Our second day of the 2020 Women’s Small Business Summit is all about inspiration. What better way to be inspired than to hear from accomplished female entrepreneurs in our own community?
Kaitlyn Szczupak is the owner of S&S Transmissions and Auto Repair in Tiverton. She was named this year’s Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Small Business Administration and graciously accepted our request for her to join our panel discussion! As a sneak preview of that, Kaitlyn shared some of her experiences starting and running her business in the interview below:
What lead you to get started in your business?
I watched my father run a business while growing up. It was always inspiring to me watching first hand someone take leadership. As I got older, I not only became interested in being a business owner as well, but also being in the automotive field. I showed strong leadership skills and knew I wanted to be a business owner. Aside from learning from my father, I attended school to receive a degree in business management with a focus in small business. I then had plans to one day take over my father’s business.
If there was one thing you could tell new business owners about entrepreneurship, what would you tell them?
Never give up. Always stay determined. There are going to be many battles and challenges, and some may even make you question why you started in the first place; but keep going. Each challenge and battle you face makes you come out on the other side stronger and wiser.
What advice would you tell a new business owner to ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear about running a business?
I have never heard any bad advice or recommendations made about running a business, but I have heard plenty of people state that running a business “is not worth it”, which to me is terrible. They state that running a business is not all it is cut out to be, and the responsibilities are not worth the headaches.
To me, that is false. Yes there are many responsibilities, and yes there will be many challenges and struggles, but it makes it all worth it at the end of the day. Reflecting on each challenge and getting through it successfully is very rewarding. I have always heard “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”, and I believe in that.
What unique qualities and strengths do you believe female entrepreneurs have?
Female entrepreneurs are determined. We wake up each morning with a goal in mind, and we do not stop until we accomplish that goal. I have talked with plenty of female entrepreneurs, and it is amazing to learn what battles they faced in order to get to where they are.
Who most influenced your life when it comes to your career?
Both of my parents influenced my life when it comes to my career. My mom is 100% my biggest fan, and never questions any business decisions I have made in the past and continue to make. Every step of the way, she is always encouraging me.
My father influenced my life in a different way. He is the reason I am where I am today. He inspired me to want to become a business owner. I admired his leadership skills from a young age. Aside from that, I was always in awe at his abilities to rebuild transmissions and repair cars (if anyone has seen the inside of a transmission, it is pretty overwhelming with all of the parts it contains!).
Outside of your professional life, what is something that you love to do; something that makes you feel alive?
You can most likely find me out in the woods hiking with my dog. After a stressful day or week, breathing in fresh air and being in nature makes me feel alive and helps me to become grounded. I am then ready to begin my day or week with a fresh start and clear mind.
Meet Kaitlyn at our second day of the summit!
Register for the 2020 Women’s Small Business Summit to get access to the private event and join dozens of other female entrprereneurs for our second day’s panel discussion that Kaitlyn will be on!
Can’t make it for our second session on October 22nd? Registration will include a recording of the session so you can watch on-demand. Register now!
Last year's event sold out. This year we went virtual, and that means we can connect even more entrepreneurs together!
It's our mission to make this the must-attend event of the year for aspiring, new and veterans female business owners.
We not only encourage you to not miss out, we encourage you to be part of it. In turbulent times, we must inspire each other.