When you visit the Bridgepath Career Advisor website, the first thing you’ll see is a statement that should ring true for everyone in the workforce.
“Life’s Too Short To Stay In A Career You Don’t Love.”
It’s a simple sentence but finding a career you love – one that pays the bills too – can be a big challenge. Jill Huggett recognized the difficulty of achieving a rewarding work/life balance and decided to take a huge risk. She’s now a successful small business owner poised for growth. Here’s the story of her entrepreneurial journey and her experience with SmartBiz Loans™.
Jill Huggett knows about job unhappiness first hand. She worked in the financial services sector for over 20 years, eventually rising to a high-paying and high-pressure Vice President position.
“At the time, my children were eight and six. I was leaving home at 7 am and coming home at 7 pm,” she said. “I lived for Fridays and then on Sundays the anxiety set in. I realized that you get one shot at parenting and life in general. I was missing out.”
Huggett took a step back to determine what flexibility would look like. Her goal was to balance her professional career and parenting. Armed with an MBA from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and years of professional success, she determined that her management experience was a perfect fit to help others in career transition.
Bridgepath Career Advisors, LLC was formed in 2011.
“I started this business to help corporate professionals figure out what they want to do for a career that will make them happy, yet meet their financial needs,” Huggett said.
Starting her business didn’t take a lot of capital.
“I did not take out a loan at the time,” she said. “My office was in my home so I could work around the children’s schedules. I used my own money to get certifications and build my website.”
“I work virtually with clients,” said Huggett. “We meet by phone or by Skype. I support them throughout their career transition or job search. My work with them is strategic and tactical, showing them how to network, interview and discuss compensation.”
Huggett typically works with clients for three months and has around ten clients on her roster at a time. She markets her business in several ways.
“I’m a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and a certified Harvard Business School Career Coach for MBA students and alumni. I also get business from LinkedIn and my business is listed on a few websites where people search for coaches.”
Bridgepath began building and she looked towards expansion. “A coaching business can be tough to scale,” she said. “Because I do one-on-one coaching, I only have so many hours in the day. I wanted to provide more services to more people.”
Jill had read articles about different funding options for small business and determined that an SBA loan would be the best fit.
“I went right to SmartBiz®,” she said. “It was so easy and a lot more seamless than a personal loan or mortgage.”
Jill’s previous professional experience helped the process move swiftly.
“Coming from financial services background, I’m on top of that stuff. I did have to put together a balance sheet but got help when I needed and was guided every step of the way.”
Huggett secured a $60,000 SBA loan with low rates and a 10-year term. Her monthly payments are just $697. She has specific plans for the low-cost funds.
“I’m putting together an e-learning platform for clients. I’ve also hired a few resume writers and a virtual assistant. I plan on ramping up digital marketing and will hire an outside firm for that,” she said.
“In 5 years, I would like to have a few more coaches, a full suite of self-paced programs and be a go-to subject matter expert for news organizations and others that bring on career experts. I also hope to have a book under my belt. This SBA loan will help me free up time for that. In 10 years, I’ll still be involved in the day-to-day operations and in 15 years I’d like to be in semi-retirement.”
You can hear the passion in Huggett’s voice when she talks about her role as a mentor and coach.
“It truly does not feel like work. Being able to restore confidence in people after a corporate job has beat up on them is so rewarding. Everyone is under the myth that they can’t do something they love because it won’t pay. My work-life balance is living proof that it can be done and I want people to join me on the bright side. I do work all day long – it’s a full time job but I feel like I’m living life no matter what day of the week it is.”
Not sure if you qualify for an SBA loan? Try the new SmartBiz Advisor™* online, educational tool to learn about how you can get your business SBA or bank loan ready – no cost involved. You can assess key criteria banks consider and where your business stands on each. Learn more about SmartBiz Advisor here.
*What you need to know: The information provided through SmartBiz Advisor, including the Loan Ready Score, is for educational purposes only. SmartBiz Advisor is not a financial or legal advisor as defined under federal or state law. Use of this information is not a replacement for personal, professional advice or assistance regarding your finances or credit history.