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Chasing the Dream: Becoming a business owner

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

From New mother to business owner

Danielle Hajen, mother of one, had wanted to own her own business since college, but it wasn't until she was faced with some tough decisions while pregnant with her daughter that she decided to go for it.

"After working for someone for so long, it just felt easier to stay in a full-time job and having the stability of having a paycheck every week," says Hajen.

But when she was on bed rest at six months pregnant, everything changed. "I was trying to figure out how I was going to go back to work after the baby was born. We couldn't afford daycare at the time because we were living paycheck to paycheck," says Hajen. Her husband rotates hours and days off at his shift job, so working outside the home would be hard. "We wouldn't even have time to enjoy our little daughter or our marriage. Therefore while on bed rest, I made the scariest and riskiest, but also the greatest and most satisfying decision, of my life: to start my own business," says Hajen, who owns Make Cents of It, LLC.

Making it happen

Networking to success

Hajen hit the ground running by targeting new businesses in her area. "I went to the clerk office and got a list of new businesses in town and sent them postcards in the mail for setup and training of QuickBooks. I also created a website, which is a must-have when having your own business, and made sure that I was listed on all the search sites," says Hajen.

Of course, making the decision to start her business was only the first step for Hajen. "The first thing I did was to get the credentials that I knew would help me in this adventure. I started a QuickBooks consulting business so I got the Pro Advisor Certification to show potential clients that I was recognized by Intuit, the creator of QuickBooks. That has helped tremendously," says Hajen, who is also a CPA.

Next came the business plan, which Hajen filled with her ideas for short- and long-term growth opportunities.

Still, starting a business is risky, so Hajen arranged to do some consulting for her previous employers. "I do not advise quitting your day job to start your own company from scratch. It takes a while to build clientele. So I had a steady line of income coming in from consulting with prior employers, and then I started networking in order to get my first few clients," says Hajen.

Balancing motherhood and a business

Hajen says starting her own business has allowed her time and flexibility for her young daughter. "The best part about owning Make Cents of It, LLC, has been being able to schedule appointments around my daughter's schedule. We didn't have to put her in daycare until she was 15 months old, which is when we felt as though she needed to be around other children anyway," says Hajen.

Still, Hajen admits balance is hard. "When she is sick, my business gets turned upside down. I have learned that quality of time is better than quantity of time. My father always says you work to live, not live to work. I have always gone by this and make sure I realize that family is the most important, and work will always be there," says Hajen.

Mom Talk

"I want my daughter to be a successful woman who knows that women are capable of anything they dream of. I believe in building a successful business will only prove this more true," says Hajen.

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