Hi there, Megan here. Remember me? Don’t worry I don’t blame you if not. I apologize for the MIA lately, seems to be a regular thing these days but I promise you it’s for good reason.
In just another week or so, I will finally be able to share with you the Spring/ Summer Bon Aprontit collection and trust me when I say you’re going to LOVE it!!
New colors, new products and new sizes (shhh you didn’t hear it from me;)).
It’s been a labor of love and I am slightly dying on the inside that I’m not able to share it with you quite yet but eek so soon.
In the meantime I wanted to start a new series on the blog. I’m calling it “Bon Business 101”. What do we think? Corny? Great, I love corny play on words.
Anyways, I get e-mails daily about what it’s like to start a business, how I started, do I have any advice, etc. so I figured what better what to help answer all these questions than with a series where everyone can chime in on their entrepreneur story/feedback as hey, we’re all learning here so no right or wrong answers.
To kick things off I’m sharing the top truths about starting a business because honesty is the best policy..unless you’re pretending to be a company of 5-10 employees then you lie until you get that company of 10 employees. Read below, you’ll see what I mean;)
One last thing before we get to the good stuff. If you live in the Chicago area and want to come hangout with me (yay!) or just go to a really cool event (that works too), then be sure to check out where Bon Aprontit will be popping up below!
Bridal Brunch by Michelle Cox Photography & Urban Allure Events | March 26 @ 11am
To learn more and reserve your spot, click here.
Alice’s Table Presents: Bon Aprontit & Blooms | March 29 @ 6:30PM
To learn more and purchase tickets, click here.
The Truths About Starting a Business On Your Own
There is no-one to tell you right from wrong.
Guess what? You’re your own boss. You did it, congrats! Now a customer just called and wants to know if you can ship internationally and if so what is the cost? Oh and your manufacturer doesn’t have your product ready but your customer needs it before next week to give as a gift. What do we do boss? This has probably been one of the biggest challenges for me as I’ve never been my own boss so not having someone to turn to when things are going wrong or someone to ask a question that I have no flipping idea what the answer to is. While this has been one of my biggest struggles it’s also been my best learning tool. I know that nobody else is going to figure it out or make the decision but me so I know that at the end of the day finding a solution and answer is my job so I’m going to do whatever it takes to do it.
There is no magic funding fairy.
Wait I thought money grew on trees? Wouldn’t that be nice? Starting a business is (extremely) costly and you get hit with a lot of unexpected costs that you didn’t plan for. Like a $300 UPS shipping fee that I had 3 days to pay. What did I ship? An elephant? Geez la weez, but at the end of the day while it does take a lot of money don’t let that hold you back. I started with only $2,000 set aside for this business and while I’ve put in a lot more than that into it since, the $2,000 was enough to give me a jump start and then I spread out other startup fees along the way.
Businesses never sleep.
And neither do you now. There’s been many nights of 3 hour sleeps and many mornings of waking up at 5am to drop off an order or pick up product before heading to my day job so invest in good under eye cream and a fantastic coffee maker because trust me, you’re going to need it.
You have to fake it until you make it.
“Let me pass you along to my Shipment and Processing Team.” or “Hold on while I check with my Accountant.” These are just a few phrases I’ve used when communicating with customers and surprise, surprise, I’m a one man show over here. From production, to accounting to website design and hand packaging each other, I’m a one stop shop but it sure sounds more appealing to customers when you have a team working on fixing your problem vs. the Founder and Shipment label sticker. Don’t forget no job is too small and honestly hand packaging and checking each package is my favorite part;)
It doesn’t always work out the first time.
Not everything will work out as planned. That’s a given but when it doesn’t, don’t give up. I went through three trials of pattern making before I felt that is was perfect and ready to move forward and let me tell you that hurt. Not only was it a set back on launching but also my bank account took quite a hit. Do you know how much it costs to make a pattern? Good, you don’t want to know.
Just because your business grows doesn’t mean your apartment will.
Last week Steve and I gained a new roommate, we haven’t named her yet but she’s made of linen and holds my favorite apron at the moment from the Spring/Summer collection. She’s my dress form and she shares a bedroom with us, quite frankly because we have no where else to store her. Between the boxes, products and shipping materials you could say Steve and I need a little more space.
Everyone will give their opinion/advice.
Everyone will want to give you advice and tips and be sure to LISTEN! Take everything with a grain of salt because at the end of the day this is your business and your dreams but also listen to what they are saying because A. they are most likely your customers so you need their feedback and B. they wouldn’t share advice if they didn’t think you needed it. I actually had a full business plan made, logo created and was about a month away from launching until I met with a local clothing entrepreneur who basically told me to go back to the drawing board and while it hurt (a lot!) I am so thankful that he told me to do so or my branding and product would not be what it is today.
Passion will prevail all.
At the end of the day remember why you started because every late night, every financial heart attack and every corner of your apartment that now stores white shipping boxes is worth it when you are doing what you love. A lot of people ask me how much time I spend a week outside of my day job working on the aprons and I always say “zero” because the aprons are my passion so I am thinking and working on them 24/7 but when you’re doing something you love it doesn’t feel like work.
Your customers will never fail to make you smile.
Last but not least, your customers are always there for you. I remember one day I came home from my day job and had a melt down. Tears running down my face, my heart about to pop out of my chest from my stress level hitting the roof while on the phone with my mom saying “I think I bit off more than I can chew” and in that same moment I got a notification that one of my favorite bloggers just included me in her gift guide and about 2 hours after that I had two new customers and a very sweet e-mail in my inbox about how much they loved the product:)
Photography by Aimee Mazzenga
Are you a business owner? Are you looking to start something on your own? What are some questions you have or things you have found to helpful while pursuing your passion?