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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Small biz ownership a better life

By Roger Pierce

People are drawn to entrepreneurship for different reasons. For instance, a person may be experiencing extreme job stress, burnout and intense dissatisfaction as a result of following an employer's agenda. "I was one of those people who badly needed a lifestyle change," entrepreneur Keith Jewell says.
Keith Jewell bought The Wood Room Furniture Company in Burlington to create a better life for himself and his family.

Jewell owns The Wood Room Furniture Company (, a retail store offering finished and ready-to-finish solid wood furniture. It's located at 484 Plains Road East in Burlington.

Like many "corporate escapees," Jewell was feeling the negative effects of working for a large company.

"I was a corporate trainer and spent many years on the road away from my family," he says. "Ironically, my job was to teach others how to work and play better so I finally decided to follow my own advice by becoming self-employed."

Jewell wanted to re-establish roots and regain control of his schedule and life. He found the perfect opportunity when he discovered that the owners of The Wood Room were planning to retire. He bought the company 18 months ago.

Tough adjustments

Adjusting to longer working hours, multiple responsibilities and income uncertainty can be tough for new entre- preneurs. However, the freedom to set one's own hours, deciding priorities and integrating personal and business life make self-employment very appealing for many people.

"I feel more connected with my family, friends and community," Jewell says. "Being an entrepreneur is not all fun and games, but it's so fantastic to watch your own ideas catch on and grow."

Jewell says he doesn't mind the long hours and steep learning curve associated with small business ownership because he's the beneficiary of such efforts. "Running your own venture is one of the most satisfying ways to earn a living," he says. "I could never go back to working for someone else."

-- Entrepreneurship expert Roger Pierce trains people on how to start a small business in the Up & Running Biz Launch Program.

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