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Profiling successful businesses with Gloria Meltzer

Author of Minding Their Own Business and Minding Her Own Business (McGraw-Hill), Gloria Meltzer profiles real-life successful entrepreneurs and their businesses. Meltzer now shares the lessons she’s learnt.  

Drawing on her writing and small business teaching background, Gloria Meltzer chose her entrepreneur profiles carefully. “What I sought from them was an honest look at the positives and negatives of their own business experiences,” she says.


DB: Have you always had a passion for writing and for small business?

Gloria: Books are my passion, and I had long dreamed of becoming a writer. I realised this dream when my first book, Poles Apart, was published in 1984—a travel book based on six months in Poland. My first book to do with small business was in fact my eighth publication, and came about as a result of doing a small business course at RMIT. I realised then that most business textbooks were dry and impersonal. There were no books giving the realnitty gritty of day-to-day business life by the very people who have set up their own businesses.

DB: We always love hearing a good small business success story, which is your favourite from the two books?

Gloria: I always find this question difficult to answer as they are nearly all my favourites. I was very selective in choosing which stories to include in the books and chose only those that I felt offered something interesting and unique, and experiences which would be of benefit to anyone starting up a small business in today’s economic climate. If I had to choose one in particular though, I suppose it would be Lynn Mason’s story, ‘The Flinders Island Farmer’, in Minding Her Own Business. Her account of being denied a loan by banks in the 1960s because she was a woman illustrates the kind of sexist discrimination that was rife then, and still exists today. It also demonstrates how ludicrous this was in light of the successful businesses she eventually established. And how ironic that in the year 2000 she was awarded the Westpac Australian Business Owners’ Award.

DB: Did you find a common theme/issue/problem across the people you interviewed?

Gloria: There were many common themes. Some of these include: an enormous amount of personal energy, persistence and commitment; they were prepared to work almost round the clock and seven days a week if necessary, to make their business succeed; they genuinely believed in their business/product/goal; they were by and large excellent communicators with very good people skills; and they understood the importance of having good financial and legal advisers.

DB: Would you say you operate your own small business as a writer?

Gloria: Most of my work involves various aspects of the business of writing. This includes doing freelance articles, editing, proof-reading, assisting people with their own manuscripts, helping people put together their memoirs and life experiences (see www.gloriameltzer.com). I also run a small bed and breakfast with my partner.

DB: What are the most rewarding aspects of being an author?

Gloria: The challenge and thrill of putting thoughts and ideas to paper, then drafting and re-drafting each word and feeling this new baby begin to grow and develop. There are so many topics one can write about and life is unfortunately too short to explore more than a few.


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Rebecca Spicer

Rebecca Spicer

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