MEET ALI FARNSWORTH
Alexandra “Ali” Miller Farnsworth
CEO Technology Solutions Group
Why did you decide to own your own business?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and saw a niche for a manufacturer’s rep-type firm for IT services. I grew up with my father being in outside sales, and must have picked up a hunger for it somewhere along the line. I have a true passion for emerging technology, and loved the idea of having a toolkit of only the best local tech providers, which my company could represent – ones which were personally hand-picked and vetted by me. Additionally, I have discovered that I don’t love “sales” per se, but the act of connecting people to each other – or to providers/solutions – that will solve a problem for them. My job now is truly matchmaking, which I love.
Do you have a “story from the trenches” to share that could help another woman business owner on her journey?
I would say that it is the old adage, you should do what you love, and play to your personal strengths. I knew I had skills as a salesperson and marketer, but it took doing the Strengths Finder during my MBA for that to really hit me. I took huge risks, and lost the typical stability of a “real, salaried job” to do what I am doing now, but it paid off. I believe in doing what I love, it truly is “easy,” and I am excited to go to work every day. My company is the sales engine for small and mid-sized companies. It is nice to be able to make a measurable impact. We also provide an integral ‘leg up’ for local tech startups and entrepreneurs, which are near and dear to me. It truly is exciting! Loving what you do is imperative!
Do you have any work-life balance tips?
I am a single parent of two children, and we are pulled in many directions every day. I don’t think anyone has the silver bullet for the balancing act, but one thing I have embraced is “saying no.” That was always a challenge for me, and a work in progress. If we are over-tasked on any given evening, I will just say, “We are skipping that activity tonight.” It seems so simple, but for a long time, that was not an option I considered. I am at the point now where I am totally OK with it. Also, vacations are a must. I work more hours now than ever before, and tend to blow off the idea of taking time off. I have forced myself to book twice yearly (albeit short) getaways, well in advance, and pre-pay them so I cannot back out.