Michael Wisniewski was born on April 11th, 2000 in Warsaw, Poland. He came to the United States as a baby and lived in Hartford, Connecticut. Mike began Skiing at a very early age and began practicing in hopes of competing in future championships. Mike has competed in a variety of smaller American Skiing competitions. He tried out for the World Cup Alpine in Beaver Creek where he came very close to qualifying in 2017. He then tried his luck with international tournaments. In September 2018, he participated in the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in France where he received very high marks for his halfpipe and slopestyle. Ultimately, Mike placed ninth in the competition. Mike’s Skiing career has continued, with him competing in different tournaments and experimenting with his Skiing style. He hopes to improve enough to qualify for either the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup or even the Olympics one day. When Mike is not on the slopes, he enjoys relaxing with music, playing with his puppy, and checking out local eateries in Hartford, CT. Mike also loves working out in the gym and testing out new tricks in his free time.

How did you get started in this business?

I got started with Skiing when I was 6 years old. Starting so young was something that really ignited a passion in my heart, and seeing amazing athletes perform gave me euphoric feelings. I remember watching the Olympics in Toronto, so I knew I wanted to be amazing like them. I started to train and get used to practicing on the ice, and soon enough I started doing this as my career.

How do you make money?

Making profits as a semi-professional skier is something that’s a little different than running a personal business. I make some profits through championships and sometimes doing some side work to complement my training costs. Working with other corporations for promotions is also a way I make money. It’s all varied, and it’s important to be flexible with how you generate income.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

It took me a few years of training to consider myself profitable, especially since I had to build a name for myself in the Skiing scene. I had to train with my coaches for long hours, and some days were harder than others. Making sure I cleaned up my runs correctly was something that took lots of practice, so it took awhile to get to a point where I was profitable. Being a skier is such a blessing and I’m grateful for the opportunities I was given, but it’s not something that immediately gives you money. It comes with a lot of training physically and mentally to truly immerse yourself in the art of Skiing

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

Well, absolutely. Some people may disagree, but those voices inside of your head are real and they can say some pretty awful things. Those voices told me over and over again that I’m not good enough, I’m sloppy, I’m a failure… Those voices made me doubt that my career would take off. However, my remedy for those negative words is to hit the slopes, walk out into the snow and just go as I please. When I do this, it’s not for training purposes or preparing for a tournament. It’s just for giving myself the freedom to be me on the hills and enter a state of relaxation. Once I strap on my boots, I turn on whatever music track is resonating with my soul at the moment. I take a deep breath and I just move with what I hear. The feeling of gliding on the ice without worrying if I make a mistake is just amazing, and I do this when I have spare time on my hands. It’s truly a wonderful experience when I give myself the chance to refocus my attention on why I love Skiing so much, and those voices get quieter and quieter once I feel the cold air against my body.

How did you get your first customer?

I remember when trying out for the Alpine Cup, and that was a really important day for me. It was one of my first chances to show my skills and introduce the world to Mike. My nerves were on edge, I was just a kid who was new to the scene and I had something to prove. I got ready to go, and then a wave of confidence and reassurance crashed over me. I started Skiing and making sure I was focused on the task at hand. It was something I was fighting so hard to get, because I wanted it to be a point in my life where I could say, “That’s me out there. That was me, and I did that.” It was a gratifying experience that I can never forget

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

Like I said earlier, I work with other companies to promote and I believe promoting myself is a great way to get more people to know what I do. I don’t want to be known as some skier, I want people to know what my personality is like and understand who I am as a person. It’s easy to be known for just one thing you do, like how actors are usually only known for their role in a famous movie. However, it’s important to make sure that you are someone people can connect to, to show your vulnerability and express that you’re a human being like everyone else rather than just a name on a screen.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?

I think it’s my tenacity that makes me successful. I’ve suffered injuries in my Skiing career, even a rough back injury when I was twelve. Nonetheless, I don’t take no for an answer and I refused to let my past incidents have control over my life. Each time I make a fumble or get hurt, I always make it a priority to get back up, heal, and come back even better than before. My mistakes are the best teachers, because they give me guidance on what to change for the future.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I think it’s my tenacity that makes me successful. I’ve suffered injuries in my Skiing career, even a rough back injury when I was twelve. Nonetheless, I don’t take no for an answer and I refused to let my past incidents have control over my life. Each time I make a fumble or get hurt, I always make it a priority to get back up, heal, and come back even better than before. My mistakes are the best teachers, because they give me guidance on what to change for the future.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

I think my most satisfying moment was winning gold a tournament in 2019. I had trained vigorously that year, especially since I didn’t want to injure myself again and have to recover for weeks. At the time, the voices were coming back and haunting me from my fall last year, which really drained my mental health and made me feel inadequate. Fortunately, I bounced back into my groove and I went out to perform on the slopes. I was waiting anxiously for my score from the judges, and I was so surprised to see that I received gold. I spent so much of my time worrying about falling and trying to act like I had it all together, but there was no need to do that to myself. I just needed to focus and do exactly what I love to do; skate without a care in the world. That day gave me so much affirmation that I was doing a good job, and hearing claps and whistles from the clouds really helped me get my confidence back where I needed it.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

For the future, my career holds a lot of training and practice to prepare for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. I would be so honored to have a spot there, because it’s my ultimate goal to show who I am and what I can do at a place like the Olympics. I’m excited for the new opportunities I may have as I work through the year, and I’m really eager to try out some new tricks and spins on the ice. It’s been a tough year with training and preparations, but I’m actually excited to learn more about myself and test out my skills.

What business books have inspired you?

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell inspires me, I read through the book a few days after I suffered my injury. It helped me to clear my mind from the negative thoughts I was having about myself and my abilities, and to also look ahead for the future. It’s a great book for anyone, regardless of career choice. I think everyone’s life goal is success and happiness so I recommend everyone read it!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self the same words I said when I sprained my ankle. “Work hard, do what you are supposed to do, and results will come. Don’t worry what other people are doing. What matters is what you do, not what others do.” I used to have a big issue with comparing myself to the legends in the Olympic world, but I realized that it ended up bringing me more stress than inspiration. I would make sure to let my younger self know that he is doing just fine and should focus on himself and no one else.

Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?

Yes! I’d love to meet someone and talk about mentoring. You can contact me through my Instagram with your information and I’ll be more than happy to chat with you.

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