SOUL Haven Ranch | Women in Business Feature | Winter Garden FL

The Details: Susan Nastasi, Proprietor | SOUL Haven Ranch | In Business: Since 2016

Hours: Varies | Location: 196 Tildenville School Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787 | Phone: 407-509-1981 | Website: www.soulhavenranch.com


What makes your business unique/special?

We offer quiet upscale accommodations in our Victorian Guest House - one block from the West Orange Trail and a mile from Historic Downtown Winter Garden. While on SOUL Haven Ranch you'll be surrounded by canopies of large oak trees, butterflies and birds and the most amazing horses - big and miniature! A warm welcome is sure to be accompanied by our beloved Jack Russell, Bella and our playful barn kitty, LuLu. We offer unique and memorable interactions while promoting the value of the human/animal bond with our highly trained registered miniature horses - on site or at your location - reserve and book one of our many Programs - "My Time with a Mini", "Just Say Whoa to Bullying", Miniature Horse Birthday Parties, Professional Photo Shoots and Corporate Events. Our registered miniature horse therapy teams are honored to visit, at no cost, children with special needs, geriatrics, hospice and veterans with PTSD. Desire to turn back the clock? Experience a tour aboard a horse drawn carriages lead by a majestic team of white horses. Celebrating a significant life event? Arrive and depart in style seated in our Magical Cinderella Carriage or our Royal White Classic Vis a vis.


In what way have you gone above and beyond in the past for a customer?

When staying at our Victorian Guest Home - we honor early check in or late check out when our guest need extra time. We add meaningful surprises of gratitude while guests are staying with us. We provided transportation to and from town when folks stay with us and don't rent a car. We extend our miniature therapy horse visits when children and adults want more interactions with our gentle and loving horses. Kindess and Compassion is what we share - even when we are beyond tired and the expectations of others are beyond what we have created.


What is the coolest thing you’ve ever had a client do for you?

The coolest thing, while may sound simple, is when clients hand write me a thank you card and express how much they enjoyed staying at SOUL Haven Ranch or one of the many opportunities to interact with our horses. And what's cool is it happens a lot!!



What tool/equipment/or other vendor could you not imagine doing business without? Why?

I could not imagine doing business without PEOPLE! People that have created spaces to host weddings and special events, professional photographers who capture unforgettable moments, travelers who want to visit Historic Winter Garden and Central Florida and are in need of a place to stay. Without people - we cannot share our home and variety of interactions with our horses with others!!


Tell us about YOU:

I am living my passion at SOUL Haven Ranch which is my home and my business in one! My purpose is to serve others by creating life experiences to be shared. I am richly blessed in relations with my daughter Megan (22) and son Matthew (17), other family members and dear friends. I relish is sharing joy, peace, compassion, laughter, fun, and unconditional love with all humans and animals, mostly horses! I love to play competitive sports, sit in a quiet spot to read a good book, and going to the movies mostly to eat butter popcorn!


What are you passionate about outside of your business?

So here's what is amazing - SOUL Haven Ranch is what used to be "what I was passionate about" outside my prior business which has allowed me to make room for my passions... spending quality time with family and friends, playing pickleball, and going to the beach.



Describe your PERFECT day:

Begin my day early with gratitude and quiet reflection. Grab a cup of coffee and head to the barn with Bella, my dog by my side. Horse around.... all day, part of a day and share SOUL Haven Ranch Experiences with others, serving others. Connect personally with family and friends. Learn something new everyday - about someone or something. Play a little pickleball or basketball. Get a good nights rest!


What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My greatest influence in business has been an incredible mentor and coach, Jim Blackburn. Jim was introduced to me when I was a VP of Sales in the Financial Services business four years ago. At that time, I was on full throttle - multi tasking in highly competitive environment, stressed, angry, on the go, feeling of busyness all the time, a demanding schedule, etc. Meeting Jim helped me to "WHOA" -STOP to explore and discover how I viewed my life and how I was experiencing my days. He helped me to begin to view "same things differently." He challenged and asked me to question my current beliefs, behaviors and values and asked "how are those working for your now?" He encouraged and suggested I choose unfamiliar over familiar. He asked, "How often in your day are your present in that moment? No distractions, fully right there?"


Over the course of two years I was able to slow way down; yet become more productive, release my stress and anger while becoming more influential with others, contribute more of my time and talent; yet work less hours and finally become less reactive to negative surroundings/people through a process of staying open, letting go, and staying quiet. All of this internal work lead me to the creation of SOUL Haven Ranch. A place to experience and become more of who you are meant to be!



What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

People first - "Be interested rather than interesting" and always in all ways be grateful.


What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs?

Have a clear and deep understanding for "Why" you are creating your business rather than "What" your business is doing/offering. Create a business/marketing plan and stick to it... a little everyday! Focus on beliefs, behaviors and build relationships with others There will be Ups and Downs - enjoy all of it and don't hang out in either one too long!




What struggles have you faced as a woman running her own business?

Creating an equal exchange of value and not giving it away. As a single proprietor wearing every hat - learning how to delegate to those who want to help me grow. The beginning is like lifting a 10,000 pound elephant - staying strong when I feel like I can barely lift a pound.


What would you say is your biggest accomplishment as a female entrepreneur?

Deciding to turn my passion into my life work and earning a living doing it!


Do you have any special deals, events, or coupons currently?

Winter Garden Residents receive 10% off any Horse Experience offered at SOUL Haven Ranch (including private event bookings with carriage service). We will be offering holiday carriage tours in downtown Winter Garden in December. We are currently booking our Miniature Horse Programs for the Fall. Continental Breakfast included for guest staying at our Victorian Guest House - Google SOUL Haven Ranch. Bookings through airbnb.com


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