Michael and Kelly Wielgus found their way to Florida in different ways, but together they are making a difference in their community and supporting entrepreneurs in Jacksonville and Bartram.
Michael has called Jacksonville home since his father’s retirement from the military. Having grown up all over the world, Michael set his roots in the Florida soil. On the other hand, Kelly grew up in Illinois, and post college, decided to leave the icy climes of the north for the sunny shores of the south. Both the Wielgus’ have worked in the higher education finance business for most of their lives, for banks, loan servicing companies, software firms, and a University. Michael owned a student loan company for 8 years until government regulatory changes resulted in its closure.
The idea of an Office Evolution franchise became an interest and reality for the Wielgus’ when the prospect of continuing in their current industry with extensive travel and/or possible relocation was not as appealing as building something in their home community. Knowing the challenges of starting a business from scratch, the franchise option was an interest. Office Evolution was just what they were looking for – an interesting fast-growing market, subscription model for sales, employee light, and it allowed them to be more involved in the community, working with small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The current location is in the St. Johns Town Center. This is where all the activity is in Jacksonville. They are in the process of building out their second location that is scheduled to open in a fast-growing area called Bartram in March 2020.
What they enjoy most about owning and running Office Evolution is that they get to work with great members. They get to truly know them, their businesses and their dreams. Michael and Kelly say, “It’s also great when you can create a community that allows not only for a great working environment but also a place where members can work together to grow their businesses. It’s great to see them refer business to each other.”
Being involved in the community was one of the original driving forces. They invest a lot of time with the JaxChamber and other associations in town. Jacksonville has been growing its startup ecosystem and they’ve enjoyed being a part of that.
The other part they enjoy is the initial phase of getting the location off the ground. From looking for a location, build-out phase to the grand opening. They say, “It’s exciting to create something tangible that people can really use.”
As successful business owners, Michael and Kelly say their key to Office Evolution success is rooted in the location. Take the time to understand the market and where it’s going and find the right location that meets all or most of the OE requirements. Additionally, their advice to other entrepreneurs includes:
– Start with the end in mind. Decide where you want to be in the end and work backward.
– Think big and don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t limit yourself or think you can’t do it and don’t be afraid to make the jump. As Nike says, Just do it!
– Make decisions. Right or wrong, make a decision. You can’t move forward without making choices. I see too many people overthink things and never pull the trigger. If you make the wrong choice, fix it and move forward.
In addition to being successful business owners, Michael and Kelly have been married for 15 years and have two children Christian (14) and Sydney (13). They spend most of their spare time with the kids. During the week, driving them around and chilling with them on the weekends. They love to travel and do so whenever possible. They also both love to hit the gym, “as a good sweat allows us to stay in shape, have some ‘me’ time and clear our heads.”
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