I have worked in the credit industry for over 17 years now. When I first started out, I only knew a very few women in the industry. That number has grown over the years, but not by much. Being a bill collector has always been categorized as a "man's industry".
When I was a Credit Manager for other companies I worked for, I always did a good job, and collected more money than any other collector who had my job before me. I loved the job, I loved the challenge, and I loved that I could physically "see" my results by watching the bottom line of bad debt diminish. I once made a chart to bring to my review to show my boss how much more money they had and how much less bad debt and bad credit risks they had because of my efforts. I got to the point that I could not make any more money at these companies, as I was at the top of my pay for that position. I was also always bored. Once I had the credit situation under control, I wiped out my own job! So I started writing credit policies for the companies I worked for.
I started my own collection agency in 1998, without ever having worked at a collection agency. My experience was working in credit and being a bill collector for other companies. I did work with collection agencies, by placing accounts with them, and found a local agency that was very helpful and would network with me rather than see me as competition. I was very happy for that help and guidance, since most people did not think I would be successful. They obviously don't know me very well.
I did take courses through Dun & Bradstreet and also read every law book on credit and debt collection I could get my hands on. I joined the American collectors Association and took advantage of everything they had to offer. I joined networking groups online and started my own networking group with a website www.credit-and-collections.com because I could not find a group or website in this field. Even though I have now sold M.A.D. Collection Agency, I maintain and moderate Credit & Collections and we have over 600 members.
I know that anyone can do anything they set their mind to. I did this because I wanted to be home for my children and have the flexibility to pick them up at school and go to school functions but still needed to support myself and my children. That will motivate you! If you have to keep working and get clients so you can buy groceries, you will.
No matter what you choose to do, if you are determined and keep learning, have drive and are motivated, as long as you are doing what you love and doing the best job you can do you will be successful. For me it just happened to be collecting money.
Any woman can do this job; you do need start up funds but not much. I started with a few thousand dollars and kept my day job until I had enough clients to quit. I then kept my day job as a client and did their collections as well. I started out doing everything manually, and then bought a computer; I still kept my files manually until I could purchase some low cost collection software. I did everything myself to save money, I learned marketing and sales and continues to educate myself on debt collection and new laws and changes in the industry every day. I know women who start this business at their dining room table. This is a hard job, and you have to be organized, have thick skin and be knowledgeable about collection laws and business in general. If you have kids at home you need to organize and make arrangements so you can make collection calls, be professional (without the dog barking in the background, or a child crying) and maintain your sanity when your kids are crying for your attention and the guy who just received your dunning notice calls you to explain to you that he wants to speak to the man in charge.
About the Author
Michelle Dunn has over 17 years experience in Credit and Debt collection. She is the founder and president of Never Dunn Publishing, LLC, is a writer, publisher, consultant and the Editorial Advisor for Eli Financial Debt Collection Compliance Alert Newsletter.
Michelle started M.A.D. Collection Agency in January 1998 and ran it successfully until she sold it in December 2004. She owns and runs Credit & Collections.com an online community for