When Teresa Vidger, President and CEO of Temporary Housing Directory, started her business in 2001, it was out of personal necessity, rather than personal passion. Previously, she had worked at Destination Connection, Coldwell Banker’s leasing division for six years. She spent six days per week finding housing for corporate clients preparing to relocate, driving up to 100 miles per day–all while independently fielding referral calls from insurance companies looking to temporarily house displaced victims.
That ended when she realized that she couldn’t keep up her hectic pace and be a mother to a child that needed special attention. “My son was born premature and only weighed two pounds,” says Vidger, who continued working part-time for her employer for another year before she realized she could strike out on her own and still be successful by carving out a niche that focused solely on finding temporary homes for people displaced by disasters. “I realized that I was able to continue the temporary housing work because it was mainly done over the phone.”
Who knew that her company, Temporary Housing Directory, No. 72 on this year’s Inc. 500, would become a $20 million enterprise and give Vidger the flexibility to work from home? “Nowadays,” says Vidger, “I work from my home office full-time just like all of my employees. If you have the right people who are self-starters, they can be much more productive in their own work environment with fewer distractions.”
Although it’s challenging to balance a family and a growing business, Vidger says that “quality time is the most important” and she’s happy to be home before and after school to greet her three kids, including her son, an avid soccer player, who is now 11 years old.
Vidger is just one example of millions of women entrepreneurs who are making an enormous impact on the American economic landscape. To highlight their achievements, Inc. has identified the top 10 fastest growing, women-owned (and women-run) businesses in America. What you’ll find is a rare glimpse into the world of companies that have grown on average from 1,000 percent to 10,000 percent. And for those of you who are wondering…no…the economy has not slowed them down one bit.
Logo from Temporary Housing Directory.