Startup Journal:

When the subject of work comes up at social gatherings, Gretchen Schulz is used to taking a turn as the center of attention. “People say, ‘You’re a private investigator? I can’t believe that,’ ” says Ms. Schulz, owner of Schulz Investigative Service in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

The perceived glamour is part of the appeal of the business. For private eyes who are self-employed, like Ms. Schulz, the lure of independence and freedom from oversight is a powerful draw. One-third of the 48,000 private detectives in the U.S. are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ms. Schulz went to work as a secretary for a private detective in 1993 and eventually began doing investigative work. Three years ago, she became a licensed private investigator and opened her own firm.

One benefit is the flexibility of being her own boss. “I like the fact that I can come and go as I want,” she says. “I can take a week off if I want to go to the Bahamas.” She also enjoys the variety of work. “Every case is different, and every situation is different,” she says.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on January 7, 2006 in Profiles.


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