The entrepreneurial world has been notoriously male dominated. This disparity appears in the most recent Census Bureau data, showing that women-owned firms make up less than 20% of all businesses in the United States. Over the years, organizations like the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO have sprung up to empower women towards greater business success. Thanks to WEDO’s advocacy, Nov. 19 is now officially Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
In recognition of this important day, we’d like to turn the spotlight on Lucia Vorce, one of P3 Cost Analysts’ (P3CA) amazing franchisees. Lucia will tell you that her story isn’t interesting. However, we believe it demonstrates the unique challenges women face when pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. What’s more, Lucia’s “ordinary” story is proof that women can be successful business owners despite the unique challenges they face.
Lucia Vorce: I grew up in a small Michigan town in a pretty average American home. In many ways, growing up in a small town limits what you believe is possible. My mom had two jobs and worked hard every day. But no one in my family had been to college, and we didn’t have a lot of money. So, something like owning my own business didn’t seem possible.
However, life always has a surprising way of unfolding. After getting married in 2008, we moved to California so my husband could take a job offer. Being a creative, artsy type, I started taking photos of friends and their families for fun. As they started to seek me out, it eventually occurred to me that I could make money off my passion and so I opened my own photography business, which I ran successfully for eight years.
Running that photography business really broadened my horizons. Building a clientele and sustaining it year-in and year-out taught me so much that I would come to use later.
Lucia Vorce: About two years ago, my husband and I started talking about running a business together. We wanted something sustainable, so I could support our family if something ever happened to him. Going back to college wasn’t an option because of the cost and time commitment. I also wanted to pursue an opportunity that would still allow me to be there for my two daughters. We didn’t have enough money to launch a business from the ground up, so we began looking into franchising.
Lucia Vorce: Yes. My husband and I hired a franchise consultant who helped me identify my strengths, which are helping people and sharing information. I told him that I wanted something sustainable that could fit around my kid’s schedules. Together, we narrowed down available opportunities until we discovered P3CA.
When I dug deeper, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I didn’t have to spend $100,000 building my own infrastructure because I’d be supported by an existing P3CA team. The hours were flexible, so I knew it wouldn’t take over my other responsibilities as a wife and mother. Plus, the company’s value proposition was so clear. If I can’t save my clients money, they don’t get billed. That’s a message I’m excited to share.
During the pandemic, my husband and I decided we wanted to be closer to family, so we began planning a move back to Grand Rapids, Michigan. When I decided to choose P3CA, I started working in California and registered the company in Michigan, and have been working here ever since.
Lucia Vorce: There are a lot of similarities. I’m still going out there by myself, spreading the word about something I believe in. And it’s still my business, even though I own a franchise. I’m growing and maintaining all my client relationships through person-to-person interactions. The biggest difference is that now I have a fantastic team behind me to help, and I can do all my work from home.
Lucia Vorce: My husband and I had always planned to run the business together, but he got a job offer he couldn’t refuse after we moved back to Michigan. So I told him to take the job, and I’d tackle the franchise on my own. After the hurdles we faced moving to Michigan and seeing what our early clients have gained by partnering with P3CA, I was confident I could do it on my own. I was the only one who’d landed accounts anyway [Lucia said with a laugh].
Lucia Vorce: My husband and I are built differently. He’s a true salesman, and I’m not. I approach people much more authentically. Now that I’m running the business on my own, I feel free to operate in a way that’s best for me, rather than trying to fit into a more traditional business model. I think that’s been a big factor in my success so far. Everything feels like an ad these days, so when I can approach someone authentically, I’m much more likely to make a connection.