You Say You Wanna Resolution . . .

Well, you know, we all want to change careers

"Everything is assessed on a case-by-case basis," says Martinez, "but we're willing to be flexible if you've got a good plan and good credit."

SELF's Peer Lending Program doesn't involve a credit check, but applicants without a business plan must complete a free 10-week course in how to prepare one, followed by an additional workshop where they'll pitch their plan to a "Borrowers' Circle" of five to nine PLP graduates.

If it passes muster, you get a $500 loan -- at an "above average" interest rate -- just for going through the process, and after repayment you are eligible for successive "step up" incremental loans up to $5,000. Applicants with a business plan can forgo the course, but must pay a $50 fee.

Details

Moore says the Downtown Phoenix Arts Coalition is negotiating with the City of Phoenix to create a "Downtown Artists Storefront Program." If created, $500,000 worth of grants will be available for purchasing and fixing up commercial buildings, from 16th Street to 19th Avenue and McDowell to Buckeye roads -- with the intent of creating art-related shops, studios, and mixed-use venues.

Lanning says applying for grants and loans usually involves plenty of rigmarole, so pursue every funding option available at the same time.

New business owners are often told to secure enough funding to stay afloat for two years, so Esser suggests bringing together friends to assist you with repairs and putting "sweat equity" into your baby.

"The nice thing about artists is they know labor, they've done drywall and painting before," Esser quips. If major repairs are needed, gather some acquaintances and try to reduce the cost, like when Lanning and friends dug out the old plumbing at the new Stinkweeds store.

There are other ways of stretching your dollar. If you're opening an eatery, Chu says to peruse used restaurant supply stores. Need furniture? Build it yourself or check out thrift shops and have your graffiti artist buddies paint it.

If you've got a great group of friends willing to help, Lanning says, that probably means you're a people person, which is another necessity, along with a few other things.

"I know people with businesses who were knowledgeable and hardworking, and failed because they weren't entrepreneurial or creative enough to take risks. You either have it or you don't."

Arizona Department of Commerce -- Small Business Services
1700 West Washington Street, Suite 600, Phoenix
602-771-1100
www.commerce.state.az.us/SmallBus

Service Corps of Retired Executives -- Arizona

East Valley Chapter: 1201 South Alma School Road, Suite 4800, Mesa
480-833-9020

Phoenix Chapter: 2828 North Central Avenue, Suite 800
602-745-7250
www.scorearizona.org

Maricopa Community Colleges Small Business Development Center
2400 North Central Avenue, Suite 104, Phoenix
480-784-0590
www.dist.maricopa.edu/mccdsbdc

United States Small Business Administration
800-827-5722
http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/

Microloans:

Prestamos CDFI Small Business Lending
1122 East Buckeye Road, Suite B4, Phoenix
602-258-9911
www.prestamos.cplc.org

Self-Employment Loan Fund
1601 North Seventh Street, Suite 340, Phoenix
602-340-8834
www.selfloanfund.org

Additional resources:

The Art of the Start
Although a good chunk of Guy Kawasaki's book The Art of the Start covers how to pitch new ideas within an established corporate structure, this 226-page ode to entrepreneurship packs plenty of sagelike advice to be gleaned, on subjects like writing a killer business plan, finding your niche market, establishing a "beachhead," creating buzz for your biz, cultivating your customer base, and the growing pains you'll experience on the road ahead. Plus, it's recommended by eye lounge's Cindy Dach, and several copies are available at local libraries for checkout.

Arizona Chain Reaction
1250 East Apache Boulevard, Suite 112, Tempe
480-968-9490
www.azcr.org

Book Your Own Fuckin' Life
www.byofl.org

-- Benjamin Leatherman.

So you wanna be . . . an auto body mechanic

There's more to being an auto body mechanic than just banging out some dents with a hammer. But if you have the desire and discipline, a career in this field can be extremely rewarding, not only monetarily (with an annual starting salary of approximately $30,000 to $34,000), but in other ways as well: little to no work on evenings and weekends, and solid job security (automotive service jobs can't be outsourced to other countries). Best of all, you can start working in the field within a year, thanks to a pilot program at the Universal Technical Institute in Avondale. Its new FlexTech program consists of 13 online courses (each lasting four weeks), and lab work in the evenings. The online courses use multimedia to simulate automotive technology, and students can work on their own time, so you won't have to dump your old job until you're ready. Visit www.uticorp.com for more information. -- Niki D'Andrea

So you wanna be . . . a hairdresser

Like to trim ends and tousle locks? Are your friends beating down your door because they can always be assured you won't give them a hair-don't? Maybe you need to do what Jessica Miller did. Miller moved to Arizona from Montana to attend the Carsten Institute in Tempe, where students learn the techniques of the man himself, Carsten Wilms. From the holding of the scissors to the unique approach of cutting while the client and stylist are both standing, Miller says that the school and its stern nine-month/40-hour-week program is for the serious-minded only. Once you're official, she encourages putting in even more hard work to perfect the craft, and network your behind off to build a huge client base. And they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on. For information: www.carsteninstitute.com. -- Amy L. Young

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