The best place to understand the human experience is face-to-face. Distel Wolfe creates engaging, informative, entertaining team-building and experiential marketing events. Founders Carol Distel and Jill Wolfe, who bonded over a mutual love of gutsy dogs and creating shared experiences, first began running scavenger hunts as an experiment.
What prompted your decision to become an entrepreneur?
We love that we get up every morning and get to solve creative problems. How do we authentically engage clients? What value can we provide that our clients can't get anywhere else? Who can we collaborate with to create a win-win situation? We have yet to find an office job that allows us the freedom and creativity to answer those questions on a daily basis!
What have you done to create and grow a successful business?
We network like crazy. We've found our best clients come from word of mouth, so we get out there and start asking questions and try to be as helpful as possible. We've also been successful at using PR to tell our story in a way that's credible to the people we're trying to reach.
What is the greatest or most interesting lesson you've learned so far?
Ask for help! Whenever we've run up against a challenge or a problem, we have learned to reach out to both our personal and professional networks for inspiration. Our clients have been amazing at giving us great feedback and collaborating on events to make sure that they're as rewarding and meaningful for the participants as possible.
What are a few of your favorite things about being an entrepreneur?
For us, having a business that makes people happy is incredibly satisfying. At the end of our scavenger hunts, when everyone meets back at the bar or conference room and they're breathless with happiness at having connected with their team and strangers—that's what makes all the hard work worth it. Research shows that experiences make us happier in the long run than buying things. Giving people amazing experiences that they can share with others, plus helping them develop stronger working relationship with co-workers and business partners, is the best part of our job.
What sets you and your business apart from others?
A lot of people roll their eyes when you talk about corporate team-building and networking—especially millennials. But we make it informative, engaging and entertaining. No one else we know is doing that.
What advice would you offer those who ponder following their dreams?
- Ask for help—and be helpful to others.
- Find a friend, spouse or mentor (or two) who can support you and be your cheerleader during the difficult times.
- Be prepared for your business plan to change based on what the market wants. Some ideas sound interesting but ultimately aren't profitable, so make sure your business model is something people are actually willing to pay for. If your business isn't successful at first, don't beat yourself up. Instead, use challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, both as a person and a business.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. They don't stop at "no"—and they persevere through risks and rewards. When West Michigan Woman sought nominations of local woman entrepreneurs to feature as our cover story, the response was outstanding—as are the women our readers selected. All are in the earlier stages of their endeavors. All have a story to tell. To read the published article introducing these women, click here.