By Ann Friedman
The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Janet Lynn Tanguay is the founder of “Hammock Way of Life”, a company which helps people create their best lives. Tanguay uses tools like vision-boards and mind mapping.
Janet Lynn Tanguay has helped more than 600 entrepreneurs by giving them tools to launch their own businesses.
Tanguay serves as the entrepreneurship manager at the Capital Region Chamber and also launched her own business, Hammock Way of Life, which guides clients by using vision-board coaching and kits, mind mapping, focus groups and online courses.
The 53-year-old Amsterdam resident grew up in Vermont and received her bachelor of arts in English from the University of Vermont.
She relaxes by exercising twice a day, meditating, reading, creating art and visiting the spa.
Tanguay said her motto is “Envision your life transformed.”
Question: How did you come up with the name Hammock Way of Life?
Answer: Hammock Way of Life is a metaphor for anyone’s dream life or vision. I’ve spent most of my career working with artists and entrepreneurs, and now I’m expanding to a broader audience to include anyone with a dream that needs help with that vision coming to fruition. At the chamber’s entrepreneur boot camp, I would often get matched with a student entrepreneur and we would discuss our vision for the future.
My vision always included being retired in a hammock on an island somewhere. Eventually, this vision became my new business. I will say, however, that if you’ve ever tried to get in and out of a hammock easily — that I’ve considered renaming the business Adirondack Chair Way of Life.
Q: Where do you see potential for business development in the Capital Region?
A: I see continued potential for business development in the Capital Region in the area of services and education for second stage business growth. There are now a plethora of programs for startup entrepreneurs in the region, and also programs like “Propel” at the chamber and “Emerging Leaders” through the U.S. Small Business Administration for businesses in the $400,000 or more categories.
However, companies in the $50,000-$400,000 range who are on the cusp of hiring more employees or taking a business from a hobby to a full-blown company have fewer resources here. I think this is why we’re seeing such an explosion of coworking and incubator spaces in the region. Most second-stage entrepreneurs I work with have trouble balancing the work they do with the need to develop sales. They don’t necessarily have the resources to hire a sales team, so I see this as an opportunity to serve these developing businesses.
Q: What would you say to a young worker who had to choose between financial security or their passion?
A: I’m someone who encourages people to quit their jobs to pursue their passions, much to the dismay of parents with children in medical school who leave to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Life is way too short to be stuck in a job you hate. If you pursue something you love, it never feels like work and the money will eventually follow.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read in the past 10 years and why was it meaningful to you?
A: I’m a voracious reader, so it’s hard to narrow it down to one choice. I’d pick “Start Something That Matters,” by Blake Mycoskie for its business-building strategies and the importance of living, having and sharing your own story. I would also recommend anything by Barbara Smith, Brene Brown, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Janet Mock.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: Traveling the world from hammock to hammock to book-signing events and television experiences with the love of my life, and continuing to guide and mentor others to live their dreams, entrepreneurial or otherwise.
Q: Who is the biggest mentor in your life and what did this person teach you that you still find valuable?
A: Lois Smith-Law was the biggest mentor in my life. I went through a rough patch in my early 30s when I was trying to find my authentic self and not making the best choices. Lois had this capacity to really see me and forgive my mistakes, and gently but firmly give me great advice.
If you live or work in Schenectady, you may remember her. She was kind, compassionate, humble, but tough when she needed to be. She passed away from cancer a few years ago. I miss her and her guidance.
DG: What are the 10 pieces of advice you would give your 18-year-old self?
* Be authentically you and never change who you are to make others more comfortable.
* Embrace your sensitivity — it’s a sign that you’re aware, connected and creative.
* Forgive easily — most people are just doing the best they know how in the moment.
* Always choose kindness.
* Don’t make up stories.
* Speak out against racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, agism, looksism, bullies, Monsanto and the National Rifle Association.
* Your body does not define you.
* Keep an open mind and the possibilities are endless.
* Love is all there is.