Linsey is one of our Trailblazers and is a young entrepreneur in Pipestone, Minnesota.

City: Pipestone, Minnesota

Who is your community? This may be a group of friends, organization of affinity or a geographic location. I will group it into “Rural Minnesota Community.” Moving to the area in 2013 I am still finding all the additions for that community. In a sleepy town in Minnesota you always hear that there is established groups of people who form their own communities; so you have to ask yourself “Where do I get to fit in?” The answer I have found for that is the younger you are the more of a challenge it is to get into those already life long formed friendships, but you find that place you can connect and it usually being to better this place we are all calling home, thats where you find that community and how I can call a lot of different people my community. Being a dance teacher, I find myself in the Arts Community, connecting with customers who have been shopping at my prior job for 50 years, I find myself with the Golden Community, being young, I can still find myself connecting with the Millennial Community, along with being a dance teacher I get to spend so much time with younger kids, in return, find myself in the Next Generation Community, being the wife of a farm family and being asked to be featured in Minnesota Farm Livings “30 Days of Agriculture” piece, I easily find myself in the Agricultural Community. The list can go on, so being a part of the melting pot of Rural Minnesota community really just fits.

Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day. I used to have the average day up until the last week(ish). I used to get up for my usual day job, go to work, come home, eat dinner and do more projects for my own business. Now my days can look a little something like this: Sit on my computer doing marketing while listening to Ke$ha or some awful Pandora stations that remind me of being in college. -Preparing ballet or jazz/hip hop dances for my 1st-3rd grade dance students. – Catching the 12pm, 5pm, 6pm, and 10pm local news. -Discussing how I want to revive this community by doing ______ and _____ by doing _____ and then I can ______ – Discussing farming with my husband over a huge plate of spaghetti. -Squishing my dogs face and telling him how cute he is and how much I love him. – Day-dreaming and figuring out the details of the next big thing for my business. -Answering emails and sending out show applications. Than the evening comes; the evening is usually when the biggest stride happens with the biggest production. After my twice-a-week dance classes at a local studio, I come home and get to work. The saws will come out, the dust starts flying, the glue gets extra sticky, the paint finds its way to your hair, and the teamwork works the best. Everyday is so different, and I love it.

What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming? The challenge of being a young entrepreneur in a small, rural town; trying to make big dreams come true with real life situations still knocking on my door. Along with this challenge would be networking with those in the community. You can involve yourself in as much as you can, but when it comes to getting yourself out there with already established individuals, it is really daunting.

If you could do any job, what would you do and why? Just what I am doing. I finally gave up my day-time job to pursue my dream to its fullest potential. I feel like I have more to offer than what can be boxed in at a typical job. I want to make an impact in my community and the generations to come. In a sleepy town like this one, it depends on people my age to aspire to be great things IN the community.

What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career? The connection. You really get a sense of community and connection living in a small place. Your friends and supporters become people all across the spectrum of people. I have an 81-year-old woman who keeps me up on the latest and offers so much to me. I have middle-aged adults pushing me and becoming lifelong friends. I have young adults looking to me for hope and advice. I have children looking at me as a role model and to tell them it is okay. You get all those Minnesota Nice feels and friendship here in the OTA region.

At what intersection do you live your life? I live at the intersection of Day Dreaming and Rural Reality.

Where do you think good ideas come from? Your surroundings and within. I have so many great ideas, but they are inspired from those people who surround me that spark the “how to take it further.”

What’s one current trend you think will change the world? Young Entrepreneurship. The future of communities depend on young entrepreneurs.

What’s the best way to put inspiration into action? Just do it. I am always one to give advice to others, especially the “you gotta do you” advice, but until I did it myself, I didn’t know that the only inspiration I needed was myself.

What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken? Taking a leap of faith to start my own business after about 2 years of living with it as an “on the side” thing or a dream in the making.

What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it? This is always a hard question! They always say that in a job interview you should flip this into a positive thing, like “I am too organized, or, I sometimes work too hard.” I think my biggest fault/failure is always second guessing myself and stuttering to putting myself out there. I have been working on this application for over a week now — perfect example. I have had people behind me telling me to quit my day job and pursue my dream for 2 years, but I was afraid that with life so comfortable and redundant, why mix it up? Now that I have, I feel so invigorated and free to be me and to push myself and this community when the chances continue to present itself. I have learned that taking a chance at failure is the only way I’m going to know I will succeed (or not), and I hope that being a TrailBlazer will also push that idea and help me push others.

Who do you hope to leave a legacy for? The next generation. I hope to leave them hope for their future and with creativity, that it can be built in small communities.

Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected? My husband, Paul. Paul is my partner in everything. I may be a sole proprietor, but he is always behind me. In other senses, he is literally my rock. He is a farm boy who has let my dreams become his as well. Not often do a farmer and an interior designer collaborate. He has taught me so much about life, agriculture, business and about myself. We literally pick up where the other leaves off, and where one lacks, the other strives. He is always trying to connect in so many different aspects of life, whether it be the design life, the problems of the world, agriculture, the way business works, or the ways just anything works, he is always seeking for more knowledge in connecting with everything in life. With that, he always has something to fill me in on over that big plate of spaghetti.

Who is the most creative person in your life, and why? Regina (Reggie) Gorter. Reggie has big, creative dreams for herself. She became a huge inspiration and supporter for me as I transitioned into my life in the Pipestone community. She owns Reggie Gorter vocaldancestudio, where I am also employed as a dance teacher. Reggie is trying to make the performing arts, whether it be vocal, dance, piano, guitar, drums, violin, and the list goes on, available to everyone. Sometimes offering the arts to students isn’t easy to budget in, but with creative ways of alternatives to making it work for others she is seeing the importance of what she is doing for our community. As much as her business success is important to her, the creativeness and art of performing arts being offered in her community to all generations and different backgrounds, is what is the most important.

Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities? Erica Volkir. Erica is the Chamber Executive Director here in Pipestone. She obviously has to be community focused, but I feel she goes above and beyond what most chamber directors do. Being a home based business she has reached out and encouraged me as to why I should be a part of the chamber and how they could help me. She is very active in making events happen in our community, having events that interest people in and around the community, and is absolutely the best with telling why Pipestone is such a great community that has so much to offer. She truly has a knack for doing what she does.

What makes you a Trailblazer? I feel like small, rural communities like Pipestone always need a positive and creative upcoming generation that wants to see its community thrive. Fresh ideas, but wanting to keep the history and the traditions alive and continuing to promote why the community is such great place to visit for a vacation or for a place to plant your stakes, is something I love. I want to impact this community and show younger generations that this place can be a forever home and a place that the generations can connect and collaborate. Being a role model for the younger generation is something I strive for. I know first-hand that you can go to college, get a great degree and still bring it back to a small town, just like ours, and make it useful. Impacting this community in a positive, even small ways, is something that makes my heart flutter and I want to see more of. I hope to establish this community of young, collaborative, creative minds for others.

What project do you plan to focus on as part of the Trailblazers Program? I plan to focus on the younger generations of the community. I want the younger generations to be able to connect with the older, established generations, be able to collaborate with business people who have been here their whole lives making a living, and connect with those business people just starting out. I want the younger generation to see that entrepreneurship is a possibility, even in small communities, especially our own. This can be integrated with workshops, experiences with collaborating with other generations of the community during community events, and “dream building-team building” by exploring them with peers and other business people of the community.

What change / advancement do you hope to achieve as part of the Trailblazers Program? I hope to see an advancement in younger generation dreams, to see collaboration between adults and young entrepreneurs, and to bring awareness to the community that the younger generation strive to better the community. I hope to change the outlook in youth that Pipestone is a positive place to not only grow up but continue to grow as an adult. Also with being part of the Trailblazer community, I hope to add to “my community” of great mentors, positive influences and community pride lovers. As a new business owner, I am always on the search for a great group of mentors and similar people trying to advance for the better of their business and the place their business calls home.

The Trailblazers program is sponsored by Midco®, the regional provider of business and residential internet and networking, cable TV, phone and commercial IT services.