The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce wanted to know first-hand what it take's to be an entrepreneur in the Brookings community. From start-up to what they would have done differently, we asked local business owners to share their experience with us. Check out what they had to say!
My risk was my sanity, my future, and the monetary cost of starting and operating a store. My reward has been the pride I feel in my work, the ability to positively affect my community, and the fulfillment that owning a small business brings.
-Kirsten Gjesdal, Carrot Seed
Our greatest risk when opening Wildfire was definitely taking the leap of faith that families would come to us. Starting out our business plan was basically ‘be passionate in what you do and work hard’. It worked for us, but it wasn’t the smartest risk!
Our reward has been the crazy amount of children and their families that we have been blessed to work with, and the loyalty of our customers who have been with our gym from the beginning. We have been able to expand our programs from what started out as a ‘cheer gym’ to now offering many different options for the families in our community. Working with children is so strong in our hearts at Wildfire; each day is a reward in many different ways!
-Casie King, KCK Wildfire Cheer
Our risk was pretty low, with a month to month lease. The reward was starting in a small suite with just Saturday hours, and now we have moved up the hall to a bigger space with a store front! We are now open Wednesday through Saturday!!
-Karen Burns, Ugly Duckling
LD: Our risk was time, money, and our reputations. It's scary starting something new. If it flops you're left holding the pieces and wishing you'd never tried in the first place. Our reward was freedom and pride. Being a business owner comes with a lot of responsibility, but it also comes with the freedom to make your own choices, and set your own path. It also brings the pride of ownership. There is nothing more satisfying than when a customer tells you they love your service.
DS: We were risking our potential future careers for something less certain. I was in school at SDSU for Business Economics and Luke was a car salesman. We both abandoned those paths to follow an uncertain road. That being said, we knew that if we could pull the start-up off, that the business would be popular in Brookings, so we just had to forge ahead.
That has been our reward. Brookings has welcomed us with open arms and our business has grown since day one. It gave us enough confidence to expand it Watertown, which has been going well since the start.
- Luke Davidson & Daniel Stratton, Zip Dish Delivery
The risk of starting my chiropractic office was the same risk any small business owner carries with them when they choose to step away from the comforts of working for someone else and start working for themselves. The expression, “The greater the risk, the greater the reward” comes to mind; walking that line myself, it is so true. Everyday I get to do what I love--my true passion--which drives me to the bone (pun intended). Day after day, year after year, I get to be a part of someone’s journey back to health. It is a small thing to move a bone, but it is the greatest gift of humanity for someone to regain health from such a small adjustment. We never know what that person will do or say tomorrow to changes the lives of millions.
-Dennis Willert, Willert Wellness & Chiropractic
I think there is great risk and reward when starting your own business. Both Renee and I worked other jobs part-time while we were starting Hitch Studio. We became masterful at scheduling our time and putting in some crazy hours to build up our business enough to start taking a paycheck and becoming stable enough to hire employees. Each and every day is a different challenge and win.
Another risk was expanding into a larger retail space. Thanks to another South Dakota small business grant we received, we were able to take this risk and see the reward right away with a beautiful space, more exposure, and a large sign to advertise for our business.
-Carrie Kuhl, Hitch Studio
Huge risk financially if I couldn’t make the payments but I rolled up my shirt sleeves and went to work
Huge reward, Love this town, great place to have raised my children, Great schools, Great LIFE!
-Jerry Miller, Winks Jewelry
The only real risk that I faced while opening FarmHouse Fancy was monetary. The money we put into the furniture and supplies that we purchased, and the money we spent on rent, utilities, etc. The reward for me was more personal, to succeed and make a living doing something that I love.
-Jenna Friedrich, FarmHouse Fancy
I believe people that start their own businesses feel the biggest reward is to work for themselves. It has been said that a small business owner is someone that will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 for someone else. A lot is put on the line when you start your own business. I spent two years planning out my exit strategy from my old position, writing my business plan, and ultimately securing my first contracts. My third contract is what made it all possible, but we also had to put up our house and vehicles for collateral.My greatest reward is being able to hang out in our shop with my 3-year-old son. Watching him try to sweep the floor reminds me so much of growing up on the farm and working with my dad. This adventure has been stressful, much like many things in life are, but often times in the most stressful moments is when we as humans thrive.
-Nick Schmeichel, Sideline Productions