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Your Life Calling With Jane Pauley

Support for New and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

If you missed the online chat with Jane and her guest, Devin Jopp, Ed.D., of the small-business mentoring organization SCORE, you can catch the conversation here.

Comment from Annie P.: What's the best way to go about gathering data as a way to tell if there's a fit for what you're wanting to do, and the community you're in?

Pauley: How do you research it, Dr. Jopp? I can imagine opening, say, a fashion boutique might be something that would be interesting and intriguing, unless you do some research and find out that your community already has a lot of fashion boutiques, so maybe it doesn't need another one.

Jopp: There are some easy ways. One of your best friends is a search engine. Go to Google or Bing and type in what you want to be, and then see how many of those businesses are already in your area.

Comment from Patricia W: We're missing a piece here. You have to develop courage and confidence before you even begin to do a restart. I'm an age transition specialist and this is what I deal with. It's really, really important.

Pauley: Patricia makes a point I can really relate to. She says it takes courage and confidence to even begin  "restart." Some people just have courage and have confidence and can restart, but a lot of us are feeling like there's a big party going on "over there" and we don't quite fit, we feel kind of left out. One important way to develop courage and confidence is to take little steps. A friend of mine enrolled in a certificate program to update a decade's old college degree. It gave her the confidence to get a volunteer job where she did so well she developed the confidence to eventually start a business. Her first step was to build her confidence by getting a little extra training.

Jopp: I would add that starting a business can be very scary. I talked about risk, and how you want to break it down. Figure out your pitch. Write down your ideas. It doesn't have to become monstrous overnight. How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite.

Comment from Jeanne P
.: I am actually past retirement. But I can never retire, as I'm single and cannot live on Social Security alone. Plus I'm "young" at heart. I just need to focus on whatever my passion is while I work to earn a living. I need help blending the two, and I think I need help discovering my real passion. I recently published a book of poetry, which certainly is one of my passions, but I didn't have money for marketing, so here it is on my coffee table. Can I develop my writing so that it actually earns money?

Pauley: I'm not sure that writing poetry ever made anybody any money. I guess I would suggest that Jeanne look at her poetry writing as the thing she does to nurture her creative spirit while pursuing a different way to earn some money. What would you say to that Dr. Jopp?

Jopp: The question is how do you take your idea and turn it into something profitable. The people that started Mountain Glory Creations were retired and loved photography. That led to a money-making business creating calendars and computer screensavers. Maybe inspirational greeting cards using poetry can become a viable business.    

Comment from Barbara: If my life calling is what I've been doing as a hobby—painting and showing my art in my community—how can I make it into a profitable business? I'm over 55.

Pauley: Dr. Jopp, how do you examine a proposition like this? Maybe selling paintings is the literal implication of this question, but how would one of your volunteers help Barbara brainstorm about how her connections in her community might lead to something other than selling works of art? Are there different directions that her art might take her?

Jopp: Selling art directly can be a rough business. But are there ways Barbara can be a wholesaler of her art, such as on etsy.com, where people take their artwork or make t-shirts or trinkets and sell their crafts online. There may be a way to combine painting with a commercial product that there's a bigger market for.

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