July 25, 2023

Kathleen Hunt started her business, Personalized Payroll Services, in 2012 when she experienced great customer experience from a service provider and offered to partner with them in a new business. Eleven years later, Kathleen has leveraged her WBENC certification as woman-owned business to grow her own business and to support and mentor other women. Her passion for great customer service has resulted in a flourishing business that is dedicated to helping other businesses manage their payroll processing and overcome HR challenges. Read on to learn more from Kathleen and her inspiring business.

Marlena Ma, founder of Shoukang Herbs

I attended WBENC functions across the U.S. and met so many women business owners who were not happy with the large payroll services.

Why did you start your business? What motivated or inspired you?

In 2011, I opened a company called ASSI to assist a large sheriff's department with the management of their payroll services, HR, workers comp and general liability. I was certified by WBENC as a Women-Owned Business 2011, when I had revenues of $3M. After becoming certified, I attended WBENC functions across the U.S. and met so many women business owners who were not happy with the large payroll services. I loved the company providing my back office payroll service. I went to them and offered to open a payroll company, Personalized Payroll Services, using their back office to support our clients. We have had this relationship since 2012, and our clients rave about the customer service they receive.

Shoukang Herbs Banner

What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?

I really wasn't sure I would love selling this type of service and was hesitant to open Personalized Payroll.

Why did you decide to join The WMarketplace?

To support women-owned businesses.

What has been the most challenging thing about getting your business up and running?

We were blessed to have money in the bank to quickly open a business that supported a couple of hundred employees for the first client we serviced, which was a Sheriff's Dept. Our workers compensation down payment alone was $90K. We feel fortunate that we were profitable in under six months.

What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?

I absolutely love meeting so many wonderful women business owners and learning about their businesses!

Can you identify a moment in your business that was pivotal in your success? Have you had an “AHA!” moment(s)?

We haven’t had any real “AHA moments”, but we have had so many rewarding experiences. What I didn't realize when we got started was how we could truly effect change in a woman-owned business. Shortly after opening, we worked with a women-owned business in a rural community with about 300 workers. It was taking their HR / payroll department all week to process payroll, starting on Monday morning and physically printing checks on Friday. It was a never-ending, time-consuming process. We came in and automated their process with bio-metric clocks and our HRIS system. This resulted in the payroll folks completing payroll in 3 hours instead of 5 days! I guess you could say it was an AHA experience.

How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?

We've been in business for 12 years and what has changed our business the most is technology! We've upgraded our systems twice in 12 years, constantly making sure we are keeping up with technology, i.e., on-line on-boarding practices, smartphone applications, etc.

I have won several awards from WBCS and WBEC South as a woman business owner. My most inspiring are the WBE Advocate of the Year award I won in both organizations within three months of each other! 

Do you have a mentor, formal or informal? What role have they played for you?

I've been fortunate to have many mentors during my career. Now I mentor, and am a part of the Women of Color mentoring program through the WBENC South region (WBCS).

What communities have been important for you as you grew/developed your business?

The WBENC community has been very helpful during our journey. I've attended the Robert Half Leadership program and the Executive Energy Program, both of which were extremely helpful to me and my business. We are also fortunate to attend many local programs through the WBCS in Dallas Fort Worth, with monthly table topic luncheons, Connections to Contracts and Harvesting Partnerships. Also the national meetings from WBENC are extremely educational and offer many networking opportunities.

Do you have items, photos or mementos on your desk that inspire you each day? What are they?

I have won several awards from WBCS and WBEC South as a woman business owner. My most inspiring are the WBE Advocate of the Year award I won in both organizations within three months of each other! One in New Orleans, WBCS South in December of 2022 and the other at Parade of Stars in Dallas with the WBCS. They are very special to me! It is great to be recognized for something you love to do - support other women-owned businesses!

Do you have any advice for other women who are getting started in business?

Plan your work and work your plan!

If a journalist were to write a headline about you/your business, what would it be?

Personalized Payroll - a payroll service tailored to your needs.

Are there any apps or business services that you just can’t live without that you would like to give a shout-out to?


Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing your advice and journey with the WMarketplace!

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Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit ThWMarketplace provides to sellers.

Her Story: Kathleen Hunt of Personalized Payroll Services