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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a business owner for more than 10 years. Growing my business from the ground up has taught me a lot, and I love sharing tips and tricks with anyone who’s willing to listen. A good friend of mine recently started a business as well. I’m very proud of my friend, but she’s off to a rocky start. My friend refuses to listen to my advice. I hate to see her suffer. What should I do? — Bad Business
DEAR HARRIETTE: People have to learn things for themselves. Even though you want to help, your friend is set on finding her own path. It may be helpful to take a look at your tone. In this note to me, it is clear that you relish talking about your business. You say you will talk to “anyone who’s willing to listen,” so it is possible that you talk a lot about business, perhaps too much.
I recommend that you do your best to listen more and talk less. Listen to your friend if she chooses to tell you about her business. Listen and actually hear what’s going on with her. Discover whether you can help with her particular issue.
You can also direct her to resources that provide free advice for entrepreneurs. Among them: The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a wealth of ideas on how to get started. Visit sba.gov/business-guide. AARP has a small business resource center tailored to those 50 and older but accessible to all: smallbizrc.org.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My young niece and nephew play way too rough with my dogs. I am constantly having to ask them to be gentle with the dogs because I am scared that my dogs will bite them out of fear. I also do not think it’s fair for my dogs to have to be in pain whenever my niece and nephew are around. I’ve asked my brother (their father) to speak to the kids about it, but nothing has changed. Should I tell my brother to stop bringing them over? — Rough With My Dogs
DEAR ROUGH WITH MY DOGS: Out of an abundance of safety, you should limit your niece and nephew’s interaction with your dogs. Instead of banning them from your house, tell your brother that until further notice, when they come, you will put the dogs away — outdoors if you have space, or in a room with a closed door or in dog cages if you have them. You do need to protect both the children and the dogs. While it all seems like fun and games to them, you are right: If your dogs snap and injure the children, all eyes will be pointed at you, and you could lose your pets.
On a larger note, you need to talk to your brother again for his and his children’s own good. He has to help his children understand that they need to follow the rules of your household when they are there. They also need to gain a greater respect for animals. Pets should not be roughhoused to the extreme, for their protection and the children’s. The consequences of not teaching his children how to treat animals could be dangerous and costly in the future.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.