Meet Donna Maria, QCity Metro’s small business columnist

Twenty-two years ago, I quit a lucrative job as an attorney in my hometown of Washington, D.C., to start my own business. My friends and family members thought I had lost my mind, but I knew exactly what I was doing.

I was replacing outdated and traditional notions of work with more progressive and flexible ways to support myself, on my own terms.

Fast forward to today, and I can look back and say that I made the right decision.

Entrepreneurship has provided me with opportunities and relationships I never would have had in a traditional work environment. And the best part is that I get to define how I work to suit my lifestyle. I don’t have to work to satisfy someone else. I work to satisfy myself and my customers.

You can do it too, and I’m here to help. And now is the time!

Citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the New York Times reported that more than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021, up from 4.2 million the previous month and the most quits in the two decades that the government has tracked the data.

This phenomenon, which has become known as “The Great Resignation” or “The Big Quit,” is not a surprise to me. For 22 years, from my perch in my comfortable home office (which has sometimes been my car or a local coffee shop), I have watched my friends and colleagues grow weary of traditional notions of employment. But up until the pandemic, most seemed reasonably content with the status quo.

The pandemic certainly turned the status quo on its head. On the upside, it gave all of us an opportunity to discover new ways to support ourselves and our families without having a traditional job and on terms that suit our personal lifestyle goals. 

It is true that the pandemic has resulted in additional significant outcomes, in particular, the great loss of life. But there is optimism in the air.

Today, an increasing number of people are starting businesses not because they have to, but because they want to.

Through my work at the Indie Business Network and as a certified entrepreneur mentor and coach, I work with thousands of these business owners every month. Many of them know that it’s now or never, and they are taking advantage of this unique time in history to finally pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

This is such an exciting time. Combining unique skills and educational backgrounds with the power of the Internet and their personal and community connections, people are starting businesses as influencers, personal lifestyle coaches, candle makers, indie beauty businesses, natural and self-care coaches, artisan food product makers, social media experts, virtual assistants and more!

And they are figuring out how to be successful without spending a lot of money to get started. For example, many of the women I mentor start tiny businesses they can run from kitchen tables. They have no employees, and they hire contractors to do work they cannot do themselves.

To market their businesses, they ask for referrals, use free social media accounts like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, and they hit the ground running, hosting virtual sales events hosted on a free Zoom account from the comfort of their homes.

Instead of spending time writing a fancy business pan, hoping for a business grant or loan, and digesting all of the sad and depressing news about inflation and the failing economy, they are rolling up their sleeves and making it happen.

Does that sound like you? Or does it sound like the you that you want to become? If so, then this column is for you.

I’ll be helping you roll up your entrepreneurial sleeves and build your own successful business … or two, or three!

Let’s do this!

As I embrace my new role as QCity Metro’s small business columnist, my first priority is to respond to your needs.

Send me your questions and comments using this form.

What are your most pressing business challenges? How can I help your business be more profitable, successful and fun? What questions do you have?

I cannot wait to hear from you!

In the meantime, please feel free to email me anytime at

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