I had so much fun last week at the Intuit Inc headquarters. Being interviewed by Valerie Coleman Morris was such an honor- I cannot begin to tell you! She is the definition of a professional woman. I hope someday I will be as refined and as fabulous as her. Right before I went on air, I have to tell you, I had some serious butterflies in my stomach! I wanted to make sure I answered all of your questions! There were a few questions that Valerie asked me that I wanted to expand on for you out there who wanted more in depth answers.
“For a small business there are couple of imperatives: 1. sound management practices, 2. industry experience, 3. technical support and 4.planning ability.”
1. Sound Management Practices: I have been known, in the past, to be pretty undisciplined when I wasn’t doing this business full time. Now that I am doing this full-time I have to be really careful how I manage my time. Since I don’t have any employees, this is imperative. I am only one person, so I have to pace myself. Although my fiance helps me, I find that it can be rather motivating to have someone you don’t know at all help you stay focused. They can be blunt, straightforward and succinct. I have recently joined a group that we call ourselves “Accountability Buddies.” There are only three of us so the information doesn’t get jumbled with too many opinions. We send each other weekly todo lists every Friday that we will accomplish that week and what we have accomplished the week prior. Whatever we don’t get accomplished in the first week has to be put on the second week. We meet twice a month usually over coffee or a cocktail and we tell each other what we have accomplished and if we don’t get at least 75% of our lists done we have to buy the other two a bottle of wine. So far, it’s working. I see a change in my routine, my goals are clearly defined and most importantly I’m proud of myself. If you are curious about my accountability buddies, you can meet them HERE and HERE. Once you have established this habit (I have hear it takes anywhere from 7-66 days to form a habit), you can let your passion for your business push you through your day-to-day.
2. Industry Experience: I am a photographer by trade (BFA, Savannah College of Art and Design), I have 5 years of retail experience and 1 year of industry styling experience (stylist for Getty Images photographer Greg Ceo). I also co-owned a gallery in Chicago for a year called TBA Space 1039, which I ran, operated and even hired interns to work. But in terms of business from the “technical” aspect, I took courses in college about this- but when it came down to ACTUALLY getting down to the nitty gritty I didn’t know squat. I had to take matters into my own hands and get to reading! MBA In a Book, The Girl with the Gallery, What I didn’t Learn in Business School, Hiring Your First Employee, and A Sense of Urgency are just a few books I read (and still am). Self-educating is important, and a day you spend where you haven’t learned anything is a day you have wasted.
3. Technical Support: Etsy is the easiest online platform to use to sell your wares. It was complicated when I first joined back in 2009, and it took FOREVER to list just one item. Now that they have made improvements, it is more streamlined than ever. I also took courses in school on how to build websites from scratch and I even made my photography website completely in Dreamweaver…once upon a time. Now, there are so many resources out there that even someone without formal training can learn to use and create their own sites. You just have to dive in and do your research. Wordpress, Indexhibit and many others are out there, and at your disposal. Also it helps if you have someone in your family who knows and has studied programming, like my adorable (some say handsome) brother.
4. Planning Ability: This also reaches back to the first question, but if you are able to write everything down and pace yourself, your plans will be in place and it will be a roadmap for you to follow in the future. Some people get stuck on the “what if’s” and don’t even try. The best way to get started is to just let all your ideas flow out on paper (or your computer). They don’t have to make sense at first but if you can get down your ideas 1, you won’t forget them and 2, you will be able to organize them later into more appropriate sections say, in your business plan. If you do not know how to write a business plan, this website or this website can help you.
“What kind of partner would you be looking for?”
I would be looking for someone who would be able to help me get a hold of 1. great real estate location and 2. good contractors for building out the space. They would also have to undersand retail, the arts and customer service. They would need to understand that being apart of the community is imperative to my ethos and growing and expanding the brand is imperative. Above all, they would need to invest monetarily in my brand and believe in what I do in order to see a return.
“Talk about a small business owner knowing precisely what they are selling and who they are selling to.”
You have to first of all, have a passion for what you are choosing to do. If what you are choosing is something you don’t like, people don’t like or will never want to buy- well, why in the world would you want to create a business around that idea? You need to know what you want to do is relevant, and if people would want to buy it, participate in it or sell it themselves. Do your research, follow trends and read any reports you can about your idea. What would be a good investment for the future in terms of growing your idea into a full-fledged business. Would your business be able to last for years to come? Or is it just a fad or a trend of the moment? Would you be better off growing it and then selling it? These are all things you need to figure out FIRST. After that you can see where your idea falls in terms of target audience and consumption. You can also start at this point and work backwards. For instance, if you love kids, mothers, and families- think of a few problems that they may face that you would be able to solve. You can develop a service, a product or a space where kids, mothers and families can come revel in the fruits of your labor (and love).
And now, here are a few behind the scenes photos!
For those of you who missed the live broadcast, don’t worry! Watch the replay RIGHT HERE.
As a result of the broadcast and our first Facebook Promo Ads, Joules Jewels Vintage on Facebook now has gone from 332 fans to 1,476 and counting!!!!!!! Thank you for the love!