as $10,000 a year for commercial insurance for a 1982 van,” Clark recalls. Instead of getting quotes over the telephone, she started making personal visits to insurance agents to plead her case. Finally, she got a bite from an insurance company that covered her business for only a $500 down payment. Next, she got her business license. “Then I was really in business,” she says. “Come the first day of school, I put my daughter in her car seat and was ready to roll.”
But working nights and driving a bus during the day instantly took a toll. After only two days of officially running her own business, she quit her job at Wachovia. Then there was the challenge of trying to run her business through two more pregnancies that were fairly close together. The second time she got pregnant, four months after launching Kids ‘R’ Travelin’, she opted to take off the following school year so she could raise her two daughters, take a free 13-week course in self employment called Business NOW, and more closely define her customer base. “Initially, I was taking everyone that called. But in my second year of business, I had to limit my customers and only pick up children from selected schools; that made life a lot easier.”
Now Clark’s business is self-sufficient. Her husband Carl quit his job and serves as her partner. Her mother, sister, and sister-in-law are subcontractors. “We have a total of 85 children who we transport among the five of us,” she marvels.
Clark plans to expand the $85,000-a-year business by starting a service for older kids called Teen Taxi. She also plans to start after-school mentoring programs to host a variety of children’s activities, including tutoring, karate, dance, art, and field trips. This may sound ambitious, but Clark has a track record of seeing things that others do not. “I knew this was something I was destined to do,” she beams.
B.E.’s Successpert Speaks:
Edward Brown, a principal of The Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute Inc. in Atlanta, says, “You really begin living when your vision takes over your life.” He says Clark’s journey is a blueprint for successful entrepreneurship. Brown identifies success strategies employed by Clark that you can adopt to achieve your objectives:
- Be open for opportunities. Your internal compass will lead you to opportunities for fulfilling your vision. You should not have preconceived notions going in, but allow opportunities to naturally unfold.
- Create a niche market. To be a successful entrepreneur, your passion should fulfill a need within society. Clark’s passion made the lives of others more manageable and, as a result, they rewarded her in kind.
- Success breeds success. Once you have done the seemingly impossible in meeting your business objectives, other ideas and opportunities seem to miraculously appear. Your mind becomes permanently conditioned for limitless possibilities.
Making It Real Business Grant Winners
Launched in 2000, the Olde English 800 Making It Real Business Series and Grant Competition provides current and aspiring entrepreneurs with a chance to win one of several