Karin Abarbanel runs her own one-woman marketing communications firm, Abarbanel Communications, but her true love is writing. "I’ve always loved writing and this has always been center stage in my work life," she says. She describes her newest book, Birthing the Elephant, as the What to Expect When You're Expecting of small-business books. "It gives women an emotional road map to the first 22 months of their venture, when every decision counts – and helps them stay motivated and on track," she says. Karin lives in New Jersey with her husband, David, and their 17-year-old son, Alex, who is heading off to college this fall ("A huge change!")
Tell us about your career path.
After graduating with Masters degree from Columbia, I worked for a magazine, then spent 12 years working in marketing communications with a consulting firm, and then freelanced from home when my son was born. Along the way, I always kept writing! I founded a magazine for the National Association for Female Executives and contributed to other publications. I really love working on my own -- the flexibility and freedom it gives me is wonderful.
Birthing the Elephant is my fifth book! Four of my books have been how-to guides for women -- I really enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with other women and inspiring them to find fulfilling ways to express themselves through their work.
What sets Birthing the Elephant apart from other books for new entrepreneurs?
Part portable success coach, part step-by-step guide through the life cycle of a small-business launch, Birthing the Elephant is really unique. Other guides focus on the three Ms: Money, Marketing, and Management. But there’s a fourth M -- Motivation – that’s largely been ignored, yet it’s at the heart of small-business survival.
Tell us about your marketing company. How long ago did you start? What’s most challenging about it?
My company is called Abarbanel Communications; I began it about 15 years ago. What’s been most challenging is deciding how to push it in a new direction.
What piece of advice do you wish you’d had before your started your marketing company?
I wish I had known more about making the move from employee to entrepreneur. It was a lot tougher than I realized. Helping women avoid some of the mistakes I made is one of the big drivers behind writing Birthing the Elephant.
What’s the most difficult part, for you, about juggling work and family?
For me, the most difficult part is finding ways to nurture both my family and my creative drive at the same time.
Many entrepreneurs who are also moms are dealing with nurturing their small businesses and their small children simultaneously. Your child is older. What challenges do you face now, as a working mom, that you didn’t 10 years ago?