The Real Female Entrepreneur

Building a Business in Politics with Heather Ricketts

Behind the HomepageLauren FrontieraComment

HI SWEETS! YOU'RE HERE FOR ANOTHER POST IN OUR BEHIND THE HOMEPAGE SERIES!

It's a badass weekly series that's equal parts coffee date (go ahead and refill your mug!) and meeting new friends and all the parts real + inspiring. 

So, cozy up + get to know the badass female entrepreneurs (and businesses) behind the homepage.


MEET HEATHER RICKETTS

"I am Heather Ricketts. I am a mess as often as I am put together. And I am the real female entrepreneur. "

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Can I get an emoji-praise-hands for badass women doing badass work in the world?!

No, seriously. Don't leave me hanging!

Heather owns a boutique political fundraising and compliance firm. I know, sounds badass, right? She's one of only four people in her state doing this right now. 

But as you're getting ready to hear, it wasn't this clear, linear path to business-ownership and rocking the politics world. And despite working with awesome people, most days, Heather still struggles with feeling like she's not good enough (me too, sister!).


PSA: You are good enough. Mess and all. Now go remind someone else how wildly enough she is, too.


BEFORE WE DIVE RIGHT IN, LET'S START OUT WITH A QUICK ROUND OF THE QUESTION GAME…

 

BEACH OR MOUNTAINS?

Mountains. I lived in Panama City, Florida for two and a half years and went to the beach three times. I’m too pasty for that nonsense.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” - Oscar Wilde

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO END THE DAY?

Puppy snuggles, wine, Shonda/MSU sports and catching up with Brian.


1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIZ IN 3 SENTENCES OR LESS.

I own a boutique political fundraising and compliance firm specializing in progressive candidates and causes. I mostly work on statewide or Congressional races in Michigan with a smidgen of local races.


2. NOW, LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING. WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

I Grew up in Metro Detroit, the oldest of three kids, and went to James Madison College at Michigan State University (Go green!). I started interning on campaigns and truthfully, never really interviewed for a political job after that. I worked in fundraising, though, on races for two U.S. Senators and a ballot measure.

Brian and I moved to Florida in 2009, where I worked in educational development for awhile. Then, after Brian finished graduate school in 2011, we moved back to the Midwest ... specifically Kalamazoo, MI (it is a real place!). Brian got a job here, and we've been here since January 2012!

I was in town for three weeks when I got my first offer to raise on a State Supreme Court race. While doing that, I thought that I didn’t want to do political work anymore. So, I started working in Arts Development. But in the fall of 2013, I realized I wanted to go back to political fundraising, so I left my work in Arts Development and started my own firm.

And I’ve never looked back.


"I think every day that I am not good enough."


I have been lucky to have great clients and good races and work on teams to elect the right people to public office. I haven’t had to hustle too much for clients and by the end of this year, I hope to bring on a couple more team members to HNR Strategies (super creative business name, right?).

In my free time, of which my partner, friends and family will tell you isn’t much, I love to golf, cook, read, and travel with Brian. Part of the reason that I opened my own firm was for flexibility. Brian gets 6 weeks of vacation a year and working for “the man (or woman)” typically doesn’t allow for folks to run away to the U.K. for two weeks, like we did earlier this year, or to Spain, like we did three years ago.


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3. YOUR LIFE + BIZ JOURNEY IS A BOOK. WHAT'S THE NAME OF THE CHAPTER YOU'RE CURRENTLY IN? 

Finding the Flow - I hope to lock this in by the end of the year, but then again, these past two weeks have been HARD.


4. WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY SO FAR? 

Building a team. Right now, I spend too much of my time doing data-entry and phone calls. In order to grow, I need to bring on more staff. But it's been a struggle finding the right people. So many of the potential hires I talk to about joining my team are unable to communicate in the way that I need them to - whether it's on the phone or email. And in this line of work, it's all about getting things done yesterday.


5. WE'RE ALL BATTLING DOUBTS EVERY DAY AS ENTREPRENEURS. WHAT'S BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST DOUBTS YOU'VE DEALT WITH?

I think every day that I am not good enough. There are only three other people in Michigan who do what I do - fundraising and compliance. Most folks do one or the other.


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6. SHARING IS CARING. AND THERE'S SO MANY BADASS RESOURCES FOR FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS. WHAT ARE 3 OF YOUR FAVES?

  1. "Love Warrior" by Glennon Doyle Melton: This book helped me figure out myself and my relationship so I can be better at my day-to-day. It's not exactly entrepreneur-specific reading, but it helped so much.
  2. Ladies Who Launch
  3. DailyWorth Business Topic Articles

7. IF YOU COULD GIVE YOURSELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Take the leap! I was so scared to quit my day job, but then I had a great opportunity and it was so worth it!


8. WHAT'S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH FOR WHY YOU SHOULD CHASE YOUR DREAMS?

It’s so worth it. To have the power to create what you want to do, is beyond empowering and will make you feel like a total badass on the days that it goes well.


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Heather Ricketts

Heather Ricketts, is a non-profit and campaign fundraising professional who applies her donor research and organizational and event planning skills to candidates and causes.  

Heather has spent extensive time raising campaign funds for Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, as well as political campaigns ranging from State House to state-wide ballot initiatives, a Supreme Court Justice, Congressional races and everything in between. She spent three years working in higher education development in Florida.

Heather lives in Kalamazoo with her partner, Brian Thomas. When she’s not fundraising, you can find her perfecting her chocolate chip cookie recipe and spoiling her Golden-Doodle, Hurley. 


MORE OF HEATHER

Heather on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram

HNR Strategies on Facebook


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