Amanda Klingenberger says she got to grips deeply with “next-level” burnout in 2019 while juggling a tough job, a medical startup, and raising a family. She knew it was time to take a step back and find a new endeavor that could be rewarding and less emotionally draining. This led Klingenberger to start a luxury gift business Linden Square. Today, the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based entrepreneur has managed to grow her business year after year, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and supply chain issues. Most importantly, she enjoys the company that allows her more freedom with her time and makes sure to celebrate every win, “because when you have even the smallest win, that seems like the biggest thing in the world. world.”
Here are our slightly edited Q&As, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories project.
Tell us more about starting your business.
I have worked in healthcare for over 25 years, working at almost every level. But I also needed a break, so I started looking for something that would stretch my creative abilities further. I found it in the presents. There was something cathartic about the design of the packaging and the choice of products, but I was also able to apply many of the skills I had learned throughout my previous career: supply chain and purchasing , negotiations with suppliers, networking, budgeting, marketing, etc. the skills I had learned were put to good use in this new business, and I was home when my children got off the bus. It was win-win.
how do you define success?
Everyone has a different definition of success. Money, fame, worship, etc. For me, success is being able to do something I love and do it well. It’s being available for my family and meeting their needs. There is a certain satisfaction in setting a big, bold goal and achieving it. It’s about taking all the things I’ve learned and accomplished and being able to help those who are a few steps behind. This is my definition.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
I’m really proud of the fact that Linden Square is growing. To be honest, I wasn’t sure we would ever get to this point. There was a time – not too far in the past – when I considered shutting everything down. I was tired, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, and I didn’t know how to proceed. Now we’ve reached a point where we’re turning down business because we’re just out of space. I’m really glad that I didn’t give in to these shots of doubt. I am also very proud of the fact that we are completely self-funded and have been profitable every year since we opened. This is almost unheard of for small businesses.
What is your main challenge and how did you overcome it?
Resources — tangible and intangible. Time, money and mentorship make everything possible. But when they are lacking, even the simplest tasks become extraordinarily difficult. It makes you really disjointed. I am constantly looking for the best way to use resources, maximize return on investment and gain knowledge. I am fortunate to live in an area that has a large number of small businesses and entrepreneurial resources. I also rely on the skills I have acquired over the years. It’s sometimes hard in the moment to see how seemingly unrelated skills can help you advance in new ventures, but you’d be surprised. For example, I learned great skills in procurement in my last position. Certainly useful for finding the best price on supplies, especially in a post-pandemic supply chain. Keeping an open mind, thinking outside the box, and being willing to ask for help has made all the difference to me and my business.
Have you experienced significant personal situations that have influenced your business decisions?
When I quit my job (which was both toxic and hostile) to start Linden Square, it was the first time since I was 13 that I wasn’t earning my own money on a regular basis. It was incredibly scary. It really pushed me to work hard and do everything I could to make it happen. When my family and I decided that while it was making money, it wasn’t bringing in the kind of funds needed for the school fees of future children, I took a full-time job in marketing, while continuing to work and develop Linden Square.
What’s your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
If I had known then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have started. Honestly, though… I would tell new startup entrepreneurs to double down on everything. Double the amount of money you think you need to get started. Double the time it takes to start a business. Double the amount of energy needed. Double the frustrations. But also, double the wins, because when you have even the smallest win, it seems like the biggest thing in the world.
How do you find inspiration in your darkest days?
I enjoy reading other people’s success stories. I know they’re not necessarily more talented or deserving than me, so if they can pull it off, so can I.
Who is your most important role model?
My parents. I have learned some incredibly valuable lessons from them over the years. I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. Kindness and generosity were always expected. They served their community and sought relationships rather than transactions (I swear my dad never knew a stranger). They encouraged creativity and problem solving and so many other wonderful traits. The lessons they taught me, whether intentionally or unintentionally, are the foundation on which I built my business, but more importantly, they shaped who I am today. I couldn’t have asked for better models. ◼
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