Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Hartstone, CEO of From The Hart Management, LLC & Gifts From The Hart, LLC., located in Delray Beach, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I have two different businesses: From The Hart Management LLC and Gifts From the Hart, LLC. From the Hart Management, LLC is a multi-level business and association management company with a mission to provide strategic sales, events, and business management services for purpose-driven organizations. We manage the day-to-day operations of nonprofit organizations as a turnkey management company and for corporate clients, assist with strategic planning and marketing, and increase sales and revenue.

Gifts From The Hart, LLC is a boutique gift shop where we sell B2B (wholesale) and B2C (retail). 5% of all proceeds are donated to a different charitable organization each month as we wanted to also give back to the community.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up riding and training horses when I was a kid, and back then, being an equestrian was my entire life. Then, I was diagnosed with leukemia, and that was the moment when everything changed. Unfortunately, I had to give up riding and officially said goodbye to the sport that I loved so much. That was such a painful memory for me because so much of my identity revolved around training horses, and suddenly, the vision I had for my life was gone.

Regardless of how difficult that experience was, it taught me the valuable lesson that at any given moment, we have to be prepared to say goodbye to who we are in order to become who we're meant to be. In the midst of my trying to figure out the next step, a friend reached out with an opportunity to be the assistant for someone who was planning a 3,000 conference in Las Vegas. I took the job with very little experience, a whole lot of excitement, and absolutely no idea what the universe had in store for me. The woman I was originally supposed to work for was let go right before the event, and suddenly I was thrown completely into the fire, and honestly…I loved every minute of it. Everyone was freaking out, solving problems, and trying to resolve issues quietly behind the scenes, and I just remember thinking: "This is so much fun!" The process of learning to adapt, remain calm, and stay focused within the high-pressure environments of sales and events was such a rewarding challenge for me, and it was also the catalyst that helped to unlock my potential in so many different ways.

From there, I began working with a lot of nonprofits and learning the ins and outs of fundraising, and to this day, I still remember when I did my first walk for a Lupis foundation. I remember feeling so fulfilled and connected to the work I was doing because I could see that my work was actually making a difference in people's lives. That's when things became even more clear for me. It wasn't just about the sales, marketing, or strategic planning of events anymore; it was about finding a way to align my core strengths with the right organizations, initiatives, and people who were out there trying to make an impact. Then came the Grave's Disease diagnosis, which, combined with leukemia, completely flipped my world upside down and amplified the dark days that helped me discover what I was truly made of.

Between battling cancer and severe hyperthyroidism, there were moments when I would just curl up into a ball and cry. Due to the severe bone loss, much of my face has been replaced with metal, and as a result, I haven't been able to eat whole food since October 2021. I have been surviving on a strict diet of smoothies and mashed-up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! The same pain and challenges I've experienced helped to clarify my long-term vision and also inspired me to get very intentional about the kinds of clients I choose to work with.

So, in January 2022, I made the leap into full-time entrepreneurship and started From The Hart Management LLC with a mission to provide strategic sales, events, and business management services for purpose-driven organizations. Every company I work with is striving to create some kind of positive change in the world, and these are the only companies I want to work with.

These guiding principles not only became the foundational approach of From The Hart Management LLC but also informed the launch of Gifts From the Hart LLC and the idea to give back 5% of all proceeds to various charities and foundations.

Now, when I think about my work as a motivational speaker and entrepreneur, I reflect back to the people who've shaped my life, and I get a bit teary-eyed because, honestly, I wouldn't have made it to this phase of my life or stage of my career without the support of key mentors, family, and friends.

Whether in business, life, or relationships, all of our decisions are driven by something. What drives my personal mission forward is being able to help organizations streamline every aspect of their operations, boost profits, save time, and create the kind of meaningful change the world needs right now.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being honored as the Top Inspirational Entrepreneur and Speaker of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals. You have to be invited or voted into their organization, and that was exciting enough - but then to be honored with this award was an incredible accomplishment for me.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner for me is taking everything to heart. You aren't always going to get a "yes" or positive feedback. Sometimes you are going to get knocked down, but you have to learn how to take those experiences and turn them into a positive. You can choose to use it as constructive criticism and or let it eat you alive. Coming from the hospitality industry, I am a natural people-pleaser. I always take things to heart and feel like I am letting people down when things aren't perfect. I've really had to learn how to accept that things aren't always going to be perfect. One of my favorite quotes is, "The comeback is always greater than the setback," and I truly believe that.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

First, I would tell them if they are looking to start a business, then do it! I should have done this years before, but I let fear paralyze me. You are going to make mistakes, and that is normal. In fact, those mistakes are going to be the best lessons to help you grow your business early on and help you flourish. If you are not making mistakes in the beginning, then you aren't doing things the right way. Just like a baby, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk.

Next, I always advise people to find a mentor. There are plenty of resources online that offer free mentorship programs, and we are always happy to assist people who are just getting started. It's very difficult starting on your own because there are so many things to think about - taxes, what state to incorporate, etc. Having someone who is experienced to help guide you is essential.

Finally, my biggest piece of advice is when you become an entrepreneur; you notice people around you start to change. You don't have as much free time, or any at all, because you are so focused on your business. Having a work-life balance is very difficult, especially in the beginning. True friends will understand this, and others will not. Don't let people knock you down because you are doing something to better your life. Following your dreams and not a crime. You'll see those same people come back around once you've "made it"- it's funny how that works. Always remember those who were there for you when you had nothing and supported you along the way. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't because you can. Believe in yourself. You got this!

Where can people find you and your business?

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