Mom Entrepreneur: Chandra Clarke
Scribendi.com is an international online proofreading and editing company. Our mission is to help writers of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds communicate clearly through written English. Our convenient, professional online service is utilized by a wide range of clients, including ESL students, established authors, and corporate executives.
What inspired you to start your business?
The idea for an online editing and proofreading company took root when I was working as an editor at an independent paper (a person can only read so many misspelt press releases!). A fan of technology and knowledge acquisition, I decided to make the editing process easier, both for the writer and the editor, by creating a workflow system that automatically collects documents from clients and subsequently distributes them to an available editor. Clients are able to have their documents edited quickly, professionally, and affordably, all with just a few easy mouse clicks.
How long have you been in business?
Scribendi.com was in 1997.
What did you do in your past work life?
I originally started my career as a regional stringer for The Chatham Daily News, my local newspaper. I then worked as a reporter/photographer for a large chain of weeklies before becoming the managing editor of an independent paper, a post that I held (or better yet, endured) for two years before striking out on on own. I have also authored two books, dozens of short stories, and numerous newspaper and magazine articles.
Describe your ideal workday.
My ideal work day is one where I not only achieve what’s known as ‘InboxZero’ – that is, nothing in my e-mail inbox as it’s all been dealt with—but also getting my top three items for the day done by noon. It gives me a great sense of progress and forward motion.
What have been some of your major successes?
At home, I’m very proud of finding a way to home school our children. Our first born started demanding to know how to read very early on and we very soon realized he’d be the type to be bored in school unless challenged. It was an incredibly undertaking, but we seem to have found our groove and the boys are thriving on it.
At work, we’re all very proud of the fact that Scribendi.com recently broke the million dollar mark in annual revenues. Scribendi.com has also won various awards, including an Ontario Global Traders Award for Market Expansion – Service, and a Small Business Standard of Excellence award from the Web Marketing Association.
What have been some of your major challenges?
My major challenges go by the names of Tiernan, Egan, and Rhodri, my three sons. Raising them is enough to keep any mom busy!
From a business perspective, it’s been very challenging finding the time to accomplish everything we’d like to at Scribendi.com. The company has been growing at a rapid pace now for 10+ years; while this is fantastic, it also takes a great deal of strategic management and monitoring. There are still so many things I can’t wait to do with the company— if only I had an additional five or six hours in the day.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Coffee, lots of coffee! It also helps that my husband is my business partner; he’s always there to help keep me focused, as are my children. Since I work from home four days a week, my kids are always there to provide me with priceless commentary and endless inspiration.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“To laugh much; to win respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived–this is to have succeeded.”
– Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I do if it weren’t for the help of my husband. Terence is the Vice-President of Scribendi.com, as well as a loving father and exceptional husband. In order to balance work with family, we’ve arranged to split all our duties 50/50 – this way, we’re there for both our boys and our business. It also helps that we have fantastic people working for us; Scribendi.com employs some of the finest editors in the world, as well as a dedicated internal staff.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Work for someone else first. You can’t lead unless you have first learned what it is like to follow.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
My laptop and increasingly, my Blackberry; both keep me connected whether I’m working from my office desk or at home from the kitchen table.
What is next for your business?
Scribendi.com is gearing up for a web site relaunch at www.scribendi.com to take place in the summer of 2009. Once that’s hit the net, we’ll be increasing our marketing efforts as well as hiring more telecommute editors (a great deal of Scribendi’s workforce is comprised of stay at home mothers who work from the comfort of their own home. If you’re interested in learning more about employment with us, please visit www.scribendi.com/employment.)
Your two cents sales pitch?
Scribendi.com provides English language editing and proofreading services to individuals, companies, governments, and agencies. Its services are exported to more than 89 countries around the globe. Our system is so efficient that we now review more than 1.5 million words per week, 52 weeks a year. Submit your documents to Scribendi.com today, and let us put our word warriors to work for you!
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