I have embraced entrepreneurship since I was a little girl. At age 10, I had a newspaper route in Alaska and won awards for top sales and great customer service. I learned early to fundraise by getting people to pledge money to non-profits for my bike-a-thons, skate-a-thons and beauty pageants. At 15, I was crowned Miss Hospitality for the state of Alaska!
In essence, I was building a business that supported both my hobbies and desire to make a difference in my community. And for the past 24 years, entrepreneurship has allowed me to not only support my family and put them first, but also to make a difference in the lives of others.
Since 1995, I have owned and operated (or been part owner of) six companies. All but one were media related and business-to-business. One could say I am a creator of media and brands that champion small-business success.
Launching the EverythingBrevard.com website in 2011 was exciting because not only would I get to serve the business owners and non-profits in our community, but it would give me the opportunity to connect with consumers. Having come from a print background, online was also a new challenge that would inspire growth and personal development in myself and my team.
In January of 2016, I was at a crossroads with my business. I had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and was learning how to adjust to an insulin-dependent life. Taking care of myself had to become a priority. Thoughts and conversations about selling my business were present almost daily. As time passed, the idea of selling my business made me sad. I love my work, I love my team and most of all, I love our clients. Supporting and celebrating their entrepreneurial journeys is what makes me tick!
My advice to someone wanting to start a business…
Love what you do. It needs to be part of who you are at the core. It’s going to be hard work and if you don’t love it, you will quit.
Have a big WHY and little whys. Your whys will become you’re driving force, you have to grow into your goals.
Work your strengths and hire your weaknesses. If all team members are working their strengths, everyone is happy and nothing feels like work.
Failure is part of success. Fail fast, fail often and still push forward. Each failure is preparing you for greatness.
Build relationships and partnerships within the community. You will need a ROCKSTAR support team of advisors, mentors and coaches. These people will be able to see things that you can’t and help you avoid costly mistakes.
I am blessed that it has all culminated with the voice of EverythingBrevard.com magazine, which showcases local entrepreneurs and small-business owners on the same journey to success.
Tracy Stroderd, MA, is the CEO of EverythingBrevard.com. Tracy is also a graduate and facilitator of the weVENTURE IGNITE 360Ò Business Mentoring program.
Columnist series are sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.