Yakima Home Business Owners Enjoy Independence, Challenges

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Originally published in March 2017

Starting a home-based business requires confidence, courage and a little creativity.

Maybe some startup capital.

But not all home business owners decide to go it alone for the same reasons.

Life events, such as a family illness, might push someone toward becoming an entrepreneur.

Some professionals are tired of the daily grind. Others are in search of a career change.

A number of Yakima entrepreneurs are discovering the many benefits afforded to them by working from home.

And not because they can do a load of laundry in between projects.

“People ask me how I can work from home when there are so many distractions, but I really try to keep my work separate,” said Megan Beyer, an Eisenhower High grad who started Beyer Architects out of her Scenic Drive home last year. She spent the previous six years as a project manager with KDF Architecture.

“The reason it works is that this is my space and I don’t have to think about all of the other things I have going on. I like to work and I like what I do, so I look forward to coming down here.”

Beyer and her husband, Quinn Plant, weren’t looking to move in late 2015. But when the ideal home-office space presented itself, they started talking about the possibilities.

“I was ready for a career change, but when I left (KDF), I had no idea how it was going to work,” Beyer said. “I already had a lot of good contacts from having grown up here. So once I learned how to operate a small business, I was able to get back to doing what I enjoy.”

A Career And A Lifestyle

Other home-based businesses don’t begin by choice but out of necessity.

Ana Bazadoni of Yakima started Light Delight, a gluten-free baking company, out of her garage because she needed to support her family.

Her husband, James, suffered a stroke in 2012 and was unable to return to his longtime position with Yakima County.

Down to her last $200, Bazadoni, then a part-time accountant, figured out a plan to combine her baking and business management skills.

“I love to bake, so I tried to figure out a product that no one else has,” said Bazadoni, who holds three business degrees. “I also wanted to lose weight and improve my husband’s health.

“So I researched how to build a gluten-free baking business and started working with an amazing reseller (JNS Enterprises). Now we have 400 different products and we’re being sold all over Eastern Washington.”

But if you rewind back to four years ago, life was more than a little complicated for Bazadoni.

She wasn’t sure if her husband would survive his stroke and she had to provide for her 10-year-old twins. That desire to confront reality is what brought Light Delight to life.

“Everything was a mess at that time, but I knew we had to go forward,” Bazadoni said. “The gluten-free idea came to me because I had diabetes and was trying to lose weight. It wasn’t just a business idea but also a lifestyle change. We are all much healthier since we started following a different diet.”

All of Light Delight’s products are 100 percent gluten-free and approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

Bazadoni says she has memorized at least 400 recipes and is always playing with new ideas. But she rarely has time to rest.

“We’re growing really fast, so I needed some help,” said Bazadoni, who just hired her older son, Matias Mignone, and his wife, Isidra, to help fulfill her long list of orders.

“My twins also do whatever I need them to. This is a true family business,” she said.

Pursuing New Challenges

Diana Welch didn’t set out to run a human resources business out of her home; it just happened.

The former HR director at Tree Top, the city of Yakima and Kittitas Valley Hospital always has enjoyed working with companies to maximize employee productivity and effectiveness.

She enjoys it so much that she could no longer do HR work for just one organization.

“I love being able to do what I love and call it work,” said Welch, who started Yakima Human Resources and Management Solutions out of her home in 2009.

“Working for a variety of clients and having the freedom to do other things I enjoy is exactly what I had been hoping for. I think the freedom at this point in my life is the best part.”

Welch works some of the time from home and also has an office space at her husband’s company in Union Gap. Right now she is focused on providing training and support for a number of companies in the Yakima Valley, including Tree Top, Allan Bros., Shields and Yakima Heart Center.

“I do a lot of different kinds of work for my clients, but a lot of times they just tell me what they need and I go and coach up their employees,” Welch said.

Her business involves some recruitment and hiring, some auditing and other HR-related duties. But nowadays, she is focusing primarily on her supervisory training courses.

This spring she will hold two sessions. The first is April 25-26 at the Yakima Area Arboretum and cost is $225 per person. The second is in May through the Yakima Community Development Association and details will be forthcoming.

“I use five levels of training, so it’s pretty intensive,” Welch said. “But when you’re done with the program, you see how much each step relates to the others.”

The first level is a self-reflection/analysis; second is a PowerPoint presentation; third are group discussions and role playing; fourth is goal setting; and fifth is accountability.

“I try to link the training back to the company, supervisor or peer leader so that people can attain the goals they have set,” she said. “We want to be sure we get the outcome we’re looking for.”

Working with people and improving their skills gives Welch a great deal of satisfaction, and she’s glad she gets to spread her wisdom around rather than having to bottle up her knowledge for just one company.

“This kind of work is just me,” she said. “This is exactly what I saw myself doing someday.”

Just Take A Chance

Yakima editor Dori Harrell wasn’t sure what she would do for work after an extended medical leave forced her to postpone her journalism career in 2003.

The former business and education reporter for the Yakima Herald-Republic and The Seattle Times was battling a condition called Chiari malformation, which required her to undergo two brain surgeries that year.

After she had recovered, Harrell thought about going back to school to get a master’s degree. But then she considered working for herself.

“I had met some local authors and they told me how much of a demand there was for editing services around here,” said Harrell, who started Breakout Editing in 2014. “So I thought, ‘why not?’

“I had no idea what I was doing, and it was a little risky. But I had some people help me spread the word and now I’m busy every day.”

Harrell expanded her client circle by building a website, stopping by Inklings Bookstore regularly and getting to know more local authors.

The first author she met with about an editing project hired her on the spot, setting up the business for a potential … breakout.

“I have been busy since day one,” said Harrell, a University of Washington grad who also worked for the Columbia Basin Herald in Moses Lake before coming to Yakima. “I’ve been fortunate to never have a lag between jobs, and now it’s gotten so big that I am scheduling clients months out.”

Breakout Editing’s clients come mostly from the independent writing community, which has grown leaps and bounds in recent years with new self-publishing options.

Harrell edits fiction and nonfiction books, website content, blogs and articles for various publications. She releases about 25 books per year and her clients must schedule her three months in advance.

She’s also a senior editor for CreateSpace.com, doing quality control for manuscripts after they’ve gone through another editor.

“I’m working 50 to 70 hours every week, but it’s my passion so it’s easy,” she said. “I’d call it a vocation and an avocation. I love it.”

Better Than Just Work

What most home-based business owners have in common is that they love what they do. Even if they start out as a novice, they quickly find that they will get out of the business what they put into it.

“At some point, you just have to take a chance,” said Beyer, of Beyer Architects. “I really liked my job at KDF, but I thought now would be the best time to do my own thing. It may be too late if I wait 10 more years.”

Beyer — like other home-based business owners ­— mostly enjoys using the skills she has honed over the years to provide a much-needed service in the community.

“It’s important to me that my kids don’t see work as being a job,” said Beyer, a mother of two. “It’s just what you do, and if you aren’t enjoying yourself, you have to make a change.”

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