The other day, a friend of mine introduced me via email to a professional contact of hers. She wrote,

“Andrea founded Prequal, Chicago’s coolest new start-up focused on women in growth mode to build, innovate and transform their businesses. You two entrepreneurs must meet immediately.”

Wait, what.

Who is she talking about?

She must be talking about me because half of that introduction was copy directly from my own website but, entrepreneur, start-up, founded?

In my mind, I went right from employee to mogul. I never really imagined the in-between. I’m serious.

In the process of making such a big life-changing decision, I’m not sure that I ever really stopped to try on the middle-ish labels or imagined what that might mean in my day-to-day.

This week marks six months since Prequal launched. That’s four months from my last update. It seems a fitting time to reflect on all that’s been accomplished and what’s next on the horizon. And let me tell you that the start-up title is essentially an onomatopoeia for the work that comes with it.

I launched a website.

Which you must know, because, well, to point out the obvious, you are here reading it.

What might not be obvious is how incredibly time-consuming it is to design and build a website and populate it with lots of words.

Throughout my career, I have led teams that have launched somewhere between 10-20 sites, microsites, landing pages, etc. But creating your own digital brand is a new set of cobbler’s shoes that requires all the pre-work and thinking: Who do I want to work with, what do I have to offer, what’s the best way to tell my story, how should it look, how will a visitor click-through, how will new people find me, how do I build it all the right way at the onset?

And while Prequal’s website is “live,” it is a constantly evolving thing, especially because it’s built with a blog at the forefront that requires regular updating.

That right there took six months at least.  

I have clients.

I have new paying clients that want my time, ideas, and value my work product. I have clients that see working with me as an investment and as an extension of their teams and businesses. I am helping all sorts of goals get accomplished. This is a significant part of being a start-up (there’s that word again), but there are two main reasons that I am excited to report this and what new clients signify.

First, a group of professionals invited me into their work, trust me with their goals, and trust me to help deliver results. How great is that? And if you are a new client of mine reading this, thank you for sharing your challenges and opportunities with me.

Second, my initial vision of Prequal is being realized. I am working with women who are up to things.

I have a Partner.

Oooh, the biggest news of all. Natashee J. Scott joined me this month as a Partner and Growth Strategist to help grow Prequal and double our impact and reach. Natashee has a JD and an MBA. She has spent her career in private practice, the public sector and has extensive experience running a non-profit. She’s incredible, brilliant, and brings so much to the capabilities we can offer. You can read in her own words why she chose now to join Prequal and why we make the best partners for each other.

Next, We Grow.

The second set of cobbler’s shoes comes next; we will be working on our strategic plan, defining our measurable objectives, and creating action plans to meet those objectives. We don’t want to leave anything to chance or waste any efforts.  

As we begin the second half of our year, we are focused on growing our community. The more people we reach, the bigger impact we can have, the more connections we can make, and the more problems we can solve. This means prioritizing our networking, content creation, and cultivating opportunities to bring womxn together. We have begun building out our social channels and hope that you follow along on LinkedInFacebook, and Instagram. We also will start sharing regular email communication sometime in Quarter 2. If you are interested in being on the list and receiving updates, sign up here

Lastly and least fun (in my opinion), we are working hard to ensure that we have a strong foundation from which to operate. This never-ending to-do list includes priorities like setting up our CRM, securing the right accounting partner, evaluating our insurance needs, and creating a million processes, forms, disclosures, and consents. (Thank God for Natashee) 

We aim to be as intentional as possible with our company and lives. In the middle of meetings and itemized lists, plans, goals, and conversations, we are adamant about holding space to remember and remind ourselves that we are building the exact company we want to work for. And the company we think the world needs. This is the most fun part so far. 

I’ll report back after the next six months. 

If you read this entire post, you may also be interested in reading about why I quit my job and why I started Prequal.