College Application Season Is Here! Get Help With The Process.
Jordan Graffis, owner of Landmark 12 Consulting, a college consulting firm in Summerville, always wanted to start her own business but found it difficult to find the time and motivation. When she found out she was pregnant, though, it became an issue of “now or never.”
“I felt like I had nine months to learn everything there was to know about launching a business,” Graffis said. “I wanted to start Landmark 12 for myself, and I wanted to be able to stay home for my son. I wanted the best of both worlds.”
Landmark 12 provided Graffis with an identity outside of motherhood, but she decided to make it a home-based business because that provided more flexibility to accommodate her growing family.
And she’s not alone.
Graffis represents a growing number of women, both nationally and locally, who are at-home moms launching at-home businesses. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women now own 40 percent of private firms. That’s 10 times more businesses than women owned 30 years ago. There are over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States, with a growing number of them founded by stay-at-home moms. For Graffis, her son and her business became intertwined from the very beginning.
“I named my business and my son in the same week,” Graffis said. “My son and Landmark 12 made their debuts just days apart.”
There’s even a phrase coined for women like Graffis: Mompreneurs.
In an interview with CNN, co-founder of mompreneursonline.com, Ellen Parlapiano, said mom-owned businesses run the professional gamut, from web design and marketing to attorneys and social media coaches. Parlapiano also said customers are becoming increasingly more accepting of home-based businesses, now finding them commonplace.
A study by the Global Entrepreneurships Monitor showed young women and moms are two of the fastest growing demographics of entrepreneurs, and overall, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. Women are more likely to start small, home-based businesses because they want more freedom, flexibility and opportunity than the corporate world provides.
“I believe women can have it all,” Graffis said. “I want a business, flexibility, control and an office assistant who’s five months old.”
Landmark 12 Consulting specializes in finding colleges and career paths that are right for each individual student. Graffis does this by honing in on students’ academic strengths and abilities, as well as college and career interests, and combining those factors with their personality types to determine appropriate majors and colleges before they decide on a school.
In addition to guiding students toward appropriate colleges and career paths, Graffis assists with the entire application from start to finish. She also proof-reads essays, helps students prepare for interviews, coordinates campus visits, edits student resumes, and locates scholarships.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring Landmark 12 Consulting was held Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 3 p.m. at the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce at 402 North Main Street in Summerville.
Helping the Browns is Jordan Graffis, a higher education consultant who specializes in preparing students for the costs of college — hopefully without the stifling debt.
“There are millions of dollars in scholarship money that just goes unused every year,” she said.
Graffis says many students don’t know where to look or how to apply for financial aid. She suggests checking websites like fastweb.com or finaid.org and collegeboard.com to get started. And it’s important to apply early and often, she added.
“A lot of scholarships let you apply as young as 13, so you can be racking up these scholarships all throughout high school and not be stressing out so much in the senior year,” Graffis said.
The Department of Education reports that for every high school guidance counselor there are 407 students. That makes it challenging for educators to help every kid apply for every scholarship and other financial aid.