Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Thomas Hark, Founder of Civilian Conservation Corps, USA, located in Williston, VT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My vision is to create a more civil society and a stronger nation. I will do this by building a core set of values in a million young adults annually in the newly reconstituted Civilian Conservation Corps, USA.

Tell us about yourself

I had a life-changing work experience in college that led to my founding of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, starting with a single dollar provided by the Vermont Legislature.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I built the VYCC into a multi-state, multi-million dollar, public-private, nonprofit social enterprise, which now has 8000 alumni, a 400-acre campus, and an 18,000 sf training center.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I had a vision that was clear as day, though no one else believed what I was seeing was possible. Each new big step along the way was a leap of faith by my biggest supporters; often, I was the only one who was able to see and truly believe what was possible.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Believe. And keep believing, even when the world around you does not.
  2. Be prepared to be knocked down again and again. Just keep getting up. You will get there.
  3. Don't try and be perfect. However, be passionate.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Mentors! Mentors! Mentors!
Never take no for an answer!
Have fun!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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