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Humble Beginnings

  • Author: Kathy Barany

    I never intended to go into business for myself.  I worked for several employers over the years.  My first job ever, where I received a real paycheck, was for Carrols Corporation. That was decades ago.  The building is still there; it is now a Burger King.  I got my work ethic there.  I don't remember his name, but I do recall a boss that said to us that he didn't care how slow the store was, we should always keep busy even if we had to wipe the counter 15 times.  His point was, there is no free ride; we get paid to work and we should work, and work I have.

    So why did I start my own business?  It wasn't actually my idea.  I was meeting one day with a business associate, Phil.  My job had been eliminated months earlier.  I had taken that opportunity to pursue my degree, and work as a sub-contractor for a human resources consultant, along with working a couple of part-time jobs.   I was trying to decide what to do with my career.  Phil asked why I didn't start my own business.  Me?  run a real business?  Wow, something to think about.  It was a couple months later that Strategic Management Solutions was born (8/21/2001).  I figured I would do it for a couple of years, until I obtained my degree, and then perhaps go back into the Corporate world.

    I remember vividly those first couple of years.  There were literally times that I ate peanut butter and jelly (which by the way I love), or my Mom or sister would take pity on me and make me meals.  I worked so hard trying to find new business.  At one point in time, I was down to $210; that is all the money I had in my bank account, and I was scared; I had a mortgage to pay, and a sick cat  I was caring for.  I would pick up the phone to make a cold call and literally put my head down on the desk and cry after I got rejected; many people were not nice to me.  I recall one time that I got invited into a company to talk to them about doing a project for them.  The HR manager looked at me and said "HR consultants are nothing better than an unemployed HR manager."  It hurt, but it helped.  It made me realize that I was going to do what it takes to make the business successful, and that nobody would ever talk to me like that again.

    It wasn't easy, and even some of my family had a difficult time understanding that I was actually working.  Until the day he died, in 2006, my Dad used to ask me when I was going to get a  real job.  I didn't bother to remind him that the mortgage payments were being made and I was eating well again!

    Over the years I have been approached by a few companies and/or referred for "real" job openings.  I was even interviewed by the federal department of labor to be a wage and hour investigator.  And here I am, still in business for myself.  I am living the quote by Hunter S. Thompson where he said

    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

    Yes, what a ride it is and will continue to be until someday down the road when I might decide to retire!  Take chances; they are worth it.  Kathy