Previous Career: Fashion Student
Fradel Barber Visionary Entrepreneur
How She Got Started:
The eldest of 12 children born to Orthodox Jewish parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., Fradel has always been an entrepreneur at heart. While paying her way through college in California to become a fashion designer, Fradel was invited to a WFG corporate overview. She was intrigued not only by WFG's business opportunity, but also with the company's education-based approach aimed at helping families like hers learn financial fundamentals. Fradel knew there was a market for a WFG business. Her parents had 12 children and no life insurance and she was using credit cards "like they were going out of style." She took her passion for helping families such as her own and came onboard with the company full-time in 2003. In 2007 she moved back to Brooklyn to open her second WFG office to help families in the neighborhood where she grew up. "Once I made the decision (to go into business), I never really looked back," she recalls.
Being in control of her own future was a big draw for Fradel. "I've always been a very independent child," she says. "I'm coachable, but I'm not good at being told what to do. I am very independent by nature and I wanted freedom of time, freedom to go anywhere, and I wanted freedom to have multiple businesses."
Obstacles & Challenges:
Fradel always wanted to have her own business, but the steps to success eluded her. "I tried a graphic design and jewelry design business, but I always had issues because I didn't know what the next step would be," she says. She also got resistance from her family initially when she announced her career change. "My parents were not very supportive in the beginning, and it took me two years to get them to become clients. Now they don't make one financial decision without my guidance."
After opening her first office more than two years ago, Fradel recently moved to a larger location in 2009 on the same street in Brooklyn Heights, with a central subway stop attracting clients and recruits from all five New York City boroughs as well as the larger tri-state area of Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Her California office continues to grow and her New York location now boasts 50 associates in the process of building their businesses. In 2011 her expansion has reached Long Island as well as Pennsylvania, where her offices in those locations continue to grow as well. In 2012 the expansion continued with a grand opening in Washington Heights, NY. With WFG's North American Expansion Program, she hopes to open additional offices in Upstate New York, South Florida, Washington DC and surrounding areas.
Since opening her office, Fradel reconnected with many people she talked to when it was all just an idea, who renewed interest when they realized she delivered on her dream. "Whenever you start something from nothing, it's really rewarding," Fradel says. "I think we're on to something big. Most of the people on my team want to go and open their own offices rather than staying in my office. We've created a culture of why we are here. We're here to expand."
For Entrepreneurs Considering a WFG business:
"Right now having a business can be more secure than having a job because you get to decide if you stay there or not. . . . Our opportunity allows people to start part-time, so they can still have their jobs and have a back-up career and eventually make this their full-time career. . . "
Current Economy? Challenge or Opportunity?
"From a recruiting standpoint, we have a better pool as far as business associates to choose from that have great skills and great contacts," says Fradel. She also believes there has never been a greater need for WFG's services. "The financial crisis created major awareness and we're right there positioned and ready to help get people on track to where they need to be."
The Best Thing about Running Your Own Business:
"Today, I can't imagine what it would be like to go to someone to ask for a day off. At the end of the day, that's what having your own business can afford you, if you build it right. You can have that independence and not have to answer to anyone or be limited by how much money you can earn. You're only limited by yourself."