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40 American Business Owners on What Independence Means to Them

Finally, our merchants share what Independence means to them.

1. John Wray, CEO, Hero Care Packages.

It’s fitting that it’s the Fourth of July.

Independence means different things to different generations.

Our forefathers worked to make better generations for each subsequent one, and so that we could be more free, more independent, and have a more perfect union.

For me, independence means being able to focus on what matters – family, friends, community – while not being tethered to one desk. BigCommerce lets me do that.

I think it’s important for every community to have more independence because without it we lose a piece of ourselves: we lose a bit of who we are.

2. Ashli Clubine, Director of Marketing, Nine Line Apparel.

Independence means the ability to live as a free citizen in one’s own country, to make informed decisions regarding our leadership and our legislation, and to stand up against injustice and corruption by staying true to the values that our forefathers set down when they drafted the Declaration and our nation’s Constitution.

It is often taken for granted by the American people, while many in this world have no concept of what the word even means.

It has been earned time and again by the brave men and women of our armed forces, who sacrifice daily, who have given their lives so that we can live free.

3. Erika Jo Hellbusch, Director of Administration, One Represents One.

Independence to me means having the ability to live up to my own potential without hindering the rights of others.

We all have dreams and goals and independence is vital in reaching those goals, but along with independence comes the responsibility of helping others obtain their goals by maintaining their own independence.

Independence can’t be achieved with an “every man for himself” attitude. We have to work together for independence to be possible!

4. Susan Madunich, Owner and Aromatherapst, Aromatic Blessings.

Independence is the freedom and ability to make your own choices, do your own thing. To be able to express yourself through word and action.

Independence makes me think of the men and women who are serving this country in order to give us these abilities – to do our own thing, make our own choices.

This year I will be specifically thinking of Leah Letson, a professional MMA fighter out of Invicta who we sponsor through one of our products, Matt’s Best Defense Body Wash.

She just left to serve our country with the Air National Guard. She is an incredible woman and we wish her Godspeed on her journey.

5. Stan Farrell, President, ComposiMold Re-usable Mold Making Materials.

Independence means having the choice and being able to create our own voice.

It’s about working hard to be able to make something you believe in.

I still have stressful days. I still have so much to do that I can’t ever get it all accomplished. But it’s my stress caused by my desire to be great and do great things, not by a boss telling me to finish my project by a random deadline.

The decision to work long hours and to make something as good as I can is based upon what kind of future we’re striving to create.

6. Katie Caudill, Founder and CEO, Sunday Coupon Inserts.

I always thought independence meant financial freedom. I was wrong.

The success of my business brought me that, but still left me feeling unfulfilled – like something was missing.

It was then that I decided to sell everything, buy an RV, and hit the road.

I am 6 months into my RV adventure with no return date planned.

I have been to 12 states, seen the most breathtaking landscapes, sunrises and sunsets, so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes.

Every day is a new adventure.

That is independence – waking up every day to live your dream, fulfill your purpose and feed your soul.

7. Parker Slavin, President, StationeryXpress.

Independence to me means being my own boss and having the means to help others achieve success.

It is my goal to create a truly successful business and hire others that are willing to work as hard as I am so we can all succeed and reach independence together.

8. Stephanie Richard, Owner, Sparkles & Lace Boutique.

My husband is in the U.S. Air Force and I also served in the Air Force as well.

My business partner’s husband is a firefighter.

Our entire lives we’ve both been surrounded by family and friends who have fought for our freedom and independence.

Independence to me means the freedom to make your own choices to be able to lead the life of your dreams, whatever they may be.

9. Brittany Hogan, Owner and Artisan, Nefertem Naturals.

Independence means being my own boss and dictating my own schedule.

Even though our business is still in its infant stage, according to some metrics, I feel 100% successful because I’m doing my own thing.

I work every Saturday and take Mondays off, because, well let’s face it, Mondays have always sucked! And because I’m independently employed, I can do that!

10. Barbara Huffman, Owner & Eco-Friendly Artisan. Southern Magnolia Mineral Cosmetics.

I don’t set an alarm, I don’t punch a clock, I don’t have a boss.

I actually have a little leeway in deciding what “I” want to do, not someone telling me what to do. Independence also means being secure, being available to family or running away from them – and having stability.

I want to say less worry, but we all know if you took the blood pressure of any given small business owner, it IS high! And independence for me was meant to transform the negative events of my childhood into a source of strength, self-confidence, pride, commitment and accomplishment.

I am proud to show my daughter that I was resilient enough to create my own future with positivity, conviction and self-reliance.

In my book, that’s a pretty great place for my independence to thrive!

And I still smile and enjoy life regardless, even if I am eating a microwave breakfast sandwich for dinner!

11. Erin Mulkeran, Owner, With Luv Design.

Independence has always meant to me that I have the opportunity to create my own path and make my own decisions.

My father, who was a bronze star Vietnam vet, raised both my sister and I (along with our mother) to believe that we can do anything we want in life as long as we are willing to put in the work.

12. Jack Sullivan, Publisher and President, Blue Music.

The quote “There is no alone like the alone at the helm” has always been a mantra in my business life.

Independence carries the same weight: the ability to try new ideas, to think outside the box, to try and fail but keep coming back because we’re independent.

We are creating a company that is changing the model for magazines. We not only advertise the products we write about but we sell them too.

That’s independence in thinking.

13. Jim Taylor, President and Owner, Belted Cow.

Independence as it relates to our company and our business model is fostering an atmosphere where people at all levels feel like they have the freedom to make decisions and take actions to move the Belted Cow forward.

As a small company, it’s imperative that everyone has this attitude.

The challenge will be to maintain this independent spirit in our staff as we grow.

Self-determination to tackle issues and solve problems on their own will result in better products and more responsive customer service.

14. Philip Kauppinen, Owner, Grand New Flag.

It means everything to me: freedom from oppression, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, freedom to worship, freedom of speech.

It is being allowed to live my life as I see fit as long as it does not harm others.

It is the right to own my land. I could go on and on.

15.Jason Harrington, Owner, Lullaby Sound Design.

Independence is the freedom to commit your energy to those things which further your personal vision and direction.

This may be part of a shared vision, and may not always mean doing what you “enjoy.”

But independence allows you to do the work that grows your company in the direction that you desire.

16. Sara Pippett, Owner and CEO, Bad Habit Boutique.

Independence means, to me, being able to control my own destiny.

I am the one to decides to get up every morning and make a difference.

I am the one that has the decision to have a positive attitude each and every day.

I am the one who, if I have a bad day, I can change it at any point in that day or even the next day.

17. Owner, Chief Bakery Engineer, Gluten Free Things.

Independence to me reflects the ultimate American spirit, where leadership, solid work ethic, customer relationships and a growing profit base creates a sustainable resource.

It’s personally rewarding to me and my wife to experience the happy faces and tastebuds that Gluten Free Things serves a demand for, through years of hard work, sacrifice, core business values and the freedom to own and operate my own business.

18. Mindy Bownds, Vice President, Vulgar Baby.

Independence is the right we have in this country to speak our minds and chase the American dream! To follow our dreams and start our own small business.

It’s what gives Vulgar Baby the right to share with the world our wit and satire through the cunning use of baby clothes!

Even babies have the right to freedom of speech in this beautiful country!

19. Susan Holley, Marketing, Holleys Habitat Homes.

Having traveled many developing countries, independence means freedom of speech, participation in government through voting and being free to choose how and where we want to live.

20. Amy Breaker, Director of Operations, BirdieBall.

We value our independence immensely.

We have been blessed with a little gem of a business, and even more blessed with a family that is willing and able to grow the company. At the end of the day, our success depends solely on us.

Our independence from a big corporation, and success as a small business are the thing dreams are made of.

21. Owner and Designer, Zoey’s Personalized Gifts.

Independence means everything to me, from the basics of having freedom of speech to the ability to live in the United States and start my own business without having to worry about government restrictions or interference.

It’s also something I take for granted every day – that my business is free to operate how I want it to without outside control or support. I am truly living the American dream, and independence in our country has made that possible.

22. Co-Owner, Spartan Blades.

Freedom is the ability to follow your heart and strive to be the best in whatever you do.

Having been to 42 countries and worked in about 26 for extended periods, I know how lucky I am to be an American. Our country affords more freedom and independence than any other country on our planet.

23. Lauren Winfield, Wholesale Manager, The Bearded Bastard.

Independence is forging your own path. It’s leveraging your passion into something you can do every day that makes you happy. It means setting your own hours and where you work.

24. Kevin Danaher, Ecommerce and Marketing Manager, Stuff2Color.

For us, independence represents sharing our passion with others.

As a small and independent business, we have the ability to come to work each day and create products our customers will enjoy.

25. Krissy Sexton, Owner, The Hairbow Company.

Independence is the freedom of choice.

The choice of how you spend your time, investments, how you treat others.

It is the ability to take $500 and build it into a business that employs and helps support 12-15 local families and chooses to take its profit to support causes like Changing the Faces of Beauty, sponsor school fundraisers, and participate in community events.

It means choosing to interact with and intertwine ourselves with our customers by being a part of their lives and memories they will never forget.

26. Patrick Hope, V Sales & Marketing and Partial Owner, Fleet Safety.

To me, independence is another example of how blessed we are.

Independence reminds me to not take the small things for granted.

It also reminds me of those who have fought and served for our beloved country.

27. David Compton, IT Director, R1 Supply.

Independence is a very relative thing, and many people refer to that in financial terms.

But complete independence is never really possible, in business or personally.

We are always dependent in some way on others around us. In our business, we depend greatly on our vendors providing quality products and service and depend on each one of our customers who choose to meet their construction supply needs through R1 Supply.

We greatly appreciate them!

28. Owner and Smile Maker, Taffy Shop.

It’s funny that taffy is associated with parades and parades are associated with the Fourth of July.

It’s pretty awesome to be a part of the celebrations that honor those that give us our independence and allow us our freedoms (including our business freedom).

29. Lauryn Spence, Founder, Pride Chicken.

From the perspective of someone in the LGBTQ community, independence means being able to express yourself and be who you are at all times – no matter what!

30. Jerri Hemsworth, Co-Owner, RP Boutique.

It means being able to be as flexible as I need to be in order to live my personal life and professional life to its fullest.

Being able to run my own businesses has meant that my husband and I have been able to raise our daughter as full-time parents and not miss any of the important events in her life.

It also means that we can travel when we want.

31. Owner, One Faith Boutique.

Independence, to me, is the ability to worship God freely.

It’s the ability to raise my kids in an environment I see fit.

It’s having the opportunity to own my own business and run it however I want.

32. Kate Dillon, CEO, Crate Insider.

In two words, it means “I Can.”

Independence or freedom means the ability to choose and not be stuck.

Whether the choice is to quit a full-time job, go on a vacation, or start a business, true independence means that if I want to, I can.

33. Kyle Sharick, Owner, TracksNTeeth.

Independence means having the freedom and time to do what I’m passionate about and what I love and still have time for a successful and fulfilling life.

It means spending time with my loved ones and family while still maintaining a strong, growing business.

It means solely relying on my abilities and my beliefs that I can get the job done to help my employees and customers who rely on me.

It means having the autonomy to do what needs to get done without having to worry about stepping on toes on a daily basis.

It means being laser-focused on growing my business while still having the ability to look at all the angles, see where we can improve and adjust and still continuing on the path we’ve set.

Owning a business has been my path to independence and freedom.

34. Courtney Henslee, Owner and Formulator, Brazen Bee Beauty.

It is an amazing feeling to work for yourself, and it is one of the hardest things you can do.

As a highly sensitive person, one email or comment on Facebook can bring you down, even after a thousand positive comments.

You have to learn to get your emotional running shoes back on in the morning and reread the positive stories and happy client comments on your page and remember that that is who you really serve.

35. David Skeen, Owner, Matboard Plus.

With regards to business, and in the same spirit of the colonists wanting to be free from dominant and confining rules to find their own path, the internet and platforms like BigCommerce have allowed individuals to be free to run businesses away from the confines and rules typically defined only by “big business.”

This is true business independence.

Anyone anywhere has the freedom to make their own financial path.

36. Jennifer Lugo, Founder and Product Formulator, Verefina.

Independence, to me, means the having the freedom and flexibility to live my life to its fullest while loving the work I do.

It means creating something that supports my life’s goals.

Independence, I believe, is one of the human spirit’s most innate desires, right up there with joy and happiness.

37. Kelli Mallicote, Owner and Vice President, Bodyguard Bumpers.

For years, our company outsourced several processes in our manufacturing line, relying on other companies for paint, pipe bending, etc.

We continually struggled with turnaround time, quality and vendor pricing, and we knew our goal was to ultimately bring all processes in-house under one roof – “become independent from outsourcing.”

I’m happy to say over the years we’ve been able to move into a 40K square-foot facility right here in Paris, Texas, where we take raw steel and turn it into a final product worthy of going on a $150K show truck.

Over the years we’ve struggled through several phases to get here, but ultimately we are living the American dream and we’re proud owners of a 100% American-made product and manufacturing facility, which is the epitome of business independence.

38. David & Brandi Garcia, Owners, Fluff and Familia.

The official definition defines it as a state of being or the ability to be independent.

And I think that speaks volumes: being.

We are given the freedom to express ourselves, our values and our beliefs.

No matter how different we all are, we are just all “being.”

39. Sherry Gillis, Owner, Skyway Tools.

I like to have an autonomous website so that I can control my business.

My husband and I have had an independent tool store in Northern California since 1986.

We were both widow’s kids and we had to build our business from hard work and long hours.

Owning a business has enabled us to make a living and not have a boss to deal with and we are empowered to make it or break it in our business.

The harder we work, the luckier we get.

40. Nick Borrelli, Ecommerce and Marketing Director, NuWave Marine.

This has changed for me as I have grown.

It started as “I don’t have to work 9-5.”

Then I realized that my suppliers are basically my boss and I’m hustling so that they can make money.

True independence to me is owning the entire process from manufacturing to distribution to end-user sales.

Independence is having full control and owning everything that could possibly be a step in your way.

That’s our goal here.

Tracey Wallace avatar

Tracey is the Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, the marketplace for fast-growth B2B and DTC brands looking for high-quality, pre-vetted freelance marketing talent. She is also the founder of Doris Sleep and was previously the Head of Marketing at Eterneva, both fast-growth DTC brands marketplaces like MarketerHire aim to help. Before that, she was the Global Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she launched the company’s first online conference (pre-pandemic, nonetheless!), wrote books on How to Sell on Amazon, and worked closely with both ecommerce entrepreneurs and executives at Fortune 1,000 companies to help them scale strategically and profitably. She is a fifth generation Texan, the granddaughter of a depression-era baby turned WWII fighter jet pilot turned self-made millionaire, and wifed up to the truest of heroes, a pediatric trauma nurse, who keeps any of Tracey’s own complaints about business, marketing, or just a seemingly lousy day in perspective.