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

Hi Tracie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process was admittedly quite minimal! I I knew I wanted a change. I knew I wanted more control over what I did and when I did it. I knew I wanted more creativity. A friend who had her own business encouraged me to go for it…so I did. In hindsight, I really, really wish I had given it more thought. Not because I wouldn’t have done it – but because I wish I had made a plan. I didn’t even have a plan beyond “quit this job.”

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

Today, I call myself a book coach and editor. But it was a journey to get here – even though I always knew I wanted to write. As a kid, I wrote books and poetry. I was in a writing club. (Yes, really.) In college, I majored in English. I worked on the campus newspaper. I edited an online academic journal. In my professional career, I worked in publishing, marketing, and public relations. And despite that background, it took me years to really put my stake in the ground and go all in. That’s definitely one reason it was challenging: I struggled, even resisted, doing what I really wanted to do. I didn’t believe I could. I had a story in my head that I couldn’t be successful doing something I enjoyed. But of course the more I gravitate toward what’s fun for me and what I enjoy, the more successful I feel.

I’m proud that I finally achieved a dream I’ve had since I was little: publishing a book. Was it the book I envisioned? Nope, definitely not. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I said I was going to do it and I did it. And now that I know I *can* do it, I want to keep going and see what else I can do. After years of feeling so creatively stifled, I feel like I have the freedom to write and create again – on my terms.

I’ve learned so many lessons along the way. Probably the biggest one is to listen to myself. I know who I am and what feels like “me,” but when you start a business, you suddenly start doubting yourself. (I sure as hell did!) You start looking outside yourself for the answers. What should I do? What do I need? But you’re the only one who really knows that. It’s so easy to get distracted by what everyone else is doing. I honestly wasted so much time doing that, and I wish I’d just listened to myself more from the beginning.

If you had a friend visiting you in Florida, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I live on a small barrier island off the East Coast of Florida, so the big draw here is the beach!

But after a day of swimming and surfing (or boogie boarding if you’re like me and still haven’t mastered surfing), there’s plenty of fun things to do here. I love visiting Cocoa Village, browsing through the shelves at Hello Again Books, grabbing a bite to eat at Organic Girly, and sitting by the water.

I would say if you’re lucky you’ll catch a rocket launch, but there are A LOT of those these days. You’d think it gets old, watching the rockets take off and getting treated to sonic booms from time to time, but it really doesn’t. There was a ton of excitement here about the Artemis mission – everyone had Go Artemis signs up. There’s already a ton of history here, but it was cool to be part of that launch.

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?
There are so many people who deserve recognition – they know who they are. Thank you for supporting me, encouraging me, lifting me up, listening to me bitch, distracting with me GIFs, celebrating with me, sending me cookies, and being a generally awesome human being.

Website: https://www.okayokapi.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.