As I walk through the doors of the Dark Horse café, Vanessa Seneriches’ informal office space, she is mid-Panini and coffee so we chat casually for a few minutes before I pull out my digital voice recorder.
Last November, she ended a chapter of her life by resigning from her nine-to-five job to become a full-time entrepreneur. She now is involved with three businesses: a body, bath and spa line; a blog; and a jewelry line.
The Sages Ayurveda spa, body and bath line began with the frustration of not reaching her career goals. “I was doing a lot of soul searching,” she says, “reassessing is this what I really want? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?”
She realized that she needed to re-think the way she had approached happiness, success and her career. Vanessa realized she needed to make it happen and co-founded the line with her best friend. “It seemed really daunting to start a business by yourself,” says Seneriches. Having a partner that she trusted made all the difference.
Seneriches had always been a passionate writer, thinking at one point she wanted to become a professional writer. As she got older, logic told her that it was not realistic and she gave it up.
One fateful morning on her drive to work she heard a radio interview with a blogger whose site featured unique food and recipes. The turning point of this interview for Seneriches was hearing that the girl had a book deal in the works.
“I thought to myself, ‘Well, OK, great for this girl because she’s doing what she’s doing, and she’s very successful at it, but this girl doesn’t even write, all she does is take photographs,’” says Seneriches. “What am I doing? I’m a writer, I should be writing.”
It was that weekend that she started The Love Collage, her blog. Although she was afraid of the reception initially, she finally learned to be more comfortable putting herself out there. “I find that with all of my businesses when I finally let go to the fact that it could be something bigger,” says Seneriches, “that’s when it truly starts to take a life of it’s own.”
Seneriches’ final business, Rosetta Stone, began as a result of her creative education and background. “Where I am really gifted is in the creative arts.”
She felt the need to make something with her hands. “I didn’t really want to make clothing,” she says, “and I always loved accessories, so I decided I was going to start making jewelry. But I didn’t know how.”
Unsure if classes or private lessons would help, Seneriches looked to learning from YouTube videos.
It was nerve-wracking at first, because she wasn’t sure if the investment would be worth it. Much to her relief, the reception has been positive and she hosted her first trunk show on June 27.
Like any new entrepreneur, Seneriches faced her share of obstacles and challenges. “When you start, everything takes longer, everything is more expensive, and you really have to have patience and perseverance,” she says.
Looking at problems as a solution, and surpassing limits were major mantras for her. In addition, the overwhelming flexibility of her schedule seemed daunting at first.
“Not having a regular schedule, I had to create a lot of structure for myself because it can be really easy to sit down and do nothing, and then your whole day is gone,” she says. But she wouldn’t trade this for anything. “Freedom outweighs everything in terms of what challenges I could be undertaking.”
She encourages fledgling business owners to seek out mentorship and advice, particularly if that mentor happens to be in the same industry as you. She also recommends starting small.
Seneriches final words of advice: “Don’t pick something to do because you think you’re going to make a lot of money. Pick something that you’re passionate about.”
Leaving the sense of security and the comfort of a bi-weekly paycheck for something you love is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. “The biggest thing is that when you start to do what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re not chasing the dream anymore,” says Seneriches. “You’re living the dream.”