Battle Lake's Shebeck shares his entrepreneurial spirit and lessons

Editor’s Note: Leigh Shebeck of Battle Lake wore many work hats in life. But while work titles changed, one thing didn’t: he had a passion for helping people become better people helpers. Here’s Leigh’s story:

by Leigh Shebeck

After college I moved out of state and was a Regional Marketing/Customer Service Director managing a five-state territory.  I was working with companies large and small, traveling and seeing the country.

I never gave much thought about moving back to the lakes area. But then fate stepped in and provided me an opportunity to not only move back to the lakes area, but also do what I loved doing.

Like many of us, I enjoyed working for someone else, for a company, on company time and schedule, and all that goes with it. I did that for years.

But then I realized I could be doing more. I could BE that company!

Leigh Shebeck

Leigh Shebeck

So I started to create a plan to start a business on the side, offering the customer service training I had become proficient in. I talked with a few contacts that I had in the past and eventually signed a few small marketing and public relations contracts with local businesses. Things were good!

But having a full-time job at the same time I was exploring self-employment wasn’t the safe way to play it, I suppose. I realized I wanted to focus more on my own company. I wanted to start offering different training options to businesses and expand what I was doing.

I called a person that I consider a mentor and asked him his thoughts.  How do I get into it, how do I create a presentation? My mentor advised me to wait, wait until the right situation came up, the right situation to take off on my own.

I learned: be patient when starting a business.

There are always opportunities.  You don’t need to have a building or office space to be a business owner.  With the way we are all connected today, you just need to have a vision, a mentor and drive.

Fast forward to 2018 and I was lucky enough to get the rights to a trademarked customer service presentation that was developed by the University of Minnesota called “At Your Service.” This new area has now become three-quarters of my time.

Here's one piece of advice I have from those days: if you are thinking of starting a business, get a mentor. Know what you are good at and then find someone who is just the opposite; they are good at the stuff you need to be good at! And ask them to mentor you.

Living in the lakes country allows me to enjoy the local flavors but also travel to the “big” cities to provide this much-needed service.  To me this is the best of both worlds.