Starting your own business may sound great: You'll get away from your overbearing boss, set your own hours and make unlimited money.
But first you have to learn to keep the books, pay the taxes and interview prospective employees, among other things.
Carroll Community College offers non-credit courses for people who want to start a business and for those who need to refresh their skills.
Accountants Alfred C. and Christine C. Giovetti have been teaching budding entrepreneurs for several years at various colleges, including CCC.
They share their experiences and those of clients with their students, who come to class with a variety of backgrounds.
They once had a carny in class who wanted to learn how to keep better business records, Christine said. An anatomy professor wanted to start a crafts business.
Even though, as teachers, they must outline strategies for students and instruct them in the proper ways of conducting business, the Giovettis enjoy telling the story of one clientwho started a computer sales business with no money and no business classes on his resume.
"He breaks all the rules, but he's successful," Christine said.
Al added, "He's nasty to people, but they love him because he's honest."
There's more to a successful business than charm, talent and money, said the Giovettis, whose business is in Catonsville, Baltimore County. Those who make it as entrepreneurs possess something they can't buy or learn.
"They have a twinkle in their eye. They have some indescribable drive," Al said.
Christinesaid, "You have to want to go out and give people what they want."
In a two-session class that began yesterday at CCC, the Giovettis teach prospective business owners the basics. The "Pre-Business Mini Course" is designed to give an overview of financing, taxes, legal issues, insurance and basic accounting.
Many of those who take the class want to start a service-oriented business, offering home improvements or computer consulting, Christine said. Others are interested instarting crafts businesses, she said.
Cory F. Case started a computer consulting business in Westminster two years ago after taking four CCC classes.
He had worked for other computer companies, but was tired of commuting and thought he could offer better service. He wanted to learn how not to make the mistakes he had seen others make.
"I wanted to know more about record-keeping and taxes. I wanted to be prepared," Case said. "I learned a fair amount of accounting and financial information."
Karen Merkle, director of Continuing Education/Community Services at CCC, said the college has offered small-business development classes since 1988.
Most classes are taught by people working in the business world or consultants, she said. This spring and summer, the classes cost $35 to $60.
Classes are designedto give students the "nuts and bolts" of starting a business, she said.
The college also offers other business-related, non-credit courses on topics such as real estate, insurance and office technology.
CCC works with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, the county Department of Economic and Community Development and the Maryland Small Business Development Center Network to share ideas and make sure training opportunities don't overlap, Merkle said.