Despite what news reports may say, a majority of our paychecks and professional futures are saying that the recession has followed us into 2013. However, like every life event, you have choices on how to respond; when it comes to a recession, the reaction can be one of two things: An excuse to fail or a reason to try something new.
Chris Guillebeau, author of “The $100 Startup” told MSN’s online community for small business leaders Business on Main, “Focus on usefulness; don’t think about innovation so much, but think about how you can serve people and really bring value to the world.”
From Computers to Canines
Today, Tammy Rosen is the proud owner of an award winning dog care business called Fur-Get-Me-Not. However, for five years before this she was a software engineer and internet technology consultant, or how she described it: “a widget in a big machine.” Knowing she was not in her desired vocation, in her spare time she was glued to Animal Planet and considering getting a four legged friend. It was on her honeymoon when her passion came to the forefront and she declared, “I don’t want to go back to working for corporate America!” Almost immediately, she started her new journey.
Why Start on Your Own?
The reasons behind beginning this, other than her passion, also included the freedom which would come with having her own business. “I knew I wanted to own my own business and that the long term benefits of having a flexible schedule would be helpful when it came time to raising a family,” she said. “In the end, I just wanted to own my own business, be my own boss. I am self-motivated and like making decisions and moving quickly to implement them.”
Step One: Prepare!
Rosen started apprenticing with a dog trainer once a week in her spare time. There, she learned a great deal about both training and interacting with both canines and their owners. Almost immediately, she not only enjoyed the work but also how different it was. “It’s much more interesting than sitting on a desk coding all day,” said the 37-year-old.
In fact, the evolution of her training could also be compared with the evolution of her business. After four months of doing it full time on her own, she was soon able to hire employees. In fact, she recently called the ability to hire an employee a “memorable score”.
Step Two: Plan!
Within two months of her apprenticeship, she resigned from corporate America, purchased herself a new friend and started Fur-Get-Me Not. However, lessons were still being learned despite the biggest step being completed. After finding the perfect home for her dream, she was rejected twice for a business loan. This is where she met her most memorable setback. Two banks, despite their stellar backgrounds for assisting small businesses, turned her application for a loan down. Among other possibilities, she believes it was the fact that the business of dog care was at the time pretty new and carried minimal success stories in her area. Working night after night attempting to hone the business proposal for each meeting, she never lost hope.
“I told myself, I believe in this business model. I will make it.” Thankfully, at the third bank, she met “a fabulous female loan officer who supported women-owned small businesses”—and who gave Rosen the starter funding she needed. Today, she has an additional location and has been successfully in business for 12 years.
Step Three: Believe!
One major aspect which she has learned is although the passion is there, a strategic dedication to the reality that is a business takes more than forward thinking. She stated, “In the beginning it was more about pets and less about the business side though that has changed over time in order to be able to make a living at doing this.”
Today, she has gone from being a full-time independent contractor to a rapidly growing business. One asset she had in her own arsenal was that she was ahead of the curve that is now a high level business. ”Today, the question being asked at the water cooler at work is what doggie daycare do you use? Clients are (now) creating Facebook pages for their pets, commenting on their likes and dislikes and posting pictures and comments on which handler they played with at dog daycare or the park,” she said.
When beginning, Rosen states that one should make sure people looking to turn passion intro profit should:
- Know what they are venturing toward is definitely what they want to do
- Have both a plan on how to become an important part of your chosen field
- Carry a full understanding of its market’s current stance and what the future may hold for it.
Once established, especially as a young company, Rosen believes that all client-driven entities should always listen to their current and prospective customers. Using her company as an example, Rosen said, “As we matured through the years we’ve reevaluated our hiring practices, policies, and expanded our services into a company that I can honestly say receives more positive feedback than negative feedback. That is my measure of success.”