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Supplies and Demands

Handling the administrative side of your business can be a culture shock.

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This story appears in the March 2006 issue of Start Up.

It's the first Monday morning of your new life as a self-employed business owner. Your nameplate from your old corner office now has a place of honor in your den. Your computer is fired up, and your Mont Blanc pen is ready for action next to your blank appointment book. So now what?

If you're used to having support staff at your beck and call to handle matters large and small, you could be in for a real jolt of culture shock on your first solo day. "If you're not a hands-on person [and you] only know how to delegate, the transition to self-employment can be tough," says John Zambelli, 61, who was previously COO of a retail menswear chain and now owns NaturesPet.com, an Elmwood, New Jersey-based company selling natural and holistic pet products. "I've seen many executives who are spoiled rotten and would say, 'What, me, make copies?' But when you're not in the ivory tower anymore, you've got to get real, fast."

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