Landworks Studio Founder Shares Keys to Entrepreneurship

Category: News and Updates

Date: December 28, 2021

Carisa McMullen, Principal and Founder of Landworks Studio, was invited by Elizabeth Allen, Entrepreneur in Residence at Benedictine College and Dr. David Bryant to share her business leadership insight with the Principles of Entrepreneurship class in November.

Carisa began the lecture by presenting the path that led her to create her own landscape architecture practice in the fall of 2000. However, the majority of the presentation focused on what she believes to be the most important skills necessary to honing a successful career. Carisa provided two lists, dividing characteristics and skills into separate, but equally necessary traits. The difference in these two being who an entrepreneur is versus what they know, or have the desire to learn.

Character includes the intrinsic qualities of a person emphasizing Zig Ziglar’s quote that “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” Being genuine and authentic have been critical to the success of Carisa’s business. This is best demonstrated by Landworks Studio’s client retention rate, which is 50 percent. Additionally, having a competitive nature and a drive to win is an advantage.

While there are so many skills required to start and run a successful business, one that Carisa finds especially helpful is the ability to see the big picture. Details are important to businesses, but a leader needs to see the overall plan or goal and understand how the details fit together. They should be able to evaluate the market, know which assets their business brings to the market, and how to best leverage all the strengths of their company.

Dr. Bryant asked Carisa to share with the class some of the ups and downs of owning a business. She communicated various aspects of business ownership are both positive and negative depending on the circumstance. For example, having complete autonomy may be a benefit, but it also means the business owner is solely responsible for the successes and failures of the company. Starting a business may not be necessarily for those who want more time for free activities than time spent at work.

Carisa offered advice to the class regarding both ownership and leadership. As a business owner, there are so many wonderful ways to get involved in the community and various organizations. It is important to discern the best ways to spend time and resources and make sure not to get over-committed.

Carisa said, “Leadership is best served when you have your end goal in mind. Know what you desire to accomplish with your business before you begin and regularly track the smaller goals that need to be achieved in order to get to the finish line.”

Lastly, she told the class that it is critical to look back and take stock at both small and large accomplishments along the way. Having passion and love for what you do is important. Otherwise, it often won’t be worth doing.

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