Semi-finalist Q&A: Blackwell Family Resources, LLC

Blackwell Family Resources provides remarried parents guidance and tools to establish strong, happy stepfamilies. Her parenting coach works with parents 1:1 or in small groups, in person and via teleconferencing to help them define their family roles and realistic expectations so they can avoid a second (or third) trip to divorce court. Information from their grant application is available here. Read below for more, and if you have questions for our semi-finalists don't hesitate to ask them in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to cast your vote! YOUR vote will determine which entrepreneurs most deserve to be amongst the finalists.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

I met my husband a little more than 10 years ago. We knew pretty early in the relationship that we were going to be together but we have 5 kids between us (ranging in age from 5 -15 at the time). We wanted to do the right thing early on so that we would have a strong foundation for a lasting marriage. We didn't push our kids into the relationship too early, we didn't move in together and we didn't hurry.

Two years later, we set out to prepare for the merger of our two families. We gathered every book on the subject I could find. We had to stop reading them because NOT one had anything good to say, it was all very bleak. And they were right. We thought that the first year would be a little tough, but things would smooth out, after all, our kids got along pretty well and they liked being together. But after two, three, four years and things hadn't smoothed out, we realized there was a reason the books were all bleak. Research shows that families take anywhere from 4 - 7 years to blend! FOUR TO SEVEN! It's no wonder that 67% of all remarriages end in divorce within the first 5 years.

I decided to start my business as a parenting coach for stepfamilies so that I could help parents have realistic expectations and to prepare for challenges that lie ahead. Not many professionals are trained in stepfamily dynamics, including many marriage and family counselors. It's nearly impossible to find support through the hardest times and eventually many just give up. I want to offer hope to those parents, after all, the kids grow up and move away eventually!

What makes your business unique? Why do you think it will be a success?

The very nature of my focus on stepfamilies makes my business unique. Throughout the Nation there are a handful of stepfamily experts, many in the academic field and a few that actually work in direct service. I know that my business will be successful because I believe that people are looking for guidance and reassurance from someone that has been there. Our built-in support networks are much smaller than they once were. A lot of people don't have close friends and family that they can turn to for moral support or to just listen. If I can offer a way to help families live in peace, I believe they will come to me.

What are some of your top business-related accomplishments, or business lessons learned?

This is my first business and I am only 1 year into it. My accomplishments thus far are simply seeking out the proper training and putting together a solid business plan and marketing plan. I enrolled in classes to help me learn in areas that I was weak and I hired a marketing coach to help me develop a suitable marketing plan.

My lessons are many, the most important: building a business takes tenacity, patience and perseverance and the reason many fail is because they give up too soon. What I have learned is that I can't just sit back and wait for clients to come to me, I have to go out and get them. I am not an easily intimidated person, but 'asking for the sale' has been very hard for me. With this grant I plan to offer low-cost or free seminars throughout the populated areas in my state so that I can meet people and show them what I have to offer. I recently read a quote that opened my eyes a great deal, "People don't care what you know, they want to know that you care." I can't show people that I care until I get out in the community.

Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?

I fulfill an unmet need that directly touches nearly half of all households in the United States. Family stability and childhood development impact EVERYONE, even people that are childless, people that are single or retired. Children grow up to be an asset to the community or a liability. By serving the family, I serve the entire community.


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