Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 16 — 22 and Hudson’s GEW Committee continues the celebration of local entrepreneurs.
Viva Bene Gourmet has been in business almost one year, and owner Erin Chenault tells her story.
What inspired you to own your own business?
The opportunity to live my passion. After 20 years in the corporate world, traveling non-stop, I began to realize that life goes by in a blink; so why not find a way to do what you love? I wanted to live more simply — talk about things that are important to all of us — family, friends, food and giving. I see that same joy in my customers when we start talking about food, wine and giving gifts to others.
What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
The start up process was the most difficult, as there is no road map to opening your own business and navigating through all that needs to be done, regardless of the venture. My background was vastly different coming from Corporate-America where the processes are firmly established. As an entrepreneur, you can plan all you want, but it’s really trial by fire.
What do you find most rewarding?
Having ‘customers’ and ’employees’ who have become family. I have been incredibly fortunate to be welcomed with open arms by the city of Hudson. Getting to know them has been a true privilege.
Describe your typical day.
When I wake up, my mind is racing with all that I need to do so there is a blend of both inspiration and panic. I kiss my husband, drink my morning coffee while making my to-do list, get some therapeutic play-time with the puppy and then go tackle the day. Depending upon the season, it could be a 9-hour day, sometimes 15. You just have to be ready to dedicate the time to live your dream.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Freedom. I find myself smiling every day. I have the opportunity to be creative, talk about things that I love with others that share the same passion and develop incredible friendships along the way. It’s wonderful to accomplish something so meaningful, while utilizing the skills and experience honed by a corporate career. It’s the best of both worlds.
What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Find your passion, at no matter what stage of life, and go live it. Realize that you cannot know everything, but adapt quickly and embrace the learning curve. Be brave. Plan strategically and tactically; then jump in the deep end. There’s really no other way.
What one word would describe your life as an entrepreneur?