Need Inspiration? Read About This 9/11 Entrepreneurial Dream Chaser
Debbie Rosenfeld is a World Trade Center survivor. She nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning when terrorists attacked the building in 1993. That didn’t stop her from working for companies in the buildings. She kept working there for the next eight years. She might have died on 9/11, except she had Tuesdays off.
Rosenfeld watched in horror as the World Trade Center Towers collapsed. "We're outta here," were the first words out of her husband's mouth when he finally reached his wife by phone late in the afternoon of September 11. Rosenfeld was understandably traumatized and no longer able to work in the city, so she telecommuted. Eventually, her husband got a job in Columbus, Ohio and the couple moved there.
Rosenfeld continued telecommuting for her New York-based company until the firm decided to bring all employees in-house. She lost her job—but found a true love in photography. In fact, her “therapy” developed into her very own photography business she started in Ohio. Now, Rosenfeld is a full-time artist.
"This was the silver lining in the dark cloud of September 11," she says. "If I was still working in New York, I would not have been able to take the risk to start my own business."
Shortly after their move to Ohio, Rosenfeld submitted some of her work to the Columbus Metropolitan Library through a call for photography/art submissions. Two pieces got accepted and one piece sold within a day.
"It was a pivotal moment in my life," says Rosenfeld. "My husband said this is your chance to pursue your dreams, take it!" Now, you can see in her photographic portfolio on display at Debbie Rosenfeld Fine Art Photography and various galleries across the United States.
Rosenfeld's goal is to grow her photography business enough to earn a salary and hire several employees. Understanding the importance of work-life balance is what Rosenfeld calls her biggest life lesson. Most of her life, she's lived and worked in what she calls the "rat race."
"When we lived in New Jersey, we went to four Broadway shows in 25 years,” says Rosenfeld. “We never had the time or money for life outside of work. You need a full-time job just to pay New Jersey property taxes.”
The events of 9/11 changed her world and her outlook forever. "After September 11, I asked myself, why am I doing this when it could be over in a minute? You could wake up one beautiful morning and it can all be snatched away from you," says Rosenfeld.
So while you are chasing your entrepreneurial dreams, remember to stop and smell the roses. Work-life balance is a must, whether you live in New York or Ohio or somewhere in between.
Check out this video on work-life balance: