We had the good fortune of connecting with Cortni Potapowicz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cortni, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Overtime, I have learned that being busy does not mean you are going to have that much more success. Working smarter rather than harder is the true key for balance. Burn out is absolutely a REAL thing. Balance is important to stay focused. I am a HUGE believer in mind, body, and spirit balance. They all must be taken care of equally. If you do not feed your soul and rest your mind. You risk operating in “survival mode.” Believe me when I tell you down time gave me anxiety. I did not know what to do with extra time. Now, it is crucial that I have it and I protect it like a precious gemstone. Smarter not harder has allowed me to enjoy the freedom that my free spirit longs for. I am much happier and healthier.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Starting, having, and keeping a business is the hardest thing. It comes with extreme compromise and sacrifice. Although, it is not the challenges of just being a business owner, but how you grow, evolve and change. It is like being a puzzle piece that used to fit in all these places and now you no longer fit. The truth about having a business is: YOU CHANGE. Everyone around you is not changing with you. It can be very isolating and lonely. There are so many fears you face: how am I going to pay my bills, how am I going to survive, what if I fail? You must come to the realization that this is your purpose. You were brought to this point for a reason. You better go headfirst and just do it! My mentors are really who kept me together. They had the same struggles I was facing. They had been in my exact same spot. Believe me when I say, I needed them to remind me of that. They believed in me enough to know I could to. Why? Because there was something about themselves, they saw in me and that is why they chose to mentor me. The moments when your employees and clients thank you. Is worth all the struggle: tears, sleepless nights, pots of coffee and breakdowns. Knowing I make a difference in the quality of life of my employees is what keeps me going. What is not known about me is how hard I hustled to get to this point. Most important lesson: Always keep learning. You will never know EVERYTHING. You can be an expert on something but always be willing to learn. I am not just a business, but I am a resource. Not only for employers but also for employees. The individual looking for a new career opportunity. I would not be who I am without them.   

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well I live at the beach so…

1) Hike Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach and eat at Peg Leg Petes

2) Play on the Wibit water park at Navarre Family Watersports because you never to old to be a child! Head to Culver’s for a good meal after.

3) Float down Blackwater. Obviously, you pack coolers

4) Visit Florida Springs- Morrison Springs, Ponce De Leon Springs, Ecofina Springs- We are packing food for this one, as well and soaking up all the sunlight.

5) Take them out on the boat go over to Crab Island and look at the harbor waterside. Catch a meal at Harbor Docks and show them the pass. This is where people enter the Gulf from Destin to go fishing. If it’s calm enough we would go out a little bit into the gulf.

6) Beach- While at Navarre Beach crab a meal from Windjammers. Then walk the Navarre Beach Pier at Sunset

7) Beach – Alphie’s for breakfast

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am today without guidance from the ones who got me here. A mentor is very important to the road to your own success. For you will never know everything and have to be willing to learn something new daily. Greg Britton, he has carried many titles. His title to me is Mentor and Best Friend(PITA jk =)). He saw more in my ability as an entrepreneur than I ever believed in myself. At the time, when we met, I was the youngest of the council I wished to participate in. He took me under his wing and coached me through how to navigate the waters. Thanks to him, Mark Moseley, and Walter Jones Jr. I have been able to experience an adventure of a lifetime in the music industry. Greg and his family have shown more love and support for me over the years than I ever thought I deserve nor expected. Also, thank you to his wife Angie for being my rock on many occasions, and his son Christopher for building my websites and being the best IT Guru I could ever ask for. Christopher is a Saint for dealing with my neurotic breakdowns over the years. What always seemed so complicated to me was so simple for him.

To Kendall McEachern, the man I absolutely view as a legend. It would always surprise me when you would tell me how I reminded you of someone when they were younger, meaning yourself, not knowing if you were joking or serious in the introduction you would give me to your colleagues, because I was shocked you thought that highly of me, and for never failing to tell me how proud you were of all I had accomplished on my own. You were not just a mentor but family. You treated me as an equal when it came to business because you truly believed that I am. Thank you for all that you taught me, your never ending support and always believing in me even when I did not believe in myself. I will always carry those memories with me. Not only did you inspire me but also inspired so many others. You truly had a way of making a tremendous impact on anyone who had the pleasure of knowing you.

Thank you to my fur babies Cali and Jeter for loving me unconditionally! You two are the glue!

Instagram: @cortnibird

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/cortni-potapowicz-aa2b2a196

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