John R. Ingrisano, SBO, co-owner of The Freestyle Entrepreneur:
I’m an SBO (that stands for Small Business Owner, just in case you were curious). If you don’t count the lemonade stand when I was six (a great success, heavily subsidized by my mother), along with various teenage enterprises (including a lawn mowing business and a small-time clamming operation on Long Island’s Great South Bay), I started my first company, a micro publishing house, at age 23. It lasted a year and died a quiet death. I profited in experience, if not money.
Company number two, dedicated to providing sales training to an undefined market, opened and shut down in three months. Eventually, however, all these breaks for the wall began to pay off. I made my final, “Great Escape” from the corporate life in 1985, when I started Custom Communications Publishing. Today, we provide newsletters to insurance companies, as well as sales training, marketing programs, and classroom presentations to clients big and small.
The credentials list includes Ameriprise Financial, New York Life, Securian Financial Group, and several dozen other well-known companies.
Additionally, and just for fun (and the "business expense" tax deductions when I vacation in the Caribbean or eat in a fancy restaurant when visiting my children) I am a freelance travel writer, having cranked out copy for "Fodor’s Caribbean Guide" and a handful of island-hopping airline in-flight magazines while lazing on the beaches of St. Maarten.
And just to make sure I don't get bored or find myself working less than 60 hours a week, I do small business consulting and write the "Focus Small Business" column for Corporate Report Wisconsin. Oh, yeah, and I'm the author of several books, including "The back to Basics Book of Selling."
Why am I an SBO? My kids say it's because I’m unemployable. I've been outside the box way too long to go back to being a cubicle-dwelling wage slave. Plus, I hate meetings with a passion and would rather change the whole course of my business on a two-mile walk with my dogs than spend six months sitting through dozens of meetings to form a committee to look into revising the lunchroom menu.
Plus, I also hate the idea of being given an envelope twice each month with the same amount each time, no matter how hard or little I work.
But mostly it’s because I love waking up every morning knowing that – win or lose – I direct and control my day’s activities and decisions, though not always the outcomes. I know that, when the check comes in, it’s because I earned it (or, once again, in addition to all the hours of research and planning, I was darn lucky to be in the right place at the right time), and when something goes wrong or I get blindsided, I don’t have to go to a boss or a board of directors to decide what to do. I just do it.
I love the freedom. I love the money. I love the challenge. And, yes, I confess that, though I’m not quite a terror junkie, I do love the risk. Finally, it’s just fun. Being an SBO is a wild, scary, exciting romp through the wilderness of the business world. It beats golf. It beats fishing. No it doesn’t beat sex, but it comes awfully close.
I’m an SBO because I’ve found that there’s nothing better than working for myself.
How about you? Tell me why you're goofy enough to work for yourself.
Jeff Hunsaker: Father of two sons; Software Architect/Developer with Microsoft tools; Internet Marketer; Burgeoning Entrepreneur
This site isn't about me--it's about you. However, if you're reading this you're at least curious and I owe you a bit of background. Yes, this is a site about entrepreneurs but if you're an employer of mine reading this, no, I don't want to curtail my full-time career. This is something I enjoy and do in addition to my full-time career. It's part of who I am.
For more than a dozen years, Jeff has been developing and architecting Microsoft-based technology solutions. He worked with and managed teams who constructed high-traffic e-commerce sites as well as internal systems. Jeff has had the pleasure of working for such great firms as Clarity Consulting, Dell, Resource Interactive, and Cardinal Solutions.
Jeff also enjoys passions for interactive marketing (building web sites such as this one, Search Engine Optimization, and affiliate and link advertising), writing, and reading. Listening to books in the car and regularly holding 4-5 books on the nightstand, Jeff often receives flack for a lack of focus from his lovely wife.
The Freestyle Entrepreneur is an experiment for Jeff. While not a full-time endeavor, he uses it as a platform to learn about communication, community, technology, and interactive marketing. Jeff serves as technology and marketing lead for TFE. Being a naturally curious person, TFE satisifies a lot of his need to explore entrepreneural, technology, community, and marketing venues.
Bill Sheridan's writing draws on his experience as an educator, radio personality, salesman, sales manager and training director for two of the nation's largest life insurance companies. His free-lance articles have been published for years in newspapers and magazines. Sheridan is also an Executive Coach who provides short, concise and affordable motivational articles for small-business owners in their weekly or monthly newsletters. Sheridan Writes 8106 Brookview Drive Urbandale, IA 50322 (515)-669-4913
Bill Willard, Freelance copy writing and ghostwriter; training program design and development:
Bill Willard has been cranking out high-impact writing for over 30 years. In addition to his byline pieces, Bill’s beat includes freelance copyrighting, ghostwriting and editing jobs that allow him to use his experience and skills as a writer and editor.
Though he has specialized in financial services and works with many top financial advisors, one of Bill’s most valuable attributes is his ability to write on any topic. Through interactive, Web-based "Do-While-Learning™" programs, e-Newsletters and straight-talking articles, Bill helps small-business owners and independent professionals get the job done: profitably improving performance, helping grow their businesses, skipping expensive mistakes, making the journey to success faster, smoother, easier. And fun!
Born in New York City, Bill was graduated from Cheshire Academy, Cheshire, CT in 1964. He served with Pacific Air Forces Intelligence from 1965 to 1969 and graduated with a BA (English-Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Hawaii in 1971. He was managing editor and director of custom publishing at R&R Newkirk (now BIYSIS), Indianapolis, IN from 1975 to 1985. Married in 1969, he and his wife, Sue, live on Tampa Bay in Clearwater, FL. Their son, Captain William L. Willard, Jr. USMC, who has served in Iraq, Korea and Okinawa, Japan, is now stationed at Kaneohoe MCAS, Hawaii.
Bill formed Willard Associates in 1985.