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We Heart Local: A Lifelong Entrepreneur's Tale

I had a few early careers before my first entrepreneurial venture; real estate broker, development, day trader, commodity broker but at the end of the day none of them stuck. If I am being honest in my early years I was primarily focused on earning as much money as possible and nothing seemed to be working. But after shuffling careers and a few cities I found myself back in New England where with the help of a mentor I launched my first businesses as his partner in what was essentially a franchisee dental care model. This chapter was marked by significant financial success and culminated in a profitable private equity exit after 11 years.

Exploring Franchises and Education

Post-exit, my entrepreneurial spirit didn't wane. I delved into the franchise world with pokeworks locations across New England and pursued further education with a Master's in Entrepreneurship. These experiences enriched my understanding of business and led me to mentor future entrepreneurs, serving as a judge for Mass Challenge and Harvard's Innovation Challenge.

Navigating Challenges

Despite successes, the journey wasn't without its hurdles. The pandemic brought unforeseen challenges, leading to the failure of my restaurant investments and which caused me to panic sell some real estate. My venture into launching a children's STEAM toy company, Quibbli, also didn't go as planned, adding to the list of setbacks.

Birth of We Heart Local

Without these failures my family would not have sold our home, and moved across the country with no plan but that is exactly what we did. We knew what we had going in Massachusetts was not working, and we needed a change, we also needed the equity in our home to try and live off while we got some fresh footing. We landed in Traverse City the place we love most in the world! Traverse City is all about local heart and local businesses with owners that put everything they have into them! Thats how We Heart Local, was born, from a passion for supporting local businesses and a culmination of all my previous experiences. It represents not just a business venture but a personal mission to contribute positively to the local community and economy.

Reflections on Entrepreneurship

This journey has been a blend of highs and lows, successes and failures, each shaping me into the entrepreneur I am today. Will I fall on my face again? Likely but one thing I know for sure is I will always keep getting up and trying every single day. That would be my number one suggestion for anyone choosing this path, just wake up, and do the best you can with each day, put your head down, face forward, take the next step in front of you even if your mind is saying its all going to come crashing down and it feels like it will fail take that step anyway. If you are lucky you will look back one day after it's successful and remember those as the best days. If you are not lucky you will walk away with more life lessons and debt and likely have to try again.

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