During the Covid-19 lockdown, Lonje Deschamps was in a unique position to evaluate her career trajectory. She and her family were returning to her hometown of Sacramento after several years in the Bay Area, and she was able to take some time away from her full-time job. After years in social services and nonprofits, Lonje knew that she was ready to shift her focus from a public-facing role to focusing on more administrative and operational tasks. She began assisting small business owners she was already connected with, and the idea to create her own business was formed.
“Because of my background in social services, I am able to understand a wide variety of people’s needs,” explains Lonje. “I reflected on all of the tasks that I really enjoyed from my past jobs, and that became what LD’s Business Services encompasses.”
Applying her background in nonprofit management, social services, and human resources Lonje helps small business clients organize and elevate their operations. She provides business owners with grant writing and research services, copywriting and marketing strategy, employee recruitment and hiring, and is also a certified Notary Public. Through this wide and evolving scope of services, Lonje acts as a “virtual assistant”, empowering entrepreneurs to focus on the elements of their business about which they are more passionate.
An organized and ambitious person, Lonje knew the logistical steps she needed to take when she was ready to start her own business. She acquired the proper licenses and certifications, but didn’t take the idea beyond those initial steps. Ultimately, it was the guidance and encouragement of her Women’s Business Center (WBC) counselor that prompted her to launch publicly. “My counselor showed me how focused I was, and it was great to have someone to bounce my ideas off of,” says Lonje, adding that even with her own motivation, external support was a huge benefit. “We all need support and for someone to tell us we’re on the right track.”
With this confidence, Lonje launched her website, began marketing her services and building her client base. By maintaining her connection to the WBC, Lonje has received client referrals and built a community of likeminded women business owners. Lonje has been a regular member–and a guest speaker–at the WBC’s monthly Motivated Entrepreneur networking events, which she says has kept her engaged and inspired. “Having other women that are in varying stages of business ownership to collaborate with and talk to helps you not feel alone,” she says. “The most important thing has been the camaraderie, because I’m already a structured person. Being able to discuss issues and successes has been very helpful.”
“It Keeps My Brain Active”
Lonje currently maintains a full-time job while operating her business, but she is excited to continue building something based off of her own vision, with total creative freedom. “My business allows me to constantly evolve and pivot,” says Lonje. “It keeps my brain active.”
Moving forward, Lonje hopes to expand her offerings to include more training for business owners, including an online grant writing and research course, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training. “Working with the WBC has helped me be comfortable with the constant evolution of my business,” she says. “I am excited to keep growing.”