WomensNet News

Making it happen: Advice from a Skilled Trade Winner

January 8th 2024

Would you like to learn how our past grant recipients continue to succeed… despite the challenges of women-owned businesses?

Maybe you’re up against similar challenges and can glean a gem or two!

We’d like to reintroduce you to Leah Baum, with Paint Baum, our 2022 Skilled Trades winner.

What do you wish you had known when your business was less than 2 years old?

  • Get ready for a learning curve ball to be thrown in your face.  Remember what Mandela said, “I never lose, I either win or I learn” and be prepared to never stop learning.
  • Get a line of credit, and save during your upswing.
  • Stay away from naysayers.  Surround yourself with people who believe in you and want you to succeed.  If you don’t have anyone, make new connections.  Drown out the doubt.

What advice would you give to a new business owner in your industry?

  • Don’t quote out a job based on your pocket book.  Don’t ever think, well nobody is going to pay that much.  I’d never pay $25,000 because my house wall color has a slight shade of blue in it and I want it a warm white.   People pay full price for their Nikes and Gucci, they can pay full price for you.
  • Get software.  Get bidding software, get CRM software.
  • Post regularly on all media outlets.  Stay in the public’s eye.  You may not see your ROI on the advertising instantly, but it’ll come.
  • Establish relationships with all the reps.  In the painting industry, I have a relationship with a Benjamin Moore Sales Rep, one from Sherwin Williams, and one from Behr/Kilz as well.  They can give you the best prices on products as well as sound free advice.

What was the most important lesson you’ve learned in your business?

“Your job is not to find a price that your customers are willing to pay. Your job is to find customers willing to pay your price.”  -Brad Huebner-  Don’t compete on price, compete everywhere else and provide value like no one else.  Success doesn’t come from racing to the bottom.

What are some pitfalls that you wish you had known about in your industry?

Industry specific pitfalls, marketing and lead generating scam.  Go for organic leads rather than paid leads.

What part of your industry was the hardest for you to overcome? How did you do it?

Asking for large amounts of money. I build out estimates in front of customers as much as possible, and see their reaction.  Also, all of my estimates are detailed and itemized, so as to not be seen as an imposter just making up numbers.

Furthermore, I educate myself on all this business and sales that I can find on Audible. I’ve learned numerous sales tactics from my mentors that have helped me overcome limiting beliefs which were holding me back.   And here when I say mentors, I mean people who wrote a book that I listened to on audible.


In your industry, where do you struggle most to manage your work-life balance? How have you overcome it?

Don’t laugh, but I implemented I-Don’t-Want-To-Hear-About-It-Wednesdays.

Can you share industry-specific resources and/or professional organizations that you’ve found helpful?

WomensNet always!  The online group has been such a great place to find people along your similar journey, the entrepreneurial path, and help to build each other up.

Painting Contractors Association just had their very first women in paint conference which I had the pleasure of attending.  It provided valuable connections and I got a mentor out of it which has been huge for me.

Painter Nation,  A facebook group with over 10,000 painters.  It’s a great place for industry expert advice.

Drip Jobs – Software developed by Tanner Mullen for contractors that helps manage sales and projects. It features:

  • Automation: DripJobs can automate follow-ups, send quotes, and send personalized messages to customers.
  • Project proposals: DripJobs can help create project proposals with logos and brand. Users can also add terms and conditions, photos, and videos.
  • Workflow automation: DripJobs can help automate workflows by sending timed messages.
  • Calendars: DripJobs has built-in drag-and-drop calendars to help separate jobs and appointments.
  • Integration: DripJobs can integrate with Google Ads and Pipeline Deals.

Painting Business Pro – Painting Business Pro is a program that offers industry-specific content for painters, both beginners and those looking to grow. It includes:

  • Copy and paste templates
  • Tips on building a team
  • Real-world applications
  • Examples of success and what not to do
  • Systems, processes, coaching, and support
WNN Blog Get application & business ideas on the WomensNet blog »

What people are saying about WomensNet


“You have to be in it to win it...seize the opportunity and apply.”

Nerd Wallet

“Every month, WomensNet awards three $10,000 Amber Grants to women-owned businesses. At the end of each year, monthly grant winners are eligible to receive one of three $25,000 annual grants.”


“Launched 20 years ago this grant honors the memory of a young woman who wanted to be an entrepreneur but died at age 19 before she could achieve her goal.”


“The Amber Grant offers three $10,000 grants to women-owned businesses each month. Then, at the end of each year, WomensNet gives an additional $25,000 to three grant winners from that year.”

Essence Magazine

“This organization offers monthly grants of up to $10,000 to support female entrepreneurs starting businesses. Those who qualify for these grants are also in the running for a yearly $25,000 grant.”