How Cynthia Rubio Turned an Idea Into a Million Dollar Business

Cynthia Rubio's simple electronic wristband tracked thousands of evacuees during Hurricane Ike.

By Gail Cameron Wescott from Reader's Digest | January 2009

Getting Ahead with Cynthia Rubio
Your first company headquarters was your dining room? Yes. Then the living room. Scanners, antennas, and cables everywhere. We moved to the garage, then to a storage unit. Finally we rented warehouse and office space in Austin.

Wasn’t it overwhelming to launch a business with three young children and a fourth on the way? Well, there were days. But I’ve always been very organized, and because it’s my own business, I can set my own hours if I need to go pick up the kids. Who does the cooking? I do, and we eat dinner together every night. I’m a freezer mom: I always cook double the amount, half to eat two weeks later. Didn’t you put a wristband on George W. Bush before Hurricane Ike? That’s the last thing I ever expected. He seemed to know a lot about weather.

Aim higher, dream bigger—that’s what women business owners should do, says Nell Merlino, cofounder and president of the nonprofit Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence. The payoff for our slumping economy could be huge, she adds. "Seventy-nine percent of women-owned businesses earn $50,000 or less in revenue. If 350,000 women entrepreneurs could grow their businesses up to $1 million in revenue," she calculates, "it could create as many as one million jobs."

Merlino’s vision has sparked the Make Mine a Million $ Business RACE. Starting January 27, women business owners can set and track revenue goals (even modest ones of less than $1 million) by logging on to makemineamillion.org. Anyone achieving her benchmark by the end of the year will receive a package of business-building tools from Count Me In. Three winners per state will receive one-on-one business coaching as well as personal services like housecleaning help. The grand-prize winner will receive $100,000 in cash and a year’s marketing and advertising services. Reader’s Digest is pleased to be a sponsor of the race and a supporter of Count Me In and its 75,000 members.