Diverge

Diverge Part 4.2: What Drives Becky Montpetit

This is the final video installment in our #Diverge series, where we speak with four #rochmn entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their entrepreneurial passions. This week we speak with Becky Montpetit, Founder of Rochester MN Moms Blog.

"Asking people to trust you who don't know you very well, don't know your work ethic, don't know your history, don't know your past successes, conveying that was probably one of the biggest challenges that I had." -Becky Montpetit, Founder of Rochester MN Moms Blog

Diverge Part 4.1: The Mission and Outreach Director Who Launched a Community-Focused Parenting Blog

Welcome to the final story in our "Diverge" series, where we explore the journey of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers and took significant risks to pursue their entrepreneurial passions. This week we tell the story of Becky Montpetit, former Director and Pastor of the Missions and Outreach Department at Autumn Ridge Church who launched Rochester MN Moms Blog.

This series was made possible through the generous support of Rochester Home Infusion, another female owned business in Rochester, Minn. and the only in-home infusion provider in southeastern Minnesota.

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“I’ve never doubted for one minute what I have been doing. It has been incredibly fulfilling. It has been hard and challenging in ways that have changed me as a person and helped me grow into the woman entrepreneur that I never knew I wanted to be,” explained Becky Montpetit, Founder of Rochester MN Moms Blog.

Montpetit, a Rochester native, developed expertise in cross-cultural communications and community development early on, which helped steamroll her to where she is today. The groundwork was laid during her studies at Bethel University in Saint Paul, where she majored in sociocultural studies with a focus in anthropology.

“Even to this day, I don’t really know what that means,” Montpetit joked. “But what it did mean is that I had a lot of training in conveying concepts and communicating in different cultures.”

After college, she returned to Rochester and worked for twelve years in the local Missions and Outreach Department at Autumn Ridge Church, playing a variety of roles from Director to Pastor of that department. While at Autumn Ridge, she also worked internationally, performing humanitarian and cultural mission services for the church.

“In that time, I learned a lot of skills on how to effectively communicate with different populations, different sections of the community, different cross-cultural populations,” Montpetit explained.

While she enjoyed her work with Autumn Ridge Church, especially the connection she had to the community, everything changed when Montpetit and her husband AJ had their first child.

“I realized that a lot of the responsibilities of that job were not aligning with how I was choosing to be a mother to my child,” she explained.

To re-establish that link with the community and reorient with her family goals, Montpetit launched Rochester MN Moms Blog two years ago as her first entrepreneurial endeavor. Rochester MN Moms Blog serves as a resource for parents- primarily mothers- in southeast Minnesota by publishing parenting articles and community guides. The blog also hosts events for Rochester mothers and brings businesses to their readers who “fit within their lifestyle and the context of their growing family.”

Because this career change was such a divergence from her previous work, Montpetit said it was initially difficult to build up trust in the community.

“Asking people to trust you who don’t know you very well, don’t know your work ethic, don’t know your history, don’t know your past successes, conveying that was probably one of the biggest challenges that I had,” she explained.

Montpetit knew her passion and skill set were well suited to bring this resource to the parenting community of Rochester and persevered. Just two years later, the blog has over 8K followers on Facebook, regularly publishes digital resource guides and articles for parents in the community, and holds monthly events and family friendly activities.

Montpetit said she never doubted the decision to become an entrepreneur, but perhaps did not fully think it all through until several months into the process. She said her husband AJ, also an entrepreneur, loves risk and the learning opportunity that it provides.

“That sort of support system, you don’t really stop to think too much about what would happen if this didn’t work out,” she said.

For others looking to make a career change, Montpetit said to “look at what your passions are and where your passions lie.”

She explained that you can love your current career, but still might not be completely fulfilled. Adding one small piece can take your personal gratification with your job to the next level.

“Analyze what that might be for you. Analyze is there another thing that you can add to your career or responsibility, or maybe a side hustle,” she explained. “And who knows, your side hustle might turn into your full time entrepreneurial gig.”

Diverge Part 3.1: The Husband and Wife Team bringing a New Entertainment Option to Rochester

Welcome to the next part in our Diverge series, where we tell the stories of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers and took significant risks to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. This week, we tell the story of Ryan and Jackie Steiner, the chiropractor and massage therapist behind UNRAVELED Escape Room.

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This series was made possible through a partnership with Rochester Home Infusion, the only home infusion provider in southeastern Minnesota.

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Rochester entrepreneurs and husband and wife team Ryan and Jackie Steiner had always owned their own business. Five years ago, Ryan opened a chiropractic firm in the city, focused on auto injury. He met his future wife, Jackie, during a search for a massage and rehabilitation specialist for the practice.

“We’ve been on our own, being entrepreneurs ever since,” Ryan explained.

Although the Steiners were their own bosses, running the chiropractic business was a major financial struggle; they were grinding just to make ends meet, even shopping at the local food bank for several months. The market in Rochester was too saturated for another chiropractic practice. “And unless you’re number one or number two, it’s a struggle,” Ryan said. 

A career change for the Steiners came out of necessity. They both loved their careers, but they just were not happy where they were in life compared to where they expected to be. After five years of struggling, the couple was at their breaking point and knew it was time for a drastic change to improve their quality of life.

“It was awful. But our mindset, I believe, was what carried us through,” Ryan explained. “We’ve always been very positive people and always believed that we were going to do well.”

The pair had previously been exposed to an emerging entertainment concept called an escape room during a business trip.

“We always wanted to do something like [an escape room]. And it just stayed as an idea in our minds and we didn’t act on it until the struggle of where we were at in our other profession was really hitting home,” Jackie related.

The pair identified an immense opportunity in Rochester for a different type of entertainment, something apart from the handful of bars, movie theaters, and bowling alleys that currently serve the community’s needs.

Last year, the Steiners spent their honeymoon driving from Minnesota to California for eighteen days in their van- even sleeping in the car to save money- while they researched top escape rooms along the way and germinated ideas for their own endeavor. They listened to hours of motivational and entrepreneurial CDs a la Tony Robbins, Darren Hardy, and Jim Rohn to pump them up about their own idea.

“That was truly the highlight of our whole honeymoon,” Jackie said. “It was so powerful.”

Encouraged by their trip, the newlyweds opened their own escape room business, UNRAVELED Escape Room, in Rochester on December 1, 2016.

For those readers who have never visited an escape room, here’s the low down.

An escape room is a sixty-minute challenge where a group of four to ten players get locked in a themed room and have to find hidden clues, solve puzzles, and “escape” within one hour. UNRAVELED Escape Room currently has three themed concepts including ‘Escape from Alcatraz’, ‘Spirits of the Asylum’, and the newly opened ‘CSI: Rochester’.

After the honeymoon, the Steiners had high expectations for what they could accomplish with their escape room business. From September until the business opened in December, they scouted out locations, developed the name, worked on the business plan, and embarked on a guerrilla-style promotional campaign.

“We did a lot of footwork in the beginning marketing this place because we had…no funds to market with really. So, it was all leg work,” Jackie explained.

The newlyweds spent many days last year, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, placing fliers on cars all over Rochester. At the time, Jackie was pregnant with their daughter, with her stomach so big she could barely reach the cars’ windshields.

“It was make it or break it for sure,” Ryan said.

With all their prep work, planning, and marketing, the couple had high expectations for UNRAVELED Escape Room when its doors first opened, believing that the operation would take off immediately.

“It didn’t happen like that,” Ryan explained. “That was just the biggest dagger to the heart. …It just felt like, man, did we really take a misstep here? Did we just pour tons of money into something that is just going to flop and we’re going to lose everything? You know, we took a huge gamble.”

The biggest challenge the Steiners faced was building momentum with UNRAVELED Escape Room. But they didn’t have to wait too long. After about six months the concept was gaining steam.

“So really we have quite a lot to be grateful for,” Jackie said.

For others seeking to become entrepreneurs or looking to be more fulfilled with their work, Ryan advised just making slow, steady progress.

“If you’re waiting for the time to be right and you’re waiting for all your ideas to be perfect before you launch your business, you’ll never launch your business,” he explained.

Having the right mindset is also essential when embarking on a new career or entrepreneurial endeavor.

“You have to really believe in what you’re about to do,” Jackie advised. “And then don’t second guess yourself.”

Diverge Part 2.1: The M.D. Turned Yoga and Meditation Instructor

Welcome to the second installment of our brand new “Diverge” series, where we tell the stories of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their passions. 

 This next portion of the series shares the journey of yoga, barre, and meditation teacher Rosei Skipper of Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness.

This series was made possible by Rochester Home Infusionthe only in-home infusion provider in Southern Minnesota.

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“When it came down to the day to day job, it wasn’t the kind of work that I wanted to be doing,” explained Rosei Skipper, a trained medical doctor, yoga, barre, and meditation instructor in Rochester, Minn.

Rosei spent four years obtaining her medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and then completed a five-year residency program at Mayo Clinic in Child and Adult Psychiatry. However, for someone with a lifelong interest in physical activity, she was spending most of her time in front of a computer or on the phone.

“I loved my patients. I love the relationships that I had with them. But sometimes I didn’t feel like, in my day to day life, I was helping people in all of the ways that I wanted to,” she explained.

By the time her residency ended, Rosei felt it was time for a drastic change in her career. Initially, she laid out one year for herself to just try out a new path and see what took shape. No matter the outcome, she knew she would always have her medical degree and training.

Her path since that point has continuously evolved but has centered around yoga, wellness, and meditation. She began this journey teaching barre- a ballet-inspired workout- at a small studio in downtown Rochester. Afterwards, she pursued a nine-month yoga instructor training program.

“And then, over time, other things just came out of that,” she explained.

Soon, she began running social media for a barre fitness and yoga studio in Rochester, which she said has been a nice side gig to supplement her instruction. Very recently, she started offering private and group yoga and meditation classes through her own business, Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness.

Before stepping away from medicine, Rosei said she mulled over the potential next steps for a lengthy time.

“It was hard to be patient, but you have to spend a certain amount of time, I think, just contemplating and investigating your options,” she explained.

In addition to her BarreAmped Certification and yoga teacher training courses, Rosei’s constantly refining her teaching and social media skills by consuming and absorbing as much information as possible through reading, podcasts, and videos.

“Anything that I do, I’m going to try and do it as well as I can,” she explained.

Uncertainty is a new challenge she’s had to face throughout this new phase in her career. During her time in medical school, she explained, her path and expectations were clearly defined.

“When you’re doing your own thing, of course, it’s really different. Every day things change a little bit for me. And some things work out, and other things, not so much,” she explained. As a result, she’s become increasingly more comfortable not knowing what her path will look like another year down the road.

Rosei said she was lucky to be able to make this change in her life, which she acknowledged is not the case for everyone unhappy with their current situation. At times, she still experiences days seeped in frustration.

“Those days get fewer and further in-between, thank goodness. But there are still moments when I’m like, what am I doing? Why am I not just sitting in an office right now, doing the normal thing?” she explained.

For others looking to make an adjustment in their lives, Rosei said you don’t necessarily have to make a big change to begin moving in a different direction. She advises learning more and more about what you want to do, and then to start practicing it. And if people around you say that you can’t follow your desired path or that it’s not practical, she said to surround yourself with different people who can help you grow.

“Because it’s your life. You can do anything that you want,” she explained.