What is your story?
The fall of 2014, I met my lifelong best friend, Olivia. Before Olivia came to college she worked on a guest ranch in Colorado. She took guests up the mountain on horseback teaching about the land and the horses they were on. Olivia expressed that I would be good at it and that I should give it a try. So the summer of 2015, I packed up my things and moved to Colorado to work on a guest ranch! I had the intention of buying a ranch someday because it seemed like a great way to make a living. Although I sincerely enjoy the idea and the work entailed, I couldn’t see myself owning one. All the horses carried bad habits that we worked around and didn’t try to fix. With the number of horses, it was physically impossible to fix everyone’s habits, but I told myself that my horses will be well mannered and receive the personal attention needed. I wanted to carry on the human interaction in teaching behaviors of horses and how to actively ride them, so the summer of 2016 I began giving horse lessons. It has been the most fulfilling experience working with my own students and horses. Olivia continually teaches me about the English discipline, helping me learn more about different riding styles. The summer of 2017 I took up an internship at a dressage barn in Houston, Texas and joined the UNL Equestrian team to help me comfortably give lessons in both disciplines.
What is your business?
Little Bit Horse Lessons, www.facebook.com/lilbitofeverythinghorselessons/
Who is your entrepreneurial inspiration OR biggest hero?
My dad, Larry Zimmer. When he and my mom divorced, he needed to step back and assess what to do with the family farm. After selling equipment and all of the cattle, he poured some money into a swather and a baler. He then took up a night job and trucked at Brown Transfer and began his entrepreneurial journey during the day with Pleasant Valley Hay. He says it was the toughest six years he had ever encountered, but he always saw the light at the end of the tunnel. His positivity, grit, and determination to make things work is the purest form of inspiration I have ever felt.
What advice would you give to a student starting their entrepreneurial journey?
Everyone will continually tell you not to settle. While this is true, be sure to be careful with how you interpret those words. I believe it's necessary to settle on an idea wholeheartedly, but not to settle with what is done with the idea. Make it real for yourself and those around you, and that's where you'll find the most value. If you don't settle on an idea, there's no room to make it realistic and authentically valuable for yourself.
What has been your favorite "Engler Experience" to date?
The Women Entrepreneurs Conference has been the most valuable to me. Each person that came to speak at this conference brought something different to the table, and everything was worth discussing and learning about. It also helped me with approaching other professionals in conversation, something I'll need throughout my entire career.
What has been the biggest hurdle or struggle you've dealt with in your entrepreneurial journey?
Back home the Zimmer's have an existing enterprise, Pleasant Valley Hay. When I came up with the idea of giving horse lessons, it was hard for my family to accept it. It changed our schedule up, so I wasn't pouring as much time into the family business and that was a controversial topic. Yes, this was tough at first, but as the years have gone by, my business has built a good reputation for itself thanks to my horses and the family name. With this, my family has become more accepting of the enterprise and will continue to do so as I continue to establish the business and expand.