Entrepreneurial Stories

Told by the Risk Takers Who Lived Them

Brian Semling (Founder and CEO, Brian’s Toys, Inc.)

Name: Brian Semling Age: 41 Company Name: Brian’s Toys, Inc. Company URL:  strictlybriks.com, brianstoys.com, clevercreationsco.com Title: Founder and CEO Hometown: Fountain City, Wisconsin Relationship Status: Married What early experiences in life, cultivated your...

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Laura Cope (Founder/Creative Director, Laura Cope Photography)

"Failure is just a matter of perspective. I think the only failure is not having enough patience to see things through." - Laura Cope Passion is defined as a strong and barely controllable emotion. Laura Cope’s passion for her craft is evident in every facet of her...

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Brian Smith, Speaker/Author (Founder of UGG Boots)

Intro "Ignorance is a key element for every entrepreneur; some level of ignorance. Because if you knew all the obstacles ahead, you would never do it." "In life you get beat down. In business, you get beat down twice as much!"  - Brian Smith/UGG Founder Five Hundred...

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Thomas Smale (Founder, FE International)

"If you have a business partner and/or team, don't blame people when things fail, as it will happen regularly (particularly in a small and agile company)" - Thomas Smale, re: failure Thomas Smale didn’t grow up in a family with a history of entrepreneurship. He didn’t...

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Steve Altimari (President/Brewmaster, High Water Brewing, Inc.)

"Never give up! Attack from another angle or just go in another direction completely. Every failure is a learning experience." - Steve Altimari After a 12-year career in the Silicon Valley high-tech world, Steve decided on a career change. He attended the American...

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Ross Halleck (Owner/Vintner)

Intro Age: 62 Company Name: Halleck Vineyard Title: Owner/Vintner Website: HalleckVineyard.com Hometown: I grew up in Rockford, IL., a modest, Midwestern city of about 150,000, on the Rock River, about 90 miles NW of Chicago. It was a peaceful, primarily working class...

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Matt Siltala (Avalaunch Media)

Intro "I have learned how to keep trying. You fall off the horse, then you get right back on it. I have also learned humility and to accept when I fail at something. I then do everything I can, to do better the next time and not make the same mistakes." Matt Siltala...

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Anton Van Happen (CEO, Eco Green Auto Clean)

Intro “Once I was old enough to start doing business, I did not really think of anything other than starting my own companies and growing them.”  Anton Van Happen A cup of water and an idea. That is the foundation Anton Van Happen’s company, Eco Green Auto Clean, is...

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Richard Brasser (CEO, rFactr Inc)

"You can’t achieve uncommon success by following conventional wisdom. Learning that the ‘crowd’ is wrong, was the biggest obstacle I overcame.” - Richard Brasser Intro As CEO of rFactr, Richard Brasser is the foremost expert in helping companies increase the...

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