June 9, 2011 | Suzanne Shaffer The struggling economy has prompted many to reinvent their careersÂ or pursue life-long dreams. Many are launching small businesses and taking the leap into entrepreneurship: some out of necessity and others fueled by a passionate goal or business idea. Online universities are helping those who need additional education to reach those goals. A career change For 25 years, Denise Ransom of Antioch, California worked as an administrative assistant in corporate America. But at age 50, her passion for helping others and her desire to work with people led her to pursue a bachelors degree in human services with the University of Phoenix. After completing her degree and receiving a masters in social work, she launched her second career working with Contra Costa Children and Family Services. However, the economy forced her company to lay her off after only two years. Faced with unemployment, Denise asked herself the question that so many have asked in this struggling economy, “What will happen to our families?” Ironically, that question prompted her to launch her own small business to provide a business that could answer that question. Her business, From My Heart to Your Heart, is an integrative child-parent visitation service. According to Denise, “…”starting this small business was something I really â€” so passionatelyâ€” wanted to do and perhaps that is why the door to success opened for me.” Business experience and education fueled her innovation Denise believes that her corporate experience and education have helped her come up with an innovative approach to parent-child visitations. Utilizing four volunteer workers, including two University of Phoenix interns, she operates her business differently than the traditional court sanctioned visitations. Parents and children meet and interact freely during evening hours in a facsimile home environment at a local community church. But Denise takes it a step further by providing interactive courses that improve family communication and help with basic parenting skills. As with any small business, Denise admits it requires tenacity and a passion for your dream. “Small business is hard work: you’re the cook, the bottle washer, the accountant, etc. You have to do everything, but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It’s all about what effort you want to put into a small business and about what you want to get out of it.” Business from the heart Denise’s approach to business is common thread among women small business owners. A recent study by the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute indicates that women-owned businesses, like Denise’s, will be responsible to changing the American workforce and generating millions of new jobs. The research confirms the benefit’s of Denise’s passionate management approach, and found that women tend to focus more on community-based business aspects. As owners, they are: More diligently engaged in strategic and tactical facets of their business More proactively customer-focused More likely to incorporate community and environment into their business plans More receptive to input and guidance from internal and external advisers More committed to creating opportunities for others Turning dreams into reality The University of Phoenix plays a crucial role in helping women like Denise pursue their dreams. The University clarifies it’s vision by “constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and educational aspirations without putting their lives on hold.” Denise can attest to the benefits of this type of education, and the families whose lives she is helping to improve have also been impacted by the education she received at the University of Phoenix. If you are interested in changing your career and pursuing your life-long dream, you can find information about the University of Phoenix on this site, along with many other accredited online universities.