It was exactly three years ago that I met Lara Bojarsky. I had interviewed for a position at her company & had been hired to start shortly after Labor Day weekend. The company (a recruiting firm) was based in the Warner Center area of Woodland Hills, a place that I was very familiar with since I had worked for at least three other companies within a one-mile radius in the last 12 years. The job was part-time & a good fit for me since my daughter was in kindergarten at the time.
I enjoyed working with Lara (who was my boss) & the small team. When the position required a full-time employee, it was time for me to move on. I still keep in touch with a couple of former coworkers, which goes to show that sometimes even short working relationships can eventually turn into friendships.
I am SO happy to introduce to you the latest Real Mom of the SFV, Lara Bojarsky!
How/why did you begin your business?
Lara: I started Aym Alliance Inc. in July 2012. I had been the Branch Manager of a local branch of a nationwide staffing firm for 14 years. I had loved my time there and it was a great company and wonderful experience, I learned a lot and had a wonderful mentor in my VP of Operations, Marilyn White. During my last year there many changes happened, a new VP of Operations was hired and a new COO. Well, I found myself knowing that I just could not work for these new executives and I had lost faith in the company and the direction I saw it going. The clear and logical choice was to leave and start my own company where I could create an environment and corporate culture that I valued and believed in and keep doing what I loved. I was excited from the moment I decided and never looked back!
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Lara: I know this has probably been said, and said again, but balance, work life balance. This is difficult in many other working situations but when you own your own business you are never really off work, it doesn’t turn off when you walk out of the door or go on vacation and there is always something, or a million things, to be done. Set boundaries, separate not only quality time for your family, yourself and friends but strive to find a way to truly mentally separate it from the other wonderful and precious things in your life. For me those precious things are why I do all of this in the first place, it’s all for my daughter and so we can have the lives that we want and the time together and freedoms it affords us. You have to work hard to not lose sight of that, and it’s constant, it’s an ongoing balancing act. When I’m exhausted from a long day or have too much on my mind I don’t want it to take me away from those I love, physically or emotionally, I want it to be the blessing that it is!
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Lara: Well I love the valley, not the heat, but I love where we live and we have great friends and wonderful schools, we are close to everything, the city, beach, mountains, we get all of it without the traffic and congested parking. It’s a very family oriented area, a little slower paced and just easier to balance work with family and all of the things we juggle. There is a lot of support everywhere I go and it’s a very tight knit community, I feel very much like we are all in this together! It also has excellent small business support, everything is close and convenient and the Valley Economic Development Center in Van Nuys offers many free start up and business support programs as well as alternative options for small business loans for those who might not be able to get loans from traditional banks, they really helped me when I started up.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Lara: Cash flow is critical, even if you are successful and profitable the cash flow can really effect you if you don’t have a large amount of cash to access easily. I was a little naïve and when a large client changed their payment process and pushed back a large part of my accounts receivables from 2 weeks to over 90 days it really was an eye opener. I’m diligent about forecasting and budgets but now I know better and am even more conservative. Things always come up, so be prepared, and ask for help when you need it, reach out to your family, friends and community because we all need help at some time or another. When you are a small business owner it’s all you, no corporate behind you to cover payroll or pay vendors, everything is your responsibility in every aspect of the business, which is wonderful and the best part about it but can also be the biggest challenge at times.
Lara’s tips about striving for work life balance are helpful. I struggle (at times) with mentally letting go of work. Reading Lara’s advice really does help put things in perspective. One thing I remember vividly about Lara is that she works hard in business, but she is equally protective of her time with her daughter.
For those looking to start a small business, Lara gives great info regarding the Valley Economic Development Center in Van Nuys. I wasn’t aware that there were alternative options to small business loans. Another great takeaway from this interview (and key learning) is that point about cash flow.
For those in need of employment, you are in luck! AYM Alliance Inc. is a recruiting firm specializing in Manufacturing, Engineering and IT. You’ll want to check out their website to see the latest job postings. You can also follow them on Facebook & Twitter for the latest updates.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The image shown in this post is used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.