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Last Update: Monday December 18, 2017

Key Idea: Gain Knowledge to Increase Flexibility

Key Question:

A: 

Wanda educated herself for the newest high-demand job then when she didn't like the big company culture, she quit and launched her own business.

Search more on the topic of startup and start a business and click on the question for more answers.

Think about it

What special knowledge or skill do you have that could be translated into a product or service you can sell?  What do you need to learn to launch the type of business you want to own?

Clip from: Computer Directions

Dallas:  Talk about timing. In this show you meet a woman who has done it right, not once, but twice.

People enjoy working at Computer Directions. One of the reasons -- every time someone makes a sale, they ring a bell and everyone celebrates because they get a piece of the action.

Wanda Brice started her first business in 1978, sold it, then opened this staffing company in 1993 because she saw a need and filled it.

Wanda and her staff provide computer programmers to some of country’s largest companies. Her start-up strategy: she went after the firms doing over $10 billion in sales.

When we taped this episode, Computer Directions had anywhere from 50 to 100 programmers working every day for as many as 20 different companies.

Wanda Brice saw a trend and jumped ahead of it. Temporary workers used to be hired for the low-end jobs but now that’s all changed. Wanda’s temporary service places computer programmers in temporary high-end jobs. Her customers are big companies who depend on her company to keep their information systems current. 

Go to all the Key Ideas and videos of this episode...

The Women's Museum (and once CEO of Computer Directions)

Wanda Brice, CEO

3800 Parry Avenue
Dallas, TX 75226
214.915.0863

Visit our web site: http://www.thewomensmuseum.org/womens_museum/aboutus/ABT_who_staff.asp

Office: 214.915.0863

Business Classification:
Business Services

Year Founded: 1993

Gain Knowledge to Increase Flexibility

HATTIE: (IN THE STUDIO) Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant, every week we take you inside a business. You meet the founder and the people who help make the business work.  

There's so little time and so much to learn.  

HATTIE: The woman you'll meet now has timing. She's done it right not once, but twice.  

(Voiceover) The people part of business is hard, but Wanda Brice makes it look easy. Wanda Brice started her first business in 1978, sold it, then opened this staffing company in 1993 because she saw a need and filled it. She's always thought, `If someone's going to make money, it might as well be me.'  

WANDA BRICE (Computer Directions): I started earning money as an entrepreneur when I was five, and I set up a stand and sold my mother's perfume bottles. Then I used to put on circuses, and I'd put on shows in the summer for the neighbors, and we'd charge admission.  

HATTIE: When did this light bulb go on in your head that, `Oh, I'm good at computers'?  

WANDA: Well, of course, I didn't even know anything about computers. I knew I was good in math, and so I had decided that perhaps I wanted to be an executive secretary because they seemed to have a lot of perks. But then since I could not type or take shorthand, this was not a good choice, since...  

HATTIE: And you didn't want to learn how to make coffee.  

WANDA: And I wasn't good at making coffee either. So I talked to a teacher of mine, and she said, `Well, you're really good in math. Why don't you say that you're a statistical analyst?' And I said, `Oh, good.' So I said that's what I was and got a job being a statistical analyst.  

HATTIE: But you didn't know what that was.  

WANDA: Not really.  

HATTIE: You just said that on a resume.  

WANDA: That's what I said.  

HATTIE: Would you advise people to use euphemisms on their resumes to get attention?  

WANDA: This has been a while ago, when I was in the beginning job corps, but I didn't consider it not true. I always thought I could do anything.  

HATTIE: Your math teacher said, `You're good at math; then, therefore, you are a statistical analyst.' Then that was OK.  

WANDA: That was OK, and I really enjoyed that. So I was, in fact, a statistical analyst and I did a really good job. They were very happy with me doing that.  

HATTIE: So this was a job at a big company.  

WANDA: Yes. And so then they came to me and said, `We are going to hire a thing called a programmer, and we want you to teach them how to do your reports, because they're going to make it come out on a computer.' And so I went to the president of the company, and I said, `Why don't you send me to school and let me learn to program this new machine rather than hire somebody to learn how to program things I already know how to do?'  

HATTIE: Do we need to take initiative if we want change in our lives?  

WANDA: Yes. Doing something is not always easy for everybody. It's interesting. I think that's what my parents gave me was confidence, and I don't think there's a greater gift that you can give somebody to let them have the nerve to step up and say, `Well, I can probably do that. Show me how to do that.' I then actually left, went back to school, finished college. And when I decided to get back in the work force a couple years later, nothing appealed to me. And so I thought, `Well, I think I'll be a consultant for a while and see what I want to do.'  

So I was actually a computer consultant for a year or so, and then actually got recruited by a large oil company. And I've talked to my older brother, and I said, `You know, I really hate what I'm doing, and I don't like to not enjoy work,' because I like to work. He said, `Well, lean against the company. You know, lean against the system and see if you can change it.' So I did, and I really couldn't change it.  

And so I went back again, and I said, `I still don't like it.' And he said, `Well, corporate life is corporate life, and I don't think you're really cut out for corporate life. Why don't you think about doing something else?' And so I thought, `What shall I do?' And so I decided that we would start a separate company.  

HATTIE: So did that work?  

WANDA:  Yes. It happened.  

HATTIE:  So how fast did you grow?  

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