Laura Humphreys may have started her career as a secretary in an ad agency. But to date she has started three successful businesses and sold two.
Her latest venture, Liber8Me  attempts to help others learn from her experience and visualize their businesses in a whole new way.
WHAT PRODUCT OR SERVICE DO YOU OFFER?
The company provides entrepreneurs with a wide range of tools and products. But all have one thing in common. They are designed to set the entrepreneur free. The company’s mentoring programs, online programs, books, workbooks and study groups all have a single theme. It’s the idea that a business should be an asset that sets you free – not a job that weighs you down.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS KNOWN FOR?
One thing and one thing alone sets Liber8Me apart, says Humphreys. That is the company’s emphasis on a backwards working approach to business creation and growth.
Start with a view of how you want your business to look once it’s fully developed and ready to sell. Then plan backwards, establishing a set of milestones that will bring you to that point.
HOW DID THE BUSINESS GET STARTED?
As we’ve explained earlier, Humphreys had started and sold two other successful businesses before this. The first was an advertising agency which eventually grew to a revenue of $15 million in billings that she would eventually sell to the Ogilvy Group.
The second was a highly successful pet care company eventually employing a staff of 150. She would eventually sell this business to a competitor.
Humphreys’ successes made her want to share her experience and her personal blueprint for building a business with others. As a result, Liber8Me was born.
HAVE YOU EVER ALMOST GONE OUT OF BUSINESS?
Well, not with her new venture, Humphreys says. But she admits to some bumps and scrapes while building her previous two businesses and, in both cases, these resulted in great lessons she passes on to entrepreneurs today.
Four years into her first company, Humphreys almost suffered a nervous breakdown. The trouble was her inability to step back and let her staff do what they were trained to do. Humphreys took a month off and let her staff step up. It’s a lesson she carries with her.
In her second business, a tragic incident involving the death of a dog in one of her employees’ care created bad publicity for her company as she was preparing her business to sell. Bringing in a skilled PR firm to handle the media proved the answer and again, Humphreys learned valuable lessons about how to handle things when they are at their worst.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST WIN?
Humphreys says her biggest win has been the publication of her book Liber8 Your Business: The Revolutionary Planning Technique That Will Set Every Small Business Owner Free . The book has won a gold medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards and, of course, here at the Small Business Book Awards, where it received more votes than any other title.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH AN EXTRA $10,000?
Humphreys says she has a dream for Liber8U, an online university campus where small business owners could come together to study and learn from entrepreneurs all around the world. Humphreys says any extra money right now would be put towards beginning the development on that project.
“We hold ‘muffin and mentor’ sessions every Friday morning where we invite successful entrepreneurs to join us and share their stories, for use in our materials. These can be local entrepreneurs who meet in person – and we provide the muffin, or from around the world on Skype – where sadly we can only share a virtual muffin!”
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Image: TVNZ screenshot