Aundrea Y. Wilcox is a renowned speaker, trainer, small-business consultant, and author of two books — 2011’s Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival & Success and 2015’s Superwoman Smarts: Activating Leadership & Substance. She also recently collaborated with two dozen other consultants affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Development Center program to help write a new book, The TriStart™ Matrix, which is designed to help entrepreneurs master three critical phases for a successful business start.
Wilcox is currently the senior business counselor of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at East Tennessee State University Kingsport Affiliate Office, and executive director of the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, Tenn. She has provided technical assistance to over 1,800 individuals or businesses during her illustrious career.
Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?
I am definitely a late bloomer of sorts. Although I was always very studious in school, I didn’t think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just looked straight down the road and kept working hard towards something — I didn’t know what. I didn’t wear the latest styles of clothes, my hair was usually a mess, not because I didn’t care, but because my mother simply didn’t know what to do with it. Makeup was not allowed. And, we — six children — were all discouraged from socializing with neighbors or other kids for the most part. When kids came over to play, it was to jump on our trampoline, as we were the only family on the street that had one — so we charged two dollars to jump for two hours, which my father insisted. I went to college although my parents never asked me if or where I was going. I’ve always worked in a steady job, usually clerical work. Joining a Toastmasters Club in Atlanta is the event that really turned on the proverbial light bulb for me. I met so many wonderful inspiring people who were heading somewhere fantastic. Consequently, I soon became hungry for the extraordinary, and here I am.
What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?
I read, read, and read some more. I read everything from books, to blogs, to magazines, to the daily newspaper and more. Knowledge is the great equalizer. The more I know, the more I can share and help others solve their problems. I also realize the importance and value of my network. I stay in touch with key connections, and prefer to build bridges rather than burn them.
How do you balance your personal life with your career?
Mixing business with pleasure is typical for me since I actually like the people I work with. During football season, my boss gathers the movers and shakers on his back deck for tailgating. I have gotten to know some very important business people on a personal level. At a previous job, I had another boss who used this strategy effectively as well. In both cases, these have been my favorite places to work and play.
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?
Action is by far the best problem solver. Seek to solve. If you make a bad move, learn from it and go forward. Don’t spend an inordinate amount of time beating yourself up and playing Monday morning quarterback. Stop wasting time and get on with it. Get smart. Get busy. Get it done.
What does being a BOSS mean to you?
It means being a woman who is BEAUTIFUL inside and out — and in her own way; OUTSPOKEN — speaking up for herself and others who are not in a position to do so; STRONG— physically and mentally, and SMART — on the street, in the office and in business.
For more information about Aundrea Wilcox, please visit www.superwomansmarts.com or follow her on Twitter at @superwomansmarts.
The BOSS Network is a community of career and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and event-based networking. Their mission is to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women. For more information on The BOSS Network, please visit www.thebossnetwork.org.