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Chambers of commerce can help you get your foot in <I>lots</I> of doors.

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This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Although photographer Melissa Leeper enjoys traveling to photo locations and meeting people, she describes attending her first local chamber of commerce event as more than a little intimidating. "They had me stand up, and they introduced me. I was so nervous," recalls Leeper, 35, who founded Leeper Photo, her own homebased studio, nearly two years ago and is a member of the Greater Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, a suburban Detroit group.

"Joining the chamber and the Business Women's Network really helped me make the transition from a corporate environment to [entrepreneurship]," agrees training and communication consultant Christine Gloss, a past BWN president. "It gave me a lot of practice in talking about my business and what I do."

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