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Scott Michel, Orange Shoe Personal Fitness

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Scott Michel, managing partner, Orange Shoe Personal Fitness.

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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

I look at each challenge as an opportunity to be able to help other people navigate those same challenges for themselves. When young people come to us and want to open their own Orange Shoe studio but have obstacles facing them — like financing or people telling them they’re crazy for starting a business — we’re able to relate to them since we went through those same challenges. It makes you much more relatable to people when you’ve overcome the same challenges that are facing them, as well.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

I’ve always looked up to my parents, who owned and operated a small dairy farm in the Driftless Area in Ithaca, Wisconsin. They taught me what hard work looked and felt like and that even when things weren’t going as planned, that the person who was the most consistent with their work and effort would eventually come out ahead. After 25 years of farming, my parents realized where the industry was heading and started to apply their hard work in other areas. At nights, my dad learned how to program computers (usually between the hours of 8 p.m. to midnight) and in 1999, he made a career switch to be a systems technician for Edward Kraemer & Sons. I came home one night from practice and he had sold the cows. I was like, “Cool, I don’t have to do chores anymore!” My mom works in the office at the K-12 school in Ithaca. They both taught me by their example that it’s never too late to make a change and that when one door closes another one opens, but only if you’re willing to find that door and open it for yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to open the door for you or you’ll be waiting a long time!

What has been the high point of your career so far?

The high point is seeing people succeed. It can be as simple as seeing someone do a pull up for the first time, or as big as someone cutting the ribbon of their new Orange Shoe franchise. Seeing people win never gets old!

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Surround yourself with people who have accomplished more than you. This can apply to business, finances, family relationships, and more. Find someone who has more fruit on their tree and take them out for lunch. I didn’t learn this until my late 20s but if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! Don’t be intimidated by people who have done bigger things than you. Instead, learn from them. They’re typically very open to sharing their story and experiences.

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