There are three things that, if I had waited until I was completely ready, I never would have done.  Get married, have kids, and start a business. And yet, when I think where I get the most enjoyment and satisfaction in my life right now, it’s those exact three things – my wife, my kids and my business.

I’d wanted to start my own business for a long time, but always had excuses.  Finally, three years ago, conditions were “perfect”.  And by perfect, I mean the market had just tanked into the beginning of a recession, and my wife was pregnant with our first child.  So what better time to quit my job, forego regular paychecks and health coverage, and jump off the deep end?

Matt HeinzIn retrospect, I’m not completely sure what I was thinking.  But I can’t imagine doing anything else.  In fact, I might be downright unemployable now.  I absolutely love what I do, not only because I love the work but because it enables the life I want to lead for myself and my family.

For a long time, I hated the term “lifestyle business.”  I didn’t want any part of it.  Lifestyle businesses, I thought, meant you were trying to work as little as possible.  Definitely did not define me.  But what I’ve come to accept and embrace now, is that a lifestyle business can be something you work incredibly hard at, but that’s purpose is to enable the lifestyle you want.

For me, that means not working to please a set of shareholders or executive team.  It means not worrying about growing by XX% next year if I don’t have to, or if the market doesn’t allow for it, or if it means pushing my sales pipeline faster than it’s ready to convert.

For me, a lifestyle business means doing what I know is right, putting my team and my customers first, growing at a pace that’s comfortable, and enabling the life (inside and outside of business) that I want.

There are three things that, if I had waited until I was completely ready, I never would have done.  Get married, have kids, and start a business.

I’m a sales and marketing consultant (Heinz Marketing helps companies build, manage and close sales pipelines), but I really don’t like selling.  Ironic.  But we’ve experienced amazing growth in our first three years, and I attribute most of it to giving away what we otherwise could be selling.

I write a lot, do a ton of 15-20 minute phone calls with companies and executives and entrepreneurs that just want help thinking through something.  I get to spend more of my day thinking about how to help other people sell more.  I love that. I have no problem spending time with someone with no expectation in return.  Either they’ll be a client someday, or they know someone else who might be.  My biggest source of referrals are people in my network who have never been direct clients.

I get to do something I love, help people with critical business problems that unlock their own personal and professional success, and I get to do it in an environment that I control, that operates and grows at a pace I determine, and that supports the security, health and future well-being of my family (as well as those who work here). That is so awesome.  I am so blessed.

Matt Heinz, is president of Heinz Marketing, a Redmond-based sales & marketing firm. They help our clients
achieve sustained sales success by growing revenue from existing customers and cost effectively identifying
and winning new customers.  You can connect with Matt via email, Twitter, LinkedIn or his blog.
Earlier last month I turned 40…which once seemed like a pretty big milestone. But there were no tears, no dread, and no attempts to forget the day. I realized I’m not just at peace with myself and my age, but I’m actually happy. And granted I have my health and a fabulous family (including a newborn!), but another key thing is I absolutely love what I do. And that’s a good thing, because I’ve now done it twice.
Let me explain. Shortly after law school, I launched a business with my husband. We provided online legal filing services to entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. Basically that means we helped companies incorporate, form LLCs, and start their businesses the right way without having to pay an arm and a leg in attorney fees.
In 2005, we had the good fortune to sell the company to Intuit. We now had plenty of capital. We had the freedom to travel, spend time with our children, and dream up other business ideas. I had a great time during this interim, don’t get be wrong. But, the other ventures just didn’t carry the same spark for me. So, in 2009, we started all over again with CorpNet, our latest (and last?) document filing service. And every day since, I’ve been so grateful we made that decision.
First and foremost, I love helping other entrepreneurs. I love the concept of the small business. And I love giving small business owners access to resources they might not be able to afford otherwise. Because every business, no matter how small, should have the right legal protection to help them thrive. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped form more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S.
Running our own business has proved to be more challenging today than our first time around, but it’s this tough economic climate that makes what I do all the more rewarding. In today’s economy, I want to give everyone a shot. I want to help as many Americans as I can start their own business and feed this economy. For full disclosure, I can get a little teary eyed when I hear the president talk about the power and potential of the small business and American entrepreneur.
Every day, aspiring entrepreneurs call our office. We talk to brilliant workers who have been laid off, can’t find other work, and have decided to take matters into their own hands by launching a business. We see busy moms who want to supplement their family’s income and make their own mark on the world. We see career professionals who are finally ready to put the 9-5 way of life aside and follow their dreams.
Each and every story touches and inspires me. And this entrepreneurial passion is contagious. I might be CEO of the company, but I will never stop fielding customer calls. Talking to business owners and potential business owners is why I started this company, and it’s what keeps me going.
Yes, the economy is difficult, the jobs numbers aren’t improving, and the stock market is pretty shaky at best. But in these tough times, people are doing some incredibly remarkable things. They’re showing just how determined, creative, and courageous human beings can be. And if I can help these individuals get the ball rolling on their ideas, I can’t imagine anything better.
_____
Nellie Akalp is the CEO & Co-Founder of CorpNet, Incorporated, her second incorporation filing service company based on the simple philosophy of truth in business and her strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs. As CEO of CorpNet, she is a strong advocate in educating small business owners and entrepreneurs about the importance of protecting their assets and is responsible for overseeing and managing the daily operations of the business. Mrs. Akalp also frequently authors much of the content published at www.CorpNet.com and her work frequently appears in a variety of publications.

Earlier last month I turned 40… which once seemed like a pretty big milestone.

But there were no tears, no dread, and no attempts to forget the day. I realized I’m not just at peace with myself and my age, but I’m actually happy. And granted I have my health and a fabulous family (including a newborn!), but another key thing is I absolutely love what I do. And that’s a good thing, because I’ve now done it twice.

Let me explain. Shortly after law school, I launched a business with my husband. We provided online legal filing services to entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. Basically that means we helped companies incorporate, form LLCs, and start their businesses the right way without having to pay an arm and a leg in attorney fees.

Nellie Akalp HeadshotIn 2005, we had the good fortune to sell the company to Intuit. We now had plenty of capital. We had the freedom to travel, spend time with our children, and dream up other business ideas. I had a great time during this interim, don’t get be wrong. But, the other ventures just didn’t carry the same spark for me. So, in 2009, we started all over again with CorpNet, our latest (and last?) document filing service. And every day since, I’ve been so grateful we made that decision.

First and foremost, I love helping other entrepreneurs. I love the concept of the small business. And I love giving small business owners access to resources they might not be able to afford otherwise. Because every business, no matter how small, should have the right legal protection to help them thrive. Over the course of my career, I’ve helped form more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S.

Running our own business has proved to be more challenging today than our first time around, but it’s this tough economic climate that makes what I do all the more rewarding. In today’s economy, I want to give everyone a shot. I want to help as many Americans as I can start their own business and feed this economy. For full disclosure, I can get a little teary eyed when I hear the president talk about the power and potential of the small business and American entrepreneur.

First and foremost, I love helping other entrepreneurs. I love the concept of the small business. And I love giving small business owners access to resources they might not be able to afford otherwise.

Every day, aspiring entrepreneurs call our office. We talk to brilliant workers who have been laid off, can’t find other work, and have decided to take matters into their own hands by launching a business. We see busy moms who want to supplement their family’s income and make their own mark on the world. We see career professionals who are finally ready to put the 9-5 way of life aside and follow their dreams.

Each and every story touches and inspires me. And this entrepreneurial passion is contagious. I might be CEO of the company, but I will never stop fielding customer calls. Talking to business owners and potential business owners is why I started this company, and it’s what keeps me going.

Yes, the economy is difficult, the jobs numbers aren’t improving, and the stock market is pretty shaky at best. But in these tough times, people are doing some incredibly remarkable things. They’re showing just how determined, creative, and courageous human beings can be. And if I can help these individuals get the ball rolling on their ideas, I can’t imagine anything better.

Nellie Akalp is the CEO & Co-Founder of CorpNet, Incorporated.  Her second incorporation-filing-service
company based on the simple philosophy of truth in business and her strong passion to assist small
business owners and entrepreneurs.   Mrs. Akalp also frequently authors much of the content published
at www.CorpNet.com and her work frequently appears in a variety of publications.

Part 1: The building blocks, I was raised helping.
There was a big age gap between my dad and I. He was not the playing type. So, spending time with him meant helping. My mom was a 3rd grade teacher and since I was fairly bright, she too had me helping to correct papers and exams.

So this is the baseline…

Part 2: Quitting school for the school of Life.
As music and girls came into my life, the perfect little boy took the back seat, I began “exploring”. Changing topics of study at school at a rapid pace, scores began to fall and I had to quit. If I had known then what I know now…But I understand what it feels like to not live up to your potential!!!

After a few years of this, I found myself sweeping floor in a big industrial company…not exactly related to my childhood dreams. Then my parents left town, moving 700 miles away. Without that security-net I soon realized that I was going nowhere, totally out of focus.

I had to take a cold hard look at my life. Had to stop fooling myself. I had to swallow my pride and make a deal with my dad. I would go back to school, live with my brother, finish college and get a degree, if he would help me financially. I was lucky enough that he could afford it.

Part 3: Been there, done that and all that crap…
So it was a second chance. I didn’t miss it. This time around, being older than my classmates, it put me in a situation where I could really help. Making sure no one would waste talent or years, like I did, became an obsession. In class, an uncanny ability to explain complicated matters in a simpler way became my trademark.

But I didn’t stop the fun. I kept making music, took dance lessons and acting lessons. I was part of the college rock band, doing shows and musicals, even co-wrote a musical in the process. The singers, and actors, would come to me naturally. I was the “big brother”, in a good way. Even after leaving college, I was a regular visitor, helping the stage performers.

I decide to leave a secure and well paid job, and take the risk of losing my girlfriend who couldn’t follow me, by seeing what opportunity existed abroad…

Alain Theriault

Part 4: Coaching without knowing it…
That led me to become a guidance counselor. Working mainly with adults. I was more about “what they REALLY wanted” more than using the results of tests. I can honestly say that the “life coaching” part of my coaching started there. After a few years I started working more and more with adults coming back to University and foreign students. In both cases, even having more “maturity” didn’t prevent them from having issues to deal with, as far as careers were concerned.

Then something big happened….An opportunity of a lifetime

Part 5: The turning point
I had helped a visiting professor from France with a research he had to do for a student magazine in France: L’Étudiant. To make a long story short, that led to an upper management job in Paris. I decide to leave a secure and well paid job, and take the risk of losing my girlfriend who couldn’t follow me, by seeing what opportunity existed abroad…

I can’t say that I was exactly welcomed there. With just a few MBA classes, and no knowledge of the French culture (Quebecers speak french but are more closely related in their way of life to North Americans), I faced an uphill battle …

But being kind of a business “mercenary” gave me a taste for entrepreneurship. I had to make people talk, reveal their motives as to why they were sabotaging what we were trying to build. I discovered the art of Leadership the hard way. Sharing the reward but paying the price…alone. I wish I would have known about coaches then because I would have asked The Company to give me access to one…

The seed of coaching was well planted. Listening, asking tough question, helping people come up with their own answers….but I didn’t do the job fast enough. They were asking me to do in a year what I had set to do in three…so I came back to Montreal and to finish my MBA.

Very early after my return, My girlfriend left and I had to sell the house we had bought. I went from a house in Montreal and an apartment in Paris to living in a basement room at one of my aunt’s house. Now, in times like these you learn to focus on the bright side of things. You learn to focus on DOING when it would be so easy and understandable to SULK….

Having an MBA, some international experience and being bilingual, I thought everything would come back to normal fairly fast. They didn’t. Those weren’t good years. And I had no referrals…My MBA or my lack of professional experience would scare most employers…got me thinking about wasting potential (again), that’s for sure…

That had to be one of my biggest lesson in ASKING. Asking is so hard to do for most people. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Of course there is a way to do it, but basically people are afraid to ask. In the case of freelancers, it is often about asking for the right amount of money.  For entrepreneurs, it is asking for help.

So I went around and asked. The break came. “Such luck” people said. Well, apart from the lottery, I don’t believe much in luck. You make it, you stack the odds in your favor… so I did, so I won…

I was asked to build the Entrepreneurship Center of the University of Montreal. All the University had was an agreement from the engineering school and the business school. I jad to convince levels of government to invest, as well as faculties. Challenges, struggles, rejection, pressure, time limits, conflicting interests… I had to deal with them all. But it worked…

For 8 years, would-be entrepreneurs were my life. Teaching, workshops, conferences, one-to-one, business plan competitions, business partners, v.c.s and angels were everyday surroundings. But, my pride and joy was when former “would-be entrepreneurs” came back for advice after being in business for a few months/ a year or two. Working with them, the hours flew by. The problems were real so were the results!

Those conversations were so stimulating, the impact powerful and the results always emotional. Those men and women were better entrepreneurs than I was, but they kept coming. For ideas, for a sounding board, to open up, for motivation to keep on going, to rant, to tell the whole truth– Startup entrepreneurs will mostly tell the truth but not all of it, the only affinity they have with politicians.

So there you go. It may sound self-serving, but coaches play an important part in the economy. Entrepreneurs are job creators and as insane as they have to be to choose such a “career”, they sometimes need a little help from their friend, the coaches, to keep it all together…. We help them keep their heads in the clouds while having their feet on the ground. Sounds like a stretch? It is, but my time is really worth while, I make a difference, and that, is priceless..

Alain Theriault, B.Ed., M.B.A is a speaker, trainer, entrepreneur and a business coach specializing
in Startups and Entrepreneurship.
You can connect with Alain On twitter: @startupcoach or on Google+
Read Alain's blog posts on Startup Coaching

I am a transformation expert and a thought innovator. I love what I do because, on any given day or year, I witness miracles. My work is always interesting, fulfilling, thought provoking, engaging, satisfying and at times awe inspiring. But in miracle moments I see clearly the profound value of what I do.

I am a licensed Psychotherapist and Holistic Life Style Coach in NYC. I came to this profession about 15 years ago after a very successful decade as a talent agent in NY and LA. I was at the top of my game running agencies and negotiating TV and endorsement deals for the Super Models of the world. The more successful I became the less I liked what I was doing. I cared more about getting models into rehab and therapy than I did if they booked a film or the Pantene Campaign. This inspired me to get my Master’s at NYU and open a therapy practice with Broadway and Film actors as the main population I was uniquely skilled to help.

I have had a booming practice for almost 15 years, with 2 offices in NYC and a tremendous Skype practice that reaches all over the States, Europe, Australia, Mexico and beyond. Currently, I am transitioning out of my private practice and focusing on my company, Live Fearless and Free. I am finishing my first solo book, Flip Over and Float-Your 8 Steps to Sustainable Change, traveling the country and internationally with motivational talks and seminars, empowering people of all walks and social status to live their best lives now. The book is an instructional guide of HOW TO actually create sustainable change in all areas of life. It is based on what I learned during my fifteen-year fact gathering adventure as a licensed psychotherapist. I know what works because it worked over and over again. Conversely many interventions I was SURE would inspire change, did not.

Terri ColeI am so excited that my dream of Transformational Television is becoming a reality (only took fifteen years! Whoo hooo!) I am one of the Transformation/Empowerment experts being featured on a new show for Lifetime called The Conversation. The show features famous women (Jane Fonda, Donna Karan and many others) sharing their real life struggles and experts laying out resources and actions that non- famous women can take to find solutions NOW.

I love what I do because being a catalyst for people transforming their lives is absolutely thrilling.

Holding space and witnessing clients becoming happier, more illuminated, authentic, lit up and fully self-expressed is so amazing, I would do it for FREE, and have for years.

Anyone can change his or her lot in life. It does not matter what hand you were dealt. It starts with being brave enough to believe you can have what you want. There are a zillion limiting beliefs we are taught in this life that get in the way of having happy, fulfilled, fully self-expressed, well lived lives…and each one can be unlearned. And that is an amazing fact.

I got into the business of teaching clients what they need to do on a daily basis to create and maintain a life that lights them up. Now I am taking I to the world stage.
Look Out World!

“When you feel like you are swimming up stream just Flip Over and Float!”

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach, published author and a motivational speaker.
Over the past 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients to Live Fearless and Free.
Terri continues to inspire and educate through coaching programs, live events and blog with her
wicked “tell it like it is” sense of humor, deep empathy and understanding, and razor sharp insight.
Website: www.TerriCole.com

Creating has always been my passion. I find it not only stimulating, but fun. A career that’s “fun” sounds frivolous and lacking puritan work ethic, but I believe everyone’s best at what they enjoy. In fact, they’re likely to put more time and energy in it.Whether it’s product development, corporate planning, or organizational design, my fun lies with taking a concept and making it material and successful.

Dr. Jeffrey Parks, Jack Surrette & Dennis LottI have found creativity in most of my career activities. Even my first job of bagging groceries allowed the strategic layering in the shopping bag. The right weight and the right order make a difference when shoppers carry and unload groceries. Yes, it’s simple enough, but to me there was always a bit of art in that packing.

As I grew up in the corporate world, I feared I would forget the invigoration I felt from the creative process. For over 10 years, I kept a small drafting table in my office. I may have used it once or twice, but drawing wasn’t its purpose. It was there to remind me that creativity and innovation was important to me (and all businesses). You’d think that if it was important you would not need a reminder, but it’s easy to get caught up in the day (and the next day) and lose perspective.

Managing a company requires far more imagination than most professionals imagine. What I lost in directly developing products, or sales programs, I attained by motivating associates to feel that same passion in their daily activities and career. Actually, the relationships built on that foundation are some of my most rewarding memories.

My current career stage is pure entrepreneurial process – a new skin care company with enough diversity in projects and activities to easily challenge the innovation fun-factor. Proper time management, and a light focus on priorities, keeps the creativity flowing. I get to build a business and see pure imagination first hand. There’s no need for a dusty drafting table to remind me.

Ideas are easy. It’s making them a material success that’s the trick. This process from concept to reality is gratifying and why I like what I do.

Jack Surrette is the Executive Director of SkinHealth Technology, a skincare development company
based in Ormond Beach, Florida. He served as the Executive Vice President of Hawaiian Tropic suncare
for 17 years before the company’s acquisition in 2007.

Marjorie Bostwick

When I was a little girl I imagined my name in lights.

When I was a teenager I saw myself on T.V.

As a young adult I imagined myself on stage talking to crowds of people.

Now, I look at my life and see I’ve gotten the essence of these things. My name is on the internet, I have an internet radio talk show and I teach groups of people through my coaching practice.

We all have visions and dreams and the ones we have from the time we were young are the ones that steer us in the direction our life is to go. Now, at my age, I am not interested in T.V., unless of course it’s Internet Television. I am interested, however, in doing the thing that brings me fulfillment, and right now I could not see myself doing anything else.

I get to not only empower (a word we use loosely), but change lives. Not an easy task. Not something you would say at 10 yrs old you want to do when you grow up. But the process of the change is what gets me really excited, because I do it by introducing financial freedom through entrepreneurship.

I get to pair my two loves – a love for helping other women and a love for business. My love for helping others goes way back to when I was a single mother. My biggest challenge then was “making ends meet.” I hated my 9 to 5 that had no future, but I knew I was destined for something bigger. I needed to take the necessary steps towards elevating my life first. But, like a lot of other women I was clueless about where to start and what to do. I had to find my way, teach myself and learn from long distance Mentors like Oprah, Kimora Lee Simmons, and my personal friend Cynthia Lippert, Broker for Keller Williams in Atlanta.

I watched, learned, and listened. But I think my biggest challenge today, yet most fulfilling part of what I do in helping these women, that happen to be single moms, is helping them move past the circumstances in their lives towards their dreams of something more.

I hated my 9 to 5 that had no future, but I knew I was destined for something bigger.”

We all want to be doing what we love. Unfortunately, a small percentage of us don’t get to do it.

Why I love what I do is because when lives have changed I know that what this woman is about to embark on could make a positive impact on her family’s future, mostly her children; how they see their mother living a life with purpose. I always say, “Do you want them to see mommy work hard and nothing changes?” or “Do you want them to see mommy work hard and everything changes?

There is now this role model in their home of an enterprising woman…who loves what she does.

The other part is my mission in all. I believe single moms have big roles in the economic shift in this country. These women are not all on government assistance, contrary to popular belief. But these are hard working women that are doing their best to stay above the poverty line on a low single income. When these women are given the same opportunity as any single man to start and grow a business this will impact the face of the economy.

So, when you ask me, “Why do you love what you do?” I can tell you, “I love what I do because what I do leaves a mark on the people I work with, their families and this country.” Now, what’s not to love!

Marjorie Bostwick is a Transformational Business and Life Coach.
She works with single mom business owners, and single moms transitioning into business.
She is also the creator of The Single Mom Revolution Online Community.
Website: http://marjoriebostwick.com

I am simply in love with homebuilding! This business, in all of its many facets of responsibility, offers me a release for creativity, an opportunity for physical expression. In the end, what I do on a daily basis offers a long lasting reward that extends genuine benefits to others.

Charles Rinek Home Custom Home Builder Palm CoastFine personalized home building is not just an occupation; it is an orchestrated process that functions purely as a means to reach a glorious end. The complexities of the process simultaneously challenge me to stay sharp and multi focused on details even while watching a much bigger picture. Building is a study of wonderful contradictions and requires instantaneous changes in planning and direction. I have learned that I dare to take on such a complex whirlwind of organized chaos because as the creator, I am blessed to become empowered to make something that never before existed. Something we are able to touch, to examine and appreciate. Home building then offers to me exciting opportunities; the fluid continuum of process promises an ultimate microcosmic “Big Bang” creation experience of my very own to control. A fine home, one like no other before, will rise up from swirling debris of activity, maturing to fruition as a newly born physical monument offers promises for perpetual reward to the family who will share life within its walls.

Consider that a custom, personalized and meticulously tailored home will become somehow magically alive!

A successfully built home is mystically empowered to fulfill the changing needs of the clients who will dwell within. It will offer convenience, low maintenance and perpetuate utility throughout the owner’s current and future phases of life. As I direct from a centralized position of leadership, feeling like Fantasia’s Mickey, I look forward with excitement at the project tasking which lies ahead and how this will one day complement another’s life.

Hammock Beach Dunes Palm Coast Pool Ocean Rinek HomesAt the core, my process starts with the understanding that a home’s structure should ergonomically enhance an owner’s entire life experience and that their home’s design must pay homage to their history and honor their soul. I also have seen that a home’s true value is not necessarily about packing in every trendy gadget, it is rather more about using wisdom and sensibility throughout the entire process. Therefore I enjoy applying the real world lessons taught by classical architectural theory, for just as people are made in a unique manner, their sanctuary should be so. I love to tailor their home around them to wrap like a favorite pair of cozy jeans that conforms and perfectly fits to their own body of lifestyle.

For sure, the end results are a welcome source for satisfaction for me as well; the day a particular home project comes to a close, I experience my own catharsis, in a way like childbirth I deliver their home, handing them the key to their new base for life. As I walk away down the driveway upon that last day, I must leave my “child” with an understanding that I may be of no further use to that creation. I have done my job, but thankfully, just as a parent sees his child move away through bittersweet tender eyes, all at once I face a wonderful transition, a new phase in life on the horizon, a new creational process to look towards, a new dawning for the sharing of excitement. What can be better than that!

…the day a particular home project comes to a close, I experience my own catharsis, in a way like childbirth I deliver their home.

Building fine homes is, I suppose, a compulsion for me; over the years I have come to the conclusion that life’s journey is all about what we were meant to actually be doing, not what we had thought we should do at any one point in time. I was “supposed” to be an engineer according to my instructors and my family; they recognized mLuxury Dining Room Palm Coast Charles Rinek Homesy penchant for exacting detail in math and science, and concluded that my path should be obvious to me. A long story later, as I made my way through higher learning, supporting myself while working in the building field, I found that I was actually meant to use my passion in a much more tactile and practical world, one which allowed a more physical expression for creativity. I have a soulful appreciation for fine craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and the firm belief that proof of God will be found within each particular of detail. I felt an electric release in combining my innate understanding of architecture, structural dynamics, management and personal service with a holistic sense of “home” as a form of sanctuary. I still do, because this is what I was meant to be doing.

It is undeniable that the expected end result of my labors will be cherished and become a vital part of a family’s community. But for me, the reward of process is what speaks to my soul. I feel it allows me to understand God in some small way, elementary and plebian in nature to be sure, but nearer to him nonetheless.

To build such a complement to another’s life is a worthy opportunity and it is always a true blessing when I am chosen to perform; it is a wonderful relief to be able to express my passion. I celebrate my job; I do so love what I do!

Charles Rinek is the principal of Rinek Homes based in Palm Coast, FL, a fine custom home builder
serving Flagler and Volusia County; and the current the President of Flagler Home Builders Association.
You can connect with Charles on facebook, or on twitter.

____________________________________
A Note from Business Life Stories Team:
Take a tour of one of Rinek Home models through this Palm Coast with Julie video:

the day a particular home project comes to a close, I experience my own catharsis, in a way like childbirth

Kari Cobham

When I woke up Sunday morning, I did not want to go into work.

The explanation includes a limo, champagne, roller skates, and the night before, but that’s another story.  And if it wasn’t a Sunday shift—notoriously difficult to fill on 30 minutes’ notice—I might have called in. The day’s main assignment:

Cover the Jewish Heritage Festival in Daytona Beach and write a 500-word story.

A photographer was already assigned.  The festival ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The story was due sometime after 6 p.m.  In other words, it was as complicated as I made it.

I arrived with a game plan: Find and interview the organizer.  Grab some literature.  Make a lap or two.  Talk to festival-goers and vendors. Head back to the newsroom.  Write.  File.  Edit.  Home.

On the second lap, I met Sara Fox.

Sara is a shy artist whose parents were both Holocaust survivors, but she didn’t know the extent of their torture and loss until she was in her 40s when her mother finally did a recorded interview retelling her devastating experiences.  Sara is 60 now with wispy blonde hair and sad, hopeful eyes; eyes of a sensitive painter who must feel to create.

It took her three years to paint six panels inspired by her mother’s and father’s stories. And I use the word ‘inspired’ loosely.  It was more of a journey of shared pain for the Israel-born artist. She could barely talk about it without crying.

Watch the video,” she said.  And so I did.

Her mother’s tale of losing her own parents and siblings in the Holocaust is wrenching. Sara finished painting her family’s story in 1995.  The large acrylic piece is full of haunting images of her beaten grandfather, Nazi soldiers, bodies, and death.  It also shows Sara and her siblings, all of whom are successful because of the quiet sacrifices of her parents.

When the video was done, there were three women seated around me and festival volunteers breaking down exhibits.  People had come and gone.  Some had stayed for a while and left; the video is so painful to watch, not even Sara stuck around.

But when it was done, I turned and she was there.  She looked at the expression on my face and said, “Now you understand.” And that’s when I cried.

Hate is wrong,” she said through our tears.  “That’s a lesson we learned. You are a writer and you are a beautiful person. Your words will change the world.

I left the festival crying.  It was about so much more than food and music and knick knacks, it was about a spirited culture that had survived Hell and learned to live and laugh again.  And Sara was the heart of my story.

This is why I love my job. Because I never know whom I will meet and I meet the most amazing people who change my life in one unexpected encounter.  And I get to share their untold stories with the world.

I’m glad I had to work on Sunday…

Kari Cobham is a staff writer at The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Read Kari's Article on Daytona Beach Jewish Heritage Festival.
Visit her blog: A Mi Ver. | Connect with her on Twitter: @KariWrites

Every day I log into my phone station, I recite the mantra, “Locked and Loaded.”  It makes my coworkers laugh.

A writer’s world consists of what the writer must do to create the world they want you to experience.  Sometimes this includes holding down day-jobs so we can gather fodder to mesmerize your mind.  This can go very well or very tediously.  What I’m getting at is, these masterpieces have to come from somewhere.

Lauren Mack, Blogger / Writer

Lauren Mack, Blogger / Writer

What is it that I do when I’m not writing?  I’m in a cubicle, working customer service.  I am just a voice on the other end of your magazine subscription.  Sometimes you are overjoyed with the discount I just gave you.  Other times you are angry I cannot answer the question you should be directing to your post office.  Most times I am just as happy or as mad as you have been towards me.  We experience a roller coaster ride of emotion, together, in a phone call that typically lasts three minutes and fifteen seconds, but I will do my best to get you out of there by two, sharp.  I am ready for the most complicated, irate, impatient, overly happy, polite, begging individuals I didn’t even realize could exist.

The best moments come when I have to explain the unwarranted subscription was included in your eHarmony membership and you suddenly hang up.  Even better is when I have to explain this to a spouse. “I don’t know why he would sign up for eHarmony, ma’am.”  A personal favorite is the man who asked me, “What is the Internet?“  Then I sometimes have to endure the cancellations due to death. The true test for me was being able to take the next call right after the man who explained he lost his leg due to illness and couldn’t afford the magazine and his medical bills. It’s true, what they say about everyone having a story.

You may be asking yourself what all this could do for my writing abilities.  If I’ve learned anything, it’s how to accurately elicit a desired reaction.  I have gained an understanding of even something as small as a monthly publication making a difference in someone’s life.  As a writer, I can only hope I would make a difference in someone’s lifetime…

Why do I love what I do? No matter what I have to do during the day, writing enables me to take any isolated moment and turn it into something we can all share. My goal as a writer is to pull together a story where everyone can find a common chord in my perspective.  If I can do that, then I can share life with all of you…

Lauren Mack's Blog | Lauren Mack on Twitter

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