When Michelle Sheldon worked out in the corporate world she spent her days dealing with green living; so the jump to owning her own green products company was as natural as organic gardening.
“It is a passion, and it was a natural progression to stay into environmental awareness,” explains Sheldon.
Sheldon, owner of Eco Promotional Products, a WBENC certified woman owned company, spent three years of her corporate career living in the Netherlands, where green living was simply a way of life. At one point she mentioned to her father, who had been in the promotional products business for over fifteen years, that he should consider adding green products to his catalog.
“He bought the domain name and that is as far as it got,” she says.
Since Sheldon was interested in green living, she began doing the research for the company, and her father, seeing how passionate Sheldon was about green promotional products, said, “You know, if this is going to work, you’re going to have to do it.”
So she did.
Sheldon began working on the idea before leaving her job, and in October the site went live. “I decided I needed to jump in or not.” She chose to jump, so she gave her notice in the corporate world and now Sheldon spends her time working on the website, traveling to fairs and trade shows, and trying to promote green living amongst business owners.
Her biggest challenge? Says Sheldon, “I could have never done this had I never had the career experience I had in my past life.” The years of dealing with certifications and legislation gave Sheldon the background to make this company work.
While Sheldon admits to working a lot of hours prior to opening her business, now, she says, she’s working even more.
The trade off, though, is that she no longer has to travel for work, and she does have more job flexibility.
“The boss isn’t going to tell me I can’t go to my daughter’s performance during the day,” she laughs. So while she may find herself working at 5 AM and 10 PM, she can stop when she needs to in order to take some time for her family.
Sheldon hopes that one day she has enough reliable people helping out that she can step back a bit and take some more time for herself.
For now, though, she sees people referring other customers to her company after having a great experience and, “I’m seeing it is all worthwhile.”