Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in design services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Danforth, CEO of Empowered Ecommerce, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run a design and development agency focused on serving up-and-coming e-commerce brands. We offer holistic branding, Shopify design, Shopify development, copywriting, SEO, and CRO services to help ecom brands scale and make more money through their online stores.
Tell us about yourself
I have always loved making things, especially physical products. My very first business over 10 years ago was a handmade jewelry brand, where I fell in love with making beautiful things and figuring out how to sell them online. I didn't realize it at the time, but that was the start of my journey to learning everything I could about what it takes to be successful in selling physical products online. Since then, I've built multiple e-commerce brands of my own, including one 7-figure brand, and have worked with over 100 clients to grow and scale their businesses.
I love the complexity of e-commerce, and I love helping new and old business owners alike navigate these complexities to successfully grow their businesses. Being able to help people and getting clients results is what motivates me each day. I love being able to contribute to other people's success.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think one of my biggest accomplishments is helping build one of my e-commerce brands to over 7-figures. Even though it's a bit of a "vanity" number, it definitely felt like a bit of accomplishment to cross that threshold! I also consider building my agency to be one of my biggest successes. Learning how to be a CEO, manage people, and build a business with a thriving team of experts is not for the faint of heart! I'm very grateful to have found all the amazing people on my team.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Whew, there are many! I think navigating the highs and lows of business, figuring out how to make good decisions, and navigating change and uncertainty have been one of the hardest things for me. In a rapidly changing world, you have to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry and the world at large in order to make good decisions in your business and know when you need to pivot, stop something, or start something new. Balancing that with financial decision-making and figuring out how to stay profitable (while taking care of your team) can be really difficult!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would absolutely recommend hiring a coach! Especially if you have never started a business before, finding a group coaching program with an established framework you can follow or finding a coach to work with 1-on-1 is invaluable. Every time I have grown the most in my business, I have had a coach of some sort giving me advice and support.
- Commit. I think you have to balance testing an idea with commitment, and I lean toward the "commitment" side. In my experience when I commit to a new business idea, I'm way more likely to see it through and figure out how to make it work than if I play around with it and kinda/sort try it. It can take a lot of time to actually commit to something, but when you do, you're likely to figure out something that works!
- Keep it simple and figure out your product/market fit. I think a LOT of people overthink their business model or offer (myself included)! Figure out exactly what you want to offer and exactly who needs what you offer. If those things are not aligned, everything else is harder. It's harder to sell your services or product, create content, etc. Figuring out a good product/market fit is crucial to your success and happiness in your business!
- Have FUN! Just as a bonus one! If you like business, maybe just running businesses or starting this is fun. But I think when you're starting and trying to figure out ALL the things, it can feel overwhelming and discouraging! I always find that when I focus on what I LOVE about what I'm doing and focus on making it fun, everything always gets easier. :)
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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