Octane’s Top Entrepreneurs To Watch

For #NationalEntrepreneurshipDay we polled our audience for top entrepreneurs that are making a big impact in their industry. They didn’t hold back on the nominations and especially on days like today, we’re celebrating them! Follow these amazing brands and brilliant entrepreneurs!

Brittany Fiero / @her_mise_en_place

Brittany Fiero is a culinary creator and food photographer. On her website (hermiseenplace.com) and social media channels she share recipes, cooking and gardening tips, and empower home cooks to take their meals to the next level. Fiero also writes and tests her own recipes and curates all of the photography and editing. 

Mise-en-place (meez-en-plahs) means “everything in it’s place”.

It’s a popular French phrase in the culinary world that means to gather and arrange your recipes, ingredients and tools before you begin cooking. It can metaphorically fit into other areas in life.  On Her Mise En Place you’ll find recipes she’s created, usually from scratch, and stories about her culinary adventures. Fiero share posts about collaborations, leveraging cooking techniques, growing fresh foods, recipe roundups, and dining out from time to time.

Her goal as an entrepreneur is to create a safe place for  foodies to grow as home cooks, bond through food stories, learn more about the foods we love, and leverage their cooking skills together!

How did you get started as an entrepreneur?

I started a food blog sometime in graduate school but wasn’t able to fully focus on it. Fast forward many years later, I still had the desire to create content and knew I’d regret not trying again. I made Her Mise En Place during maternity leave with my first son. It started as a hobby and has now taken off as a small business. Lately, I have been writing sponsored content and collaborating with other brands. 

What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs or those just getting started. 

First, get started, and don’t regret going for your dreams. It’s so easy for imposter syndrome and life to get in the way, but just getting started is a major win for your future. Along the way, humbly count every milestone. 

Second, remember to have a “positive sphere of influence.” This is something a career coach once told me. Having supportive people around you is key to success, and the people around you should be supportive, empathetic, and encouraging. 

Third, join groups and classes related to your area. From the beginning, I joined free food creator groups, took online blogging courses, and collaborated with like-minded food bloggers to learn about the industry. I’m grateful for these opportunities, as I have learned so much!  

Whats a person or place that you look up to for support?

I truly look up to and appreciate the creators of Eat The Culture. So many doors have opened because of the opportunities and support they have given me. A local group that has supported me greatly is KY Creatives. I’d say my biggest support is my family, though! They make it possible for me to find time to cook, and they’re pretty honest taste testers. They’re quick to tell me if a dish needs adjusting or if I have an error in a post.

Angela Locashio / @themamapistachio

Angela Locashio aka Mama Pistachio is an ÂûDHD (Autistic, ADHD) Educator, Certified Sexologist & Coach, & Sensory Environment Strategist.

She is a trauma-informed, professionally licensed teacher, educator, and coach, an ABS certified clinical sexologist, sensory environment strategist, and community advocate. With a Masters of Education shes an active member in the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, Modern Military Association of America, American Board of Sexology, American College of Sexologists International, World Association for Sexual Health, and World Association of Sex Coaches.

Locashio is a proud neurodivergent, queer, military spouse and mom. She co-hosts the Drudgery and Dreams Podcast and is the Executive Navigator and a founding member of the Umbrella Alliance. 

How did you get started as an entrepreneur?

True to my ADHD nature, I can’t just sit around so I have always kept myself very busy—that is a way (not always a healthy one) that I regulate my nervous system to deal with anxiety or other uncomfortable emotions. As a teacher, I started the proverbial “side hustle.” There were A LOT of teachers doing the same thing. The more I talked to others, the more I noticed a theme of stress and burnout, not just because of the job—which isn’t an easy one—but because of a whole variety of factors contributing to a loss of agency and a lack of experiencing pleasure. Like me, so many were dealing with this stress by finding or creating all the reasons to be “too busy.” So, I took a year off to train as a coach so I could better support my own needs as well as be the teacher leader I wanted to be to support other teachers and staff in the school.

When I went back to teaching full-time, my admins convinced me to get my 2nd Masters in School Administration. I balked at first, but between the 3 of them, they convinced me it was a great next step in my career after 11 years of teaching, coordinating, and team leading. So, I went back to school again.

Later down the line, in one of my classes, we did one of those lovely ice breaker activities—you know, the classic, let’s get to know each other, uncomfortable activity that everybody loves to hate—where we had to line up alphabetically by the name of the career we would do if we weren’t teaching. Immediately, I went right back to what I wanted to be at the age of 15, a sex therapist. It wasn’t long after that as I neared the end of the program that I decided to drop it and spend the rest of my time and money on actually doing what I wanted to do—I had already been studying human sexuality, communication, and relationships for 25 years so I had a bit of a head start.

So, back to school I went again, this time for sexology and sex coaching. I loved coaching already and knew that I preferred this non-medicalized approach to health and wellness with the caveat that I had a large referral network, ethical standards in place, and informed practices leading to referral when medical care, mental or physical, was needed. And, in 2019, I officially opened my coaching business, Mama Pistachio. It has been quite a ride, at times bumpier than others, especially considering I opened a new practice right before the pandemic hit. OUCH! But with the right supports and structures in place, we are moving forward and not giving up on the dream! In fact, earlier this year, I designed the ND Queer Collective to further support the community and our allies. Woohoo

Advice to future entrepreneurs or those just getting started?

Your dream is valid and others will try to discourage you from it. That can feel like the worst rejection in the world and make you want to throw it away and give up on the possibility. And money is always a factor. It is important to be thoughtful in your decisions and to have others with similar values to your own on your team. And I don’t mean that they are working for you or even have any part of the business itself, but they are there to listen to you and to ask the right questions in ways that help you make the best, most consensual decisions possible for you.

Consensual Entrepreneurship means that you are within your full integrity in the decisions you make and in how you run your business. There will always be people giving you advice and you do NOT have to take any of it. You GET TO pick what is right for you and let the rest go. You get to adapt practices to fit your needs based on how your brain works and how you interact with the environment around you along with the people in that environment.

You do not have to spend millions of dollars or be an extravert, mathematician, public speaker extraordinaire, social media influencer to run a business. You DO need to be aware of your strengths and support needs and advocate for the space to build off of your strengths as well as ask for that support—and the best case scenario is to do that BEFORE you actually need it.

A person/ place/ thing that you looked up to for support?

Dr. Bradley Marples took me under his wing way back when I first started working. He allowed me to be the curious learner who I am and he supported me in thinking in different ways and ultimately going to college for my first degree. I didn’t want to return to school. It was boring and I hated the structure of it. But his belief and support, happening in conjunction with my ADHD diagnosis when I was 22, has been the foundation on which I have built everything else.

Today, my husband and son are my champions. Their love and support means the world to me and I appreciate them every minute of every day. That unconditional love allows me the space to relax, to cry, to be angry or frustrated, or any other emotion without guilt or shame. And ALWAYS, they remind me how important it is to play. This is something that is very important to me, but also something that I forget to do when I get super focused on a project I am working on. I need our weekly D&D sessions and at least 1 night a week of video games to regain energy through play—we all need play in our lives!

And I seriously wouldn’t have gotten through the last couple of years without Molly Hicks in my corner. It was a business relationship at first, but has turned into a trusted and cherished friendship where, to support our entrepreneurial goals, we remind each other that life and work is a partnership and not separate entities and  to understand that humans have different needs in different contexts. And, most importantly, we always call each on our BS when it is getting in the way of us reaching our goals. 

Rachel Elam / @rachelmelam 

Rachel Elam is the VP of Marketing at Wealth Coach of Kentucky, a Multiple Generational firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s also an active member of Commerce Lexington, Emerging Leaders of the Bluegrass and the Lexington Junior League. Elam is also a proud alumni of Leadership Lexington.

What do you do and how did you get started?

I am being mentored to run my uncles firm at Wealth Coach of Kentucky. I’ve been working with him since I was 16 years old and it inspired me to help educate others when it comes to financial literacy. He was always a big believer in that I could do or be anything I wanted to be. He taught me the valuable lesson that “there’s always work to be done.” “Find it.”

So I dove into multiple passions of mine. In college, I got into a fashion design school in Italy. The experience really humbled me and it made me realize that we all bring something unique to the table when we work together. It also made me self aware of who I was as a person and I gained my confidence in myself to take action and follow my dreams whether I am successful or not.

Every day I learn something new and the key is being open and humble enough to accept that I don’t know everything and that is okay. I’ll learn something new for the rest of my life. We all do.

What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs or those just getting started? 

My biggest advice is to just start. You don’t need validation from others on whether or not you can do something. If you’re determined to do it and you know you can, then just do it. People won’t see what you see. As we get older we all tend to go our own paths and when we are young that can be really scary and intimidating because it’s scary to do something alone. However, the person you look in the mirror every day it the only person who will get you to where you want to be in this life.

Whats a person or place that you look up to for support?

In 2017, I became a Christian. I found God on a plane headed to study abroad in a foreign country where I’ve never been to with people I didn’t know and a school that would challenge me with a language barrier. The only thing I could do in that moment was give that fear to God and trust that no matter where I go in this world, that He would take care of me.

Since then, my love for people changed and so did my perspective on life.

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Creative, multi-business owner, published author, wife and mom of 3. Book Danielle to speak at www.daniellemeadowsstinnett.com.

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