Debra Bell of Hermon came to Women, Work and Community when she was laid off from the Bangor Daily News. Bell Imaging & Design LLC, had been her part-time venture with a long-term goal of becoming full-time. In 2013, she launched Bell’s Furry Friends Photography, a pet photography division.
But she was stuck, feeling lost and in need of hope and structure. Despite being operational since 2006, Debra never wrote a business plan.
“I didn’t think I had to, since I never asked anyone for money,” she said. “But when I began looking at taking my business full-time, I realized I needed to but didn’t know where to start. New Ventures taught me structure and gave me the confidence I needed to be a stronger and smarter business owner.”
Debra’s biggest challenge had been financial management. New Ventures taught her how to keep detailed records correctly and how to forecast.
“It was exciting to see how setting goals could result in being sustainable,” she said. “It isn’t so scary, overwhelming, and confusing anymore.”
In 2014, Debra is working full-time job at the University of Maine as a graphic designer to help create financial stability while she continues to build her businesses. This year she is poised to purchase new equipment, build on class relationships and continue growing her businesses.
“I am so grateful to this program for introducing me to amazing and smart women, and also for helping me when I was feeling lost and isolated,” she said. “The future looks amazing.”