Personal Stories of America at Work

Category Archives: Entrepreneurs

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

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

Making a Career as a Belly Dancer

"Like belly dancing, pole dancing has a lot of stigma around it.”

Belly and Pole Dancer Aruna Makes A Career In Fitness Pay Off

From scoliosis patient to fitness fanatic

I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and my given name was Karen Andes. From a young age, I felt I was being groomed for a life as someone’s “lovely country club wife.” That didn’t happen—thankfully! As a young kid, I was very active. When I was eight, I led a pack of girls on bicycles around the neighborhood wearing our mothers’ high-heeled shoes. You could say those were my earliest sessions as a fitness instructor.

When I was twelve, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I was told I’d be in a body cast for a year and be bedridden.

Read the full interview >>

molly | April 05, 2011 | Entertainment, Entrepreneurs, Healthcare, Women | 5

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

How a Reluctant Chinese Engineer Designed a New Life in the US

Engineer Duo Wang builds a bright career following the darkness of China’s Cultural Revolution

Loneliness sparks creativity

I was born in Manchuria in 1957, the son of intellectual parents who were from wealthy families. Seven years before my birth, the Communists seized our property and labeled us enemies of the people. In later years, my father was jailed, tortured and exiled. Because this bad family background, I was ostracized from society at a young age.

Read the full interview >>

molly | February 22, 2011 | Education, Entrepreneurs, Government, Innovation, Job Search | 6

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

Santa the Mensch

Believe it: Jac Grimes, a bus driver, really is Santa Claus

Santa Claus Christmas

"I see Muslim kids and Jewish kids, and I tell them it’s OK. Santa Claus loves all children.”

“If Santa Claus had a day job, it would be a school bus driver, right? And he would adopt foster children, like those with HIV, right? And he would volunteer in children’s hospice programs? Santa Jac does all those things and truly loves his job. A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Jac is a natural storyteller with a Southern drawl. No one-word answers from this Santa! And yes, I did some fact-checking to make sure he was for real, because I was so moved and wanted to be sure I wasn’t being taken for a (sleigh) ride. I hope you enjoy this story, which shares the spirit of the holiday season, no matter what your religion.”

– Molly Rosen, Chronicler and Managing Editor

Are you really HIM?

Here’s how it started:  It was the Christmas season of 2005. I hadn’t shaved since Labor Day. The day before Christmas break, I was driving a bus at an elementary school I’d never been to, driving kids I’d never seen, as a substitute bus driver for our county. I decided awhile ago that spending all my life working and traveling as a management consultant wasn’t going to work for me. My kids were growing up, and I wasn’t around a lot of the time. So after running a local video store for nine years, I decided that driving a school bus would be fun. At the same time, my beard was turning white—it was more gray and white than it was red.

I’d had a habit of wearing a Santa hat around the holidays. The kids got on the bus, and there sat a guy—me—in a lightweight red jacket and a Santa hat with a gray beard. And I’m rotund anyway. The kindergartners and first-graders got on first. One of them asked, “Are you really HIM?”

Read the full interview >>

molly | December 21, 2010 | Entrepreneurs, Job Search | 10

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


Chronicle Archives