Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with William Mellon, Owner of Earnest Money & Sons, located in Wilmington, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Earnest Money & Sons is a relaxed adult cocktail bar focusing on freshly made cocktails in an intimate and comfortable environment.
Tell us about yourself
I have been in the hospitality business for more than 25 years and have worked in every facet, including bartending, server, manager, dishwasher, and busboy. I became an owner in 2010 when we opened a 48-seat restaurant in Wilmington, NC, called manna. Earnest Money & Sons (or e$ as we call it) was something we conceptualized in 2018 that would be a unique cocktail club specifically for a membership base--in effect, a place that wasn't overrun with loud bar patrons, not about volume but about hospitality & comfort, a quintessential place to enjoy yourself, your friends and the surroundings in a place that felt like the guest has ownership.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Getting to build these spaces and seeing them come to life--just like we envisioned. It also is nice to see our team grow and watch some of our long-tenured workers move up the ladder into a better place professionally and financially.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
We really seek out the details. Having several entities means that there are lots more details to tend to...setting a goal to get to them all can be taxing, but it is part of the process of being good at something – accept the roles & challenges that come with the territory.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you surround yourself with a great support system--that is, you have to be among the winners on your team--self-starters that have ambition and energy and understand the long game. You will NEVER succeed by yourself.
- Expect to come up short...to get knocked down...to have some difficulties in the journey. Just be willing to get up and keep pushing forward: Keep your eyes on the prize.
- Take great concern about what you can control---leave the rest alone. That is something that I have had to learn over time.
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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