Businesses can come in all different shapes and sizes. Some of them are big – some of them are small. Little did I know one of our very own committee members has a small business she is running in addition to her full-time job and volunteer work with us in YLNI’s Living Fort Wayne blog committee and with the Emerging Leaders Alliance. Check out Victoria Sarjeant and I’m Not Wining and Essential Oils in today’s post.
What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana?
I have been living and working here in Fort Wayne for about ten years. I needed a reason to keep myself here, so I started a business and began immersing myself into the community and advocating for other community causes seemed like the perfect way to do it.
What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community?
I have received so much support from the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and they probably don’t even realize it. I have been a member of the Emerging Leaders Alliance since January and other members were like me doing side businesses along with day jobs and I realized that I could do it too. They really helped build my strengths, helped with professional development, gave networking options that I never would have had, and still give us real responsibility that most other places don’t.
What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business?
Time and resources. I work a full time job and had no idea that I would have to work from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep on the weekends and every evening in order to stay on target. When I create a product, I have to go get supplies and that costs money. Even having the right technology is huge these days.
What person has helped you the most in your journey?
I would say my mom and my friend Karen. They both have real patience in me as I learn everything. Karen is always giving me advice. My mom helps think of new products.
What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs?
Don’t go at it alone. Tons of people are willing to do something crazy. If you are at least going to have fun doing it, you might as well have fun with someone.
What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in your opinion?
Fort Wayne is actually great for entrepreneurs. I look back on where I came from and you couldn’t survive unless you were some big chain. Here, we have boutiques and local restaurants that are heavy hitters. The only thing I would change would be opening up the education to different age groups. Places like [Junior Achievement] are fantastic with teaching students about starting a business. It is the generations a little bit older that were not quite encouraged. We were taught that you go to college and get a job.
For more information on I’m Not Wining, go to Victoria’s website.