October is National Women’s Small Business Month and we asked Lonzo Law client, Anna Cameron, to share more about her experience as a female business owner in a male dominated industry.
Anna Cameron is the name. The play it safe, non-risk taker that decided she and her husband were both going to quit their well-paying, full-time jobs to open their own business.
There is never a “right time” to start something big but to do so during the middle of a pandemic made things sound even more risky. With no set plan, during a very controversial time both personally and economically, we did it. Wheel Paradise was birthed with lots of faith, sweat, tears and supportive loved ones.
Wheel Paradise was created to help people consult, design, and build their dream vehicle with after-market items. When it comes to vehicles, I like to have my cars look nice and that was about it. On the other hand, my husband loves anything car related. He is very knowledgeable and has been in the industry for many years.
Why take the risk of opening a business that wasn’t “my thing”? Why not?
To be successful you have to make yourself uncomfortable, try new things and jump in full force. I knew we could do it and I knew that our business needed both of us in order to be successful no matter what industry it was in. With God leading the way through it all, I can say with pride that we have done very well since opening in July of 2020.
When most people first think automotive customization, or automotive anything for that matter, they think of it as a male dominated industry and that it is, very much the case. At Wheel Paradise, we turn an ordinary vehicle into a uniquely designed automobile. Whether it’s with after-market wheels, lighting, lifting, lowering, and more, we do it all.
Luckily, I was able to bring on the best consultant/designer/sales rep any company could ever have. He is not only my business partner, but also my husband. He is the one that puts everything together for our clients while I do most of the background duties that must be done in order for the business to operate. I am at our shop most days and have learned to love and embrace what we do on a day to day basis. I really enjoy learning and working in the shop with our guys. I prefer to dress up and wear high heels, but I have to be ready and prepared to jump in and get dirty, if need be, so work clothes and tennis shoes it is.
Do I receive the same respect or recognition as a female business owner as my husband? No, but it’s ok.
I am there to make sure our shop is different than the rest. Peace, cleanliness and organization are some of my key contributions to the shop. I want woman (and men) to feel comfortable every moment they are at our place of business. I play the peacemaker, problem solver and enforcer, all with a lovely smile. I know this has made an impact because we have gained family. Clients that were once just clients, often return to our shop not only as a returning customer, but simply to check in and say hi.
You have to be YOU and play the part when you are a female in a setting where a majority of your vendors and clientele are males. When you walk and talk with confidence, you will earn the respect. You have to let go of the fear and thoughts of what others may think or say. Being in my hometown helps also. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg and being able to open a business here is heartwarming and makes me proud. I am here to really be a part of the community. I want to connect and learn how to give back as a small business. I want my children to see that risk is necessary for growth.
Being a new business owner with zero knowledge of what it takes is hard enough. Being a female business owner in a male dominated industry can be even harder, unless you simply own it. I have goals to learn more of not only the technical parts of the job but even more on the financial and growth area as well. I know this business is going to continue to grow and I’m here for it. It’s a different feeling when you can be a boss babe in a man’s world. It’s all a never-ending learning process. To work hard for yourself and your business is beyond rewarding.
For more information on Lonzo Law and our small business legal services, contact us.