We’re talking about Sue Kinzer, owner of Paint Creek Computers, a computer repair and support service for small businesses and home users. Living in rural Ohio didn’t leave Sue much opportunity for career fulfillment. So, with two of her three daughters in high school, she decided to return to the workforce—on her own. “I got my first computer in 1989, and I couldn’t find anyone who would help me fix it without charging me an arm and a leg. So I had to learn to fix it myself,” she says. “I went to work for a small computer shop and learned as much as possible. A few years later, I bought the business and moved it just outside of my home.” Today, Sue helps many people fix their computers, while at the same time earning a living and experiencing a rewarding career.
With a varied resume that included an undergraduate degree in Japanese and experience as a bank reconciler, teacher, Japanese interpreter and computer tech, Sue found a way to have a rewarding career in an off-the-beaten-path location. She was willing to try new things, learn from others and take risks. It paid off—both financially and personally. Her advice: Don’t be intimidated by anyone; be willing to do whatever it takes to get the business going; and finally, don’t let anyone discourage you. For Sue, the independence is the best part, although she admits that staying disciplined is critical to getting the job done. But it doesn’t end there. “The most rewarding part is seeing people succeed on their computers,” she says. “It gives me great satisfaction to know that I helped someone finish his or her project.”
For Sue, giving back is a way of life. It’s her mantra as a citizen, as a mother—and now as a business owner. “It’s all about integrity and service,” she says. “If people have questions, I’ll answer them. There isn’t a charge for questions.” That’s just one of the reasons why she’s earned the trust and support of her clientele. But Sue’s giving goes way beyond her business. She has been a Girl Scout leader and 4-H advisor, and she actively supports all Eastern Star charities. “Someone helped me, and I love to help others,” she says. That same giving attitude is apparent in all that she does. Pay attention to the needs in your community, and when it feels right, respond. Read more in Real You Incorporated, Life Lesson 21: Capture your charitable passion.