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High on Life

Genuine enthusiasm translates to good business in any language.

Hyon Bradford's happiness may be easily visible, but her true success lies hidden in the pages of her life. As a teenager, Bradford came to the United States from South Korea. She graduated from college, but married young and took on the role of homemaker. When she later divorced, she faced the intimidating task of entering the work force.

Owning and operating a cosmetology business for 11 years helped Bradford gain financial independence, but it wasn't until 2002, when she purchased a Profit-Tell International franchise in Fairfax, Virginia, that she discovered purpose in her life. As a franchisee, Bradford, 47, sells marketing tools such as on-hold advertising, voice-activated Web sites and talking newsletters to businesses.

Unlike the services she sells, her life is rarely on hold, as indicated by her projected 2004 sales of $100,000. Bradford is always busy contacting businesses and giving presentations to potential customers. "I'll always be active," she says. "That's my nature, and I'm happy."

Bradford's personality has helped her overcome her fears of doing business in a language other than her own. To avoid negative first impressions, she forgoes the phone whenever possible and instead goes door-to-door. "Once they see me, they notice the person rather than the language barrier," she says.

As soon as a deal is made, Bradford transforms into a technician. Standing on a ladder in heels and a skirt, she installs the equipment right then and there, much to her clients' surprise. "They're amused at how I do it," she says. "It's not about money; it's [about] accomplishment. It feels great."

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This article was originally published in the September 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: High on Life.

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