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Real Stories

Being Your Own Boss

The facilitator should begin this activity by saying:
Donald Faison said: "A lot of people choose the freelance life or they run their own businesses...but being your own boss brings with it a lot of financial responsibilities." Today's activity will help you decide if you might like to run your own business.

The facilitator should ask the following questions:

  1. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ aapproximately 50% of the workers in America and account for 60-80% of new job growth. Are you surprised by those numbers? Can anyone name a small business locally that employs people you know?
  2. What do you think would prompt a person to open a small business and become his/her own boss?

Facilitator Tip: Prior to beginning this activity, the facilitator may want to go to the local Chamber of Commerce website to generate a list of local small businesses such as a florist shop, auto repair shop, gas station, restaurant or pizzeria.

Next, the facilitator should divide the large group into smaller groups. Each group will have to complete the following tasks. Individual skills should determine how group members complete the tasks:

  1. Develop a list of questions for interviewing a local business owner and his/her employees. Questions for employees should focus on the positives and negatives of working for a small business such as:
    • How long did it take for you to start your business from concept to reality?
    • How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
    • How many hours a day/week do you devote to your business?
    • What is the best part of being self-employed?
    • What is the worst part of being self-employed?
    • Could you ever become an employee at someone else's business after the experience of self-employment?
  2. Research the following:
    • What is the definition of a small business?
    • What types of assistance does the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide to Americans interested in starting a business?
    • How does the local Chamber of Commerce, or any other local group, provide assistance to small businesses?
    • What impact do small businesses have on the local economy?
    • What impact do "big box retailers" have on small businesses?
  3. Prepare a multi-faceted presentation that could include an oral report, a digitized or videotaped version of the interviews conducted, and/or computer graphics.

Each group should be assigned a designated day to make its presentation to the larger group. Individual groups will decide how to best share their information with the larger group.

Facilitator Tip: Decide in advance the time allotment for each presentation.

The facilitator should conclude the activity with the following:
In this segment of "Your Life, Your Money," we heard Tim Bouchard say: "I decided to break off into my own business because I personally love having creative control and a close relationship with the clients - from start to finish." Have you been convinced that becoming a small business owner is something that you might consider? Use facts to defend your opinion.