Wednesday, 5 August 2009

From unemployed to self-employed

Courtney Adams has always loved cooking. As a kid she baked brownies for her friends and in college her apartment was the place to go to for a home-cooked meal. But she never thought she'd cook for a living. That is until she was laid off from Sony music in December, after working in the music business for more than eight years.

She started the new year without a job and no substantial savings.

Courtney Adams, owner of Uptown Comfort, saying:

"You don't learn how to save until you realize what the effects of not saving could be. I was financially responsible but my lifestyle was according to working. It changes very drastically."

After recovering from the shock, Adams launched her catering company called Uptown Comfort.

Courtney Adams, owner of Uptown Comfort, saying:

"My boyfriend Chris was the first one to say 'you know people would pay for this'. You've been entertaining for a really long time and maybe that's what you really should do because it's something I'm passionate about."

Courtney participated in Fasttrac, a program that helps new entrepreneurs with their business plans.

Tom Moebus is the Vice President of The Levin Institute which helps organize the program.

Tom Moebus, Vice President of The Levin Institute, saying:

"Times like this people are definitely more apt to start their own businesses, they're out of work, they're trying to make something happen and they'll use this opportunity."

Adams, who is self-taught, focuses on comfort food like lasagna, mac and cheese and bbq chicken sliders. On small jobs she cooks from her home. For the larger contracts she rents an incubator kitchen and hires extra staff. Her cash flow is tight but she has no regrets.

Courtney Adams, owner of Uptown Comfort, saying:

"For each person you really have to figure out what your skills are and how they can be exploited. The same way you work for anybody else you can easily work for yourself."

Since starting her business three months ago, Adams has landed ten clients mainly through word-of-mouth and networking. She also recently catered an event for 500 people.

Karina Huber, Reuters.