BE YOUR OWN BOSS: Entrepreneurs give advice on how to own your own business

What does it take to leave behind the security of a steady paycheck, subsidized insurance and a 401k account, in an effort to venture out and start one's own business?

Some who have taken that path to entrepreneurship are speaking out on their experience. They say the path may not be easy, but it is worth it.


From Teacher to Tattoo Remover

For Hettie Rich, owner of Lighten Up Laser, she traded in the classroom for the cosmetic field, when she reached "a certain age".

"When I turned 40, I realized that it was time to do something that I really enjoyed doing that made me happy, something I feel like I was helping people, and at the same time creating a place that I would want to be, or I would want to go to," said Rich.

Rich said she saw a need for ink removal. In addition, she had hew own ink as well. In that regard, tattoo removal was something she was interested in.

"When you reach a certain age, and you decided that you still have at least 20 years left of working, so what do you want to do with that 20 years?" said Rich.

Rich's shop has been open for a little over a year, and she has seen about 500 clients. There are a few things, however, that Rich misses from her old life.

"I miss being able to say, 'hey, this needs to be fixed', and then handing it to someone and they can fix it," said Rich.


From renting barber chairs, to opening a barbershop

Angel Martinez's barbershop is right next Rich's business in Central Phoenix. For Martinez, members of his family helped turning the place into a barbershop.

"I gutted it," said Martinez. "My dad came and we put the drywall up. My uncle put the tile. Pretty much everyone who was in the contact list. That's how we started."

Prior to starting his own barbershop, named Get Dapper Groom Lounge, Martinez was cutting hair and renting chairs from other owners, for seven years.

"The last spot I was at was just ridiculous," said Martinez."I had a pretty crappy boss. He was running a Fortune 500 company, but I had a total vision of what a barbershop should be. If he could do it, I could do it."

He's hoping to be financially set, by becoming his own boss.

"I knew off the bat that I had to save up my money, and do something for myself," said Martinez. "No was in hell was I gonna afford a nice house working for somebody else."


Starting a gym

For Samantha Baltierrez and Maria Lawrence, friends and co-owners of Impact Gymnastics Academy, owning a gym came about after life at their previous gym took a tumble of sorts.

"Things changed dramatically," said Lawrence. "It was very political and kinda nasty, and I told my husband 'we should start our own gym' and he said 'yea, we should'."

Lawrence, an attorney, teamed up with Baltierrez, a gymnastics coach who taught Maria's kids.

"It was very scary, because if it didn't work out, I didn't know if I would get hired anywhere else because word was getting out we were trying to open a gym," said Baltierrez.


Fears and Challenges

As to be expected, there are fears of going out on your own.

"We had many days where the phone didn't ring," said Rich.

Staffing can also be a challenging, as well as finances. Despite the obstacles and challenges, the three entrepreneurs say they would do it in a heartbeat.

"I get to stay home with my kids during the morning until about 2:30," said Baltierrez.

"I love this place and I love what I created," said Rich.

"I think more than anything, you gotta love what you do and just go with your gut," said Martinez.

For those who are thinking about being their own boss, the three have some advice for you.

"Go over it completely," said Rich. "Make sure you are prepared. It's emotional. It's taxing. You don't get much sleep, there aren't many days off. I'm here more than I'm home."

"Can't take too much of a big bite," said Martinez. "I've seen a lot of guys go down because they took too much on."

"The biggest thing is to have a good, solid business plan," said Lawrence. "Know who you are, know what you can do, and know how you're gonna do, and don't compromise on that."

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