National Entrepreneurship Month: Spotlighting the spirit and perspectives of local business owners

Wendy Vonderhaar

CEO

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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I have owned a business for over 17 years and, wow, has it been a rollercoaster ride! At this point, owning and running a business is all I know as my past positions seem like a distant memory. November is National Entrepreneurship Month and it got me reminiscing about why I started on this crazy adventure in the first place.

Igniting a passion

What was it that drove me to own my own business? As I pondered this question, a flood of emotions came over me. I truly believe it started when I was young. I was one of those kids that always had big dreams. I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer, a movie star, Miss America – something on the big stage. I never recall being shy in the limelight.

During long summer days in my idyllic youth, my friends and I did lots of lemonade stands and also coordinated elaborate shows where we tried to sell tickets to the parents and other kids in the neighborhood. While I’m pretty sure none of these were a success, I was never short of ideas and dreams.

As I grew older, I was lucky to be surrounded by a family of successful business people and entrepreneurs. From a father who worked closely with many business owners helping them succeed, to an uncle that helped build and then became CEO of a Fortune 500 Company to other uncles that started and ran successful local, small businesses. I got to witness the American entrepreneurial spirit first-hand. No doubt, the seeds were planted.

Moving onto college and starting my career, the idea of having my own business was always in the back of my mind. Yet, I realized I needed experience before I ventured out on my own. I tried to cram as much as I could into my early 20s and was fortunate to get great experience from companies like Convergys and Deloitte. The icing on the cake was pursuing my MBA at The University of Chicago.

Taking the leap

But let’s be real - dreaming about starting a business and doing it are two different things entirely. Ultimately, my dream and desire to control my own destiny overcame my fear and insecurity. I decided to bet on myself, and with the help of many great people (specifically my husband and parents), I made the leap. I quickly realized that all my education and experience was less important than my drive, tenacity, perseverance and hard work. Translation: anyone can pursue their dream of starting a business!

It has been a great ride, and as someone that gets bored easily, it is never boring! There have been times when I have wanted to quit and times when I have been on top of the world, but it is not something that I would ever change. My biggest revelation is that there are a lot of great people in this world. You can’t be successful without support from great people and a little luck. I am fortunate to have been blessed with a great business partner, team and clients. I sincerely appreciate the many people that have helped me along the way.

Our spotlight series

In celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, we will be highlighting several Intrinzic clients that are entrepreneurs in our blog series. I hope you enjoy their stories and will be inspired by them as much as we are! We invite you to join us each week for a new feature.

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