The struggle is real, but these 5 entrepreneurs are sharing what works

Building a business from the ground up often feels like you’re single-handedly constructing a pyramid.

It’s not just the endless hours and closet full of proverbial hats you need to stack on your head as you act as creative, marketer, business expert, customer service rep and more. It’s keeping up with shifting trends, dealing with fear and finding ways to let off a little steam so you can enjoy the people in your life and the fruits of all your hard work.

You’re not alone. Today, a few self-starters from the community are sharing their insights on pushing past the mental and emotional roadblocks on the road to success.

Ryan McAnally on changing with the times

Nearly every industry has experienced rapid, drastic changes over the last 20 years as technology and society grow and morph. For entrepreneurs, navigating these shifts and staying up-to-date on trends can seem overwhelming. Ryan McAnally, marketing director for Wilson’s Office Supply, understands. After all, he’s in retail.

“We began to reshape our outdated format of doing business, which mostly consisted of cold-call selling, hardcopy catalogues and old graphics. Yes, we blog. Yes, we sell right on our site and, additionally, through Facebook. Yes, we incorporate many useful, modern tools of the trade. But, we remain local by establishing and maintaining human-to-human interactions, which organically began our company’s growth. We don’t send our callers to a robot—we communicate often through email and by phone. And, we see and speak with our clients face-to-face and send out special notes and fun things in their boxes, which they’ve come to love and eagerly expect.”

Check out his full interview.

Julie Marciniak on letting go of (some) control

Entrepreneurs are deeply attached to their businesses. It’s their brainchild—their baby—and trusting anyone to love it and nurture it as much as they do seems impossible. But most entrepreneurs, and their businesses, flourish when they give up just a little control. Which is something Julie Marciniak, owner of North Pointe Body Therapies, has learned firsthand.

“My first 20 years in business, I swore I would never hire employees. Never say never! Recognizing that I lacked the necessary skills to successfully employ multiple therapists, I promoted my front desk employee to office manager. She hires, fires, handles employee schedules and runs day-to-day operations. Having the right team, processes and structure is crucial to having a successful business. Hard work is not enough. ‘Stay in your lane’ is what my husband says.”

Read more on how delegating helped her grow a niche business.

Kelly Bragg on staying optimistic

You’re working more than you’re sleeping, testing different marketing tactics and getting frustrated when sales growth is slow and your client list is lacking. Staying optimistic when you’re facing the constant letdowns associated with building a business isn’t the easiest thing in the world. But according to Kelly Bragg, owner of Kelly Bragg Design, it’s essential to success.

“There are inevitable ups and downs with starting and growing your small business. Keeping a positive attitude will serve you well in the long run. Stay goal oriented. Set goals and work toward them. Don’t let the setbacks overtake you. Reset, regroup and push through it!”

Read more on how this self-starter wakes up energized and smiling every day.

Connor Panayi on overcoming the fear of rejection

Whether your first product launch got less than stellar reviews or you experience a sense of panic every time you think about reaching out to others for help or pitches, fear of rejection is very, very common. Record producer Connor Panayi is well-versed in the struggle, but he reframes his point of view so he can push past the dread.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Sure, you may get 99% noes, but there’s always someone willing to give you a chance. A great website is another tool in the arsenal to combating that fear and really pushing yourself in your field. A website is a great way for people to reference your work and get a real idea of who you are and what you do.”

Given that he took a huge risk leaving an established studio to develop his own business, Panayi is certainly onto something—read his full story for the details.

Brittany Quagan on prioritizing “me” time

You might act like a machine as you toil away tirelessly, but you’re still human. Sometimes, a break is absolutely essential. Brittany Quagan, owner of Journeys: Holistic Wellness & Anxiety Relief Center, knows that for a fact.

“Balancing life and business is something that has always been challenging. Entrepreneurs don’t have days off and work odd hours, so making time for yourself and your social life is not always easy. I’m pretty diligent with scheduling my me time, which has helped quite a bit.”

Get inspired with more work-life balance tips from her and other entrepreneurs.

Want even more insights and tips from fellow entrepreneurs? Check out all of’s inspiring, relatable interviews.


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