Sandy Kaczmarski is 60 years old and starting her own business in an electronic age.
Kaczmarski, originally form Oak Law, Ill., found a home in suburban Geneva and was employed by the Elburn Herald newspaper for a number of years.
As a contributor and guest editor on Patch, Kaczmarski learned the possibilities that go along with posting and aggregating news online. So on Aug. 1, 2012, she made the leap to start her own business.
Kaczmarski is now the CEO Sanderella Inc. and publisher of HawkView.org. She counts herself as a 30-year veteran of the news business, but in many ways, she's starting all over and from the ground up.
Still, what Kaczmarski likes about the news business is what she likes about online journalism.
"What I really like is the diversity," she said. "I meet so many people with such a variety of talents and backgrounds. I get to experience things firsthand that I cover and often get behind-the-scenes where few people go. There is something new to learn every day."
The things she dislikes are also similar — night meetings and long hours. Hard work always has run deep in her family, but she went a different way than her parents, who worked hard at their jobs but found their passion outside of work.
"My father joined his father and brothers as a crane operator, but continued to pursue his love of close-up magic until he died. He never finished high school. My mother was a hillbilly singer, then a housewife. She got a job as ward secretary at a local hospital," Kaczmarski said.
What's the future of work in America? Kaczmarski believes that the entrepreneurial spirit is what will pull the country out of a lackluster economy.
"I think it will take a long time for people to realize what we had is gone," she sadi. "There are new opportunities, but I think too many people are still thinking jobs and careers will be like it was in past generations. The new technology opens up many possibilities. As with any generation, entrepreneurs and anyone with an idea willing to take a risk can still be successful."
She knows the road ahead of her isn't easy.
"Unfortunately, I have slid way down on the economic ladder, but I am hopeful that will change with the new venture," she said. "I am very excited about my job.
"The idea of working from home was still a novelty even a few years ago. Now with wifi and cell phones in everyone's reach, it's much more common. In the field of technology, it is still all over the place. Remember all the wildly successful dot-coms that went bust in a few years about 10 years ago? And yet we still have the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs out there who come up with something life-changing.
"In the field of journalism, I'm afraid overall income is down mostly because the industry is going through a vast change and hasn't found its footing yet."
Kaczmarski hopes to be one of the entrepreneurs that help the industry find its footing. And she likes the idea of starting off on her own—even at the age of 60—very much.
"My parents were programmed to work for someone else and weren't able to look beyond at other options," she said. "I have a college education, I have a new career. Despite the challenges, I think we're better off."