A passion for business

By Mary Mason

Start Up Grind celebrated one year in Muscatine with their monthly meeting at Guadalajara Restaurant on Tuesday, September 20.  The evening was a time for networking and connection for area entrepreneurs.

MCC business instructor Jim Elias says the purpose of the monthly meetings is to “educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs, locally and globally.”

Elias brought the program to Muscatine to work hand-in-hand with the Open Coffee program that meets on the first Tuesday of each month. Open Coffee meets in the morning, and Elias wanted to offer a meeting time in the evening that would accommodate those who work during the morning hours.

Start Up Grind has held 10 meetings in Muscatine over the past year, taking the summer months off.  Each meeting averages 25-30 attendees, by Elias’ estimation. Not all who attend are entrepreneurs or small business owners; some attendees are community-minded individuals who come to learn how to become more connected within the community.

Among the entrepreneurs, Elias says that there is a universal feeling from all of the attendees and the speakers. “The reasons people go into business seem to be pretty universal, and it boils down to passion. People who are passionate about their business are the ones who are able to make it work.  People who are looking to make quick money don’t tend to stick around as long.”

The anniversary meeting featured a conversation with Tony Joseph of Joseph Industries. Joseph Industries specializes in international shipping. The company has been in Muscatine for 19 years, and they recently celebrated their one year anniversary in their location on Park Avenue.

The company has grown from Joseph working by himself in his basement to their current location with 10 employees.

Joseph reinforced the issue of passion for the business, saying that he wakes up every day excited to go to work. Though his job has changed practically as the business has grown, he still loves what he is doing and is excited about it daily.

Joseph encouraged individuals who are considering going into business to surround themselves with a “council of advisors” who will be on hand to assist with questions as they arise. This council also helps to view challenges that may develop through different perspective. Joseph said that programs and meetings such as Open Coffee and Start Up Grind are great opportunities to make those connections that will help businesses grow.

Open Coffee meets on the first Tuesday of every month at We Can Frame That, located on Second Street in Muscatine, at 8:00 a.m.