17 Years of Being My Own Boss: One Woman’s story

As we draw close to the end of the summer of small voices series (the final post will be next week) I’m excited to share one woman’s story of entrepreneurial success.

Linda Gatten Buttler is the president and owner of Butler Consulting, Inc where she has been helping organizations target grant seeking, fundraising, training and management since 1994.  She has also gone out of her way to show me the “entrepreneurial ropes”  during Low Hanging Fruit Communications first year–for which I am extremely grateful.

Welcome, Linda!

It all started with purchasing a shopping center. After eight years of capacity building, organizational developing and revamping board and staff members at a dying family service agency, we were a team prepared to conduct a successful capital campaign.

As the Executive Director, I was challenged to administer, supervise, fundraise, create, mentor, monitor, market, counsel and lead (are we having fun yet?). With a little help from our friends, we were able to position the family service agency as a well-deserved recipient of a large, anonymous gift from an “angel” (what every campaign needs, right?). This individual’s campaign donation enabled us to purchase a shopping center with monthly income from a non-profit health clinic and a pizza business (what fantastic marriages!) that insured sustainability.

This campaign turned out to be my  “swan song”, as upon its completion  a “higher power” delivered a message encouraging me  to continue serving and assisting others through my gifts–but not as a traditional non-profit employee.

From this successful campaign, the lessons learned and relationships built resulted in the experience, courage and ability to become an entrepreneur.

Fast-forward 17 years.  As president of a home-based, management and fundraising consultation business, I feel blessed to have succeeded on my entrepreneurial journey. How have I measured that success? For me, business success means:

  • Freedom to choose my hours, scope of services, work space (as I enjoy sitting on my deck while writing!) clients and partners
  • Dinner and time with my husband, friends and family on a regular basis (versus frequent business travel)
  • Reimbursement at a fair market value that has translated into many years as a “six figure woman”!
  • A sense of accomplishment, commitment and worth
  • Results-oriented impact with over 160 non-profit, for-profit and public agencies
  • Actualization of the core social work values and ethical principles of: service; social justice; integrity; importance of human relationships; dignity and worth of the person; and competence
  • Advocacy for issues that is meaningful, necessary and beneficial to communities in which I work, love and play
  • The ability to serve as a change agent in organizations through my skills, gifts and expertise
  • The humility to seek feedback, learn daily, live each day to the fullest, laugh at myself, make mistakes and be grateful

I won’t say it’s an easy path, but it is an amazingly fulfilling one.   May you have the courage to take your entrepreneurial journey!

Have Questions for Linda?

If you are just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey and have questions for someone who has walked the path, please ask them in the comments section, and Linda will answer.

2 thoughts on “17 Years of Being My Own Boss: One Woman’s story

  1. Linda, as someone who might one day attempt to follow in your footsteps, I have a question about attributes/qualities. You mention humility as a characteristic of a successful entrepreneurial in the nonprofit world. I like the picture you paint and I like to “think” I can replicate that success. But what qualities, skills and attributes must be in greater supply than when serving a similar role in employed status?
    (Note to readers: I know Linda. She is the real deal!)

  2. Bill:
    Thanks for your response and words of support! I think that the Grant Professional Association’s (GPA) list of skills and competencies are a great list for consultants and grant employees, don’t you, Bill?
    • Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs
    • Knowledge of organizational development as it pertains to grant seeking
    • Knowledge of strategies for effective program and project design and development
    • Knowledge of how to craft, construct, and submit an effective grant application
    • Knowledge of post-award grant management practices sufficient to inform effective grant design and development
    • Knowledge of nationally recognized standards of ethical practice by grant professionals
    • Knowledge of practices and services that raise the level of professionalism of grant professional.
    • Knowledge of methods and strategies that cultivate and maintain relationships between fund-seeking and recipient organizations and funders

    Thanks and blessings, Linda

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