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President of the board of Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs talks about sitting around a fire with friends, her love of a Pat Benatar rock classic and the decision that led her to establish her own business almost 12 years ago
Margaret Budgell of Pasadena remembers the feeling of accomplishment when she made her first sale about six months into running her own real estate company.
That was when she knew she could do it.
“Because there’s uncertainty, always wondering if you’re making the right decision,” said Budgell, owner/broker of River Mountain Realty, which she started in December 2008.
Prior to that, she had worked with the Humber Valley Resort Corporation, selling properties at the resort in the international marketplace. When the company dissolved, Budgell found herself having to make a decision about what to do next.
She’d previously worked in the college system and thought about returning to that. But she decided to go with real estate, and even before she completed the exams for her real estate and broker’s licences, she was contacted by local companies about joining them. She tossed it around a bit, considered the options and decided to go solo.
“I was looking for a network of people … I was looking for something that I could become a member of that would get me involved with something more than just being home, working all the time on my own.” — Margaret Budgell, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, on how she became involved with the group
“I sort of had that entrepreneurial spirit in me and I had that feeling of just wanting to see if could make it work on my own.”
When she started, business was strong.
“It was good because it gave me an opportunity to grow in a way and prepare me for what was coming.”
Almost 12 years in, things have worked out well. She’s grown the business and now has two other agents — Beth Macneil and Stephanie Rumbolt — working with her.
“And I can contribute a whole lot of my passion and my ability to do what I can do to the network of people around me.”
Nominations are OPEN for the NLOWE 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards! 🏆 🏆 🏆 One of the Award Categories is YOUNG...Posted by Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) on Thursday, July 23, 2020
That network includes the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE). Budgell was recently named the new president of the NLOWE board.
“I was busy, but I had that longing, I guess, for communication with people outside,” she said, explaining what drew her to NLOWE.
“I was looking for a network of people … I was looking for something that I could become a member of that would get me involved with something more than just being home, working all the time on my own.”
She researched the group and found it was a women-oriented network for anyone thinking about starting a business or expanding an existing business.
“They gave me that sense of belonging to a group that helps you feel like you’re not alone in a business and that you have somewhere to reach out when you need to.”
Having served as a western director and an executive member, Budgell saw the president’s position as an opportunity for growth.
“Another opportunity to learn more. I like to explore different things through my life, as I grow. I love my business and I love working with people, but I also love learning new things and (finding) opportunities if they’re out there to network more.”
20 Questions for Margaret Budgell
1. What is your full name?
2. Where and when were you born?
3. Where do you live today?
4. What’s your favourite place in the world?
I can honestly say my favourite place is home. I say to myself often there’s no better feeling … when you arrive home from travel. Even though I love to travel and experience all kinds of things, the lifestyle here is what I love the most.
5. Who do you follow on social media?
My personal focus is on family and friends. Then, my main focus would be on news feeds. I enjoy keeping informed as much as possible on what’s going on locally, nationally and worldwide. Real estate sites, even the classified sections on Facebook and following Instagram posts of real estate companies. I’m watching financial institutions and marking sites and social media. And then of course I follow women entrepreneurial groups, NLOWE being the main one.
6. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I am camera shy. Even though I love all opportunities to meet people, and to network and to lead, I have a nervousness that sets in when I’m asked to do something that would require me to do any sort of presentation in front of people. (But) I’ll always take it on instead of shying away from it.
7. What’s been your favourite year and why?
There’re so many great years that I’m thankful for in my life, but the year I started my business certainly stands out. There was a lot of long hours, of hard work and it just seemed endless. But when the sales started and having that feeling of accomplishment it outweighed the stress at the time. I remember saying, oh my God, I can actually do this.
8. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Starting the business and growing it to becoming recognized in my hometown, first of all, and now the surrounding areas, has certainly been one of the hardest things I did. But it’s worked. It was a big adjustment, but it was good.
9. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?
Moving to Ontario changed my outlook on my life here and what I have around me. Because I wasn’t really sure I wanted to come back to Newfoundland, because I was enjoying the life of living in a big city. But I think when I started to see it from the eyes then of other people, especially when I was working with international people, I could see what we have around us and it really made me embrace what we have … that we are so fortunate to live here, and Newfoundland and Pasadena, specifically, for me.
10. What’s your greatest indulgence?
There’s a few of them. When I can watch the happiness that transpires when somebody buys a property that they’re really excited about, that pleasure. It’s a pleasure for me to watch buyers be excited about something. I don’t know if it’s my greatest indulgence, but it’s certainly a great pleasure for me.
11. What is your favourite movie or book?
I’m a romantic comedy movie lover. One of my favourites is “The Holiday.” My girls even gave it to me for Christmas one year.
12. How do you like to relax?
My relax time is at home with my family and friends around a fire, whether it’s indoors or an outdoor fire — love it, and a glass of wine.
13. What are you reading or watching right now?
I have been enjoying the spring edition of the NLOWE Advisor. That would be my nightstand reading right now.
14. What is your greatest fear?
My biggest fear would be to upset clients. Not that I would intentionally ever do anything, but sometimes things happen out of your control. My goal is always to please and to offer the best customer service that I can to the clients that I work with.
15. If you had to do karaoke what would be your song?
Well, I’ll tell you, you won’t have to go very far in Pasadena and ask people and everybody would give you the same answer because I’ve done it too many times: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” True story. I don’t even need to watch the words, I know the words right off by heart, and as soon as we get together with all our friends, if it turns into a night of music and dancing and singing, then they all know to put on “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” for Margaret.
16. What is your most treasured possession?
My family and friends. And, of course, my business is in there too, but they come first. Without them and the support of them, I wouldn’t have the business.
17. What physical or personality trait are you most grateful to a parent for?
Strength and independence are two things that I gained from both parents. Both my parents were very hard workers. My mother was a teacher for 30 years in Pasadena and my father worked in the heavy equipment business, and they also had their own business for several years. They taught me a lot in how to not give up and if you want something bad enough you can make it work.
18. What three people would join you for your dream dinner party?
My dream dinner party right now would include my brother who lives in Alberta. They can’t get home right now and we usually see each other at least once or twice a year under normal circumstances. So, my dream dinner party right now would be to have him here with his wife and kids and have a really nice dinner party with them.
19. What is your best quality, and what is your worst quality?
I always look for the positive in people. I always try and look at the bright side of things. So, I have a positive outlook on things, and I try and keep that all the time. And I think that sometimes that can be my worse quality. Sometimes it’s not always the best that you can find in people. There’s not always good in everybody.
20. If you didn’t take this career path, what would have chosen?
Back when I started my company I was thinking, hmm, what am I going to do. I’d love to be a dancer on “Dancing with the Stars,”’ because when I’m not singing karaoke in social settings, I’m dancing. To be honest, I don’t know, because I really liked the college setting and career life as well, and I liked working for the different educational institutions that I worked for. My mindset was probably to go in that direction if I didn’t continue on with the real estate. Once my business idea came in my head to start my own business, I didn’t consider anything else.