ORLANDO, Fla. — The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted a lot of people's plans, but it did not stop a Central Florida hairstylist from fulfilling his dream of opening his own business.

What You Need To Know

  • Bella Capelli, the name of the salon, means beautiful hair in Italian

  • The salon is located in Orlando

  • COVID-19 did slow the opening somewhat

  • Solid financial, COVID, and customer plans were required

"We haven't skipped a beat, I can say that," Steven Dorsagno said.

He recently opened his own salon in Orlando called "Bella Capelli," which is Italian for beautiful hair. In the past, he's worked in salons with his own chair. He's also run places with other stylists, but this is his own — a 35-year dream.

"It's all about myself as I was growing into where I am now, and with the people that I love the most,” Dorsagno said. “They're all a part of this, little bits and pieces here and there."

Dorsagno decided to move forward around Christmas of last year. He picked out a place, and put the money down. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and hair and nail services were stopped.

The build-out for Dorsagno's salon kept going, though.

"It was hard to get people to come out and work during all of this, so it was a slow process, so it backed us up a couple of months," Dorsagno added.

Bernie Dandridge with Florida Capital Bank has been hearing from people looking to be like Dorsagno, and go in to business for themselves.

"I have talked to a person about a restaurant, I've talked to people about microbreweries, I've talked to people about RV parks," Dandridge said.

He suggests having a "COVID" plan on how to prevent the spread of the virus and working with customers and a business plan with financial and business projections. After you are sure you have the money, then talk with a lender.

Dorsagno said he had all of that, and the support of his late mother.

"I can't say everything she would say," Dorsagno said. "My mother was an Italian woman. She would say a lot of things, but my mother would be in tears, crying, telling me how proud she was."

If you're thinking about being your own boss, UCF has a Small Business Development Center. It offers low or no-cost resources and training on how to start a business.