Posted by Mary Caraccioli | Filed under women in business
Want to become your own boss? See how two women are taking on the challenge. And learn how you can take charge of your own career in a matter of months.
We call the idea of turning hard work into making money an American dream. For many of us, the idea of going for the dream is very tempting. In a tough job market, it may be more than tempting — it may be a necessity. But before you quit your job or your job search there are some things you should consider.
“I would not lie to anybody and say that it’s roses and sunshine, it is not, it sucks,” said Tatiana Bacchus, executive director, St. Lewis productions.
Tatiana Bacchus is one of the most positive people I have ever met. The stress in voice speaks volumes about the pressure cooker life of an entrepreneur.
“It is tough when you don’t know where you are going to get your gas money or how you make it to a meeting that’s important. You know, what you pay, what you don’t pay,” said Bacchus.
Not knowing if you will have the cash to get through a week is tough enough when it is just you. Bacchus has an added worry as a single mom she has to there for sick days and school dismissals and still be ready to do a business pitch at a moments notice.
“The proposal deadline, the grant writing, well, I am not a grant writer, but I can’t pay a grant writer. I have a media opportunity and I have to have a press kit ready, how do I do that,” said Bacchus.
Bacchus and her partner, Mandy, have created a media production company St. Lewis Productions.
“Mandy and I are actresses, local actresses. And a casting director told us after a workshop that, ‘it is really a shame because you before so great that you both always go up against each other,'” said Bacchus.
Instead of becoming rivals, they became partners like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon who got their break after writing a script that showed off their talents. Bacchus and Mandy thought they could create shows that would dictate the course of their careers.
“I am not sure that it was a conscience thought that we would become entrepreneurs. We just decided that we wanted to work together, and so we would write a show and we went home and googled how to write a sitcom. I don’t recommend it,” said Bacchus.
The team quickly learned that to make things work they not only need clever ideas, they needed business skills. That is when Bacchus discovered a non-profit organization that helps aspiring business owners.
“One of the great things is that we found Entrepreneur Works and going through the program we have already avoided a lot of pitfalls that I think a lot of new businesses fall into. So we are using our safety nets. We understand that we don’t know what we don’t know. My background is in physiology. I have worked in airline emergency response — nothing that would prepare me for running a business,” said Bacchus.
One of those people that is helping the business is Bacchus’ mentor successful business owner Melinda Emerson is an Entrepreneur Works board member.
“What is great about her is that you can tweet her and she will get back to you and give you a resource. You know recently I said I need a PR person and she sent me a message saying, ‘tell me what you need,’ That is the true test that someone is listening to you. It is not that she said go to this website, she asked what do you specifically need this person for and then gave me a referral,” said Bacchus.
Without the support system in place Bacchus says her business would not have survived.
While the final chapter of this small business story still has to be written, Bacchus is betting on a fairy tail ending, but she expects some twits and turns along the way.
Melinda Emerson is the author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.” She has never been afraid to tell someone they don’t have what it takes. And, if she thinks you do have it, she will tell you just how hard you have to work if you want to earn the title of entrepreneur.
“The interesting thing about becoming an entrepreneur is your friends think it is cool to be an entrepreneur so what was happening to me was I was trying to get phone calls, I guess about 4 or 5 years into my first company, I was getting calls that went a little something like this, ‘girl, I want to be like you, I want to quit my job today. Tell me the formula, tell me what I need to do to become an entrepreneur.’ My first thought was, ‘wow, you have a 3,000 or 4,000 mortgage and two brand new cars outside, you probably can’t afford to become an entrepreneur. You lifestyle is a bit two fantastic.’ You would have to scale back your lifestyle significantly if you wanted to start a business.”