12 Jan How a New Entrepreneur is Finding Success After 25 Years in Corporate
Deborah McMillan, Owner of KMCents, was initially a Pension Plan Actuary and Retirement Consultant for almost 25 years and met with pension plan members to help them understand and plan their retirement. After years of working the proverbial 9-5, she saw a need that financial literacy should be taught at a young age. Read the incredible story of one business owner who took her passion and industry knowledge to build Knowledge Makes Cents, a financial literacy education program for youth and parents with the help of Skytek, our network and scalable Virtual Office options.
Why Did You Start KMCents?
Deborah McMillan, Owner of KMCents, was initially a Pension Plan Actuary and Retirement Consultant for almost 25 years and met with pension plan members to help them understand and plan their retirement. Upon meeting with multiple financial consumers, she realized that 9 out of 10 times, the individual didn’t understand how to plan their retirement nor make investment decisions, let alone what their pension plan entails. Unfortunately, they seemed hesitant on learning more about it and taking ownership of it.
“It was frustrating to me, and eventually I realized it was unfair to expect people to suddenly be financially literate just because they had a pension plan.” says Deborah. She continues, “at the same time I became a mother and thought to myself – how am I going to teach financial literacy to my daughter? When and where do I start?”
This point is when Deborah started to thoroughly research this particular essential life skill and started to become very passionate about financial literacy. She strongly believes that financial literacy should be taught starting at a young age. On one fine day in July of 2013 is when she came up with the name Knowledge Makes Cents. “It all fell together, the name, the research, and I started building the company while still working full-time at the boutique actuarial firm I was employed at during the time.”
How long has it been?
KMCents officially launched August of 2014 and at first, Deborah never intended to quit her corporate job. As she was building KMCents on the side for several months, it dawned on her, “what if it fails? Will it be because I didn’t commit full-time to it or because the idea failed? It was a huge concern in the back of my mind. I am an avid reader, and after reading success stories, such as how Walt Disney built his empire, it made me believe that I could do it.” Deborah loved Walt Disney’s motto “Dream. Believe. Dare. Do”, so she made the final push and became a full-time entrepreneur in May of 2014.
What was going through your mind when you made the final decision to become a full time entrepreneur?
“I was scared to death. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Regardless, I was incredibly excited and had big dreams and plans and it just felt like the right thing to do. I had no business debt, and had a fairly large reserve of funds to last a few years. Coming from a financial background helped as I drew up a financial plan to fulfill my real passion of positively impacting the world.”
Along with fear and excitement, Deborah also felt confident in her entrepreneurial capabilities. “In my entire career working for global actuarial firms and then moving to a boutique firm taught me a lot about wearing different hats. The advantage to a boutique firm was that it fulfilled my thirst to learn more about running a business and experiencing various roles.”
So why the decision to sign up for a Virtual Office with Skytek?
“I signed up in July of 2014 and to be honest, I had no idea what a ‘Virtual Office’ was. I didn’t even realize I needed it. I initially heard about what a Virtual Office is when I was shopping in an office supply store and saw they had a partnership with a virtual office company. I thought to myself, ‘I have to check this out!'”
Deborah continues, “I never realized there was a solution out there to not use my home address and home phone number to run my business without renting a physical office space. I instantly saw the value in it but I didn’t like the location of the first virtual office I visited. So I started to visit other locations.”
These other locations did not meet Deborah’s standards, “Skytek, as opposed to other places, was bright, clean, and very professional, in addition to being close to home. I live 5 minutes away. The location is incredible, right next to the major highways as well.”
The Value in the Network
A big part of owning an office at Skytek (Virtual or Physical) is that we have a vast network of business owners from multiple industries that we encourage to work together and are happy to connect with. The success of Skytek is a combination of the success of each and every business that signs on with us. Muhammad Kermalli, is the Owner and Manager of Skytek and Deborah had much to say about his services.
“Then I met Muhammad who drew up a contract for me, and having experience reading contracts, I was very picky before signing the contract. We emailed back and forth multiple times trying to understand the definitions and to be frank, I scrutinized everything! He was extremely patient, diplomatic, and professional with me at all stages and safe to say, he won me over with his personality.”
Deborah signed on with Skytek with a mail plan and virtual phone number combination that allows her to use our physical address along with her own business phone number. These can then be used for marketing and advertising purposes. The mail plan also allows her business to have her mail sent and held at our physical office location for pick-up. Her business phone number also gives her a personal receptionist that screens calls on behalf of KMCents. “I was very hesitant to use my home address on social media and directories. Plus, I also don’t get soliciting calls, they just get screened at the admin level.” says Deborah.
Deborah describes a prime example of the help that Skytek provided to her, “I needed to put together a job application form for my company, so I threw it all in Word but needed a fillable PDF. I asked Skytek for some help, and within the hour, they did it for me!”
A Virtual Office by Skytek also gives you access to our professional boardrooms on a per hour basis whenever you need it. “I have high standards coming from the corporate world, and Skytek met my standard of what an office should be like. Skytek made me feel at home.”
“Skytek has really given me a solution rather than just a product. As an entrepreneur, we really are ‘everything’ in our businesses, and if I can delegate other tasks then I don’t have to worry about it and having people I trust to answer my phone calls for me gives me peace of mind. Skytek even allowed me to put together a Frequently Asked Questions document so my receptionist could answer clients’ questions on my behalf” mentions Deborah.
ABOUT KNOWLEDGE MAKES CENTS
Financial know-how, navigating the world of saving, smart investing and budgeting are skills that should be nurtured from a young age. The value of a dollar is often lost in the material “wants” that surround us in our modern world and financial wellness and gratitude is fading into the past.
We are parents and teachers with a common goal: to help children be-come financially responsible adults. By teaching children the value of money through our programs, Knowledge Makes Cents aims to create generations upon generations of financially literate citizens. We are a financial literacy academy for kids and parents.
Knowledge Makes Cents: Where children learn essential money skills for a successful future. Where parents learn to empower their children to form successful lifelong habits.
Find out more at www.knowledgemakescents.com
There are hundreds of things to consider, as a small business owner, when looking for that first office that feels ‘just right’. Most times some of the most important considerations are overlooked. Make a better informed decision with our comprehensive Perfect Office Checklist For Small Businesses. A 12-page guide with a printable checklist at the end!