Innovation Destination Hartford met with dozens of entrepreneurs in 2016 from all types of industries and all stages of growth. Here’s what 7 of them have to say they learned over the course of the year.
Ayelet Connell-Giammatteo, President Integrative Wellness & Physical Therapy
The greatest lesson I learned this past year is about balance. Specifically, balance in my life. In addition to being the founder and president of two businesses, I am also the mother of two young children and the wife of a wonderful man.
Historically, my priorities in life were work, work, work. I think this is pretty common, particularly for women who are trying to have it all—a work life and home life—we tend to put the work plate on a pedestal.
This past year, I realized I actually could have it all, by changing the pedestal to a sturdy table! I have shifted my schedule so that some of my free time is in the afternoon/evening to be able to spend time with my family and also have some time for myself. I find I have more energy in my day and my time at work is more productive and well-spent, but also—most importantly—I’m happier and more fulfilled!
- Read our interview: CT Entrepreneur Launches Wellness Center Focused on Community
- Visit www.integrativewellnessandpt.com
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @IntWellPT
Tim Kussow, Founder Bariatric Collar
Get contacts, contacts, and more contacts. You can’t do it alone. And use the experience others have—connect with organizations like Innovation Destination Hartford!
- Read our interview: CT Startup Provides Innovative EMS Solution
- Visit bariatriccollar.com
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @baritriccollar
Carolyn Paine, Founder CONNetic Dance
The greatest lesson I learned from 2016 is that life really is about how you deal with those amazing highs and those devastating lows. And I’m pretty sure I'm not alone on this.
It feels like so many of us were forced to relearn this important lesson in 2016. This year for me was filled with some of the most incredible opportunities and achievements professionally, but at the same time those great moments were mixed in with some of the lowest, darkest times personally as well as some big professional struggles.
But it’s how you deal with it, how you keep going that really defines you. 2016 reminded me that when everything is the worst, just hang tight, do the best you can to deal with it all, and then just wait, because the absolute best could be just the next moment away. At least you have to believe that—otherwise you’ll end up a mess sobbing over David Bowie, Princess Leia, politics, and that project you failed at.
- Read our interview: Hartford-Based Dance Troupe with an Emphasis on Community
- Visit www.conneticdance.com
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter @CONNeticDance
Holly Wheeler, Founder Field to Face Organics and Co-Founder of Vasu Tribe
Protect your magic. As an entrepreneur, your creative ideas and strategies are the gold mine of your business, and you need to protect them.
Trademark and copyright your concepts. Be very selective in choosing who you bounce your ideas off of during the budding stage. Keep a small team of trusted creatives that you can mastermind your ideas with and don’t share your ideas with the world until they are in motion, ready to be launched.
- Read our interview: CT Entrepreneur Launches Organic Beauty Startup
- Visit www.fieldtofacebeauty.com and www.vasutribe.com
- Follow on Facebook and Instagram @vasutribe
Molly Baker, Founder Let’s Start From Scratch
My best moments as an entrepreneur are when I hear from my clients how happy they are with my product. For example, this summer, when Let’s Start From Scratch was only three months old, I was selling my products at the West End Farmers Market when a busy mom told me that buying my sauces and prepared items made her days easier and how much she and her family loved them. Hearing that I’m making my clients lives easier, happier, and healthier is what made 2016 amazing as a startup business owner.
- Read our interview: CT Entrepreneur Finds Happiness, Balance in Natural Food Startup
- Visit www.letsstartfromscratch.com
- Follow on Facebook and Instagram @letsstartfromscratch
Mark Keeley, Co-Founder Obvia
The greatest lesson we learned in 2016 is that consistent persistence pays off.
We were interested in obtaining a Kiva loan this past year. In order to qualify for an $8,000 loan campaign, we first needed 15 friends to each loan us $25. After that, Kiva launched our $8,000 campaign globally. In accordance with the rules, we were given 30 days (and no more) to sell our wind turbine oyster farm idea to anyone in the world who was interested in helping us power our proposed oyster farm using 100% wind power generated from our newly invented wind turbine.
We consistently and persistently updated the world on our progress and—who would have guessed—we made 200 international friends who helped us reach our $8,000 goal in only 10 days; three times faster than required.
- Read our interview: West Hartford Startup Creates Innovative Wind Turbine Solution
- Visit www.obvia.biz
Abby Kelly, Founder Gluten-Free Connecticut
The greatest lesson I learned from 2016 is to not underestimate myself. I began the year with an idea, a bunch of data, and a lot of self-doubt. I ended it with a thriving website.
In between, I worked slowly but diligently, creating the foundation for a business and then building it up, completing each step carefully and completely.
That’s just the way I work—slowly and deliberately. Turns out hard work, focus, and commitment can actually bring success.
- Read our interview: Startup Supports Local CT Businesses & Community
- Visit glutenfreeconnecticut.com
- Follow on Facebook, Twitter @gluten_freeCT, and Instagram @glutenfreeconnecticut
Get more tips from Hartford-area entrepreneurs. Read our story Successful Entrepreneurs Offer Advice for Budding Entrepreneurs.