Open Your Own Doors to Opportunity

When corporate doors slam in their faces, many job hunters find unique ways to create their own opportunities, as part of a movement we call "Build Your Own Door."

Anyone searching for work doesn't need the latest unemployment numbers to know the US economy is in the ditch.

Nearly one in ten Americans is out of a job. Experts say even more have stopped looking.

Andrew Bouley of North Hollywood got his reality check when he lost a management job in corporate security.

"My job had been to make big businesses profitable for ten years, so I figured somebody would hire me to be a waiter, but nope," according to Andrew Bouley.

So Bouley launched Guerrilla Digital Publishing in his apartment with a concept called "lean start-up".

"You don't wait until you have x amount of dollars in capital to start a business the way that you should, with a store, a phone number, an attorney, an accountant and all this stuff. It's when you just start with what you have," says Bouley.

What Bouley has is an army of unemployed friends who create copy, graphics, photography and design for online catalogs and magazines.

Bouley says, it's home-based and above-board.

"Officially we're an LLC. We registered with the bank," says Bouley. "We can accept credit cards, and all that stuff."

Regina Davis conducts on-site inspections for home-based businesses like Guerrilla Digital Publishing.

"You have to have desk chairs, computer, the Internet. Show that you really are running a business," according to Regina Davis, Field Inspector.

From mortgage brokers to massage therapists, Davis sees an explosion in home-based entrepreneurs.

"A lot of people have been downsized and displaced, laid off, for whatever reason," states Davis. "Maybe trying to get back into the workforce and realizing there's nothing there."

Radio personality Heather Branch is in the workforce yet focused on multiple streams of income.

She began "Best Friends Forever" at her home in Northridge.

The dog-sitting and pet care service lives on her iPhone and is backed up on an old fashioned paper calendar.

"You don't really in this day and age to have a real office or even a real job. Everybody has something they can offer," according to Heather Branch, of Best Friends Forever Pet Services.

Branch credits her license and bonding, and word of mouth with BFF's early success.

"Now I have people that are working for me too. People in Burbank, and people in West Hills," says Branch. "My friends came to me and said they wanted to work for me."

"If you look at it as a full business instead of just, 'this is something I do on the side,' you can make it work," according to Bouley.

"Not only have I created a job for myself, but for my friends as well," says Branch. "My trustworthy friends."

Bouley and Branch say they've met surprising success since launching their respective businesses in the last year.

While Davis runs two businesses from her Sherman Oaks home, field inspections and her own video production company.

Three entrepreneurs on a mission to "build their own doors."

Back to Work: This story is one in a weeklong series focusing on jobs and employment in Southern California.

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