Female Founders Series Part 4: Diverse experience ignites entrepreneur’s journey
To foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and build connections among female entrepreneurs, Block Advisors recently partnered with Selfmade, a 10-week (virtual) business course offered through Brit+Co, helping female founders create and grow their businesses. Our sponsorship provided 200 scholarships for women to take the course at no cost. This is the last in a series telling the stories of select Block Advisors scholars.
Entrepreneur and single mom of three, Teia Collier, once dreamed of becoming a romance novelist and opening a tearoom “with a twist”—a custom lingerie shop in the back. Perhaps not what you’d expect from a former physics scholarship recipient, cheerleader, political intern, Sunday-school teacher, and overall career chameleon.
However, don’t dismiss any dream of this modern-day Renaissance woman. She tends to envision an opportunity and magically make it happen. For now, though, her passion and small business is focused on helping single parents in the Dallas area (primarily single moms like herself) live their best lives through an online community designed around their needs, DallasSingleMom(Parents).com.
You can take the girl out of Texas…
Teia is a lifelong Texan at heart. The oldest of five siblings, she was born and raised there by a mother who taught high school chemistry and science, and a father who coached football and became an athletic director. It’s not surprising then that her formative years were spent moving from football town to football town across The Lone Star State, finally settling in a suburb of Dallas before high school.
Never one to sit still for long, Teia left Texas to attend college and pursue her love of both physics and cheerleading. When neither went as planned (she ended up “detesting” the physics lab and getting dropped from a pyramid mid-cheer) she wound up interning with then-Texas Congressman, the Honorable William Thornberry in Washington, DC.
From then on, the lure of both home – and DC – kept Teia yo-yo-ing between the two. During one stint back in Texas, she enrolled in the Alternative Certification program at Texas A&M-Commerce and began teaching high school Spanish and World History. But she returned to DC to help with the 2004 Inauguration of fellow Texan, President George W. Bush. She met her then-husband in DC and ever since, her interests have ranged from British mysteries and fantasy stories to history and handicrafts.
But one interest has remained constant—to make the world around her “better, prettier, and more fun.”
Her diverse experience also helped pave the path for her entrepreneurial future.
From side hustle to new career path and small business dream
Following the birth of her first child, a daughter, Teia wanted a “new hobby” and launched a blog called Capitol Moms, DC Mama, and a motherhood concierge service to meet the needs of busy moms. Apparently, being a new mom wasn’t demanding enough for entrepreneurial Teia.
“It started out as a side hustle while I wrote grants, monitored grant compliance, and spearheaded a recruitment program for a charter school system, but I eventually went back to teaching,” Teia says.
Meanwhile, the blog kept growing.
Fast forward a few years after the birth of her son. Teia was going through a divorce and decided it was time to head home to Texas again. Once there, she launched the Dallas arm of the charity lifestyle magazine, AskMissA.com, and used that health training to gain more experience in the wellness field—which prompted her to become a PRN Corporate Health Coach.
When AskMissA.com folded, Teia knew it was time to start another new chapter. Since the blogging community is a “small world” that facilitates staying in touch, Teia had strong social capital to lean on as she set out on her next adventure. She reached out to blogger friend Heather Buen and purchased Heather’s website DallasSingleMom.com in 2016 with the intention to turn it into an online information hub and life-affirming, positive community for “what comes next…”
Embracing “what’s next” as one of life’s adventures
As Teia understood well by that point, “what comes next” doesn’t always go as planned. Owning and running her own online magazine/blog would give her an outlet to share what she’d learned to help other single moms – and eventually dads, too – find encouragement and inspiration to help them “bloom through life’s adventures.”
Starting a blog as a revenue-generating business isn’t as easy as it may look. Teia has encountered many of the unique challenges facing female entrepreneurs today, ranging from balancing motherhood, family, and other responsibilities to limited access to financial capital.
When Teia tried to get her first business loan, she was told “no thank you,” along with, “that’s not enough revenue or a viable business idea.” But, true to her resilient nature, Teia “just kept trucking along.”
“People often think blogging isn’t a real job because you’re working from home and your personal brand/appearance is part of the equation. They assume since you’re home that you’re not working or that it’s not real work. It isn’t until they see the fruits of your efforts that they’re willing to invest, support, participate and recommend your business and service,” Teia says.
Facing challenges with positivity, faith, and a solid self-vision
Part of what keeps Teia focused is knowing her kids want her to succeed and showing them that you can do anything you set your mind to. They’ve never seen their mom not working hard for what she wants.
“When I said, ‘Hey, ya’ll, Mommy’s going to launch a magazine.” They were pretty much like, ‘ok, cool.’ I didn’t have the pushback that so many moms get because their time will be occupied or directed in other ways [away from their kids],” Teia recalls.
She also stresses the importance of having a solid self-vision and firm faith when trying something new.
“You have to know that you will win eventually and that the journey is just as important as the destination,” she said.
Small business ownership is bound to lead people on unfamiliar journeys, even when they’ve been doing it a while. Teia’s entrepreneurial journey has taken her down a few new paths recently, including receiving the Block Advisors scholarship for the Selfmade course to help her grow her business.
Since taking the 10-week course, she has gained more confidence and made decisions that will impact her small business taxes, such as hiring contractors to help write some of the lifestyle content for her site. But Teia is lucky because she’s been working with a Block Advisors tax pro for years who regularly advises her on her taxes. Based on her experience, she has some advice for aspiring small business owners.
“I wish I had sought the help of an advisor at the earliest stages of my business, and Block Advisors is a great resource for that,” she says. “It’s no pressure and easy access to a professional who has your back and the training to help you make wise decisions for your business.”
An eye to the future
Teia’s vision is to launch her first line of products, mini-classes, and workshops that directly target problems facing single parents.
“The DSMP tribe is asking for live events, so when the pandemic cools down a little bit, those will occur. Also, I plan to launch sites in several other cities. There are single parents everywhere…the goal is to live your best life now for your children and yourself… and for that, there’s no time like the present,” Teia beams.
Teia has always loved helping others. It all stems from her goal to make the world around her “better, prettier, and more fun.” In doing so, she offers the following advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs.
“Don’t give up. Every experience you’ve had up until now has prepared you for what comes next. Ask for help. Find a mentor and use their advice. Rest, sleep, eat. Life doesn’t happen ‘one day when,’ it is happening right now, so make the memories.”
Block Advisors helps millions of small business owners like Teia every year. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at it a while, we can help you with your small business taxes, bookkeeping, or payroll needs. Connect with a Block Advisors tax pro today to learn how we can help you save time so you can get back to doing what you love. Make an appointment now.