Young Entrepreneurs: Q & A with Becky Zwickl
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
inspired you to start a spa?
Following my passion. With my business management classes at WNCC I found an
inspiration to start my own business. I was one of the "pioneers” in Western
Nebraska to offer massage therapy and spa services.
much capital did you have to raise to start your business?
I moved home from college with $70 to my name. It took three to four years of
hard work and growing pains to build the business collateral. My initial loan
of $10,000 was for my first building venture. The key was to build slowly and
not spend money I did not have or could not pay back at a worse case scenario.
did you raise it?
Personal home equity
as well as equipment equity for my first building. For my second building I was
able to sell shares of my business stock to an investor. This took 10 years of
building a fiscally sound business and financial statements.
do you think are the most important things community colleges can do to help
encourage and support young entrepreneurs?
Although WNCC did not
have an entrepreneurial program at the time I attended, they have since
incorporated E-ship courses for prospective entrepreneurs to learn everything
from business plans, marketing, management, capital investments, etc. I think
it is imperative that every aspiring entrepreneur participate in a program like
this before starting their business.
do you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting your
As a spa owner, my
roles have changed drastically throughout my 10 years of operation. I never
thought I would be crediting my inexperience and blissful naïveté as factors
leading to my success, but if I had known then what it was going to take to
make it in this industry, the fearful apprehension of failure would most
assuredly have deterred my journey. Looking back, I truly wouldn’t change a
thing. In an industry with overwhelming failure rates, my encounters with
devastation and set backs along the way could easily have led to my demise, but
it was times like these that were blessings in disguise. My moments of weakness
were when I found my true strength. In every adversity lies the seed of equal
or greater benefit. Working through challenges and difficult situations
provides us with the ability to recognize strengths, abilities and insights…and
more importantly, by resolving these issues, we find the greatest opportunity
advice would you give to a community college student who has no
entrepreneurship experience and wants to start a business?
Find your passion FIRST
and FOREMOST! Find an E-ship program through a community college before taking
the next step.
do you think the key factors are that have helped you succeed?
responsibility, and most importantly the ability to give back to the community.
were you able to balance being a single mother with growing a successful
It literally takes a
village. I preach to my employees that family MUST come first, and we all take
care of each other. I am so blessed to have my parents and sister close by as a
support system. My children are also an active part of my business during the
evenings when I have to go back. They have learned to help with tedious tasks
such as laundry, cleaning, organizing, etc. It is BECAUSE of my children that I
have the passion to continue. I want to teach them that you can achieve
anything no matter the obstacles. They are so proud of me and have never felt
neglected or ignored. This work ethic is something that will be instilled in
them when they are ready to follow their dreams some day. I am so blessed to
have both a career and family. The balance is an everyday commitment.
Michael Simmons is
co-founder and CEO of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET),
http://www.extremetour.org, and a past keynote speaker at NACCE. EET brings the
country’s top young entrepreneurs to college campuses to spread the
entrepreneurial mindset during a half-day conference. Started in 2006, the tour
has visited over 150 schools nation-wide. Michael’s organization also recently
launched the JourneyPage Virtual Business Incubator (http://www.journeypage.com/vbi ) and
the Virtual Speaker Series (http://www.virtualspeakerseries.org
) to further help entrepreneurship programs.
Becky Zwickl started
her business, The Spa by TLC, while she was a student and a pregnant traveling
therapist in Gering, NE, population 7,500. Starting with $70 and growing the
business as a single parent, Becky now runs a company with three locations and
a full-time staff of 20. She graduated from Western Nebraska Community College