Karen Bigman is the founder of The Divorcierge, a divorce advisory and management business. She works with individuals who are at all stages of the divorce process – contemplating, getting divorced or after divorce. Together, they address the practical and tactical aspects of divorce while facing the overwhelming emotional challenges. Anything from pre-divorce planning to post-divorce dating and career and everything in between (legal, financial, and parenting concerns).
Meet Karen Bigman!
What inspired you to launch your web-based business? A very close friend was finalizing her divorce and having a really hard time with the administrative aspect of her life. All the things her ex-husband had traditionally done fell in her lap and she wasn’t sure which end was up. I helped her get organized and supported her through the transition. I realized that there was a real need for this type of support and very few resources available.
How has your previous employment experience aided you professionally? I have some event and project management experience which helps with the organizing and planning. Mostly though, it was my own experience going through divorce that informed me. Having an MBA also really helps me understand the business of divorce, particularly the financial pieces.
What do you love most about having your own business or your work? I get to decide what I want to do, what I want my company to be, and who to work with. I love being an entrepreneur and learning how to run a successful business.
What is the most challenging part of being a businesswoman? For me in particular, I had been out of the workforce for a long time raising kids. Finding my way back in when many of my peers are retiring has been really tough. I’m a solopreneur – that makes it hard because I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of. All the decisions – good and bad – have been made by me!
What is your favorite way to unplug from work? Exercise and music (I love live music!).
What are some of your proudest accomplishments? My business is starting to get recognition in the NY divorce community and beyond. When I mention my company, people have heard of me! Considering I launched 3 years ago, I feel really good about it. I was profiled in the NY Post and will be on a panel at the 92Y in the fall. Both very exciting for me!
Do you have any professional role models? Cliché as it sounds, I think Oprah is amazing. I trained under Martha Beck who was her life coach. Both of them came from really tough beginnings and grew huge, respectable businesses. Martha has not lost sight of who she is which I love about her.
Anyone who speaks eloquently in public is a role model for me too. I love hearing smart women speak on interesting topics, particularly when they sound like it’s the easiest thing in the world.
What are some risks you have taken that resulted in positive outcomes? When I first started my company I was invited to speak on live tv – okay it was in Australia, but it really helped me get over my fear of being in front of a camera. Once I experienced that, I started posting videos to YouTube. I realized it’s the content, not the production that’s important.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date? Everyone is insecure in some way, some people do a better job of pretending!
What tips would you give other businesswomen to maintain work/life balance? Don’t completely disconnect from the workforce if you decide to be a stay-at-home mom. Your children will have their own lives, you need one too. I spent too many years ignoring me. One of the best sayings I’ve heard: “You can have it all, just not at the same time.”
Business-wise, where do you see yourself in ten years? National divorce expert. Multiple Divorcierge-trained professionals with offices in major US cities (and maybe beyond!).
Where’s your favorite place to work from? Home.
What is a quote you live by? “When you change the way you look at things, things you look at change,” by Wayne Dyer
What is the one book that you recommend other female entrepreneurs read? How Women Decide by Therese Huston.
What has been your best business investment? A business coach.
What advice would you give your younger self? Believe in yourself. Ditch the naysayers! You’re the only person who can make it happen for yourself.
What is the #1 piece of advice would you give to someone who’s aspiring to run a business? Be strategic. I spent way too much money figuring out my website, my social media, etc. Think like a businesswoman. When I first started I was a coach, now I’m an Entrepreneur.