Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Aleka Shunk, Founder of Aleka's Get Together, located in Sarasota, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a food and entertaining website as well as SEO courses that focus on keyword research to help other bloggers.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up around food, as my parents had their own restaurant. In college, I studied education and also took a culinary course as an elective because I loved cooking so much. I eventually got a job as a teacher and taught math for 10 years. After 5 years of teaching, I was told to start my own blog by a friend. I definitely needed a creative outlet, and from the day I bought my domain name, I told myself I would make it my full-time job. I worked on building it for 5 years while teaching full-time. I loved it so much that I worked nights and weekends. Eventually, my growth led me to take my blogging and teaching experience to build a course for other bloggers. Now, being able to take both of my passions of teaching and cooking, I love getting up in the mornings to attack my passion.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is being invited to speak at a large food blogging conference.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things as a business owner is determining when and where to hire out help. When you just get started, it's just you and your business. You are in control of everything! But as your business grows, managing it all yourself is impossible, so if you don't hire help, things will get neglected, and your growth will inevitably peak.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest in the RIGHT things off the bat! Growing a business without money is hard. It's a catch-22. You have no money to invest, but you need to invest in making money. So taking out a loan could be an option, OR make sure to save enough in advance in key. When you do have the money available, choose the areas of your business which you dislike doing that does not require micromanaging. It will be a win-win for all.
- Make sure there is a NEED for the business. We may think there is a need, but unless you have strong evidence of that need or people actually asking you to produce a product/service to satisfy that need, you may find yourself with little to no sales.
- Before you start, it's so important to map out HOW you will market your business. Without marketing, no one will find it, and sales will be non-existent. Are you relying on word-of-mouth or ads? Do you have a network of people to share your service with? Do you know how to properly market your business? Do you know your ideal consumer? All of these things need to be considered before investing!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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