An Interview with Mare Van Dyke of Aqwastream
Ladies, you can start a successful business later in life!
How do you start a successful business as a woman with experience later in life?
Here’s what Mare had to say:
You recently left a long-term, C-level marketing position to start your own company. Tell us why you decided to make that change and a little about your new business.
I had the opportunity during my career to learn from highly successful business people – many of whom built their businesses from the ground up and were willing to share their wins and failures. As I moved up in the ranks, I realized that all of the various skills I acquired along the way positioned me to take the next step, and team up to start a business with a mission I believe in.
We’ve designed Aqwastream™ as a system of personal, water bottle refill and digital media stations that dispense free, filtered water on college and corporate campuses. Our purpose is to reduce plastic water bottle waste and provide engaging content that informs people about related environmental efforts taken by our corporate sponsors. Our goal is to partner with sponsors and schools to expand awareness and engage users to attack the issue of plastic bottle waste – one refill at a time.
Why do you think Aqwastream will be successful?
There is a growing awareness around the issues of drinking water from disposable plastic bottles. These concerns are both health-related and environmental. There are many options to purchase a chemically safe, refillable bottle. The problem is that there are limited opportunities of places to fill bottles for free with cool, fresh water, especially where we spend most of our time – at work, on campus, during travel and at events.
And it’s more than just filling a bottle. There are an amazing number of related efforts around “doing the right thing” for our planet and our health, but these stories are seldom seen. Our micro-broadcast network is an excellent outlet to disseminate this information – and engage and entertain the viewer! With the rise of regional and national Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, sponsorship and usage of our refill and information stations is the right combination of ideas at the right time, planned for the right places.
Finally, I believe the team behind Aqwastream™ has the necessary experience and passion for success. Our partnership was formed with key individuals who have specific skill sets to bring this concept to market. Seasoned relationships with technical, marketing, legal, accounting, and services were tapped to join us as we introduce and grow Aqwastream™ across North America.
As a new, female business-owner, what has been the biggest challenge in starting your business and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was overcoming the noise that I heard repeatedly prior to making this move and that was that “success belongs to the young guys.” In that environment, it meant both gender and age were factors to success. Once I let go of that thought process, I was free to partner with talent from all age and gender pools and tap into the best-of-the-best business leaders to support our success.
With your marketing expertise, how do you plan to grow your business, reach out to investors and build buzz for Aqwastream?
I’ve had the experience of hands-on marketing in the days before technology – the days when personal meetings, eye contact and a handshake were integral to the sales and business-growth process.
Now, new technology allows us to reach out even further, making the best use of our time and those of our colleagues. We can focus and target our message far more efficiently with all communications like PR, social media and web presence, and make better decisions based on data and feedback. At Aqwastream™, we’ll combine our relationship-building experience with the latest technology to interest investors, secure sponsorships and placement for our network of stations and engage with those filling their personal water bottle.
What tips do you have for other women who are thinking about starting their own business?
My recommendation to other women thinking about starting their own business is to define your specific skill-set. Then, seek out partners who have complimenting talents. You don’t have to know it all – you only have to know someone who is an experienced professional in his or her field. Work only with top people. If you can own the position of leader and student all in the same role, others on your team will drive you to your best performance and the business will have increased chance for success.
Thanks Mare, and we wish you all the best!
To find out more about Aqwastream, visit www.aqwastream.com.
Melanie Rembrandt is the CEO of Rembrandt Communications®, and an SEO content strategist and publicist who helps BtoB companies boost sales, awareness and credibility fast. She can be reached at www.rembrandtwrites.com.
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