Roxanne Mapp built a successful career as an award-winning graphic designer, author and librarian.
“As I got older, I started thinking about what my next steps were going to be. If I was going to start a business,” she said, “the time to begin that endeavor was now.”
Roxanne went to a Business Summit hosted by Westchester Community College. That’s where she first encountered SCORE Westchester chairman and mentor Natasha Roukos. “I was so impressed with her presentation that I went up afterward and said, “Can I schedule a meeting with you?”
She Saw Something I Didn’t See: The Role of the Small Business Mentor
Working with Natasha helped Roxanne better understand how she wanted to focus her business. “I had a sense of what I wanted to do, but no cohesive plan,” Roxanne said. “I was working on a list of the products I could offer, and Natasha made sure art appeared on the top of that list. I guess she saw something I didn’t see.”
After discussing potential avenues to bring her work to market, Roxanne devoted some time to building her body of work, creating five new series. “It was time to get over the fear and just do it,” she explained. “Then I took the plunge and finally signed up for the Arts on Third Festival.”
Exhibiting at the popular Westchester arts festival was a pivotal moment in the development of Roxanne’s business. “Not only did I sell some work, which was wonderful, but I met some gallery owners interested in working with me, as well as some potential future collaborators. This worked out well for my business in a number of ways.”
What’s Stopping You Now?
When asked what advice she’d give to others who are at a transition point in their career, such as approaching retirement, Roxanne said, “Make a list of the things you’re passionate about. Look at that list and see what jumps out at you. What are you excited about? What is it in your life that you always meant to do, but couldn’t, because you had the 9 to 5, or you had the kids, or something else that stopped you? Then ask yourself, what’s stopping you now?”
Roxanne advises working on your new business for at least fifteen minutes a day. “Baby steps are better than no steps at all!” Reading books, attending webinars, and taking advantage of educational opportunities like the workshops presented by SCORE Westchester are all great ways to bolster your entrepreneurial skills. “Then, when you’re ready, sign up for mentorship with SCORE. I can tell you, I’m never going to stop reaching out to Natasha. If I had to pay for all the advice and assistance she’s given me, I could never afford it.” SCORE Westchester provides its services for free for aspiring and established Westchester County business owners.
Currently, Roxanne offers creative workshops in addition to her services as an artist, illustrator, graphic designer and author. Her plans going forward focus on expanding her brand; in addition to working with local galleries, Roxanne is focusing on finding people to license her art. “When you’re fifty-plus society says that’s it, it’s time to throw in the towel,” she said. “No! The opposite is true. This is the time to get out there and make your dreams come true.”