Back in the day, the local milkman delivered more than fresh milk to entrepreneur Laurie Althaus’ sandwich shop and market; he spent time talking with her and encouraging her to keep moving forward.

“I kind of fell into owning a business,” says Althaus. “It had its ups and downs, but it was fun being a part of it.”

At the time she was a 21-year-old and describes herself as “lacking ambition,” though the sandwich shop and market expanded to two locations and increased revenue every year.

Althaus sold the business after 17 years and accepted a job at Millstone Coffee, which she followed with a job at Cintas Corp. At long last, things finally began to make sense during her five years at ActionCOACH.

“It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” says Althaus. “I could finally connect the dots.”

She chose to launch her own company, Now & Next, providing personal coaching for professionals and their businesses.

Due to the diversity of her past jobs, she could understand the importance of corporate experience, entrepreneurial experience, and internal and external customer service. All the jobs she held help her relate to her clients today.

“It’s about creating new possibilities, because everything is already there,” says Althaus. “We don’t have to go back, because we are starting at start.”

Althaus provides one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and workshops and training. She also speaks to groups of 50-1,000 about leadership and communication topics.

“The answer is not in a toolkit. Businesses have their barriers and every answer is within them,” says Althaus. “We just have to uncover that sweet spot.”

Althaus discusses with her clients everything from what is working and what is not to improving communication from the inside out. She offers a fresh perspective, which can help a client look at the positives and possibilities in each situation.

“I focus on the people and my role is to help them get their story right,” says Althaus.

Though Althaus is no longer 21, she isn’t retiring anytime soon.

She says that some of her friends have begun to retire but there isn’t an “inkling of retirement” on her mind.

“I can do this forever,” says Althaus. “I can help people wherever I am. I’ll continue doing this for as long as I am called to do it.”

Some other projects that Althaus has been developing include her blog and the Now & Next Radio, which has 1,000 listeners.

She also is part of the Cairn Venture Group, along with Elaine Stenger, which hosts two women’s leadership retreats a year.

The retreats are intended for women who know the importance of education and self-renewal in order to not only be better leaders in their career, but in their family and community, too.

Activities include panel discussion, workshops, interactive activities and building connections.

“I believe that every single woman is a leader somewhere in her life,” says Althaus.