Chasing the dream in a tough economy

May 5, 2009 10:08:19 PM PDT
Orlando Cruz wants to be an entrepreneur. "There are four chips that are face down. The first child to flip over four chips wins," Orlando Cruz said as he showed off his invention.

Cruz's game is called 'Free-a-Bug.' He designed it for kids ages four and up. And while the board game hasn't hit store shelves or classrooms just yet, the 52-year-old hopes his creation will ultimately provide him with a steady source of income.

"I'm motivated. I feel I have the tenacity to see it through. I'm determined one or another to make this happen," he said.

Because of the economy, the small business counselors at SCORE have seen a lot of that determination lately.

"We've been experiencing up to six people a day, spread over three counselors that are here. Prior to that there was virtually no one here," Frank Esposito explained.

Kenneth Li and Mike Berlay say the special incentives offered through President Obama's stimulus plan will hopefully get their custom auto accessories business off the ground.

"We came to SCORE because we need a better business plan. It feels like the business plan we have now is not so great, so we needed some guidance," Li said.

But sometimes that guidance is not the news people want to hear.

Kathy Lewis and Leslie Potenciano started their parenting and childbirth education business two-and-a-half years ago. They have yet to write themselves a paycheck.

"If your intent is to take money out as soon as you've started, you're not going to build very much," Lewis said.

Lewis and Potenciano have put every dollar they've earned backed into their business. Now, the timing for expansion couldn't be better.

"It happens to be the organic trend is what's happening now. So as childhood educators, we definitely want to be on that trend if not ahead of that trend," Potenciano said.

Good advice from two women who say hard work, complete dedication and endless patience are essential ingredients for the successful entrepreneur.

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