Laurie Delk Radecki has owned BMD Enterprises, a web and graphic design, branding, and marketing company, for more than 26 years. She’s a best-selling author of two business books: Keep Those Clients and We All Have Choices. She’s featured in two other best-selling books: Power of Human Connection, and Momentum Makers. She’s been a speaker and trainer for more than 16 years.
In today’s episode, we’re going to hear the story of Laurie Delk Radecki, the wife of a police officer who passed away, and how she became a highly successful entrepreneur to provide for her family.
Laurie’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Here’s how Laurie got to where she is today.
When Laurie was pregnant with her second child, she needed a job to help support her family. “At that time, my kids’ dad was a police officer, and that type of industry [didn’t provide enough for] a one-income household. So I was praying for something I could do from home to be able to help support our family so my husband didn’t have to work 2, 3, [or] 4 jobs.”
It was 1993 and the internet was becoming more prevalent. Laurie and her husband got their first computer. “Back then there were hardly any businesses on the internet . . . but I decided, this is the perfect thing for every business to have a business card on the web, so to speak,” she said.
“So I created my web design company and figured out how to write code and create websites. . . . A lot of my clients didn’t have logos even, or didn’t know what to do with that, so then I went into graphic design. So, I did those hand in hand and built that company.” Within a few years, she hit six figures and tripled her husband’s income.
Send Out Cards
While Laurie was doing that business, she would send out thank you cards, saying, “Thank you for meeting with me,” or “Thank you for your business,” etc. She’d read a lot of sales training books that said people do business with those they know, like, and trust. However, Laurie says, “People do business with those they know, like, trust, and remember. If they don’t remember you when it’s time to do that business, then you’re not going to get the business.”
Laurie found a way to streamline this process when she found a company called Send Out Cards. She joined the company because they were doing exactly what she was doing. It was a great way to help her balance work and family.
Not long after joining Send Out Cards, Laurie started networking. She joined a few different networking groups and found things she liked and didn’t like about each of them. She decided to create her own, incorporating all the things she liked about the ones she’d joined.
Laurie was able to build and keep up many business connections. “That’s one huge thing that I’ve been focused on . . . keeping track of people [and] having systems and tools to keep track of everybody and be able to keep in touch.”
Laurie met with a real estate agent in her network. He asked her to sit down with him and teach him about what she did in her web and graphics company to get it to six figures. He wanted to apply some of the principles to his real estate company.
When she’d finished teaching him, he told her that he wanted her to teach his group of about 150 agents with a PowerPoint. Laurie was a little baffled. She didn’t know how to use PowerPoint, and she’d just been talking with this agent, not planning out lessons or anything like that. One of her favorite speakers, Jim Rohn, always said, “Say yes and figure it out later.”
So Laurie said yes, went home, and started searching the internet for how to create a PowerPoint, and she figured it out from there. “[It] went really well, and of course some of the agents in there ended up referring me to different mortgage brokers and title agents and different people that they knew in their circle. I had more people calling me to do speaking engagements and corporate sales training and things like that, so [that] led me into researching more about how to teach and train. I found out that there was training out there on how to [train], so [I] took some courses and became certified in those different areas.”
Writing Her First Book
Lots of People started telling Laurie she should write a book. She thought, “I don’t write books.” She loved to read personal development and business books, but she never thought she could write a book. She thought she could never be on the same level as those authors and business people she looked up to.
Laurie took a course, and part of the homework for that course was to write a book. She thought, “Oh my goodness, I can’t do this,” but she had to pass the course. “I’m like one of those [people] that is not only kind of competitive with other people, but I’m competitive with myself. So, if I say I’m going to do something, I’m like, ‘I’ve got to see it to the end.’”
So she wrote the book and learned how to become self-published. When she put it on Amazon, it hit bestseller status in the first couple of hours.
Wonderful Widowed Women
When Laurie’s husband died, she was looking for widow support groups. She found a few, but they weren’t quite what she was looking for. “I wanted something with positivity; I was last to be raised by a mom who is very positive and optimistic minded.” So she created her own nonprofit, Wonderful Widowed Women.
She ended up speaking to different groups on this subject, which led her to write her second book, We All Have Choices, on how we react to things and how we look at things. “When I got the news of his wreck, of course, it was terrible, and [I] cried a lot. But I also knew if I was still here, still breathing, I needed to figure out my purpose and . . . why I’m still here. Plus, I had four kids at home that I had to be an example to, right, because they’re going to look up to me and they’re going to go through tragedies in life, and they need to know . . . how to respond to those things as well. So I knew I needed to, as we say in Tennessee, pull up your bootstraps and get busy.”
Greatest Home Run: Providing for Family
When I asked Laurie what the greatest home run she’s hit in her career is, she said, “I very quickly grew to six figures, being able to help take care of our family.” That was one of the biggest things she wanted to be able to do. Laurie never missed her kids’ games or events. She was able to host holidays and get-togethers. She was also able to keep up connections with people outside her family by having the flexibility to go to lunch with a friend.
With entrepreneurship, she’s had the flexibility to build strong relationships with her friends and family. Laurie’s family needed monetization, and she had the skills and talents to monetize so that she could take care of what mattered most to her.
“Money is not everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”
– Zig Ziglar
Laurie’s Passion: Relationships
Laurie said the biggest passion that she’s had all her life is relationships. “I carry that into business. I think that’s one of the huge things that has helped me to succeed in the business world, but even before that in my personal life I’ve just always been one of those relationships people,” she explained.
Even from the time she was young, she had a focus on having lots of strong relationships with people. “Back when I was in grade school [and] in high school, I was the kid that fit into all the different groups and wanted everybody to just love each other and like each other and get along and be happy.”
She’s done the same thing in her family life. “I always wanted a big family. We had five children . . . and I was the one that always hosted Thanksgiving, Christmas, all the holidays [and] the family get-togethers. [I] always sent out pictures of our family for our Christmas cards. I’ve done that since I was little . . . and I just keep in touch with everybody,” she said. “Especially as the world progressed into social media and things. I think that’s one of the best things in business, but it’s also one of the best things to keep in touch with friends and family all around the world.”
Thank you so much Laurie for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. People do business with those they know, like, trust, and remember.
2. Networking and networking groups are great ways to make business connections.
3. Sometimes we have to say yes and then figure it out.
4. Entrepreneurship allowed Laurie to provide for her family when they needed it, and it gave her the flexibility to be there for them too.
5. Technology and social media provide great opportunities to keep in touch with people and build strong relationships.
Connect with Laurie
If you enjoyed this interview and want to learn more about Laurie or connect with her, you can find her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauriedelk/, check out her website at http://lauriedelk.me/, or you can watch, read, or listen to our next episode with Laurie.
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