After all these years owning my own business and being a free agent, I still get chills and butterflies in my stomach when I think about how cool it is that I work for myself. My entrepreneurial journey started in 1996 when I quit my corporate job as Director of Training and Development for a large financial services company and just floated aimlessley for awhile. I kept looking for jobs, but none were interesting to me. Finally, out of desperation, I called my friend and former manager, who had moved on to Hewlett-Packard. I pretty much held a sign that said "Will work for food." Thankfully, she had some contract work and I started my own consulting business.
In order to get paid, I had to get a business license. I was trying to come up with a name, and had a vague recollection of an assignment I had written for a class at UC Berkeley. The task was to write a business plan for my ideal job, patterned after the Dr. Seuss classic If I Ran the Circus. For my dream business, I created a training and development company named Ganas Inc. where I travelled the world, worked with all kinds of companies and had time off to sip lattes and lemonade on my back deck.
I did end up naming my company Ganas Consulting (Ganas is a Spanish word which means the intense desire to do something, inner motivation, exuberance, drive). And lo and behold, my vision of an ideal business came to life. I was amazed that my work flourished and I found myself all over the country and the world, teaching people how to communicate effectively and manage their businesses.
There have been some trying times, like in 2000 when many of my corporate clients in Silicon Valley were crashing and burning. And there have been difficult assignments, challenging clients and many late nights at Kinko’s, checking a big copy job for a major training project.
I would never trade the independence, sense of accomplishment and freedom that I get from working for myself. Every day, I know that it is up to me to make things happen and to bring in money to help support my family. Working for myself makes me care for my clients, focus on doing a great job, and minimize my whining. I am constantly learning and growing and discovering new directions to take my company. I am thankful for this opportunity every day and plan on continuing for the rest of my life!