Build Your Career HERE – Starting a New Business
Apr12

Build Your Career HERE – Starting a New Business

Northeast Indiana is obviously a great place to live and work. In the past few weeks, we have talked to a variety of employers and experts that have given testimony to the opportunities and resources at your disposal here. While it may not be for everyone, our experts agree that sometimes it is okay to venture out on your own. No one knows your passions and work style better than yourself. Taking a bold step toward independently sharing your skills and expertise may just be what the career counselor ordered. If entrepreneurship is in your future, you need to know how to succeed and who is here to help.     What are the best industries in northeast Indiana? Whether you are going for a more traditional work path or venturing out on your own, you need to know what our region has to offer. According to the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Logistics & E-Commerce, Specialty Insurance, Medical Device & Technology, Vehicles, Food & Beverage, Advanced Materials, and Design and Craftsmanship are the seven target industries in our region. What does that mean? It means that these industries are growing and producing quality jobs in our region. These industries are a result of our region’s culture and need for economic growth. Now that you know the fields, how do you pick which one to pursue? Is one better than another? According to Sonya Snellenberger-Holm, there isn’t really a best. “I’m a fan of all walks of life and all jobs.”  The Partnership is there to promote all fields that could potentially bring growth. On the other hand, Karl LaPan believes health care and financial services offer compelling opportunities as these industries transform and innovate. This translates to more potential opportunities. I sat down and chatted with Rhonda Ladig of Start Fort Wayne, an entrepreneurial resource center in downtown Fort Wayne. She said that successful local entreprenuers are in just about every field. The common industry that most of these local entrepreneurs are connected to is e-commerce. It doesn’t matter if you are selling something physical or a service, it is all selling online. You can effectively run a business from the comfort of your laptop. When you are looking for research on these industries, where exatly do you go? Jim Johnson said “a great resource to answer this question is the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. No one knows more about northeast Indiana more than this dedicated group of professionals. Their website is full of resources and information.” If you want to learn more about the specifics of target industries, you can download a report straight from the website. Theresa Steele added to...

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Build Your Career HERE – Learning New Skills
Mar02

Build Your Career HERE – Learning New Skills

Part of securing yourself in a job is having the skills to go all the way. Yes, you need to know the essential functions of a job before you sign on the dotted line, but if you really want to succeed, you should also know how to communicate, how to be a leader, and how to fail gracefully. Depending on your comfort zone and your age, there are a variety of different ways for you to go out and find a little leadership coaching. Age has been on my side, and I have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of the Emerging Leaders Alliance through the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. This group’s mission is to develop a community of future leaders in Northeast Indiana and create opportunities for action, growth, and regional pride. We do this through working on Vision 2030 committees, hosting social and professional development events, working on strengths training, connecting with our community leaders with professional development book clubs, and of course, supporting our entire region however we can. Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) similarly affords this to me. While it is meant for a larger audience and a broader age range, it has different focus areas and many leadership roles for those who are interested. The opportunities to be vice chair of Living Fort Wayne (part of YLNI) and secretary of the ELA were only because I stepped out of my comfort zone and went out and looked to make myself and my community better. Luckily, many people were there to hold my hand, figuratively. Not everyone is in their 30s and able to dance between the kids and the adults. Some of us have more to lose and need to get the skills and networking now. I went back to the same experts I talked to last week and asked them about where you need to go in order to go far.   What are the best networking groups in the area? I will tell you this now because three people said it, but First Fridays is the place to be. According to Karl LaPan of the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center(NIIC), Theresa Steele of Steele Business Coaching and Jim Johnson of 3 Rivers (also one of the founders), it is the best networking experience in town. According to Karl LaPan, “it is more than a networking group, it is also solid leadership development, so First Fridays is exceptional. This monthly meeting is a high return on investment. On one of my visits, I had five meetings and lunches as a result of attending and participating in the monthly event. The content and...

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Build Your Career HERE – Changing Paths
Feb20

Build Your Career HERE – Changing Paths

How many of you feel like leaving your current job will be a job in itself? Your resume may be solid if you are staying in your current field. The problem is that jobs are limited in many fields and require people to leave the region if they want to advance in your industry. If you want to stay close to your friends or family, sometimes you have to think outside of the employment box. Even if you are ready to do this, your resume can be more of a curse. You work your whole life to make that piece of paper seem exciting and important, but when you decide to take a chance and make a change, it hurts you more than it helps you because your employer only sees your employment history and not your valuable talents. We all get it. Finding a job can be hard. Even if unemployment is low, one line on a resume can make someone else look just a little bit better. So what exactly do you do if you are wanting to make that change? Well, it isn’t quite as difficult as it feels. I talked to some industry experts in business consulting, economic development, management, professional development and entrepreneurial development. Unsurprisingly, these people had some of the same advice.   So how exactly do you find a career that is out of your normal work scope? Even the experts have made big career changes and have found successes. Sonya Snellenberger-Holm, Project Manager for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership told me, “I made a big shift in jobs when I started at the Regional Partnership. Before starting my job in economic development, I had only worked in the restaurant industry. While the two aren’t related I do think that being a bartender/server helped shape what I really wanted in a career. I knew I wanted a job where I could talk to people and build relationships with them. I also knew that I wanted a job that the result would make people feel happy. People like to go out to eat to socialize and have a good experience; people also like when their personal per capita income is raised, and they have more access to jobs. It takes very different steps to get to the result, but the outcome is the same. I like to make people happy. For anyone switching careers to something that is out of their norm, I would suggest going back to the basics. What makes you happy? Trust in the process and welcome the new change in your life, you never know what new stories you’ll...

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Peace of Mind Wellness Center – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Nov27

Peace of Mind Wellness Center – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

This week in Entrepreneurship Spotlight, we are highlighting Stacey Patalita, owner of Peace of Mind Wellness Center, to share her experience as an entrepreneur. Stacey is from Fort Wayne and has always been interested in helping people manage stress in a healthy and creative manner, but it wasn’t until this year that she was finally able to channel that passion and start her own business. In August of this year, she opened Peace of Mind Wellness Center on Lake Avenue, just down the street from Parkview Randalia. She and her team provide affordable stress management and wellness services, including massage therapy, yoga, life-coaching and more. Their mission is to provide affordable stress and health management services to everyone.   What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I was already here, but also, I wanted to reach more of the average person. I don’t need to look elsewhere for that, everyone has stress. For people who want to be yogi masters, there are plenty of places that offer that. For the people who are intimidated by that, I wanted to provide something that can help them mentally and physically. People can sign up for one session/class or five. It’s what they want and are comfortable with doing. Peace of Mind Wellness is more for the average person who isn’t a pro at yoga or meditation, but wants to take care of their mind and body through stress management. We provide a safe, comfortable environment where we can help them do that.   What are some of the challenges you have encountered in starting your business? We’re doing a lot of trial and error right now with our offerings and the timing, so that’s been a challenge, but we learn as we go. Getting the word out, too, has been a challenge because we don’t have the budget for marketing. Facebook has been huge, though, a lot of people commenting and sharing their experiences. That’s been super helpful.   What person has helped you the most in your journey?  We had a meeting with Rhonda Ladig, from Start Fort Wayne at the Atrium and she was awesome. She gave us some really great ideas and potential connections, and recommended we participate in 1 million cups. We haven’t participated yet, but I’m working on it.   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community?  Really, the local community. Through Facebook, the people interacting with us, sharing, commenting, it’s helped us a lot. I did a few free classes at Lakeside Park before opening and the people who came really enjoyed it and reached...

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Desiree Wiercyski – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Nov07

Desiree Wiercyski – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

In this week’s “Entrepreneurship Spotlight,” we are highlighting a new resident to our area who recently relocated from Oregon. Desiree Wiercyski is a life and business coach, a digital course creator and a podcaster. She describes her audience as “creative, driven and restless quarter-life women who are ready to own their future.” What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? My business is primarily digital, but the growing start-up culture and arts scene in Fort Wayne allowed me to be confident in knowing that I’d be able to connect with other like-minded individuals outside of the Internet. In-person connections are essential for all business owners, even if you run a digital business. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? I just moved here a few months ago from Portland, Oregon so am just starting to really get connected with the community here. That said, Fort Wayne has made it really easy! 1 Million Cups is a great opportunity to get outside of my own business-bubble, connect with other entrepreneurs, and see things in a different light. I also love the work that YLNI is doing and am excited to start getting involved. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Balance! The idea of work-life balance generally doesn’t resonate with me, I prefer the idea of work-life integration. But now, my office is in my home and it’s easy to just get sucked into 20 hour work days or realizing I haven’t left the house in days, because I’ve been so involved with building my business. I have to consistently remind myself to take a break and do something else. What person has helped you the most in your journey? Right when I knew I was going to start my own business, I tapped my husband to do all things related to graphic design. He’s also my editor and tech guy for the times I need another set of eyes. He’s always in the trenches with me, staying up to help until 2 or 3 am to make sure things get done. There’s no way I could do what I do without his help! What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Get really clear so you know without any hesitation what you want, and why you want it. That is what will keep you going when you just want to walk away. Also, know that fear is normal, and that it’s okay. A lot of times in entrepreneurship, if you’re not scared or if you don’t feel a little crazy, you’re...

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