Spring 2019 Cohort
Name: Ivan Arizaga
Business: Aric Signs & Awnings
Industry: Signs & Awnings
Name: Rena Mitchell
Business: Clear The Way Supportive Services
Industry: Social Services
Name: James Lamarre
Business: County Cleaners
Industry: Home Improvement
Summary: On two separate occasions and at two separate jobs, James Lamarre got into conversations with people who had their own cleaning companies. Remembering their business advice, coupled with his want to stop working for someone else, James started County Cleaners. James was fed up with working for someone and didn’t feel like he was being paid fairly, which helped him take the leap of faith and leaving his full time job to put his all into County Cleaners. James always felt as though he was a leader and thought it was impossible for him to lead from behind someone else’s desk. He wanted to be a driving force for himself not anyone else. The most challenging part about being an entrepreneur is the work that it takes in the beginning. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t have access to the help that is needed to help their business grow. In addition, there are a lot of people that lend their advice and deciding who to take the advice from is also challenging. James explained that being a business owner comes with mistakes but it’s about learning from them that makes being an entrepreneur worth it. Self-satisfaction, and knowing that you built something that is succeeding is the greatest reward that entrepreneurship brings. James’ desire to be a business owner makes him feel extra connected to the community because he is able to provide jobs for people and he can physically see his hard work paying off. Words of advice that James would give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business is, to trust your gut. If someone was on the fence about pursuing entrepreneurship then perhaps it is not for them. But if that person has a strong belief that being a business owner is for them, then they need to go for it with everything they have. “Believe in yourself” is the biggest part of amongst his advice that he wanted to emphasize. James believes in the law of attraction. Once you believe it will happen the universe will allow it to happen and it will come to you. The best part of the Ascend Long Island program for James is the fact that he can be on campus and network with students, faculty and his colleagues. The Ascend Long Island program allows James to get the right advice from people and has created a positive, welcoming environment for him to be productive. In five years, James sees himself, not being in the field, but strictly managing the field. He sees County Cleaners expanding so that he has workers doing the jobs that he is currently doing right now and he could focus on a different part of the business. During the free time that he has, James meditates. This evokes positive thinking and refocuses his energy. He also likes to listen to positive affirmations and messages on YouTube. James spends time playing the saxophone, or coaching himself in other fields such as local politics.
Name: Dbora Gooden
Business: Dbora Cosmetics
Industry: Beauty, Health & Wellness
Summary: Dbora Cosmetics was birthed from the owner, Dbora Gooden, always being fascinated with makeup and having the enterprising mindset. She loved the idea of serving people and giving them the results they wanted. She realized she never liked working for someone else, and wanted to stabilize her talents. She started her business with the branding of customer-oriented service. She says the hard thing about being a business owner is not having another form of income and how that can take away from the joy of creativity. She started this journey in hopes to secure a legacy for her family that no one can take away from them. When advising new entrepreneurs, Dbora says, “Make sure to work under someone first before becoming an entrepreneur.” Using the Ascend Long Island program Dbora hopes to enhance her administrative and business skills and grow her team. In the future, she wanted to take her business global and expand her presence on the East Coast, expanding to least 10 or 12 locations. She also wants to further develop her website. She is very grateful for the Ascend Long Island program and wants to soak up all the information that is being taught.
Name: Fenton Jagarnauth
Business: Fenton Jagan LLC
Summary: Fenton has always been around business and business owners. Using the knowledge that he has had in the past and realizing that he could profit from being able to merge technology and carpentry together, he started Fenton Jagan, LLC, a cabinet manufacturing company. According to Fenton, the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur is understanding your customers. The most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur is loving what he does. Fenton feels as though when someone loves his product he feels as if he accomplished something great and is going in the right direction. Advice he would give another entrepreneur is to pay attention to what advice is given to you. Understanding that you cannot or should not try to reinvent the wheel and learn from other people’s mistakes.
Name: Orlandina Balan
Business: The Fitter Woman
Industry: Health & Wellness
“She’s a living and breathing thing. It’s not about me. It’s about servicing other people.” (Orlandina affectionately refers to her business as ‘she’)
“I really believe a healthy community is made up of healthy individuals…I find that with social media we have actually become disconnected. Why not give people a space to get connected and get healthy?”
“If it doesn’t bring me happiness, why should I do it?”
“The universe will never give you what you cannot handle.”
“I realized I had a bigger hand in my life than I thought. I realized that life was a series of choices. As I became stronger, I became a fitter woman. The gym became a place to build myself not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.”
The idea for “The Fitter Woman” came to Orlandina Balan when she was going through a rough patch in her life. She began training very seriously in the gym as a way to cope and quickly discovered that going to the gym was much more than just a way to get physically stronger. She says that the gym became a meditative place where she got “fitter” emotionally and spiritually too. Shaping her body physically through training became a way to shape the rest of her life as well and helped her through a full journey of self-discovery. Orlandina wanted to share this revelation with as many women as she could; thus, “The Fitter Woman” was born.
Orlandina has yet to “take the leap” into entrepreneurship full time. She has been working as a middle school teacher for 20 years and loves her job, but she says that when the time is right, she will jump without hesitation into full-time business ownership. Right now, the most challenging part of entrepreneurship for her is “Being the only person wearing all the hats. Because you have so many ideas and so many things you want to do, but only 24 hours in the day.” Time is her biggest restraint, but even that won’t stop her! Orlandina says that affecting change and meeting amazing people through her business is super rewarding and keeps her going.
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to be careful of well-intentioned people, like family and friends, who may not want you to take the leap because they are afraid for you. Orlandina says “Just do it. Jump into it, go ahead. A lot of times our fears are just conversations we’ve had in our head. Find like-minded people who are already in the industry you want to go into, people have already made it and talk to them. They’ll all say it was worth it.”
In 5 years, Orlandina wants to have grown her business into a full community wellness center. Her business will be at the center of the community and will provide a place for people, all members of the community, to get connected and get healthy. She believes the Ascend program could help her reach this goal through the extensive information the mentors and professors are providing. She loves the education she is getting from the program!
To relax from the pressure of working as a teacher and owning a business, Orlandina loves to get outside and go to the beach or the park. She makes sure to leave her phone at home so that she can really appreciate the sun and enjoy nature! She also loves poetry and listening to music.
Name: Efrain Galicia
Business: Galicia Home Improvement
Industry: Home Improvement
Summary: Galicia Home Improvement was started because Efrain wanted to give back to his community by creating more jobs. The leap of faith that Efrain took came from him his wanting to make a change. He knew that leaving his job and going into business for himself could help him make/be the change and he took on the challenge! Among all the challenges of being an entrepreneur, Efrain feels as though one of the most difficult parts is finding the right market. Being better than everyone else and setting yourself apart in a distinct way, is difficult to do when it feels like everyone has already thought of everything. In addition, finding the right ways to market yourself is tough for Efrain and Galicia Home Improvement. The most rewarding part about being in business for himself is that Efrain has the ability to be more hands on and be a part of every step of the process. He also likes to see all of his hard work pay off and seeing the fruits of his labor. If he has any advice for an aspiring entrepreneur, it would be to use your full time job to fund your dreams and goals. It is hard for business owners to get money when they take the big leap, but if the entrepreneur uses their job to invest in their business, the cost may go down. He would also advice to save and spend your money wisely. The Ascend Long Island program makes him most excited because there is a lot for him to learn. The Ascend program gives Efrain more hope that he could have a successful business. Within five years, Efrain sees Galicia Home Improvement having more jobs, business opportunities and more customers.
Name: Sean Phillips
Business: Genesis Signs & Graphics
Summary: Genesis Signs and Graphics was founded by Sean when he realized it was time to leave the corporate world behind and start a new journey. Genesis Signs is a hybrid business, a startup and a franchise. After many years in the corporate environment, he experienced “corporate burn out” so he quit with no job lined up but with many skills and a passion for what lies ahead. He started his idea from scratch, with his resources from corporate America, he was determined to make his business successful. He wants to tell future entrepreneurs “Find something that aligns with your strengths, your skill set and leverage your strengths.” Consider a co-founder. It does not have to be someone to take over. Take your time, research your market, know your numbers, know what you have from a funding standpoint, and talk to other people in the same industry.’’
Sean is most excited to learn about the three M system and apply it to his business.
He wants to increase his staff, start creating departments (3 staff members) – graphic design, production, sales. His revenue goal in 5 years is to pull in revenue of 750k to 1 million in revenue. In the future, he hopes to have a name that is recognized.
Name: Andrea Ramos
Business: Healthy FRIENDZ Nutrition, LLC
Industry: Health & Wellness, Food Services
When talking about the job she had before she took the leap, Andrea says, “I realized what was in my heart, wasn’t in theirs.”
“I’m trying to gear towards children because I believe that it’s beneficial learning from the bottom up. The children will absorb it a whole lot better.”
When Andrea’s children were younger, they were very picky eaters, so she had to be very innovative when it came to making sure they were eating healthy. Andrea grew an organic garden in her backyard, started a compost pile, took her kids to a horse farm to get manure, and even found ways to sneak vegetables into her lasagna! These activities helped her kids learn how to eat healthy in a fun and educational way. Because this worked so well for her kids, she wanted to share and help more kids eat healthy. For many years, she tried to get a nutrition-related position at the company she was already working for. But she realized that in order to do what she really wanted to do, she would have to start her own business, and so she started Healthy FRIENDZ Nutrition.
For Andrea, the most challenging part of being a business owner is sales. For a while, she wasn’t even charging for her services because she didn’t know how to mention the price. Andrea’s background is entirely in science, so learning the business side of things, has been a bit challenging. However, helping children eat healthier and actually enjoy it makes it all worth it for her! She uses the same tactics she used with her own children and has even come up with new ways to convince kids to try healthy foods (like calling hummus “dip” for chips!). To aspiring entrepreneurs, Andrea says, “Getting a mentor is key.” When she started out, she said she had no clue what she was doing, all she had was a great idea. But when she used free online mentoring services, like SCORE, she had a better idea of how to get her business up and running.
In five years, Andrea plans to have hired interns who can help her with the three key areas of her business: clinical (one on one), workshops and presentations, and personal chef services. Nutrition students have to do a required number of internship hours in order to take the Board Examinations, so she is looking forward to giving back to students who are at the place she was years ago. Andrea is looking forward to growing her business even more and has loved the one-on-one mentor sessions that the Ascend program has provided. She is appreciative of the unique experiences and expertise each mentor has to share.
Despite being super busy, Andrea makes time to do her favorite activities. These include getting massages, playing tennis, swimming, boxing, and Latin dancing.
Name: Kenia Osorio-Wellington
Business: Kear Solutions
Industry: Residential & Commercial Cleaning
About the Ascend program, Kenia says, “I felt blessed to be surrounded by great entrepreneurs who decided to say yes no matter what the circumstances are…Every time that I leave it just inspires me and motivates me.”
To aspiring entrepreneurs, Kenia says, “Go for it! You don’t lose anything. You might actually lose a lot by not taking that leap of faith. Nothing is going to be perfect. It’s a rollercoaster but it’s a fun rollercoaster. Every day we have the choice to be happy and make decisions about how we’re going to live.”
“If our family and our spiritual life isn’t right, then nothing is right.”
The idea for “Kear Solutions” came from a suggestion from Kenia’s father-in-law. He saw that there was a big opportunity to clean commercial offices. Many people were unhappy with the cleaning services they had, and Kenia knew she could provide a much better level of service. Kenia says, “We want them to come into the office the next day and feel like they walked into a clean healthy environment.” Even though she hated helping her mom clean when she was younger, Kenia knew this was a great opportunity to provide a quality service and provide for her family; so, her and her husband started Kear Solutions.
For Kenia, the most challenging part of being a business owner is making sure she defines and sticks to her priorities and goals. She has to balance a lot of different elements of life (including two kids who are both under the age of two!) and it can be hard to make sure God, friends, family, and work are all aligned. That said, Kenia finds being a business owner to be very rewarding and has loved being able to give back to the community by creating jobs and providing quality services. She loves “doing life” with all of her employees and makes sure that she builds personal relationships with each of her employees.
In five years, Kenia has plans for her business to be thriving and fully competing with other business. She also hopes that her business can make a big impact in the Corridor and can help create many jobs for her community. In the Ascend program, Kenia is enjoying building lots of new connections who can help her achieve her goals. About the program she says, “I felt blessed to be surrounded by great entrepreneurs who decided to say yes no matter what the circumstances are.” She also says that Ascend is providing her with a space to really learn and critically think about how to grow her business.
Kenia says that starting and owning a business is like raising a child, but it is worth it! To aspiring entrepreneurs, she encourages them to take the leap and use their gifts and talents to make a difference in the world. She also urges entrepreneurs to not focus on the money; rather to focus on what they are passionate about because that is how their business will succeed.
Kenia is extremely busy with parenting, working a regular part-time job, and running a business, but she still makes sure to set aside time for herself. She loves reading, praying, and meditating. She also gets massages with her employees once a month to help relax from the hard work they do on a daily basis.
Name: Kenia Nuñez
Business: Marnava, Inc.
Industry: Health & Wellness
“World peace begins with inner peace.”
When discussing how she extended her husband’s life by five months, Kenia says, “Probably the greatest miracle in that was that prior to him getting sick, I was battling my own depression. I was actually having suicidal ideations. I was in a really dark place. I guess my wake-up call, because I was asleep at the wheel for 40 years of my life, was when he got sick and in trying to save his life, I saved my own. I was at my strongest physically, mentally, and spiritually in helping him through his battle.”
Kenia says after her husband’s passing, “I was in a great place emotionally. And I confused people about that because I was at peace. That didn’t come by accident. It was a lot of work.”
Kenia teaches in suspension high schools, which is both rewarding and challenging because, she says, “Before I can teach them self-care, I have to teach them to care.” She does this by building trust and says, “I let them see me for who I am…One of my biggest accomplishments, which happened two weeks ago, was that I was able to get these kids to practice yoga. It was very exciting. To be able to get these kids to relax and let go was huge.”
“The most challenging part is feeling like there is so much I want to give and share, and I just want to be able to focus on my message and transform people’s lives. And the part of running a business is so not sexy. And it really depletes me.”
Kenia’s story of how her business came to be is both sad and uplifting. She says, “My business came about through tragedy.” When her husband was diagnosed with cancer, Kenia started doing lots of research to find ways to extend his life. When the doctors only gave him two weeks to live, he actually lived five more months because of the holistic approaches and drastic lifestyle changes that Kenia researched and helped him implement. She says that perhaps an even greater miracle was that her own life changed for the better through these lifestyle changes. Kenia had been battling depression and suicidal ideations, but this all changed from the hard work she was putting in to live a healthier, happier life. Eventually she started telling others, which led to the idea for her business, Marnava, as a way to spread the word to an even wider audience and help others live better lives.
Taking the leap to become an entrepreneur full-time was terrifying for Kenia, but she knew she had to follow her passion. She says the business-side of things has been very challenging for her. If she could, she would love to do everything for free, but running the business is necessary. On the other hand, Kenia notes that it has been incredibly rewarding to know that she is making a living out of something she loves. It has taken lots of dedication and focus, but she loves seeing her work making a difference in other people’s lives.
Kenia says that aspiring entrepreneurs should make sure to have systems in place before they take the leap. She thinks making sure everything is lined up, organized, and using systems is crucial before leaving a regular full-time job.
In five years, Kenia hopes to have a self-care, system-wide program used in the US Department of Education, where students can find everything they need to know about how to live happy, healthy lives. She wants to create an online course in both English and Spanish, and to be travelling everywhere, giving keynotes, and sharing the message of self-care. She hopes the Ascend program will be able to help her with these dreams and she is excited to have new doors opened to her.
Kenia makes sure to “practice what she preaches.” She practices yoga, works out, and gets massages. She says that she knows the dark places she has been in her life and never wants to go back, so self-care is crucial for her.
Name: Roslyne Johnson
Industry: Beauty, Health & Wellness
“It’s all God’s plan. If God says, “Leave your job because I’ve set you up to do this business full-time, I’m out of there happily!”
“I love creating. And I love creating things that help people. I have seen and received testimonials from people who have used my product and notice a visible difference in their skin and how it feels. Knowing it’s having a positive impact on other people is very rewarding for me”
“I love being in control of what goes into my products. I know what’s in it and I know it’s all good stuff. There are no harmful chemicals, there are no cancer-causing agents or parabens and I know it because I make it all with my own hands.”
Roslyne’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to, “Surround yourself with people who are encouraging you. Keep a positive attitude and pray a whole lot!”
Roslyne’s business is entirely inspired by her daughters. When they were younger, they both suffered with serious dry skin, but no store-bought lotions, over the counter remedies, or prescription lotions would help. Frustrated, Roslyne decided to create her own formula and eventually made a lotion that relieved her daughters of their dry skin problems and still smelled and looked delicious. She started sharing her product with friends and family who loved it so much that they offered to pay her for it. So Roslyne started MayaIndia, a dessert-themed skincare line named after her daughters.
Roslyne says that her biggest challenge as an entrepreneur has been managing her time effectively and keeping up with social media trends. Fortunately, her two Millennial-generation daughters help her with it! Roslyne has found being an entrepreneur to be very rewarding because she loves creating the products and loves knowing that she is helping others overcome their skin problems. In five years, she plans to have her business running like a “well-oiled machine” with at least a few contracts by then. She also hopes to eventually be able to sell her products internationally. Her favorite parts of the Ascend program are the help with getting an MWBE certification and having new procurement opportunities.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, Roslyne says “Research, research, research!” She also suggests surrounding yourself with people who are encouraging and supporting you and do lots of praying.
Roslyne currently works as a social worker, runs a mentoring program for young girls, and runs her skincare business. Even with all this, she makes sure to find time for self-care. She loves to craft, bake, travel, and read. Recently she has gotten into paper-crafting and stamping.
Name: Roger Arias
Business: Omni 1 Landscaping, Inc.
Summary: Roger, the founder of Omni Landscaping, says that when he moved from Los Angeles to New York he gained his experience from working for Sunshine Land & Tree. He felt as though his hard work was under-appreciated and wanted to put his efforts into something else. He decided to start his own landscaping company. The issues with his boss made the leap of faith so easy for Roger. Not having someone telling you how to do things and being a diverse business owner are two of the most challenging parts about being an entrepreneur, Roger stated. He feels as though there are a lot of doors that are closed because he is Hispanic. The most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur is that Roger gets the opportunity to provide jobs and support for his family and the community. Advice that would be given to other entrepreneurs would be to just “Do It!” Roger felt as though it is important for people who want to start their own business to know that they only way you won’t be in the same spot is if you do something about it. People who are serious about self-growth and entrepreneurship would benefit them because it grows and stretches you, Roger said. Roger is excited about the Ascend Long Island program because it gives him hope. He feels as though when doors close, the Ascend program reminds him that there are doors that are going to open and that most importantly, diverse business owners have just as many opportunities. In five years, Roger is confident that he would have learned a lot more, and is on top doing better than previous years. Roger also feels as though his business, Omni Landscaping, will be providing more jobs for the community.
Name: Gloria Cassell
Business: Parker Creates Interiors
Name: Jamie Rogers & Thia Wellington-Gardner
Business: Quality LIFE Homecare, Inc.
Industry: Health & Wellness
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 631-360-3914, 917-543-1846
When talking about taking the leap into full-time business ownership, Thia and Jamie say, “We approached it with confidence. We were sure this was the venture we wanted to work on.”
What is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur?
Jamie: “The fact that we can never rest at this point because we’re in the infant stage of our business, so we are involved in every aspect of it and are working 24/7 365”
Thia: “We are in the developing stage and that’s challenging for reasons we could talk about for days, financial, managing, various barriers.”
To aspiring entrepreneurs, Jamie says, “Be prepared to make sacrifices. When you have a staff of 35 people you have to take care of them first before you take care of yourself sometimes.”
Jamie: “Human capital is at the core of your business. We know that, so for us, our employees’ development and benefits are important.”
Thia: “They’re our soldiers.”
Jamie: “They’re at the forefront. They go out there and represent the company. We want to make sure their well-being is intact.”
Thia and Jamie came up with the idea for Quality LIFE Homecare right on Hofstra’s campus! They had both worked in industries related to homecare, so they saw the many issues that were occurring with it. They say, “We realized that we wanted to get in so we could solve or revolutionize the homecare world and some of the issues we observed” and so they decided they had to start their own business. Although Thia and Jamie say it was scary to become entrepreneurs, they knew exactly what they wanted to do and were confident in the business they were starting.
Juggling work and family and running a business 24/7 365 has been the most challenging part for Thia and Jamie. Because they are in the developing stages of their business, there is always something to be done. Thia notes that there are also financial and management barriers that they have to overcome. They also have big plans for their business that they are working on right now. Thia says they are going “Down many avenues! But the primary one that we are working for and have already planned for, is for group homes. We want to expand to include ‘a suite of services.’ We want to create a package where we’re taking care of the overall well-being of that individual. We want to be the facilitator that helps them age in place.”
Jamie says that aspiring entrepreneurs need to start with a strong plan and make sure they have lots of grit. Thia adds, “It’s not for the faint of heart.” They note that you need to prepare personally for it, as well, and be prepared to make sacrifices.
In their limited free time, Thia and Jamie go to the gym three times per week. However, even as they’re talking about what they do to relax, they add that they always have a notepad on them and are constantly having “information overload.”
Name: Acquilla Bailey
Business: Quilla’s Catering
Industry: Catering / Food and Hospitality
Summary: Growing up, Acquilla liked cooking and baking but never thought it would turn into a career. She started cooking for her family and church. She attended Johnson and Wales with a major in business. Many years after graduating she enrolled in the NY Restaurant School in Manhattan where she found her passion for food. Her husband helped her take the leap of faith by following her passion and starting her own catering business. According to Acquilla, starting the journey of becoming an entrepreneur was the hardest part; not knowing the future and if it was the right decision. The flexibility of her time and being able to choose is the most rewarding aspect. Acquilla gives future entrepreneurs advice: “Be sure that this is something that you want to do. Be willing to put the work in.” She is most excited about getting commercial credit. She gained an understanding of business credit from the Ascend Long Island program. Acquilla just completed the EAP program at Hofstra where she won First place!. Her plan for the future is to obtain an event venue and write her business plan.
Name: Robert Scarlett
Business: Scarlett Consulting Engineering
Summary: In Robert’s personal experience within the construction industry, he did not find much diversity. This led Robert to invest in himself and start Scarlett Consulting, a construction consulting company. Robert had a successful company when he was in the West Indies. He remembers his mom always telling him that he cannot work for someone else, it was never in him. Over the years, he realized what she saw in him and decided to work for himself. Robert felt like he was wasting his time thinking of ideas and coming up with concepts for everyone else then not receiving the appropriate credit for his hard work. The most challenging part about being an entrepreneur is the day-to-day operation, Robert says. The need for a thick skin and the need to understand exactly what you are doing is also another challenge that being an entrepreneur comes with. Robert explained that he never felt like he was the type to need or seek validation from people but the validity that being and entrepreneur brings when your hard work pays off is gives him the confidence that he is heading in the right direction and is doing something right. Advice that he would give other business owners would be to be more than prepared. Usually people would tell you to have six months of the money saved because that will help the budding entrepreneur but Robert feels as if that is not enough. Be patient with yourself and your process because Robert explained that his major breakthrough did not happen, until he was 18 months into is business. Building your company with while you are still employed by another, may not be the best practice. According to Robert, if someone were to go into business using that method they must not get too comfortable. The downside to that method, as opposed to saving money up for months, is that the person doing it might get comfortable in the security that a job gives them so they never fully become a full time business owner. They are a part-time entrepreneur and a full-time employee still. Robert explains that entrepreneurs have to understand that the first year is going to be rough because you are marketing and getting business off the ground. The Ascend Long Island program has helped Robert expand and interacting with entrepreneurs. These interactions has helped him learn from his colleagues and pick up new ideas to approach difficult decisions. Five years from now, Robert expects to have five people on staff, which are more engineers. Robert is outsourcing for his marketing and public relations needs to try to keep the company on a smaller scale. Robert sees himself and his company, Scarlett Consulting pulling in $1.5-2 million with ease each year within the next five years.
Name: Chris Holman
Business: Supply IQ
Phone: 516- 497-9855
Summary:While Chris was in the military, he thought of the idea to assist small to mid-size companies with shipping their products. He felt as though this would be beneficial to companies being that he could provide great carrier solutions and customer service.
The big transition from a full-time job to a full-time business owner happened when Chris realized that for the next 15-20 years, he would rather put effort towards his own business rather than someone else’s. Discipline must be the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur. Setting goals and staying committed to them willingly and being your own accountability checker, are among the hardest part about of being an entrepreneur, Chris explained. The good days make all the self-accountability worth it. Having the satisfaction of knowing he and his idea “did it” makes being an entrepreneur all the worthwhile. Advice that he would lend to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to start early. Starting early consists of planning your day out as soon as the idea is considered. While at your other full-time position, start planning so that the switch from job to business owner will be smoother. Having a well thought-out idea and conducting a SWOT analysis is among some other advice he would offer new entrepreneurs. Staying hungry is the last piece of his advice. Remember why one has started their company and keep that focus and drive alive. What excites Chris the most about the Ascend Long Island program is that opportunity to have business connections. The Ascend program gives all the participants valuable tools that helps everyone learn about each other and potentially work alongside one another. Five years from now, Chris envisions himself with expanding to other counties throughout the state to continue helping small and medium sized businesses in need of shipping & freight consultant with an average income of 1.5-2 million dollars a year.