Saturday, April 13, 2013

Part-Time Entrepreneurs

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Name: Melissa Tomkiel
Day job: Lawyer
Side business: Fly The Whale
Melissa Tomkiel handled a variety of small business and startup clients as an attorney with a law firm in Manhattan. That experience came in handy when she helped a friend start a private charter airline company, and eventually gave up her job to became its co-owner.

"My father said I would always have my law license. But that I only live once and I should go for it," she said. With her aviation company up and running, Tomkiel is also making time to practice law again.
Said Tomkiel: "I love doing both things. I probably would have made a lot more money working at a law firm full time but not as much fun as I have owning my business."

Name: David Plafchan
Day job: Senior copywriter at Deutsch Inc.
Side business: Co-owner of The Bouqs
"In advertising, you're always creating and communicating for someone else," said David Plafchan, a copywriter in Los Angeles. "In the end, you have to let your creation go."

Hoping to build something more lasting, three months ago he co-founded The Bouqs. It's an online flower seller that delivers flowers cut fresh on an eco-friendly farm the company owns in Ecuador. Arrangements sell for a flat price of $40, including shipping.

"I want to be a part of its growth and feel like I am creating something more permanent," he said. He's also glad to have a chance to develop new skills. "I am being a leader," he said.

Name: Chakri Paila
Day job: Consultant
Side business: Hagar Collars
As an independent business consultant, Chakri Paila is an expert in solving other companies' problems. "It's always easier giving advice to someone else than being the one who needs the help," he said.

That changed when Paila acquired a struggling startup, Hagar Collars, last year because he felt passionate about their product -- a first aid brace for pets that's an alternative to the traditional lampshade collars, which can be restrictive and uncomfortable.

"Hands down I enjoy being an entrepreneur more," said Paila. "Every time an order comes in I get so much satisfaction. I want to grow my business and do it full time."

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