Woman tells of building multi-million dollar business - KCTV5 News

Woman tells of building multi-million dollar business from ground up

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One woman's story shows that when you're down, life can get better.

"I'm not fearless. I just have more courage than fear. I'm not willing to settle for what society says you should be," said Shelley Armato, the president and CEO of MySmartPlans.

MySmartPlans is a desktop application for construction project management. It's been used on hundreds of construction projects with more than $7 billion in construction values in 22 states.

The application began in 2006, operating out of Armato's 700-square-foot garage.

"I didn't do good in college. Matter of fact I didn't even go to college, but now I'm running a multi-million dollar organization and people want to know, 'how did you do that?'" she said.

Armato is quick to share her story of years ago when circumstances were grim. She was a single mother with no college degree and no job.

"Society says if you're a single mom, then your kids will never be anything. That's, oh my gosh, I took on every society rule and said, ‘you know what? That doesn't apply to me' and I didn't even know I was doing it. I mean, who starts a real estate business on a bicycle? That would be me," she said.

Not only did she try real estate, Armato targeted the highest-end homes she could find.

"I had on a pair of dollar pantyhose and $7 shoes, and I would go to the million dollar doors because nobody would knock on their doors. They were afraid of them. Well, I was afraid of them, too. Are you kidding me? I mean, these people have money!" she said.

Armato sold 43 houses in 12 months and was named rookie of the year. She credits her success to what she calls her "reason wall." It's filled with art, pictures and projects by her three children and three grandchildren. She said it's the reason she works as hard as she does and she wants to inspire others to do the same.

"That's what I love to talk about. I love to encourage and it doesn't matter where you started, it matters where you finish," she said. "I think once you hear what someone else has done, then you're like, ‘well if she did it I can too.'"

MySmartPlans is popular because all of the prebid information, contracts, blueprints and other project-related documents are stored on the application's dashboard and Armato says there is a greater sense of accountability, transparency and efficiency.

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