Helping others find work they love

At Community Futures Central Kootenay, it's all about helping workers see their potential

Jennifer Chocolates in Nakusp is one of Pamela Clausen's clients.

Jennifer Chocolates in Nakusp is one of Pamela Clausen's clients. — Photo courtesy Pamela Clausen

Pamela Clausen is a firm believer that anyone can learn to run a business. Not only that, but she is there to help people do just that.

Clausen works as a trainer/self-employment counsellor for Community Futures Central Kootenay. The non-profit organization is based in Nelson, but her work spans the entire Central Kootenay region.

Clausen has worked with Community Futures Central Kootenay for 15 years and it is clear from her responses to our questions that she loves her job which, in essence, is helping other people find work they love.

Tell us what it is that you do.

I teach people how to complete a business plan, then support them in their first year of business with counselling and training workshops.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Helping unemployed people who can't find work to research, start and run a small business for themselves, so they can make a living in the communities they have chosen to live and raise their families in.
I love helping them see their potential, building confidence, taking a hobby or skill set and turning it into a business. Anyone can learn to run a business.

The best feeling is when you see people a year down the road running their business and they tell you they never thought they  could do it—that they were scared and now feel so empowered because they understand and can do their bookkeeping and cash flow and, while they are working harder than before, they love what they're doing all day.

What tips would you give to someone looking to get into your career?

You have to enjoy helping people with business challenges as well as the personal struggles they face when transitioning from employment to self-employment—it can be scary for them!

A background in small business and working in different sectors is helpful, but a business is a business. You have a product, customers, a marketing plan and a cash flow.

Most of what I do after teaching them the basics for their business is help them develop their skills and learn to problem solve on their own for when the inevitable challenges arise in running their business.

What do you enjoy about living in the Kootenays?

Within five minutes of my home or work I can be alone somewhere in the woods and go for a walk, swim in a lake or river on my lunch hour, and the ski hill is 10 minutes away. The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the Kootenays is amazing! There are so many people with so many different ideas.

RESOURCES: futures.bc.ca

Sandra Albers

Since 2007, Sandra has enjoyed hearing about new businesses, expanding businesses and unique businesses, as well as learning more about the long-time successes in the business community of the Kootenays. She writes, as well as copy edits and proofreads, for both magazine and website, and welcomes input from our readers. View all of Sandra Albers’s articles

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