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November is National Entrepreneurship Month


Katie Yakle, owner of The Honest Skillet, holding her cookbook

Image caption: Katie Yakle, owner of The Honest Skillet, holding her cookbook

We are celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month with a local entrepreneur, Katie Yakle, owner of The Honest Skillet. Hear her story and why she supports JA.

"I always knew I wanted my own business.  Both my parents had their own successful businesses.  They had steered me in the direction of going to college and working for others, to have that constant paycheck and lack of financial worry.  

At the time I didn't even realize I was developing a business with a brand that would be known as Warrior Blend Oatmeal.  Several years ago I was working as an operating room nurse.  Working late at night I would get hungry between cases.  No cafeteria was open, this was before Door Dash- most late night food delivery services, and vending machines were not cutting it.  I loved oatmeal as a kid so I started buying it again.  I was finding that is was too sweet to eat in the middle of the night and it wasn't keeping me very full.  This is when I started making baggies of oatmeal blends to leave in my locker. Something satisfying, warm, quick, something that would not leave my stomach growling an hour later.  Next thing I know there are a few dollars left in my locker from co-workers enjoying my baggies of oatmeal, with notes to make more.  Fast forward a few years of career changes that lead to stopping and starting oatmeal making, product development changes, packaging issues, frustration in finding a product name, and life getting in the way.  Where I really started developing my formula happened to be when I was working out at a local gym.  I had an unlimited array of people who loved healthy quick food that was filling, it was perfect for product testing environment- never lacking in willing taste testers.  It was at this time I realized that my oatmeal could actually be legit.  It was time to decide to take the plunge, make a business strategy, and go all in.  I read every book and article, called food processing inspectors, and did as much research as I could to become an expert. Asking as many questions as I could come up with.  Researching into every response to learn about everything I could. 

This has been over a 6 year process with lots of stops and starts; staying persistent on a dream of owning my own business.  I always loved creating and executing, freedom of organizing my day, the vastness of all the facets of owning a business.  Having education, no matter how random it is, will help along the way.  I have college degrees in Equine Science, Agriculture Business, and Nursing.  These random degrees and a passion for culinary adventures have turned into Warrior Blend Oatmeal into what it is today.  

A lot of people ask me: how do you know all the stuff that you do?  I usually respond with, " I just do".  Yet in reality, it's asking questions, going into environments that I want to learn about, getting to know where my weaknesses are, exploring my strengths, taking random courses, being observant, reading books and articles, developing a mindset overtime that asks the question: How can I apply what I just read, learned, and witnessed to what I want to do and be.  I take notes on what works and what doesn’t work.   Most of all write your dream life down, post it somewhere where you see it every day, and do something each day or week to get you one step closer to it.  FYI: My goal was and still is to work my schedule around going horseback riding.   

Junior Achievement makes connections and helps foster a community by encouraging and connecting entrepreneurs.  As an entrepreneur, partnering with JA allows me to share my passion by encouraging youth to follow their passions.  Seeing others and being around others that are passionate in what they do is not only inspiring but encouraging to others to follow their passions in life."

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