Feature Friday

What inspired you to start your business?

I went into real estate when I was 21 years old and straight out of college in July of 2008, just a few short months after the market tanked. I hustled hard for the next 8 years working my way up at various top brokerage houses. I have always known that if there was one thing I wanted to do in life it was to create. I have always had visions of starting my own development company and designing living spaces that people love. The desire to create, the ability to be my own boss, and watching the satisfaction from people enjoy something I took part in creating is what has inspired me to start Skya Ventures, Inc. 

What has been your biggest challenge along the way and how did you overcome it?

Delegating has always been my biggest challenge. If you own your own business and you are not delegating you are drowning. I have learned to find qualities in others in which they excel and that has helped hand over the reigns to those much more qualified than me and we are that much more efficient! That's Shayna Bordy pictured in the photo. She is Skya Ventures, Inc. Project Manager and she really helps keep everything running smoothly as I am working on big picture tasks and future growth of Skya Ventures, Inc. 

How do you balance all of your commitments personally and professionally?

Balance? Ha! I wrestled with this for a long time after having my daughter who is now 15 months old. Here's the truth: there is no such thing as balance. Some days work wins, some days my personal life wins. Some days neither of the two win. It's a constant juggling act that I will forever try to perfect. The key is to plan ahead, set aside time for work outs, for eating (I forget this one when I'm "go go go all the time), and for seeing friends and family. 

What advice would you give the younger you? 

Breathe. Travel. Take time off. Seek out that what interests and inspires you. I've been working ever since I was 12. In college, I waited tables to pay for school, held a nanny job, and a business to business sales job. I was always obsessed with working, being independent, and making money. I never really took the time off to discover what my true passions or interest were as I was so focused on achieving all my goals by a certain age. I would remind my younger self that success takes time and a spiritual, mentally fulfilled you is one big step towards achieving that success. 

How do you stay motivated through the ups and downs of your business?

My industry is constantly changing and there are various new technologies coming out, new design, new materials to design and/or build with. For example, the other day I watched a video of how a company in Silicon Valley was able to 3D print a 400 sq ft house in 24 hours for $10,000.  There are still so many challenges such as affordable housing, cost of construction, and supply of housing that needs to be resolved. It's those challenges coupled with new solutions that keep me motivated in my business. Not to mention, my husband and my daughter always keep me on my toes. Watching my husband grow in his business and my daughter evolve also helps keep me motivated. 

Has being married changed things for you being an entrepreneur? 

Yes, yes, yes! I'm lucky in the sense that I have a husband who is also in real estate and is extremely supportive. We feed of off each other's success and energy. My husband was actually the one to push me to start my own business and when you are just starting out knowing that you have support is critical to your success. I think if I were single it would have been very difficult and scary to have taken that first step. However, being single you have no one to answer to but yourself and that can be nice to. If I were single I would have a computer and printer at home so that I could work 24/7. We check work at the door when we get home and believe it or not we do not have a computer or printer of any kind at home. I will confess that I still sneak in work emails on my phone when the hubby is not looking. Shh, don't tell. 

Gelena and her team can be found at Skya Ventures, and on Instagram at LivingBySkya.

Heidi StevensComment