Our Second Shift series features people working more than one job and finding creative ways to make money. This week, meet someone who started her own business, with little money or know-how. Want to be featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Rebecca Pfaffenbach
Residency: Upper East Side
Number of jobs:3
You used to have a corporate job. Why did you quit?
My original career was in cancer research developing chemotherapies. But after a while, I wanted to do something more creative. I knew I wanted a career change, but I didn't know what. I put a message on Facebook saying I wanted to move to Europe and asked where I should go. I got one response: Seville, Spain. I had never even heard of it so I Googled it. I gave up my apartment, sold everything I owned and moved there a month later.
Did you work in Spain?
Yes. I started my own tour company. I loved it and it was going well, so I expanded it to Portugal. I bought a beach shack/restaurant, but unfortunately the person who sold it to me stole a lot of my money, so I had to come back to New York, where I grew up, pretty much penniless.
Is that when you started your health company, My Body Buddy?
Not right away. I spent my time going to the gym, grocery shopping and cooking healthy meals --- basically delaying thinking about what I was supposed to do as an adult. Then a friend said, well, why don't you do that? It took me a while to figure out this was what my passion was and I wanted to share it with others.
What exactly do you do?
My Body Buddy is a health and wellness coaching company. I work with individuals and corporations and help them meet their health goals. It could be weight loss, better sleep habits, a better work/home balance and quality of life. ... I connect them to trainers, personal chefs, whatever they need.
Are you at the point where you are able to live off of My Body Buddy and it's covering your living expenses?
Not as of now. Basically everything I make I put right back into the business. I have a New York State insurance license and my friend runs a brokerage, so on the side I work as an agent. I'm also still involved with my tour company in Spain. I set up tours for people traveling to Spain and then get a commission for sending the tour company the business. And I do the same thing for a similar company here in New York, getting them clients coming from Europe. I also have another business with one other woman, Team Xtensity, which helps train people for events like Tough Mudder, but we do it as a community so it's more social.
Are you happy with the way things are, or are you hoping to cut back any of your jobs?
I want to continue to grow my two businesses. That's really where my heart is.