Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danielle Alvarado, Founder of Sustainably Kind Living, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sustainably Kind Living is a website that is dedicated to helping those looking for support in their sustainable, ethical, or non-toxic living journey. We spend roughly 50+ hours a week researching for our community to round up the best of the best in nearly every category of sustainable living. We work with over 300 amazing small and sustainable businesses to help them thrive and reach their target audience: folks who want better! Our audience is mainly women, ranging from 25-40 years of age, who are curious and ready to make a positive change in their lifestyle.
Tell us about yourself
Hi! My name is Danielle Alvarado, and I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Illinois, by two amazingly hardworking and loving parents. After my 20s, where I served in the United States Navy as an Aircrewman and traveled far and wide around the world, I made the decision to move to Europe and start a family. My husband is from the sweetest town in South Tyrol, Italy, and it was here that I learned how to live off the Earth, respect the Earth, and fight for her. Moving to Europe was not the easiest decision, as I had to let go of any chance of having a career in any field, I was experienced in again (aviation electronics), but I trusted in my gut and knew it would all work out for the best - even if we didn't have a dime to our names. I birthed identical twin boys in this little village in the mountains, and it was here where my blogging journey began. It started off as a simple way to help inspire my large group of family and friends back home, and it now reaches millions of amazing folks every year! My daily motivations are quite simple: our amazing community, my family, and my love of the Earth.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
While most folks would think it was the financial success of SKL that fuels us to keep going, I'd still continue on for pennies (as I did for the first few years!). My biggest accomplishment has to be the mentorship program I started in 2022 to help other small businesses and brands thrive. There is nothing better than seeing the folks I mentor hitting all their milestones without endless exhaustion and a "work till you drop" mentality. I mentor from a place of rest and teach this to all those that I mentor as well. We succeed with fresh minds and well-rested souls. I refuse to give in to the hustle culture.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It's all up to us! Where the money goes, who to invest in, where to outsource, who to trust, etc. It's a massive job and takes a ton of patience, understanding, trust, boundaries, and wisdom to keep it going. We are going to fail countless times (it's true!), but we have to be able to trust in ourselves enough to get back up, wipe off the dust, and try again. Do not be afraid of failure - in fact, if I did not fail the first few times, my business would never have grown to what it is today. It was the failures that helped me to see what my community really needed!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Great question! My top 3 tips would be to:
- Truly trust in yourself and have the ability to make hard decisions without second-guessing yourself endlessly. And with that, know that you ARE going to fail, and that's ok. Just get back up.
- Hire folks who are smarter than you and who you absolutely trust.
- Have a contract for EVERYTHING. Collaborations, freelancers, sponsorships, gifting, etc. Everything needs a contract. If someone says a contract is not necessary for XYZ, then you do not need to work with them.
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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