Re-evaluate what’s working, what needs improvement and what’s not working…Being flexible and pivoting towards what’s going to grow your business and letting go of what’s not is the most productive way to grow your business.
After a long marriage and subsequent divorce, Karen Bigman started The Divorcierge to help women struggling with their families and finances during divorce, and those trying to build a new life afterwards.
Karen partners with individuals going through divorce, consulting with them on how to navigate the emotional, financial and logistical issues. Her work includes divorce planning-such as finding the right team of professionals to work with including legal, financial and mental health professionals, helping complete the Statement of Net Worth and organize the myriad of documents for discovery. Her services include on-going one-on-one coaching including career and dating post-divorce. The Divorcierge also partners with other divorce professionals and organizations for informational events in the New York City area.
The Divorcierge has become global and now grown to include male clients. Karen’s background includes a B.S.B.A. from Boston University, a M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, Martha Beck Life Coach and iPEC Coach certification. Karen is a CDC® Certified Divorce Coach. Her articles have been featured in the Huffington Post, YourTango.com, NextTribe.com and BetterAfter50. She has also been profiled in the Financial Times and UK’s Daily Mail.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Divorce is one of those experiences that can take even the most seasoned executive to his or her knees. It’s hard to understand it until you go through it. In fact, Divorce is second or third (depending on the research you read) to Death in terms of personal trauma.
The idea for my business came about when I ran into a close friend at the bank post-divorce. My very intelligent, successful business woman friend, was stymied at the options in front of her for opening a bank account in her name. She couldn’t get her own credit card, had no idea about her finances and no clue about what it took to run her household. In her family, her husband had taken on that role.
After spending some time helping my friend sort out her life, I realized that there must be many more individuals who are experiencing similar challenges during and after divorce. I came up with the idea of a ‘concierge service for divorce.’ From there, The Divorcierge was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I don’t really have a ‘typical’ day. My days are spent in a combination of attending to client needs, writing blogs, creating and marketing seminars and workshops and interacting in some form with individuals who are important resources for my business such as attorneys, financial professionals and therapists.
How do you bring ideas to life?
There’s some ‘throwing spaghetti at the wall’ and some obvious ideas. With the seminars and workshops, I’ve been trying different content, different timing and location and different partners. When one works, I offer it again and again. Others I tweak or eliminate.
Some ideas come from clients themselves. Most recently I was inspired to start a support group for a few women that came to one of my events that really seemed drawn to each other.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited to see some backlash from the community about the addiction to technology and the impact it has had on our ability to communicate. I recently read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. He talks about using less technology more wisely.
There’s no question that technology has been an essential tool and incredible asset in many ways. On the other hand, there’s no substitute for the human experience.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
There is an enormous amount of information that I’m trying to absorb, particularly from all the great influencers. I recently subscribed to Blinkist which has helped me access much of the information I would like to read in ‘Cliff note’ style. I’m also really into Podcast which I listen to whenever I’m commuting.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t let anyone make you believe you can’t. If you believe in something, try it! The worst that will happen is that you’ll learn something and be able to move onto something else.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Divorce is a terrible thing and should be avoided at all costs. I don’t advocate for divorce. Relationships take work and everyone should invest in theirs. Sometimes however, ending a relationship is so much better than staying in an unhappy one. I know so many people who have come through divorce and said it was the best thing that happened to them. It wasn’t easy, it was painful and costly and time consuming, but at the end of the day, they wouldn’t have had their lives go any other way.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Re-evaluate what’s working, what needs improvement and what’s not working. Follow what’s working and let go of what’s not. So many entrepreneurs get stuck believing so strongly in one way to do business or one product that they fail. Being flexible and pivoting towards what’s going to grow your business and letting go of what’s not is the most productive way to grow your business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I started out offering my services for free. I then charged minimal hourly rates, afraid of asking for too much money from anyone. Once I realized how much value I was providing and how much time I was putting into my work, I started raising my prices and clients were paying for it. I found that people will pay for services that provide them comfort and support and I’m able to provide that. What I do is very true to who I am and my core values. My clients deserve the very best I have to offer and I provide great value and deserve to be paid for it.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In my mind, there’s no such thing as failure. People often think of divorce as a failure. Understandably, no one goes into marriage expecting to get divorced. On the other hand, we learn so much from each experience we have, particularly the painful ones. I don’t consider that failure.
I’ve had experiences that I would prefer not to repeat, however, I don’t regret them, I learn from them and move on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Divorce is incredibly expensive to the corporate world. The costs in lost productivity, absenteeism and emotional strain are rarely factored into the cost of an employee. I would love to create a corporate program to help organizations support their employees through divorce.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I hired an incredible Business Coach. Not only is she helping me expand my own creativity, but she’s also encouraged me to increase my prices and pushed me to explore different avenues for my business that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have tried.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Todoist. I use it to keep a running list of everything I need to do. I can update it at any time on my phone and it syncs to all my devices.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. It’s a really easy read that will motivate everyone to embrace whatever challenges they may be facing.
What is your favorite quote?
“When you change the way you look at things, things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer
• Failure is really an opportunity to learn. It’s all about how you look at it and interpret it.
• Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Being a successful Entrepreneur takes time and lots of patience.
• Entrepreneurship is a journey!
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.