‘I wanted to be my own boss’
Entrepreneurs warn that starting a new company takes time, a smart business strategy and a whole lot of money
Steven J. Dundas
BY JOÃO-PIERRE S. RUTH chance to try on a new hat.
LOUIS WAGMAN knows firsthand how “Now is probably the best time in the
challenging it can be to leave a corporate job history of business to start a business,” she
to launch your own business. The president said. “There are more support structures
of the New Jersey Entrepreneurs Network and opportunities out there than ever
made the jump after 25 years in the work- before.” Robin also teaches classes on start-
place, and said while the rewards are great, ing businesses at New York University.
the risks are often not examined carefully Robin said the availability of information
enough before making the leap. on the Web, as well as through business
A sudden layoff can be the trigger for groups and organizations, can help lay the
some professionals to become their own foundation. If starting a formal business is not
bosses, but starting a company isn’t the an immediate possibility, Robin said taking
answer for everyone, and Wagman and oth- on freelance work remains another option.
ers advise caution before hanging a shingle “If you want to be a stay-at-home
outside one’s door. mom and only work from 10 to 2, there’s so
Launching a new business can breathe much out there in terms of getting the
new life into the career of a professional, who information you want and connecting with
may seize the newfound the people,” she said.
time to embrace entre- Robin said the affordability of office tech-
preneurship and pledge nology makes it possible for even the solo
never to rejoin the cor- business owner to create a professional
porate scene, Wagman appearance. For instance, she said, telephone-
said. His New Jersey answering systems run between $30 and $40
Entrepreneurs Network, per month, and include individual extensions
in Princeton, is a non- and professional-sounding voice greetings.
profit association of Stacy Robin “Historically, that was exorbitantly
entrepreneurs and potential investors. expensive,” Robin said. “A lot of [equipment
Wagman started his one-man manage- providers] are realizing that products need
ment consultancy, Technology Management to be geared towards small business. They
Associates, in 1997 in Princeton. “Enough need to sell it a price that is reasonable for
was enough. I wanted to be my own boss,” he small businesses.”
said, but he warned that starting a business Some would-be entrepreneurs contin-
requires effort and time to get established. ue to actively look for new jobs while dab-
“It’s certainly not the road to riches in bling as new business owners, Wagman said.
the first few years. The majority of