Cover . Jerilyn Veldof . MN Nice

Minnesota Nice can create real challenges

Especially for East Coasters used to telling it like it is


I’m a 19 year transplant to Minnesota originally from New Jersey with long stop-overs in Upstate New York and Arizona, reveals Jerilyn Veldof—writer, coach, trainer and founder of Surviving & Thriving in Minnesota Nice. After talking to me for a few minutes it’s apparent I’m not from here and so I seem to attract other transplants who love to talk about Minnesota Nice and its particular challenges, she quips.

Often her fellow transplants are extremely relieved to hear that their insights, struggles and frustrations aren’t that different from others. So after many, many of these very similar conversations, Veldof and colleague Corey Bonnema decided to join forces to help others ease the adjustment to working and living in MN. And as Bonnema, a non-transplant says, Raise awareness of Minnesotans about how Minnesota Nice impacts outsiders.

It was apparent people needed help – tools, approaches and mindsets. Jerilyn and Corey had backgrounds in organizational effectiveness and leadership development and had spent years helping people acquire the tools, approaches, and attitudes they needed to succeed at work. This microbusiness was a matter of building on what they knew and were good at and offering it to a specific niche of people who sorely needed some help.

Here’s just one example of a transplant’s story shared…

I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (a place known for open, friendly people), but have lived here in Minneapolis for 15 years now.

I have been extremely frustrated with certain aspects of the culture here, aspects I have almost never heard discussed publicly until I read your piece in the paper. I have lamented and struggled mightily with the Minnesota nice, reserve, and emotional closedness. I am expressive and friendly, and often I feel like this is looked upon as weird and strange. I hate the white bread vibe here.

Yet now I am married with a long-term job and stuck here.

I know there are many great things about the Twin Cities, but the characteristics I described above have been and continue to be sad and frustrating to me.

Thanks again for helping me feel a little less crazy and alone here.

For Jerilyn the best part of becoming a mirobusiness in 2012 was being able to self finance and not having to rely on it as her sole income. Like many micros with a day job, doing her own thing was really freeing and allowed Jerilyn and Corey to make decisions that weren’t financially motivated. If this were a business with employees and was our sole source of income, we wouldn’t be able to do this, she reflects.

Minnesotans typically see transplants as terribly frank, in-your-face, aggressive, and argumentative… downright scary.  

What’s the hardest part of being a microbusiness?

The only time she can delegate is when she use a service like or – sources of assistance that have been hit or miss. Sometimes you get lucky with who you hire, sometimes you don’t.

Other microbusinesses?

Veldof does eCourse Coaching for Micros—helping coaches, consultants and freelancers create inspiring, high-quality online courses that take their business to a whole new level.

Favorite song?

Stevie Nicks, Landslide. Doesn’t get more real, more raw than that.

One word to describes herself?


Wishes she would have tried?

Full-time, full-on entrepreneurship when she was younger, without children, and mortgage-less!

Who would she like to meet in an elevator?

Pat Flynn, an amazing mentor, teacher, and online business owner who she’s learned so much from through his video, blog, and podcast, but has never met.

What’s her favorite, quote or expression?

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. — Chinese Proverb

An ambivert, Jerilyn is the oldest with a sister 2 years younger who still lives in New Jersey and thinks she’s insane for having moved all the way out to Minnesota!