Our Entrepreneurship Center clients are doing great things – read about their entrepreneurial journeys and get inspired!
An epic storm swept through my northern Michigan town of Glen Arbor in August of 2015, leaving some 3,000 downed trees in its wake. While crews hauled away profitable logs for resale lumber, what remained were damaged fences, docks, and farm structures considered scrap. An idea, to turn this seemingly useless wood into signs depicting places iconic to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, began to grow and MichAgain Signery was born. I sell my original reclaimed wood signs at northern Michigan farmers’ markets and art fairs and recently launched e-commerce so that customers can purchase signs year round.
What drives you to be a business owner?
My love for northern Michigan, supporting the local community, and maintaining its natural resources for generations to come is the primary motivation behind my business. I love brainstorming new ideas, meeting people, and proving that successful entrepreneurship is possible regardless of age.
How has the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC helped with your business goals?
As a young entrepreneur, I greatly appreciated the genuine business support provided by Entrepreneurship Center staff and learning from my peers who were also participating in the (Pitch@WCC) program. The biggest takeaway I learned from the business growth session was identifying what I needed to grow my business, instead of focusing on growth for growth’s sake without a clear plan.
If you could offer one piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs or prospective entrepreneurs, what would it be?
I believe that a great business begins with identifying a problem and creating a sustainable solution. Mixing passion with the mission and outcome makes the challenges along the way worthwhile.
“I love the fact that I can create and shape an environment designed to make me most productive … I’m happier and believe I am making a bigger impact to society by creating solutions that did not previously exist.”
“Consistency is key! Every day strive to be better, be a sponge within your industry and the biggest piece of advice I could give would be to never be afraid to take a risk, that’s why we are entrepreneurs, we are willing to take risks when others are more hesitant.”
“Starting a business is just one long learning process. I had a mantra I said to myself when we were starting out: ‘Leap and the net will appear.’ I knew I just had to take the risk and now it’s paying off!”
“The opportunity to support a healthy lifestyle for busy people (motivates me to be a business owner). I appreciate the income stream and the ability to be part of the community with this service.”
“Light Orange Bean is a food blog that I post recipes I developed along with eye-catching food photography I captured. My audiences are from every part of the world and they are lovers of healthy recipes (especially gluten-free and vegan). Besides running the food blog, I’m also a photographer providing photography services to local businesses, especially restaurants.”
“I’m driven to be a business owner because I fervently believe in the positive power of business. I see a lot of negative stigma surrounding capitalism and big business– especially in my generation– and it’s warranted. I started Liv Buttons as a social enterprise; I wanted to use it as an example of how to break norms and conduct business differently.”
“Stepping into entrepreneurship has been a tremendous growth experience: I’m a better human being because of it and I’m looking forward to the life long journey this path is taking me on.”
“Until people know your product or service exists and has value for them, there may be little or no demand. Be ready to put yourself out there in front of people!”
Kate Jackman and Jennifer Wooley, Fresh Coast Photography
“It’s great to have a passion you want to share, but businesses are 80-90% all the ‘other stuff’ and only 10-20% the fun stuff…Be aware of that and make sure you are willing to do all the hard work that gets your passion in the hands of those that will appreciate it.”
“Don’t ever settle. It is possible to create a career and business that fulfills all of your goals, be they professional, artistic, economic or community impact related.”
Mary Lou Stropoli
“Creativity is not only a great way to spend our time, it’s also a fantastic way to keep minds active and elastic.”
“Your character will develop right along with your business. You will start to learn new fascinating things about yourself as you dedicate your time to your dreams.”
“When you have a business, the most important thing is filling a need that you’re passionate about. Because passion drives determination and having determination to do something right will lead you towards success.”
“What drives me to become a business owner is the ability it gives me to serve my local community.”