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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Career Balance Pays Off for Entrepreneurial Inventor

entrepreneur, coffee, 4Stir

Diane D'Andrea didn't let her full-time job get in the way of her desire to start her own business. Instead, D'Andrea was able to balance her career in media sales and turn her attempts to fix a common cooking problem into a business.

The decision to fix that problem came one Easter, when D'Andrea ruined a batch of deviled eggs by accidentally dumping too much paprika on them as a garnish. After searching for a tool that would prevent that from happening again, she was unable to find anything. So D'Andrea decided to create one. 

Today, D'Andrea has grown that business to be featured on QVC, and it's sold in stores across the country. BusinessNewsDaily spoke with D'Andrea about balancing a career and a startup, here motivations for starting a business.

[Are You Ready to Start a Business? 20 Questions to Ask Yourself]

BusinessNewsDaily: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Diane D'Andrea: When I was a young girl growing up on Long Island, I used to envision myself working in Manhattan in an office environment in a big high-rise. I wasn't really sure what industry it would be in. I loved the idea of the hustle and bustle of city life, business meetings, corporate setting, etc. I knew I wanted to be around a lot of people because I love that energy.

BND: What did your parents do for a living?

D.A.: My father wore many different hats throughout his career. He worked at more than 100 different places throughout his lifetime. However, the majority of his career was spent in the exterminating industry. He owned his own company and retired at age 62. I definitely got my entrepreneurial spirit from him. My mother is no longer with us, but she worked at Estée Lauder in the factory when I was young, but then moved into the travel-agency industry later in her life until she passed away. It was exciting for her because she got to travel all over the world, which is something I'd like to do as well.

BND: Can you talk a little about your business and how you got your start?

D.A.: My business was started completely by accident. I've been a professional in the media-sales industry for many years. But I'm also a mother and homemaker. I enjoy cooking and baking. My business came to life because I invented a kitchen gadget that did not exist before. I know many people come up with ideas all the time, but I wanted this kitchen tool so badly that I decided to stop at nothing to create it! It wasn't something I originally aspired to do, but as I went through each step of the invention process, I was motivated more and more by the possibilities. It started out as a side business, but the potential is there to be doing it full time in the very near future.

BND: What's the best part of owning your own business? 

D.A.: Without question, the best part of owning my own business is running it the way I want and having creative control. We are small right now, but as we grow, I plan to implement an environment where titles don't matter, everyone is equally important, and their ideas and input is valued immensely. Our company's mission statement is, "We at 4 STIR Inc. create fun, innovative, functional products that invoke a feeling of happiness to our customers … developed in a loyal, loving, warm, embracing environment by people with talent, skills and devotion beyond measure!"

BND: What's the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

D.A.: I've learned so many lessons along the way. One of the biggest lessons was to produce products ahead of sales. The truth is, you need to stumble and make mistakes in order to learn. If we don't learn through the process and if it's too easy, then everyone would be doing it, right? You have to be comfortable with uncertainty and being flexible to try new ways of doing things if what's currently being done isn't working.

BND: What was your main motivation for starting this business? 

D.A.: The main motivation for me is family. My goal is to provide an amazing life for my children, but more than that, I want to show them, by example, that they can do anything they want in life. We are all limitless in our abilities to create and achieve.

BND: What previous experiences helped you in that journey?

D.A.: My background in advertising and media sales has definitely helped me in identifying my brand and target market. Being in sales helps me in my relationships with business partners and customers. I'm also very comfortable speaking to an audience, no matter how small or big.

BND: What was the biggest challenge you encountered, and how did you overcome it?

D.A.: My biggest challenge was realizing that I couldn't do it all on my own. Learning to delegate wasn't easy for me. However, once I learned the importance of hiring skilled, qualified people who are experts in their fields, it really helped free up my calendar to focus on the areas I'm actually good at and enjoy doing.

BND: What is the best bit of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?

D.A.: Be patient, and never give up. If something's not working, then try something else. Build teams — you simply cannot do it alone, and you need the support of others. It's also paramount to find a coach, support group or mastermind group. You need to interact, and exchange ideas and situations with other like-minded individuals. You'll be amazed at the solutions that come out of those meetings.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Dave Mielach

Dave started writing for BusinessNewsDaily as a freelance writer in May 2011 and was hired as a staff writer in October 2011. He graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communication and a business minor. Prior to writing for BusinessNewsDaily, he interned at The Poughkeepsie Journal and two Marist College publications. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Dave on .