Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Darlene Carver, Founder of Merlin & Associates, Inc., located in Ijamsville, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a boutique consulting firm specializing in training future leaders and improving the bottom line through workshops, seminars, and coaching. My clients can be the housekeeping staff to the C-level in all industries.

Tell us about yourself

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and one day has my own business school. The spark came when I was laid off from a government job due to downsizing. This gave me the push to start my school, and the stars were all in alignment.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Since my first business was a school (Abbie Business Institute) in a small community, the greatest accomplishment for me is to still run into people who went there or worked with me, even 40 years later, and find out how they succeeded.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Meeting payroll. There were times I had to dip into my personal savings while growing the business. Another hard part of a business is having to lay off people. We had a unique environment of clientele, and some people were not prepared for it.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be healthy to start. Running a business can be very stressful so starting with good health helps.
  2. Do your research to know your market and the viability of the business to succeed.
  3. Hire a good BAIL team - Banker, Accountant, Insurance Agent, Lawyer.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Go into the business with the attitude that you will succeed and give it your best. If it doesn't work out, you are not a failure because there are valuable lessons you learned. Most entrepreneurs have failed at one time but got back in the ring to start again.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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