Are You Satisfied?

At The Helm

A second facet of fulfillment is control. Successful entrepreneurs have the power to make choices in their lives--about where they live, how they work and how their work impacts their lives. That's not to say entrepreneurs are enjoying a free-for-all, running their businesses from private yachts; taking 51-week vacations; and spending long, unfettered hours doting on their children. This is reality, after all.

But entrepreneurs aren't helpless, either--far from it. Deborah Rosado Shaw, 38, whose Chester, New Jersey, company, Umbrellas Plus LLC, specializes in designing and importing umbrellas, rain gear, beach chairs and children's patio furniture, sees power as central to her success. "I live a mile from my office," she says. "I have flexibility in my work--which doesn't mean I work less, but it means I can work on my own terms. I structure my life the way I want to structure it."

Shaw also explores new avenues of expression that have opened because of her success. In addition to running her multimillion-dollar company, she is an inspirational speaker and author of the forthcoming book Dream Big: Power Strategies for Women in Business. "I couldn't have [imagined] when I started [in 1987] that I'd be writing a book for Simon & Schuster or that I'd be making a lot of money from public speaking," says Shaw. "These are things I didn't even know I could do.

"Being an entrepreneur has given me choices," Shaw explains. "I started with nothing, in Spanish Harlem, and now I'm a self-made millionaire. I don't have to work another day in my life, and I'm 38 years old--that's power."

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Are You Satisfied?.

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