Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Samantha Skaggs, Founder of Five Heart Home, located in Fort Worth, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Since 2013, I have been running a recipe website ("food blog") focusing on quick, easy, family-friendly recipes made with real ingredients. As the creator and owner of Five Heart Home, I have worn and continue to wear many hats, including managing the backend of my website, recipe development, and testing, food photography and photo editing, and article writing, editing, and publication. I also run social media accounts and e-mail marketing associated with my website. I also manage the creation of video content and technological support by outside teams. In 2016, I published a cookbook titled "Real Food Slow Cooker Suppers." My customers are those who visit my blog, buy my cookbook, and make my recipes. Some of them are regular and loyal followers, and some of them hop over to my website via finding a particular recipe of mine on Google, Pinterest, or some other platform.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated college with an English degree plus a certification in Education and worked for seven years as a 1st-grade teacher. However, I have always loved cooking and creating, from baking with my mom as a child to catering my own parties and selling homemade cookies at a farmer's market as a young newlywed. When I had my first baby, I stayed home to care for him and spent the next several years as a full-time mom. But when my third baby was almost a year old, I finally gave in to my itch for a creative outlet and a need to prove to myself that my mom brain hadn't turned to complete mush: I started a food blog! It sounded like a good idea as it combined my loves of cooking, writing, and photography, but I initially had no idea what I was doing. Nevertheless, I hoped I could help people by sharing the shortcuts, successes, and tried-and-true recipes I had figured out as a young wife and mother. I named my blog after the "five hearts" that make up our "home."
Sure enough, Five Heart Home seemed to resonate with people of all ages and walks of life who appreciated the simple, tasty, from-scratch recipes that I shared. That continues to be my motivation today: to make people's lives just a little bit easier and healthier -- and to bring them joy -- through my recipes. I also continue to be motivated by the flexibility that this job lends me in being able to provide for and prioritize my family simultaneously.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I honestly feel that my biggest accomplishment as a business owner is related to helping others. I am a helper at heart. So it is always so gratifying to hear from a busy mom or dad that my recipe made it quick and easy to get a wholesome dinner on the table that everyone was excited about eating… to hear from an elderly new widower that my website is helping him learn to cook for himself for the first time... to hear from a young lady who made my cupcakes to win a baking contest at school... to hear that one of my recipes is a family favorite that gets requested and repeated every holiday.
At the end of the day, if the recipes on my blog and in my cookbook are in some small way enriching people's lives, then all of the stresses inherent in this business are well worth it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The business of food blogging is like a new frontier. Those of us who have been in this industry for going on ten (or more) years are the pioneers. Digital media is constantly evolving, and we have no choice but to figure it out as we go. So I would say the hardest part of owning my particular business is that technology platforms, search engines, and social media all change rapidly. There are always new tricks for old dogs to learn, and I already have so many varied roles as the owner of this business. I only wish food blogging were as simple as creating a recipe, writing it down, and hitting publish!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Believe in yourself. Building a business takes vision, drive, and determination, and it's hard to get very far if you don't believe in yourself (particularly since most of your family and friends won't understand what a food blogger is, how you can possibly make money doing it, or how it can be a full-time job -- ha). It also helps to know your own strengths and weaknesses. You'll need to really lean on those strengths to get everything going in the beginning. As your business starts to take off, hopefully, you can consider hiring out some of those weaknesses.
- Don't lose sight of what's important to you. I am so thankful that I've been able to build my business to the point that it is super flexible. I'm now able to work the hours I wish so that I can be available to my family as my first priority. Am I sometimes tempted to work crazy hours to expand and grow my brand and bring in even more revenue? Sure. But I created this business to provide for my family while giving me the flexibility to really BE THERE as my kids grow up, so I am most proud of my success in that regard, and I try not to take it for granted.
- Don't get caught up in the comparison game. You can always strive and work to grow your business to be bigger and better, but I think you also have to learn to be content where you are and not constantly compare yourself to others who may be in a different place. Teddy Roosevelt wasn't kidding... comparison is the thief of joy.
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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