Tag: Small Business

It turns out starting a business is hard.

Entrepreneur to Avocado. What gives? Let me explain.

So, a few years back I came up with a design for a hands-free dog walking belt because at the time my daughters were 1 and 2 years old and I never had a free hand.

I saw that other mothers were struggling to push a stroller and walk their dog. I wanted to create a product that contributed to a better quality of life so that people could step back and enjoy what they were doing rather than have their hands full.

There were similar products on the market but I chose to differentiate mine by adding certain features. It was cool. It worked.

I’ve always had a fascination with bringing the ideas in my head into fruition. Whether it be a product, a photo, a drawing-I love seeing things come to life. It’s my passion.

Is that still one of my businesses?

While it was super cool to do, it is no longer my business. I handed the business over to the manufacturer when I realized it had played itself out and it was time to move on to something new.

One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur is that you have to know when the life cycle of your product is coming to an end. It may be time to close shop or just time to evolve.

It takes grit to start a business but it takes a certain amount of humility to know when to walk away.

So what is Guac & Soul? What’s the deal with the avocado? What’s happening?

Guac & Soul was created by me. I started my Instagram, @guac_n_soul by posting about mom life and my art mostly as a hobby. When I decided to focus on social media marketing, I began growing the platform and focusing on collaborating with businesses in the community.

On that note, I love music. Like, LOVE. Who doesn’t? So I wanted something like “rock n’ roll” but I also really love food. Mostly healthy food with a side of nachos. So “Guac & Soul” was born. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it!

Anywho, the decision to focus my platform on small businesses had a domino effect and lead to my full time position at The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development where I have resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs right here in the city I live in! I love my job. Love.

I mean, the idea of collaborating with and supporting small businesses became a tangible job. Grateful is an understatement.

So basically, I got tired of trying to find a marketing job after interviewing for a year so I decided to create my own job which lead to my actual dream job. I don’t sit still very well so thank goodness.

Recently my co-workers and friends inspired me to start blogging in addition to my Instagram and that has been a fun outlet for me. I mean, here I am! So I guess I’m digging it.

I’ve also recently begun to monetize my social media platforms so I suppose I’m still in the entrepreneur game in that respect. I’ll probably always have some type of side hustle. I can’t resist the challenge of building something and social media has definitely been an interesting challenge.

My entrepreneurial motivations have definitely changed since I first started all of this. My goal went from having my own venture to using my knowledge to help other entrepreneurs succeed in theirs.

Again, I now work in the Women’s Business Center at CEED where we empower women to succeed. In fact, we have a huge fundraiser coming up in October called Over the Edge where people in the community have a chance to rappel off of a building here in Fayetteville to celebrate a milestone such as opening a business or a personal accomplishment.

I love to celebrate the success of others and I’m so proud of the entrepreneurs in this community.

If I could tell you anything it would be: Your business will be your baby. Working for yourself is much harder than working for anyone else. You will have to be very disciplined to make it flourish and get it to a self-sustaining point. It’s entirely doable, but you have to know going into it that

The moments of accomplishment will keep you going.

The absolute most exciting moment was getting that shelf-ready, packaged product on my doorstep. I literally cried tears of joy. It was such a journey to get to that point and took a great level of determination. It was very gratifying to have something I dreamed up become a tangible product.

So, is entrepreneurship innate or what?

For me personally, I have an innate need to create. Before I had a paint set I would paint on printer paper with nail polish. When I was in elementary school I spent a summer saving up for a Minolta camera. I wanted to take pictures and I remember being so curious about that art form. I’m stubborn about my curiosity. I’ll make it happen. I suppose that’s another innate quality, curiosity. I’m ridiculously curious.

Creativity and curiosity are a strong mixture for an entrepreneur to have.

When I’m not working I am playing with my daughters, cooking, creating art, dancing to Billy Joel in my kitchen, or working out. I also really like to clean. Like, a lot. Probably more than necessary.

Honestly though, I work alot. When I go home I like to read marketing books. I’m always thinking of the next project. Some may call me a workaholic but I just really love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Maybe that’s another quality of an entrepreneur, we don’t really separate work from play-it’s all play for us and we’re happy to do it even when times are tough. It’s kind of a way of life.

Someone once told me business is the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it. That really resonates with me. Now, as someone who thrives on creating, I have learned the hard way over time that without discipline, I can create all day and it will go nowhere. I could decide to paint masterpieces but if I don’t have the discipline to finish them or market them, it won’t make a difference and will remain an unfinished hobby in my closet. I can’t think of anything sadder than potential collecting dust. I’m guilty of it though.While discipline and creativity are two sides of the same coin, it is very difficult to have both of those elements and personally, I must remind myself everyday to keep a balance between the two in order to be productive. I have many ideas and I can easily get carried away with starting a million projects but I have to have the discipline to focus my energy.

I constantly fail at things. I’m always learning. I could always do better, do more. It’s learning to do things better and integrating that into your work that makes the failures stepping stones and not setbacks.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:

Figure out your “why” and write it big and bold where you can see it every day. That’s what’s going to get you through those days, weeks, and even months in the trenches of the start-up days. Remember why you did this and keep your eye on the bigger picture.I’m often asked if I could start another business, would it be the same? Definitely not the same. I don’t like to look backwards. The world is constantly evolving and what was needed yesterday is no longer relevant today. I don’t have any plans to start another business-I really enjoying helping others start their own. You’ll often see me around town helping photograph products and setting up collaborations. That’s my jam and I can see myself in this for the long haul.

Over the Edge

“I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend…la dee daaa”

That song is stuck in my head for the remainder of this day.So who wants to rappel off the Executive building for a great cause?You can rappel to celebrate a milestone.

Rappel to check it off your bucket list.

Rappel cause all the cool kids are doin’ it.

Whatever your reason, it’s going to be one of the grooviest things to hit downtown!

Register Here!

You will have your own page within the campaign to tell your story of why you’re going over and to fund-raise! You can invite friends, family, followers, your dog’s groomer, hair stylist, the lady at the grocery store you almost ran into with your cart,  whoever! Supporters can donate $2, $5, $48.65…whatever they want to put towards seeing you scale down a building like a boss.Your goal is to raise $1,000 in order to rappel. All proceeds go to poverty prevention programs at CEED. You are putting money back into the city we live in by doing something epic. How cool is this?

You even have the option to form a team to raise the money and pick one person on your team to rappel. This is a good option if you want to get involved and see someone specific go Over the Edge. This is also a great option because having multiple people raise the funds will be much easier to do!

Or

You can “Toss Your Boss” over the edge-employees can raise funds and if you meet the goal your fearless leader has to go over the edge…unless of course, they match what you raised in which case they can turn around a pick an employee!Overall, this fundraiser is meant to be celebratory. We want you to have fun, collaborate with others, and bring the community together.

The event is October 27th…Halloween weekend. (I’m thinking costumes!) (Okay I’m not just thinking it, I already bought mine)

If you want to support a great cause but don’t really want to do another 5k, shake things up and join in on the fun! This is a unique opportunity and no experience is needed!The event will take place on the Executive Tower in downtown Fayetteville. It is simple, just register, meet your fundraising goal, and rappel on October 27th!CEED is able to lead the way in economic development and poverty prevention in our area because of our community. For 10 years we have brought you an out of the ordinary fundraising event to support our poverty prevention programs and now we have the opportunity to celebrate the successes of all of our programs through our Over the Edge event.

For more information call: (910)-323-3377
E-mail: edgers@ncceed.org
Visit: http://www.ncceed.org/OTE

Moving means new home, new doc, new hair stylist. Wait. What??

Moving means starting fresh. New home, new doctor, new hair stylist.

Wait. What.

If you’re like me you understand that finding a new hair dresser can be a little stressful. Lets be real. I’ve had my fair share of *they cut far too much off* and *my hair is now orange* and I don’t need any more of that!  I mean, who do I trust to cut, color, and tame this mane? There are some BFF relationships between clients and hairstylists and I’ll let you all in on mine:
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Meet Maral. My go to for hair advice (and life advice).
She changed direction and entered the industry because she was so inspired by the creativity and constantly evolving nature of it. She is hungry to constantly learn new techniques and find new inspiration. I like to call her a hair artist because that is what she is. She is a color mix master. When I tell you this lady knows how to transform your hair-that is an understatement. I am always amazed at how she blends colors so well, I could wear my bayalage hair stick straight and the colors would just melt into each other seamlessly. That takes talent.
What I love about Maral is that she’s always trying to better her techniques. Every time I see her she’s trying something new or has new information to tell me. Also, I know she will be 100% honest with me. “No Katlin, I cannot bleach your hair to blonde in one sitting without it being damaged beyond repair.” …ya know, stuff like that. I know without a doubt that I will walk out of the salon happy as can be because she won’t let me do anything crazy or unrealistic with my hair. She also gives me a ton of advice on how to style my hair at home and what products to use-she even makes sure to tell me about the latest organic products she has because she knows that’s my jam. 
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Sitting in Maral’s chair you get to watch first hand how inspired she is by what she’s doing and also what an epic multi-tasker she is. I’ve watched her highlight my entire head while giving color advice to multiple co-workers and still asking me about my kids and the latest at CEED. Simply put, she’s a master at her trade, a go to for info, and knows how to hustle. I give her props.
Here is my hair that she lifted from dark red to blonde over the course of months while maintaining the health and length of it!
She is currently working for Kaaral as an educator and plans to break into the education side of the industry more so in the future.  Her enthusiasm when she talks about her ideas and career is contagious. I love to watch her Instagram to see her before and after photos. It truly is incredibly how much she can change a look.
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Luckily, this hair guru is now located conveniently downtown at Euphoria Color Salon! #SCORE
If you go see her, tell her I said hi!

Splints & Daisies

28467716_10212166563147467_8831537581198414987_nMy sister Tara is a rock star.Well, she’s a floral designer but, she is an epic one.

She’s also an epic human being.29571398_10211910776989034_5912571465890760500_nIt always feels like stepping into a whimsical world when I enter her home. Unusual pieces placed with intent. Minimalism yet inspiration in every corner. Everything has a purpose, or its loved in some way. The environment she creates around herself stems from her innate need to create and translates into her business seamlessly. She doesn’t just make art-she lives it. Of course, she would tell me it isn’t minimalism…she just doesn’t keep a bunch of junk laying around 😉 That’s legit. IMG_4642Tara built her business from the ground up over years of dedication and her natural passion for nature. She is now an extremely successful, in demand floral designer based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

She’s truly an artist.24232858_10211027365824307_2686477697218946099_nIf you let her have fun, be creative, and do her thing-you will be amazed at the outcome.Her design style is unparalleled. She isn’t afraid to play-play with colors, textures, shapes, you name it. Her personality pops out of the vases she fills, installations she hangs from wooden beams, and gowns made of blossoms. Nothing is off limits. Her quirkiness shines through her odd vessels and the personality of her creations. She has a thought, brings it to life, and makes it flow.

Collaboration is a key component of her business that stands out to me. She collaborates regularly with photographers, models, venues, and other floral designers to create breath-taking content. To see some of the top creatives in a community come together and produce magic is just as inspiring as the photos themselves.Tara has always been very ethical in everything she does. She has always attempted to source her flowers locally and is efficient with her resources. She’s never been one to shy away from some extra work if it means doing things the right way-that is, right for the environment and others.On a sister level, Tara shares my exact humor and putting us in close vicinity is sure to produce rolling belly laughs and artistic adventures.She taught Sigorney Weaver to make baskets-and she sat in my kitchen and she taught me too. She’s just this total anomaly floating around her humble home, feeding goats and playing in the dirt. She’s the only person I know who would fill my entire bathroom with flowers, drag an entire tree into her floral studio because “it could look cool“, create gowns out of blossoms, and then go home to cook and feed her dog and work in her yard. She’s the bees knees. Rock on big sis. 11009882_10204027438270493_2856154975623686048_nYou can follow her on Instagram @Splintsanddaisies to see her breath-taking photos and also check out her website www.splintsanddaisies.com she does a wide variety of work including weddings, arrangements, holiday decor, and some crazy, upside down, abstract stuff if that is your thing! *mic drop*

Well, lets try this blogging thing out.

Hair: Maral Larson. Bag: Leclair’s General Store. Outfit & Sunglasses: Old Navy

I’ve never been a writer. There I said it.

Putting my abstract, multi-tasking mind in black and white is a serious challenge. So I probably don’t have much business blogging other than I have some things to say.  For those of you who don’t know me, here’s an overview: I have two very silly little girls, Noelle & Orchid, who keep me on my toes and make my world go ’round!  They are 17 months apart, and yes we planned it that way. There were dozens of cloth diapers hanging on the clothesline, sippy cup mountains in the sink, and a few solid years of dark circles and dry shampoo. How did I do it? ALOT of coffee and baby snuggles. And baby-wearing. That helped.IMG_3458

Photographer: Katherine Ilona Photography

I grew up in Pennsylvania, moved across the world, and now I’m in Fayetteville bouncing around in my Phillies hat and chasing my girls. I totally love watching this city evolve into an amazing community filled with entrepreneurs, art, and collaboration.I work as a small business consultant for a non-profit organization called CEED and I absolutely LOVE my job. I am an artist in my spare time. I mostly enjoy drawing portraits but anything remotely involving creativity is good in my book. Speaking of books-I really like them. I am a hardcore Billy Joel fan and have absolutely no shame in my singing/dancing game regardless of where I happen to be. I practice a holistic lifestyle and I’m constantly striving to learn more about what I’m putting into my body while trying to work a fitness routine into my crazy life! Carrying around 2 children has to count for that, am I right? IMG_3464.jpgMarketing is my absolute jam. I love staging products and creating content for local businesses. I randomly selected marketing as my major because I thought creativity+the challenge and ever-changing nature of business would be stimulating enough to hold my interest and it was definitely a winner.

My blog will be focused on nutrition, neat small businesses & their products, my lifestyle being a working mama, and wearing my many hats 🙂

Slightly aWkWaRd, totally p a r t i c u l a r, a smidge HYPER, and
c o n s t a n t l y inspired. I hope you enjoy this journey with me and feel free to comment or ask questions. I love interaction and look forward to getting to know the people in my Guac & Soul community!

Photographer: Katherine Ilona Photography. Location: Leclair’s General Store