GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - If you go into business for yourself you can expect a few struggles along the way.
But those who succeed say it’s worth the sleepless nights for a shot at financial freedom.
Earlier this year on 11 News Anchor Jean Reynolds introduced you to four local entrepreneurs who started running their business right in the middle of the recession.
In this special report, Building Business, she asks where are they now?
Jeff Wiley’s status in the business world was rising when we last saw him in a crowded room at the Business Incubator.
Then, he stayed busy selling bags to companies worldwide.
"We've had a lot of low points, when we didn't think things would work out,” he says.
Things have worked out, in a big way.
Jeff left the Incubator, purchased a second company and will now manufacture his product.
“The first thing I thought was ‘you're kidding me’ because I told my wife wouldn't it be funny someday if we ran this company and here we are,” he says.
Now that Jeff’s able to make the bags he only used to be able to sell, he’s moved both operations and his newly-acquired company ‘American Bag’ to a location on Kimball Avenue.
The move will be good for him personally and for the community.
"We're planning to keep our current employees and will add six to eight jobs next year,” he says.
Remember electrician Brian Harrison from Blue Moon Electric?
Despite facing a decline in local construction, he’s managed to maintain enough work to keep two full-time employees on the payroll.
“We had a great year, but I've learned a lot about myself personally,” he says.
The lesson learned: to boost the bottom line, watch your margins.
"Some nights I don't know where the money comes from but that serves as an incentive,” he says.
Now armed with new business knowledge, Brian’s more diligent, and is going after new business, installing solar panels and energy-efficient lighting.
“This door costs $8,000 and is going to a home in Aspen, says Timeless Millworks owner Triston Arisawa.
He’s is still making high-end doors and custom kitchens for some of the most exclusive homes in Mesa County and nearby mountain towns.
To stay competitive, he's slashed prices.
"As long as they have money, we'll still be in business,” he says.
Triston’s seen a few slow days, but any free time now goes toward advancing his education.
He’s confident that learning more skills is the best way to bolster his business long-term.
Now to the workout world and Anytime Fitness branch owner Eddie Elari.
Construction at his club back in March wasn’t even complete.
Now it has stylish equipment, two new managers, two trainers and 500 members.
"We're performing well above expectations, doing very well,” he says.
Eddie says the secret to his early success is in the business model.
That includes 24 hour access, limiting membership numbers and extra personal attention for clients.
"There were a lot of naysayers that said ‘are you sure in this economy’ and we believed that people would step up and want to take care of their health. In this industry, we just proved that it worked,” he says.
Eddie, Jeff, Triston and Brian have all assumed sizeable risk for a shot at financial freedom, but all believe it’s worth it.
Now they can offer words of wisdom to those considering a similar path.
Triston says, “I think if you have dream you need to follow it ‘cause there's no point in doing something you don't love to do.”
“You try to keep a positive outlook, everything that helps to make you a better person,” Brian says.
Eddie advises, “As far as doing business, you've got to believe in what you're doing and we believe in this.”
And Jeff says stick with it. “Just keep trying, don’t take no for an answer. It’s difficult and you can make it and be all the more solid.”
The Grand Junction Business Incubator worked with three of the four businesses we featured. They work with individuals who want to start and grow their companies.