Personal Stories of America at Work

Category Archives: Small business

How a Married Couple Makes Hospitality Their Full-Time Business

Cindy Reinhart makes a dream job work on the California Coast

"Running a B&B is hard work, but we can mold it around our lives."

My husband, Charles, and I recently celebrated running our own bed and breakfast, the Joshua Grindle Inn, in Mendocino, California, for just over 10 years.

Running a B&B is hard work. The average tenure of an innkeeper tends to be about five years. After five years they burn out and move on because they hadn’t realized that it is very hard work. We are a little different because we didn’t flee other careers like most people.  

Read the full interview >>

molly | March 08, 2012 | Entrepreneurs, Hospitality, Small business, Women, Working Mother | 3

How One Woman Built a Career Creating Community at Work

Rebecca Brian helps shape the future of the workplace

“I started to find working from home to be insanely isolating and lonely . . . My reality was twelve hours a day of Ally McBeal reruns.”

The happiness formula

I’ve always been a community builder. Though for eight years, I didn’t know it and would have just called myself friendly.

When I got out of college with a degree in graphic design and my internship didn’t pan out into the job I expected, I started a design firm called Tribecca Designs. I didn’t know what I was doing, but the work was exciting. I loved dealing directly with clients and thrived on all the responsibility and creative license, creating logos, branding, websites, and brochures. I was hooked! I talked about design and business and my new venture everywhere I went and was the cheapest designer in the country—or at least New York City—so the work came easily.

Read the full interview >>

molly | July 26, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Leadership, Small business | 3

Mind over Matter: Seattle Hypnotherapist Digs for the Root Cause

Hypnotherapist Lisa Crunick helps clients overcome roadblocks by changing their mind

No, clucking like a chicken never happens in my office. People have lots of images of hypnosis from stage shows and movies, which shows how powerful the mind is, but also how easy it is for people to dismiss hypnosis as a healing strategy. If someone calls me for a past-life regression, I refer him or her to someone else. Although, I have had several clients have past-life memories while hypnotized, and those are experiences I will never forget.

I first got into hypnotherapy when I was teaching a weight-loss class that utilized hypnosis. Part of my job was leading people to discover the emotional reasons behind what they ate and helping them break patterns related to weight gain and loss. The company that I worked for sold the branch office where I taught, and I was suddenly faced with going it on my own or finding a more “normal” job. I had already dipped in and out of the corporate world, and I knew that wasn’t what I was going to do, but venturing out on my own with no marketing experience was scary. I had the responsibility of two children and no child support, but my deeper mind knew it was my life’s work.

Read the full interview >>

molly | July 12, 2011 | Education, Healthcare, Small business, Women, Working Mother | 8

How a Rancher’s Persistence Built a Bit of Paradise in the Shadow of Yellowstone

Montana Rancher Alvin Pierce shares a bit of his working life as the real horses whisperer

“A lot of horse training is about training the owner.”

Growing up with cattle and horses

I don’t believe there’s any particular talent to training horses. The main requirement is desire and determination. You have to be willing to work with them every day for thirty to sixty days, even when it’s thirty or forty below. It’s kind of like working with a child. If you let them do anything they want, they’ll be spoiled. If you work with them daily and set limits, they won’t be spoiled.

I knew from a young age that I wanted to have a ranch and work with animals. My grandfather had a cattle ranch north of Chico about five miles from where I am now in Paradise Valley. I grew up nearby and spent summers on the ranch. In his spare time, my dad trained horses, and that’s how I got my start with horse training. I started training my family’s horses in my early teens and loved it.

Read the full interview >>

molly | June 14, 2011 | Agriculture, Small business | 2

Gluten-Free Cottage Industry Provides Opportunities for Foodie Entrepreneurs

Last week I went to a fund-raising event at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. There I met a couple who started a new granola company just five months ago, and are already experiencing considerable success! Gluten-free granola, anyone??

As reported in the New York Times, this couple isn’t the only group hoppin’ on the gluten-free wagon: “As long as there have been jobs, there have been fantasies about leaving them. Often this involves escapes to pretty settings (the proverbial bed and breakfast in Vermont), or fitness nirvana (ski instructor)…”

Read the full interview >>

molly | June 10, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Small business | 2

5 Myths of Entrepreneurship

With the economic plunge of the last several years, many professionals either have made the leap to running their own businesses or have thought about doing so. What it’s like to live in the shoes of a successful entrepreneur who makes a living helping other entrepreneurs? Enter Jim Horan, CEO and founder of The One Page Business Plan. During our interview with Jim, we cleared up some misconceptions about entrepreneurship.

Myth #1: Entrepreneurship is a lonely business.

Horan says that an entrepreneurial support group was one of the keys to success for starting and building his business. When he was invited, his host emphasized that this was a place to give to others, not to take from them. “I am stunned by the generosity of the entrepreneurship community. It is amazing what entrepreneurs will do for each other for free. I think it’s because people who are successful in small business are incredibly grateful.” Horan says, “The really successful entrepreneurs I know are always asking, ‘What can I do to help you today?’”

Read the full interview >>

molly | May 24, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Small business | 4

One Page Business Plan Author on How to Reinvent Yourself after a Lay-off

Jim Horan is a former Fortune 500 CFO who invented The One Page Business Plan and reinvented himself as successful entrepreneur. The One Page Business Plan is called “an out and out winner” by Tom Peters, author of Thriving on Chaos and co-author of In Search of Excellence. His book is recommended by Oprah Magazine.

The Working Chronicles: What has been your career journey?

"I think we’re all capable of doing a lot more than what we have done."

Jim Horan: I was fired from my job as a CFO on April 1, 1990. April Fool’s Day. It turned out that the joke was on me—I was unemployed for two years and then underemployed for the next three to five years as I explored entrepreneurship. But it ended up being absolutely the best thing that could have happened. I discovered a whole series of talents I had no idea I had. I think we’re all capable of doing a lot more than what we have done.
While looking for a job, I found myself becoming a consultant. I began to work with small businesses and discovered that business plans are not understood by damn near anybody.

Out of that came the idea of The One Page Business Plan.

Read the full interview >>

molly | May 17, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Job Search, Publishing, Small business, Unemployment | 0

How a City Boy Trades Driving the Freeways for Flying in the Bush

"Nobody else is out there, no air traffic control, no runways, no designated procedures..."

LA city boy Rob Norberg lives off the grid as a bush pilot in the Alaskan frontier

Conquering a fear of flying

I have been flying for twenty years and work as a seasonal bush pilot for a fishing lodge in Dillingham, Alaska. People stay for a week, and we take them fishing in the wild.

I grew up in LA, so I am a city boy, but I always yearned to see Alaska. For a year or two I read everything I could find on Alaskan bush pilots. Alaska still has that sense of frontier and freedom that allows you to be your own person, be somewhat off the grid, and not be so exposed to the crowds and the rigmarole of society. Flying is the ultimate extension of that because you are going to places only accessible by airplane.

Read the full interview >>

molly | May 03, 2011 | Fishing, Job Search, Small business, Sports | 7

How One Immigrant Launched a Successful Business from Her Dorm Room

Russian émigré Aleksandra Efimova launches two ballet businesses from one humble beginning

"They believed in me, so I started showing ballet shoes and selling them to local dance schools.”

Lucky growing up with 420 square feet

I’m an accidental business owner, surprised by my career path because it’s not what I thought life had in store for me. Growing up in the Soviet Union, I lived a very average life. I was born in 1977 and at that time, the Soviet Union was promoting equality—everyone lived in very similar conditions. The leaders of the Communist Party were living a more privileged life, which the majority of people didn’t even know about. Our apartment was 420 square feet and had three rooms, including the living room—way more than most of the other neighbors. Five of us lived in our tiny apartment: my mom, dad, grandparents, and me. We felt very, very lucky.

Read the full interview >>

molly | March 22, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Small business, Women | 1

Grandma, P.I.

Private investigator Nancy Poss-Hatchl uncovers hidden facts to help straighten out tangled lives

"I don't think the assailant expected to see a little old lady."

Nancy Poss-Hatchl

Private Investigator

Undercover with a soldering iron

I have a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.A. in Anthropology. I was looking for work after a divorce from my husband of twenty years. While I was married, I was primarily a homemaker. After the divorce, I wanted to be as independent and autonomous as possible. It was 1974, and I needed to develop a career, though my children were still young teenagers.

A friend of mine was a secretary for some private investigators. They had an opening for an undercover operator who was bilingual, and I am fluent in Spanish. They had me go undercover into a small electronics factory where three employees had died from a drug overdose. They wanted to know if there was a drug ring operating within the company. I worked as an undercover operator under a pseudonym and with a fake address.

Read the full interview >>

molly | January 04, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Job Search, Small business, Women, Working Mother | 20

The Working Chronicles

  • The Working Chronicles captures an intimate look at work in 21st century America through candid interviews with people from all walks of life and all corners of the country.

    Read More...»

Latest News

  • Have a story about changing careers? We want to hear from you!
    For a short time we are accepting submissions from readers and will publish the top stories on our blog and possibly include in a book.
    We'll accept an autobiographical story or interview with someone else--check out the Submission Guidelines.

Related Links

Categories

Chronicle Archives