Eclipse Entrepreneur: Career Step

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Andrea Anaya, owner of Career Step, enjoys helping others become self-reliant. Photo courtesy Career Step

Andrea Anaya, owner of Career Step, enjoys helping others become self-reliant. Photo courtesy Career Step

By Greg Bennett, utahvalley360.com

Tears fill Andrea Anaya’s eyes as she speaks of the challenges facing many of the students who benefit from her medical transcription course.

“The number one reason people are learning to do this is because they want to stay home with their family,” she says.

Anaya understands the desire to work from home. In fact, she operates a multi-million dollar company largely from her Salem home so she can be with her three children. She doesn’t even have an office at the company’s headquarters in Springville — and she doesn’t want one.

“I’m so much more productive at home,” she says.

It was her training in medical transcription – taking doctors’ verbal notes and typing them for records and charts – that gave her the idea for opening Career Step, which is a proprietary school that offers training in medical transcription – a job that can be done at home.

Medical transcription made survival possible for her as a single mother suffering through a divorce and finishing her degree while also making it possible for her to spend her days with daughter Shirsten, now 12.

In fact, Career Step’s first offices were in a home just south of BYU. Shirsten got to know her mom’s five employees.

“It was funny because Shirsten would ask the employees to come and play a game or watch ‘The Little Mermaid’ with her and they didn’t know if they should play with the boss’s daughter or if they should stay on task.” Anaya says.

The priority Anaya placed on family when the company was in the infant stages in the mid-1990s is still in place and goes for all 38 employees.

“We have kids attend almost every one of our staff meetings,” she says. “I don’t expect Career Step to be the number one priority of any of my employees. Family is the most important thing.”

Anaya’s philosophies have proven successful, as Career Step has become the largest medical transcription training facility in the country. Currently the company is actively educating about 3,000 students.

The workbook-style online course has an automatic grader included and tests and assignments are already on the computer. Additional students require no additional employees for Career Step.

This scalability and virtual classroom has enabled the company to reach profits of $3 million in 2002 and Anaya expects sales to be closer to $5 million for 2003. The course costs students between $1,000 and $1,500 to complete.

“A lot of people, including our competitors, have asked us to raise our prices,” she says. “But I don’t want people to have to go into debt to pay for the course. I want it to be something they can save up for and pay for up front.”

Anaya has a humble, no-nonsense attitude toward business and success.

“My business philosophy has been to totally rely on the Lord,” she says. “I pray about who to hire, when to do things and if to do them. I feel, to some degree, making women self-reliant and allowing them to stay home with their children is helping with the Lord’s work. We’ve been blessed for that philosophy.”

That philosophy has also helped Anaya decide to bring on board her father as chief executive officer, her brother-in-law as senior vice president and her husband, Gene.

And surrounding herself with good people has enabled Andrea to be a mom to her three children.

With the addition of her baby last December, the family-friendly environment doesn’t seem to be slowing up, and neither do the sales figures.

Andrea Anaya, at a glance
Position: Owner of Career Step
Family: Gene (husband) and three children, Shirsten (12), Kailea (2) and Kaelys (5 months)
Number of Employees: 38
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from BYU
Sales Figures: $3 million (2002), $5 million (2003 estimate) Advice for Entrepreneurs: “Do it. The only difference between me and other people with good ideas is that I had the guts to do it.”

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Greg Bennett

Greg Bennett is an editor and writer with Bennett Communications. His primary responsibilities are with Utah Valley Magazine and the company's custom publications division. He's the father of four children and has been married to his wife, Adria, for 19 years. Contact Greg at greg.utahvalley360@gmail.com.

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