Times Herald-Record:

I am a funny mix – a creative spirit raised in a house filled with buttoned-down corporate types. They taught me to be able to succeed in the corporate world; but since I am ultimately happier with knitting needles or a sewing machine than a spreadsheet, I was thrilled to discover that, despite my parents’ concerns, I can actually make money as an artist.

I started my business knowing I would wear many hats as a work-at-home mom. I didn’t realize, however, I would wear even more hats as a small-business owner.

There is Allison the Office Manager, who stocks the raw materials. Allison the Marketing Specialist who handles everything related to “the corporate image” – from the Web site to the business cards to the ribbons used to wrap a gift. And then there are the last two Allisons: Allison the artist (my favorite) and Allison the Vice President of Sales (my least favorite).

Each hat is dependent on the one before. You need the Web site and business cards to support the sales efforts. Once the sales come in, the raw materials need to be here, and then the pieces obviously need to be painted.

As you can imagine, the majority of my time isn’t spent painting; it is spent running the business. And so it goes for many creative types trying to go out on their own. Not having any practical knowledge running a small business (or any business, for that matter), I hate to think of how much time and money I waste trying to figure out some of the basics, and I am sure I am not alone.

My plate is already overflowing, so formal business classes are just not an option. That said, listening to my husband talk about what he is learning in his MBA program, I was inspired to think outside the box to find a way to improve my business acumen.

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Logo from with love, ali B.