Meet courageous entrepreneurs who followed their passion

Learn to work smarter, not harder, from those who started a business while working a full-time job, but never lost sight of the need for balance.

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    Opening his own business and breaking industry standards

    During his 26 years in the web design industry, Wayne Pelletier designed thousands of websites. He also learned the patterns that cause frustration and communication breakdowns between web designers and their clients. So when Wayne started his company, Resonant Pixel, in 2020, he employed a different business model that broke the mold of standard website services. Instead of a lump-sum investment, his team uses a subscription-based model.

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    Bourbon-With Heart

    Mixing arts and philanthropy with Kentucky bourbon

    Morgan Hancock is full of ideas and energy, and her work life reflects those qualities. She’s a commercial real estate agent, US Army veteran, mother of two, and passionate advocate of the arts. Most recently, Morgan founded Bourbon with Heart, a nonprofit with a mission to leverage the influence and popularity of bourbon to raise funds for local charities while also providing a first-class arts experience for Kentuckians.

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    Cheers! How Melissa Zeman creates community with wine

    In 2009, Melissa Zeman said, “Someday, I’m going to open a wine shop that focuses on community.” She got to work, and ten years later, Melissa opened Bottles Up!, a wine shop and experience in the Lakeview East neighborhood in Chicago. Through in-store events and collaboration with other local vendors, Melissa’s business model has centered around “retail-tainment” — creating, educating, having fun, and, most importantly, connecting.

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    Sell it like a mango? Donald Kelly can teach you how

    Growing up in Jamaica, Donald Kelly saw his family members and neighbors selling goods and services on every corner. Naturally, Donald believed that to be an entrepreneur, you had to first and foremost be a salesperson. Since then, he's gained life and business experience while moving to the US, starting a podcast, and writing a book. But Donald still draws on his childhood experience selling mangoes in Jamaica as a metaphor for successful sales.

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    Rob Kischuk, Bellwood Labs

    From designing video games to getting funded by Mark Cuban

    Rob Kischuk started his career designing video games for Facebook in the days of FarmVille. When Rob was laid off, along with 90% of his team, he asked himself, “What now?” Since then, Rob has started four software-based businesses, one of which acquired funding from Mark Cuban at a serendipitous Super Bowl Shark Tank watch party. Throughout his 10 years in the startup world, Rob has learned to take risks: you never get what you don’t ask for.

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