As many leave the workplace, they start their own business in Bucks County

At the start of the pandemic, Adi Strigl and his family hit the road.

They decided to pack a motorhome and travel across the country to “safely quarantine”.

And along the way, the Doylestown woman found a new career along the way.

She is one of the millions of Americans who have retired from the traditional workforce or changed course since the pandemic, finding new careers and opening new businesses along the way.

It’s part of a big phenomenon called the big resignation, where the ongoing pandemic has given workers the opportunity to re-evaluate their future and seriously consider starting over.

For Strigl, this led to the opening of a youth-centric yoga studio, Yoga Gnome, in Furlong.

It was while on a motorhome excursion with her family that she decided to start her own business.

“When the pandemic hit we were all exhausted and weren’t sure what was going on,” Strigl said. “It was as if the ground had been removed from under our feet and I noticed that my own children were getting upset and anxious.

“So when we got home and found out that schools weren’t going to open and everything was going to be virtual, I threw it to the universe, ‘hey, how about yoga for children. ‘”

CareerLink Wilkes Barre cites a survey report from the Society for Human Resource Management showing that more than 40 percent of American workers are actively looking for new jobs or planning to start soon.

According to CareerLink, the effects of the pandemic on the national labor market are far from over and workers are reassessing what they want from their careers.

Also consider nearly 6 in 10 American workers in a survey last month by job search site LinkedIn said they had experienced a career boost during the pandemic, whether it was a desire. of better work-life balance, deciding to pursue a promotion, or redefining their sense of success, according to a report in USA Today.

From USA Today: ‘Stressed and Exhausted’ Workers Seek More Fulfilling Jobs and Better Work-Life Balance Amid COVID-19

This tumultuous time, and with many suffering from the stress of the pandemic, gave the impetus for licensed professional counselor Jaclyn Borgia to start her virtual consulting business, The Sassy Shrink.

“People, especially women, have faced a lot of grief and losses this year, such as loss of jobs and income; they were so touched, ”Borgia said. “As a caregiver that I am, I wanted to find ways to continue providing care. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to help women in particular and those who identify as women to live the best possible life.

“I have a degree in mental health and The sassy shrinking It’s all about building self-esteem and reshaping self-image, ”said Borgia, from Northampton, where she runs her business. “My goal is to build women’s confidence, make them feel fabulous about themselves and help them live fulfilling lives. . “

Borgia and Strigl aren’t the only ones in this push for entrepreneurship.

In fiscal 2021, the US Small Business Administration made 1,413 loans worth $ 823.9 million to small businesses in the 40 counties that make up the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

“Small businesses have access to the capital they need, which is vital to eastern Pennsylvania and the success of small businesses in our community,” said Steve Dixel, district manager of SBA Eastern Pennsylvania. “SBA loan programs play an important role in helping small businesses succeed and grow. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SBA loan programs provided unprecedented levels of SBA loan assistance. “

Related: ‘It killed our economies’: Businesses hardest hit during COVID, Blacks and Hispanics seek to bounce back

In general, knowing that financing is available is only part of the equation when starting a new business; potential business owners should have a working understanding of everything from buying and acquiring land and property to managing payroll and scale.

Success plan

Going from idea to profitable business involves a series of steps and requires supports along the way that an idealistic entrepreneur may not even know is necessary, experts say.

SCORE Bucks County is a non-profit organization with a stated mission to help entrepreneurs and small businesses. SCORE has assisted small business owners for over 40 years through a nationwide network and is a resource partner with the US Small Business Administration.

“Not everyone is able to start their own business [right away], but they come to us to explore it, ”said Linda Zangrilli, president of SCORE Bucks County. Business.”

Interest in SCORE’s offerings has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

SCORE Bucks County managed 1,200 mentoring sessions in 2019. For 2020, that number increased to 1,767 mentoring sessions, and for fiscal 2021, which ended September 30, the Bucks Chapter processed 3,055 mentoring requests.

“We have more clients coming to us, more people looking for help due to the pandemic,” Zangrilli said. “There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who want to start their own business and now have the time to make that commitment. “

Following: Bucks County businesses have received nearly $ 2 billion in P3 loans. Here’s where the money went

SCORE offers a mentoring program for budding entrepreneurs that focuses on the inner workings of the business, such as accounting, marketing and legal matters.

“Our mission is very simple: to start, grow and prosper,” said Zangrilli. “When people come to us and don’t know what to do, we have a business start-up checklist, which is a huge resource.”

The association also organizes free virtual seminars where information is provided on how to write a suitable business plan, how to obtain financing and other business basics.

But SCORE’s mentoring program is central to its arrangements.

When potential entrepreneurs contact SCORE, they are then matched with a mentor who provides one-on-one assistance every step of the way.

“It’s more than just ‘I have a question’ and we’re answering it,” Zangrilli said. “We try to build relationships with the entrepreneur throughout their journey.”

Borgia, who turned to SCORE at the launch of The Sassy Shrink, said she was grateful for the relationship building.

“SCORE is fantastic. I had the opportunity to connect with my mentor who was able to take my vision and translate it into something real,” Borgia said. “My business has started and everything is looking good, and my mentor is still with me.”

Borgia started meeting her SCORE Bucks County mentor Loni Lassoff in March 2021 and launched her business a few months later.

“Jaclyn is an incredibly bright, caring and capable young woman,” said Lassoff. “She was overwhelmed with the idea of ​​starting her own business and wasn’t even sure she could run her own business.”

The only side effect of the Great Resignation and the booming SCORE business? The association lacks volunteers to meet the growing demand.

A call for volunteers

Zangrilli said it was “a challenge” to meet the demands of a growing customer base. To this end, SCORE has launched a volunteer campaign to encourage professional retirees to volunteer their time and expertise to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“We want new people who have the time and are willing to give back,” said Zangrilli, who started volunteering with SCORE five years ago. “We need committed people. “

Zangrilli herself joined SCORE after her retirement, and said SCORE volunteers come from all walks of life.

“I retired a few years ago and was thinking about what I’m going to do now,” Zangrilli said. “I started looking for opportunities to use my business skills and do it on a voluntary basis and I found SCORE.”

SCORE needs professional volunteers for business mentoring, chapter support, community outreach, local workshop presentations, marketing support and subject matter experts.

Topics covered can include social media and environmentalism, among others, Zangrilli said.

“As long as you’re willing to share your expertise with a business owner,” Zangrilli said. “Accounting and marketing are concepts that people struggle with; they just don’t know them.

“We need people in all of these areas of expertise,” Zangrilli added. “If you are very familiar with digital marketing and social media, we will take you on as a volunteer as long as you are ready to make that commitment.”

If you are interested in becoming a Bucks County SCORE Mentor, please call 215-943-8850 or email [email protected]

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