We used that same rig to sell cut firewood door-to-door in the winters. And in high school, I also cleaned houses after school to earn extra cash for the clothes I wanted to wear.
Q: And after high school?
A: Upon graduation, I married my high school sweetheart. He was a year older and had served a year in the U.S. Air Force. I was 17. We lived six months in New Mexico and then his orders took us to Japan, where I learned the language and worked for a time as a Japanese translator for Hertz. Shortly after our first daughter was born, we were transferred back to Edmond, where I've lived ever since.
Q: Did you ever want to be a stay-at-home mom?
A: Yes. That's why I started my first medical transcription business, because you can work from home in your PJs. My mom and mother-in-law helped watch my infant daughter and I squeezed a yearlong medical transcription program at the Andrews School into two months, training for nine-hour days. My first assignment, I worked for a company that contracted with the VA Hospital. But then I started my own network with 20 or 30 MTs (medical transcriptionists), which grew to 250 nationwide when I sold the company in 2008. The sale went bad, and I wasn't paid. So I started my second medical transcription company in December 2009. It's become almost like a calling for me, as many of our MTs are single moms or widowers. I trained some myself.
Q: What led you to start your commercial cleaning business?
A: I learned some of the physicians I served were having trouble finding a good janitorial service. So I saw a need and thought I can do this. At first, it was a real family affair that involved all of us. My daughters learned to clean toilets so thoroughly that you could eat off them.
Q: What business advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?
A: You can't be afraid to fail. Plenty of times, I've had my nose shoved into the ground. And when I lost my first transcription business, I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. But at the end of the day, you get back up, get back out there and get to work.
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Founding principal, GT Clean corporate housekeeping company and Encore medical transcription service
• Birth date: Oct. 25, 1972
• Ancestry: Part Choctaw, she and her biological daughters are on tribal rolls
• Family: Kevin Sloan, information technology professional and husband of four and half years; daughters Kiley Simco, 24; Larryn (“La-La”) Jenkins, 19; Kali Jenkins, 16; and Sophia Jenkins, 6 (abandoned at birth in China, she joined the family at 11 months old)
• Residence: Edmond
• Education: Graduate of the Andrews School for medical transcription and Guthrie High School
• Church home: Crossings Community Church
• Favorite charity: Oklahoma City-based Beautiful Dream Society, formed to end human trafficking here and in Africa
• Community involvement: American Heart Association (her daughter Kali has a heart condition), Oklahoma Venture Forum, Oklahoma Business Roundtable and three chambers of commerce
• Travel: Through the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, she's visited Canada, Mexico and Spain; Jamaica is next