Editor’s Note: MilSpouse Entrepreneur Spotlight is a monthly Q&A designed to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges of a milspouse entrepreneur. In the past, we have highlighted Michelle Campbell of Forte VSS, Jeanette Price of Peachy Keen Perfume, Jessica Bertsch of Powerhouse Planning, Bridget Platt of Daddy’s Deployed and Stefanie Weakley of Abby Maddy. This month, NextGen MilSpouse features Patricia Marzella Mathisen of Nutrisha.
Your Name: Patricia Marzella Mathisen
Military Branch Affiliation: TN Army National Guard
Years as a Military Spouse: 5.5
Business Name: Nutrisha, LLC; Nutrisha Snacks, LLC
Year Established: 2012, 2014
Tell us about your business: Nutrisha is a nutrition education platform utilizing multimedia and food manufacturing for an interactive connection with the community. What started as a food blog turned into catering and private chef service very quickly. Now that Nutrisha has proven the concept of creating a seasonal menu year round, we are now consulting other businesses to create nutrient dense locally sourced meals. The scalable manufacturing business, Nutrisha Snacks LLC brings nutrient dense convenience food to retail outlets. We are growing in local retail outlets and moving to the next tier of distribution.
Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
The internal struggle was always there, absolutely. In most work environments I have always been frustrated by seeing a bigger picture than my own individual role could impact.
What motivated you to start your own business? The Nutrisha brand started as a food blog– it was a way for me to utilize my talents and have a creative outlet while home with “two under two.” My husband had a great opportunity to go to school full time, work at his university and take part in ROTC to further his prior service Marine Corps career by transferring to the Tennessee Army National Guard. Although I could work a full-time job and in theory send our boys to childcare, it wasn’t for us. So I spent many days alone with just the boys and sort of losing my mind. The blog gave me an external purpose and brought me out of that fog of feeling stuck and the boys were a part of the journey.
What is the best part of being an entrepreneur?
Independence. I am in the place where I can see the big picture and constantly modify the business to make an impact where I feel it can be most effective. Although I have lived in Nashville my entire life, the last few years of my business has pushed me to the middle of the very active food scene and I can connect the fun of a chef with the outreach of a nutritionist. I work strange hours and days but I get to see my boys throughout the day and I don’t stare at a clock wondering when I get to go home.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an entrepreneur? Accounting, bookkeeping and time management. As a sole proprietor, everything overlaps and it’s a daily challenge to set boundaries, goals and stay organized. I have recently, with a few other cohorts, started a Women Entrepreneur group locally called WE Nashville. Most of the food or creative entrepreneurs I have become close to all seem to have the same questions and need for encouragement. In our monthly gatherings we have a safe space to share and learn from each other.
Do you find that being an entrepreneur fits well with your role as a military spouse (or does it even factor in)?
It makes sense and as the same time is a challenge. My role as a military spouse was part of the catalyst to starting my business but now the business will be changing because of a pending PCS. My spouse is a part-time or full-time reservist depending on the opportunity at hand so we have been fortunate to be in one place for his 10-year career so far. This will be the first time we have to consider a move instead of a separation which will be brand new to me. I have created a brand for myself and hope that at least the core of that can be mobile. So that is what I am doing right now-writing a children’s book and a cookbook based on my concept, each will release before our pending move.
How do you blend working from home and your family relationships? It’s always changing. My commercial kitchen is very close to our home so I can work there in short time periods when I need to or sometimes I stay up late to work on the computer things. The boys go on adventures with me and most of that is work- they are a part of most of my activity and I create schedules based on how I can make that work. It doesn’t always work exactly as I imagine, but we adapt and keep going.
Biggest lesson learned so far as an entrepreneur:
Be clear when establishing business relationships and leave no ambiguity. This protects everyone involved, whether personal friend that is helping with the business or a new client that needs your service.
Best piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur:
Decide what you do well and stay true to the core of that. Value yourself and others will too.