Mobile’s best-kept secret is the grass-roots, groundswell of entrepreneurial couples who are doing business together, collaborating with other businesses, and actively creating ways to support each other in making our businesses and our community a riotous success. After moving home to Mobile I was incredibly lucky to find strong partners that have been essential to growing my businesses. The old saying of, “It’s who you know,” is spot on. Not just for getting your foot in the door but also, when you are struggling, talking to someone who ‘gets it’ can be a lifesaver… and a business-saver.
That’s why we are so happy to introduce you to, ‘BizCouples’ in partnership with Gulf Coast BizCon and Container Yard. This event will connect couples who are entrepreneurs or in business together. If this describes your relationship, then you know that you face unique challenges.
I married my husband, Shawn Conklan, had our daughter, and gained a bonus daughter all at the age of 35. Combining my workaholic mentality, businesses, two kids, and a husband who has a full-time job and who works in my business, voila!! We can get overwhelmed quickly.
Shawn had been in the corporate world for 20 years. When we started dating he immediately jumped into my entrepreneurial vision with both feet. We tried working full-time together, but that wasn’t for us. We still work in the business together and what we’ve been able to achieve wouldn’t have been possible without him, but he works with Long’s Human Resource Services full-time. He comes home from work to a list of website update requests and accounting tasks. Sometimes it’s tough.
Stacy Wellborn and her husband Johnny Gwin are another stellar example of an entrepreneurial power couple. Stacy has always been there for me when I needed anything, professionally or personally. She and Johnny are both entrepreneurs who run multiple businesses- co-running the Container Yard, as well as their own separate entities; Wellborn Strategies for Stacy and Deep Fried Studios and Deep Fried Threads for Johnny. She’s active in the local community and recently started teaching full time while getting her PhD. Because she knows first hand the value of connection, support, and community, Stacy lent her logistical expertise to help BizCon get off to a strong start.
“Partnerships are key to doing all the things. We are both juggling multiple projects and businesses and we couldn’t do them without effective partnerships. We can do more together.”
Stacy said, “It is fun and invigorating to work with other entrepreneurs, especially those who are like-minded. Working with Brooks on BizCon, Mandee with Mobile RunDown, having Brooks and Mandee as members of the Container Yard and getting to work with Devin and Shawn on Focus, we have found kindred, hard-working, creative spirits. When you find good partners, you look for new opportunities to collaborate and find success.”
Brooks & Mandee Conkle believe that when great connections are made, good things tend to happen and it is reflected in their business endeavors. They co-own The Mobile Rundown which promotes local events and businesses in print and online. They also work in real estate and host a variety of other events, including BizCon. Neither one of them has a 9 -5 and are open about the challenges they face.
“One of our major challenges is finding a healthy balance and rhythm in the work/life balance. There’s no manager telling you what your tasks are for the day. But there’s also not an off switch. We’re completely in control of what this looks like in our lives. Another challenge is cash flow management. We love to expand and launch new ideas. But you have to do it with care, as the idea may not become profitable for a few years. It’s possible that the idea will fail. So you have to be prepared for this and be flexible.”
If you’re an entrepreneur and in business with or share any of your responsibilities with your significant other, BizCouples is for you. We’ll be sharing real-life tactics for business and for balancing work-love-and life and you’ll have the chance to network and get to know other couples facing similar challenges. You know first hand how valuable these relationships can be. Join us. We look forward to seeing you at our first event .