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Business Buzz: The Entrepreneurs in Charleston You Need To Know



Growing up, we admired athletes, movie stars, and even our first-grade teachers, because at a young age they gave us a sense of how we wanted to model our lives. Now that we have careers, created our own business ventures, and started families, our criteria for role models have changed. As entrepreneurs and business professionals, we are innately inspired by work ethic and leadership skills.


Business and Bourbon LIVE is traveling the country to network and build community with business professionals who are creating a buzz in their industry. Here are some of the top B&B members you need to know about from Charleston, SC.


Ben-Jamin Toy, owner of On Purpose Adventures

How did you start your career in your industry, and what inspired you?

I founded On Purpose Adventures in 2011 after a decade of working for companies with bad/toxic cultures. I had been with companies that prioritized performance over decency and some didn't even pay when I performed. What started as adventure event planning, pivoted, morphed, and evolved into an organization that infuses fun and adventure into learning and personal development in group settings. Employee retention happens to be a byproduct.

What was the hardest challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?

I joke, even though it's true, that I didn't even have a shoestring budget to build my business because I wear sandals (Chacos). I had to rely on a grassroots networking strategy that involved developing great relationships with destination event management companies and hotels that received ample requests for the services I provided. I did not have a plan or any money saved when I started. Constantly hustling with part-time jobs for the first 5 years was tough.


Tell us about a time when you advocated for yourself and your business and what that taught you?

The first corporate client that I served that wasn't someone I knew came from a chance meeting on Market Street giving a limo driver directions. I had quit my job two weeks prior and had no business materials and no references yet. I spoke about what I could do for a company, and a few weeks later I discovered that the limo driver recommended me to the executive team of a Marriott who hired me shortly after based on my enthusiasm alone.


What is one piece of advice for young business professionals in your field?

Follow purpose over passion and you won't work a day.


What podcast, book, publication, or web series do you use to grow in your field?

Two of the all-time favorite that got me started with personal development are The Magic of Thinking Big, and The Greatest Salesman in the World. The biggest impact on my daily life is The Four Agreements and the book that has helped me with my latest evolution is Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent.





Kaylee Walters, Partner at the Design Group

How did you start your career in your industry, and what inspired you?

I got my start in College when my Partner and I created a company focused on web development and creative for small businesses in the Charleston area. I had an educational backdrop in marketing but delved heavily into the creative side for many years. I also worked for several years in the Project Management realm. As our company and clients became larger, I went back to my roots and now I head up the marketing and advertising side of our company. I was heavily inspired by Steve Jobs and Richard Branson early in my career with their 'think bigger' mindset. At this point in my life I definitely still resonate with the Elon Musks and Mark Cubans of the world, but I also find myself inspired by women in business like Sara Blakely, or even Whitney Wolfe Herd of Bumble.


What was the hardest challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?

The hardest challenge for any business owner is learning how to scale. I am definitely still in the process of learning, but the bottom line seems to be investing in people for us. Whether that's in-person staff or contracting teams, people are key to our scalability.


Tell us about a time when you advocated for yourself and your business and what that taught you?

I have to advocate for myself every day! I'm a business owner. I have to advocate for myself with clients, I have to advocate for my company's financials, and I have to advocate for getting off work to help my kids. I think when you learn your value as a business/career person, advocating for yourself is a very simple process. It really just revolves around having a strong decision-making process.


What is one piece of advice for young business professionals in your field?

Find something you do well and own it. Not everyone is good at everything, but it's often just a matter of finding out what you are really good at and bossing it.


What podcast, book, publication, or web series do you use to grow in your field?

I like Neil Patel because he has a lot of digestible content with value. He has podcasts, blogs, etc. take your pick.






Amanda Young, Executive Producer at Meta Experiences


How did you start your career in your industry, and what inspired you?

I was 6 and I planned a parade on my street for all the kids to participate in. I have not stopped planning since.


What was the hardest challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?

Getting laid off, it was awful to be told I was not an SME in my field. It was so personal to me even though it wasn't personal. 1 week later I started my own company, 1 month later I was working with Ronnell, 3 months later I worked on an event to rename one of the largest brands in the world, 1 year and 4 months later I have never felt more fulfilled.


Tell us about a time when you advocated for yourself and your business and what that taught you?

When I told people I was not going back to a traditional job. I had a lot of but, what if, vacay time and never listened.


What is one piece of advice for young business professionals in your field?

Learn from as many people as possible, take any project given to you, and seek out projects that stretch your ability. There will be a time in your life you're too tired for that or bored with those types of projects. That's ok... it is what those projects will teach you that will take your career for the long haul.


What podcast, book, publication, or web series do you use to grow in your field?

Business and Bourbon!





If you want to learn more about Ben-Jamin, Kaylee, and Amanda, and our lineup of rock-star entrepreneurs join us in Charleston on April 20th for the Business and Bourbon Smart Business Tour. RSVP NOW!

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