is a member of the Arundel Paddle Club and the historic Kennebunk River Club.
Q: What were your most important needs in getting started?
A: Confidence. I needed to remember my skills and track record and keep my confidence up. This is a tricky thing when you are taking a big risk to branch out on your own.
Q: What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A: I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. My dad worked for the same company for 42 years and my mother stayed at home. Funny how my brother and I both ended up as entrepreneurs. I think a stable home life and watching my dad work in his home office at a time when that was not the norm gave me the stick to-it-ness that you need to keep going back with your chin up every single day in a small business. Also, my mom and dad are both very steady and upbeat people.
Q: What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
A: I have always worked in a male-dominated industry. Commercial real estate (in Boston) and now lending. I am not sure being a woman gave me any advantage, except as a single mother I had to make a living. That was truly the driving force when I started my business. I needed to be able to support my family with no safety net.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
A: Don’t dabble. Many women think they will be home at 3 p.m. for the kids off the bus and run their business between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can’t dabble. Decide whether this is the business for you and commit 100 percent, even if this means getting a babysitter every afternoon when you can’t quite afford it. I also think some women don’t commit because they are afraid to fail. Well, you are more likely to fail if you don’t commit so do the research, seek out advice and support and then take the plunge 100 percent.
Q: If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
A: I’m pretty satisfied with the course my business has taken. By nature, I am a tortoise not a hare and that approach has proved solid over time. I am still standing in an industry (independent mortgage brokerage) which has lost approximately 70 percent of its participants in Maine since the crash. I must be doing something right.