West Points

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Toughest Thing....

by Heather Gurewitz
Mendocino Women's Business Center Director for West Company

The other day my boss Pamela asked me, “What the toughest thing about your job?” I had to think about it, but after some thought I realized that the toughest part for me, is the “dream crusher” part. Starting a business or becoming self-employed can be a great thing, but it is not an easy thing. When people come to see me it is my job to help them look at the real issues they will have to face. I have to ask them the tough questions. That means that not everyone likes to hear what I have to say. True, I have many clients that are eternally grateful and appreciative for the knowledge I have shared, which in turn saves them from interminable debt and financial distress, but others, well, they don’t always come back.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a very strong advocate for self-employment and micro-enterprise. Why else would I do what I do? But, there are well thought out ventures, and there are not so well thought out ventures. Choosing self-employment or owning your own business can be extremely rewarding, but it is definitely NOT the easy route.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial household; my father started his own business in 1965 and still runs it today, having grown it from his bedroom to a 5,000 sq. ft. factory in Los Angeles. This means that in addition to my education and professional training, I have a firsthand understanding of what being in business means for your personal and family life. As an employed person I make it a point to try not to take my work home with me, but if you are the business owner, it goes where you go. It will have a huge effect on your personal life.

That’s why West Company always starts with a personal readiness in the first session of our series, “Building a Better Business” series, “Got What it Takes?” In this workshop we cover time management, personal finance, and what it really means to be a business owner, myths debunked. The first time I taught this class I had a student that had previously owned her own business for many years, and honestly, I was terrified; what if she stood up and said, “She’s full of it!” That did not happen. As a matter of fact, the woman came up to me after the workshop and said, “I wish I had taken this class 20 years ago!”

“Got What It Takes” is a three hour intensive look at how owning a business will change your personal life, and whether or not you are ready for that change. This class will be held in Fort Bragg on August 24th from 5:30-8:30pm, in Ukiah on August 31st from 1-4pm, and in Willits from 5-8pm. Click here for more information on West Company workshops.

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