From Computer Engineer to Canine Entrepreneur
Tammy Rosen, 37
Arlington, VA

Her Restless Feeling
After five years as a software engineer and IT consultant, Tammy Rosen "felt like a widget in a big machine." Meanwhile, she was watching a lot of Animal Planet...and thinking about getting a dog...and wondering if dog training might make a cool hobby....

Her Groundwork
Rosen began apprenticing with a trainer once a week. "I loved how personal and direct the work is," she says. "It's much more interesting than sitting at a desk coding all day." After almost two years—and without quitting her job—she started a part-time pet-sitting business, Fur-Get Me Not.

Her Big Step
"My husband and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii, feeling all this excitement and freedom, and I was like, 'I don't want to go back to working for corporate America!'" Within two months, she'd resigned from her job, gotten a puppy, and gone full-time with her company.

Her Fairy Godmother
When Rosen found the perfect space to open her own doggy daycare and training facility, she was rejected—twice—for a six-figure loan. "I told myself, I believe in this business model. I will make it." At bank number three, she met "a fabulous female loan officer who supported women-owned small businesses"—and who gave Rosen the money.

Her Juggling Act
Since being diagnosed with diabetes three years ago, this self-described workaholic and mother of two (ages 3 and 1) has struggled to make her own well-being a priority. "When I'm stressed, my numbers get high—and I'm stressed a lot. So as my business keeps progressing, I, too, have to improve."

Her Milestone
"As an entrepreneur, you never really feel like you've 'made it,'" Rosen says. But after four years, she knew she'd cleared a major hurdle when she could finally afford to pay herself more than $10 an hour. Now she employs 97 people, has recently opened a second location, and just brought her husband, Steve, onboard as vice president: "He's had a big impact on the business—but I'm still the boss."

Nina Shen Rastogi

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