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Celebrating Independence Day with Entrepreneurial Spirit: Success Stories and Insights

Join us in our Independence Day blog to explore stories of entrepreneurs who embody America's entrepreneurial spirit.
(Celebrating Independence Day with Entrepreneurial Spirit: Success Stories and Insights)

As you gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and festive gatherings, it’s also a perfect time to reflect on what Independence Day truly embodies — a celebration of our nation’s rich history and the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that propels American innovation and growth.

In this blog, we’ll dive into six stories of entrepreneurs from various industries who have not only challenged the status quo but have also used their unique visions to make significant impacts on their communities and the broader American economy. Join us as we explore these inspiring journeys and discover how these trailblazers embody the spirit of freedom and self-determination we celebrate every Fourth of July.

David and Laura Greenwood, Owl Be There

David and Laura Greenwood, founders of Owl Be There, in their office at the Washington, DC location.

For David and Laura Greenwood, founders of Owl Be There, starting a senior living company stemmed from a personal and professional passion for supporting seniors. After a career in financial and healthcare services, David wanted to do more and serve more people. He had recently had five family members enter senior living and saw the demand for better guidance.

David had a dream of a system that cared more — and offered better care for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. In 2013, David and his wife Laura created Owl Be There. The road wasn’t always smooth, as they had to navigate a global pandemic in the middle, but David and Laura turned their “compassion into action” and never looked back.

“We care deeply about each patient, each family. Our mission is to improve the lives of seniors, providing wise guidance around senior living and care. Our vision is to be the partner and trusted advisor for a wide array of providers, assisted living, memory care, home care, or temporary respite options.

Basically, what we’re trying to do is turn compassion into action — ensuring that senior clients receive care and dignity, kindness and help. We want to be that ambassador of hope for seniors and their families because we know it’s a very stressful time for them.”

— David Greenwood, CEO and Co-Founder of Owl Be There

Explore David and Laura’s full journey in launching Owl Be There here.

Antonio Wells, NAMYNOT Inc. 

Antonio Wells accepting a Better Business Bureau (BBB) award for his company NAMYNOT Inc., A+ rated with the BBB for nearly two years.

A serial entrepreneur, Antonio Wells says, “Never let someone who lacks vision stop yours.” With that driving his decisions, Antonio founded a growth and marketing agency called NAMYNOT Inc. in Chicago, Illinois.

Antonio started his company in 2009, launching with a tiny “shoestring budget” and a dream. He grew the company into the global leader it is today. He says, “In 2009, I started a popular mobile app review site called AndroidTapp.com. With great content, a mastery of SEO, and good old-fashioned journalism. The company never received funding and was able to grow exponentially by reinvesting.”

The greatest challenge for Antonio was the lack of funding and lack of knowledge in gaining funding. He turned that lack of knowledge into execution however, working with what he had, reinvesting until he was profitable.

Antonio advises entrepreneurs: “Whatever the financial hardship, there’s a way to adapt the means to your goals.” He notes that studying profit margins and building a financial model for your business can go a long way.

“Never let someone who lacks vision stop yours.”

— Antonio Wells, CEO and Co-Founder of NAMYNOT Inc.

Elissa Weimer, Paw & Order

Elissa Weimer, owner of Paw & Order. Photo courtesy of the Small Business Administration.

Elissa Weimer is a former recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Western PA Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year award for her business, Paw & Order.

Paw & Order is a dog training business for dogs and their owners in their homes or at the facilities. There are also group classes.

Elissa is an Army National Guard veteran who started her own business after attending PennWest California University and graduating at the top of her criminal justice class.

She has taken her company far in its 11 years, now offering nine franchised locations in the U.S. It wasn’t always easy for Elissa, though, as she traveled around the U.S. and Canada to get specialized training and certification for her business. She credits her love of learning as helping her make it big today. In fact, she’s usually thinking about what step she’ll take next.

“I’m always thinking about what’s next. Having success as a small business is exhilarating, but you have to be prepared to put in the work. I’ve also learned that you need people around you to help you succeed.” 

— Elissa Weimer, Founder of Paw & Order

Melanie Perkins, Canva

Canva CEO and Co-Founder Melanie Perkins. Photo from the Software Report.

According to Inc., Canva is now “one of the world’s most valuable, female-founded, and female-led startups.” Canva is a free online graphic design tool that anyone can use.

But for co-founder Melanie Perkins, getting Canva to where it is today wasn’t always easy. She was rejected many times by investors early on — in fact, she was rejected more than 100 times.

After three years, Melanie finally got an investment. She also realizes today that part of the reason for the rejections is that her early pitch decks and business plans weren’t personalized. They didn’t tell a personal story that engaged the readers.

Melanie says, “A lot of people can relate to going into something like Photoshop and being completely overwhelmed. It’s important to tell the story, because if your audience doesn’t understand the problem, they won’t understand the solution.”

Approximately 60 million customers use Canva today, so Melanie clearly figured out how to pitch her company — and her ability to connect with diverse audiences and effectively communicate the value of Canva’s user-friendly design platform has played a significant role in the company’s growth. Melanie’s success demonstrates the power of a well-crafted message and a visionary leader in the competitive tech landscape.

Marc and Lisa Warner, Bovine Burgers

Marc and Lisa Warner, owners of Bovine Burgers, regularly collaborate and contribute to the community, including partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Photo courtesy of Bovine Burgers.

For Marc and Lisa Warner, starting Bovine Burgers was a joke at first. They were just talking about what-ifs in life.

That conversation led to their business idea for a new craft burger restaurant in their town, which became Bovine Burgers in Jamesburg, New Jersey.

To get there, the Warners needed funding, though. They used Rollovers for Small Business Startups (ROBS), or 401(k) financing from Guidant Financial to fund their entrepreneurial journey.

Marc says, “You know, with a ROBS you’re dealing with the government, you’re dealing with retirement savings. You’re trying to avoid penalties and do everything by the book and on the level. Knowing that Guidant is going to make sure that we’re totally compliant and everything’s on the up and up… that’s one less thing for us to worry about. The fact that we don’t have to think about Guidant means that they’re doing a really good job.”

Now, Bovine Burgers is more than just another burger joint. At its heart, it’s a “hospitality-company that happens to sell burgers.” Customers often spend hours enjoying the atmosphere and various activities such as live music, Family Feud, and Trivia games, making it a community and family favorite.

Bovine extends its hospitality online through collaborations with BentoBox for efficient order management and views customer feedback, especially negative reviews, as opportunities to improve and connect with guests. This approach has earned Bovine a high rating of 4.6 out of 5 from over 900 reviews on Google, highlighting its success in contributing to the community through everyday interactions.

“It’s not about selling burgers, it’s about creating an experience and building relationships.

— Lisa Warner, Co-Founder and Owner of Bovine Burgers

Read the full Bovine Burgers story here.

Luisa Zhou, LuisaZhou.com

Luisa Zhou, founder of LuisaZhou.com. Photo from LuisaZhou.com.

Luisa Zhou felt like she wasn’t reaching her potential in her corporate job. She was making good money but wasn’t using all her skills. 

Following a string of family health emergencies — and a lack of vacation time to attend to them — Luisa decided to start a side hustle. She attended a conference and realized she could be like the people on the stage who had pursued their side hustles and dreams. 

Luisa says, “The only difference between the people off stage and the people on stage was that the people on stage had taken action and moved forward despite their fears.” 

Next, Luisa started a side hustle, offering digital advertising consulting for LuisaZhou.com. Her business grew in the first four months, and she made $106K. In her first year, she topped $1M. 

Today, Luisa has a thriving business. Her transformative journey included lunch breaks and evenings working on her side hustle, but it’s paid off.

“Something strange happens when you decide to not let your fear be bigger than your dreams and just take action. Once you do it, it’s so much more freeing in that you know you can go out there and do it again.”

— Luisa Zhou, Founder of LuisaZhou.com

For more inspiring stories, check out 5 Must-Know Guidant Business Owner Success Stories.

A Lasting Legacy of Small Business Success

The stories of these six entrepreneurs serve as powerful reminders of how creativity, perseverance, and a willingness to challenge conventional norms can lead to extraordinary achievements. Their stories reflect the core values of freedom and self-determination that we celebrate every Fourth of July. So, as you enjoy this holiday, take a moment to draw inspiration from these innovators who continue to shape the American dream with their visionary pursuits.

Just like the successful small business stories above, you can create your own American Dream. You just need some perseverance and a bit of grit.  

If you’re an entrepreneur who is on the pursuit of happiness and wants to start a business endeavor, pre-qualify with Guidant Financial today. We’ll help you get one step closer to your dream. 

Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!

“If you’re committed to it and you have a vision, then Guidant is the way to make it come to life.”

Marc Warner, Bovine Burgers

Read the stories of REAL small business owners who work with Guidant.

Need Business Funding? Complete our quick pre-qual questionnaire to get started at Guidant Financial.

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