Brainstorm Creative Business Services
Paula Lundgren has established herself as an entrepreneur by assisting fellow entrepreneurs. Knowing how overwhelming it can be to run a business, she started the Saco-based Brainstorm Creative Business Services in July 2005.Through her company, she provides bookkeeping, payroll, office support, event planning and various creative services to relieve overwhelmed entrepreneurs from the multitude of tasks involved in the day-to-day operations of their businesses.
What were your most important needs in getting started with your business?
I was in school at the University of Southern Maine, and I took a class on starting your own business. The catalyst was that class. Creating a business plan was a key item, I put a lot of thought into that; also a financial model, I had to really look at that. Then the first client. Also, encouragement – I probably always had this desire to be an entrepreneur, but without having a backing, whether a mentor or a spouse or a family member, I didn’t really achieve it. I finally ended up with it between my husband and the people I work with.
What factors from your upbringing gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
One of the biggest things was I was surrounded by strong women. I can’t think of anyone who has a submissive wallflower. They were all working women, educated. It was in the middle of that “women can do anything” era. Another huge thing for me, although I was around a lot of strong women, I didn’t always get a lot of encouragement – so I always felt like I needed to prove myself.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a female entrepreneur?
One of the biggest advantages is Maine is a really supportive business environment for female entrepreneurs – there are a lot of programs, counselors, a ton of publications and programs. Depending on the area that a female entrepreneur is focused in, I feel women are on more of an equal footing with men when they’re a business owner. There’s not as much of a glass ceiling. As for the disadvantages: There are still remnants of the perception that women aren’t supposed to be strong and independent.
What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
I would say you definitely have to have a detailed business plan. And learn skills – I see so many people who start a business because they like something, but they don’t know how to use a computer, or how to do accounting or bookkeeping. Don’t try to get too big too fast. Focus on building relationships with people.