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This month’s Your Life Calling segment profiles the delicious reinvention of Antoinette Little, a former law firm administrator who opened a chocolate shop in Phillipsburg, NJ. Jane Pauley swung by the Today Show this morning to premiere the piece (and to give Meredith Vieira one of Antoinette’s boxes of assorted truffles – yum!), and this afternoon she and Antoinette joined retirement expert Kerry Hannon in a live online chat. Little talked about her sweet new entrepreneurial life, and Hannon offered up extensive advise for those looking to find their dream job. Here are some highlights:
Ed: I am 54 and at a fork in the road, I have 20 years as a lawyer and feel it’s time to make a change, my wife is very supportive. I just can’t seem to make the leap. I guess fear is the major obstacle, fear of screwing up, failure etc.
Kerry Hannon: Ed, Change is scary. But it’s important to have your wife on board. You need to go slow. No rash moves. It’s tough after you have done something with success for so many years to start over in a new field. It’s a psychological challenge. I advise people to take it slow. But do something proactive each day to start your path. Money is the biggest stumbling block to making a change. For most people, a career restart comes with a financial price tag, particularly if you don’t have the cushion of a partner’s income or a retirement or severance package. It might mean a sizable pay cut to pursue work in a more philanthropic field, the costs of a start-up if you’re launching your own business, a hefty tuition bill for more schooling, or a temporary loss of medical and retirement. But the key is to get started on a path. Doing one thing each day.
Sabrina: I want to open a cupcake and more shop, but before I do I want to test the waters not sink a lot of money into something that might not work. The health department says you can’t have a home catering license. How do you get started?
Jane Pauley: Sabrina, Antoinette is a very upbeat, positive, optimistic, can-do person and says “Don’t listen to the naysayers.” However, in the next breath she said, “Do your homework.” For instance, are there already other cupcake businesses in your area? Are you prepared, as she is, to go several years working long hours with no paycheck in sight yet?
Sam: Antoinette, do the many responsibilities of owning your own business ever keep you awake at night?
Antoinette Little: Sam, Jane asked me to compare my wake at night factor now with the sleepless nights I had working at the law firm. I do think about the job and sometimes it keeps me awake, but it is creative thinking and not a worrying process. It’s a much more relaxed “wakefulness,” if that makes sense.
Jane Pauley: Wishing you happy holidays! And tell your friends about our monthly web chats. We cover a lot of interesting territory so the more the merrier!

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