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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 Mark from Dallas: What kinds of businesses are faring best?

Jopp: Actually, the pet industry continues to be a bulletproof industry to start a business in, whether it's dog grooming or dog treats. We have a company in North Dakota that started selling pet treats to help dogs avoid allergies. They started selling online and now have a storefront. Restaurants are one of the most difficult business in general, and especially in this recession.

Comment from Jini
: Is it wise to set a timeframe within which a business should or might succeed?

Jopp: A timeframe is good, but focus on testing your idea. Let's say you have two or three good ideas. Don't let time dictate to you. Take the right amount of time to explore those ideas and what's right for you.

Pauley: May I add to that a reminder for those who saw today's "Your Life Calling" profile on the Today show about Thomas Betts and his alpaca ranch. Thomas and his wife did not just take the plunge. He spent nine months managing somebody else's alpaca ranch while he decided if it was work he liked and work he could do. The Bettses took time to determine if alpaca ranching was something they could make a go of.

Comment from Joyce H.: I think it's important to know what you don't like or want in order to narrow down what you do like and want. As a coach and trainer, this is an extremely helpful tool that I have people use.

Pauley: Joyce makes a counterintuitive but correct observation. Most people really would have trouble answering the question, "What do you like best about your work, and what causes you the most stress?" People don't think about that kind of question until the time comes to decide what they'd like to do if they could do anything. Dr. Jopp, do your counselors help people brainstorm about what they like and don't like?

Jopp: Yes, our counselors walk our clients through that process. We often counsel more on personal issues than business issues. Whatever business you choose has to make you want to get out of bed in the morning. Your business has to add meaning to what you're doing or else it becomes a significant chore.

Comment from Ron A
.: Most people have no idea where to start. I'm a retired dentist and I'm very proud of what my 63-year-old wife has accomplished. With help and guidance from a few old war horses in the food industry that recognized her talent and potential, she has achieved a high level of success with more to come. See Keep up the good work!

Dr. Jopp, do people tend to rush in pursuing their business dreams?

Jopp: Most people are impatient when it comes to their dreams. People envision success and are eager to achieve. We tell clients they have to build a foundation. They have to plan and think through ideas. They have to think about how they are going to do it, and what "it" will look like in three to five years. Taking that time adds so much value to making a dream successful.    

Comment from Claire: I've been a widow for two years. I moved to the northeast to be near my children. It has been very difficult to make friends here and is too expensive to stay, but I feel totally stuck and don't know how to even begin to start over. I think I would like to move, find a job, volunteer, etc., but I feel overwhelmed.

Pauley: Claire, my advice is to do one of those things: take a step, make a move, either get a job or volunteer. Spend the next month deciding which of those things you would most like to do. Then maybe take another month looking for a place, or the job or a volunteer position, and by July be doing it. Would you like to amend or correct or argue with me, Dr. Jopp?

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