Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mika Bareket, founder of Good Egg, located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Good Egg is Toronto's one and only cookbook store. We specialize in books for home cooks and professionals looking for creative inspiration. Our shop is also well stocked with a range of cooking and baking tools, books for kids that focus on the natural world, and various surprises like a small dinner music section, some thrifted kitchen wares, and puzzles for idle hands. Our book selection is handpicked and vetted by our staff and/or customers. The inspiration for our shop is Toronto itself, and its dedication to food culture, plus the people who make it so: the cooks, the moms and dads who put food on the table, our wonderful and hardworking grocers. We're located in Kensington Market, which is the perfect embodiment of how Toronto excels at cultural representation, in particular through food.
Tell us about yourself
My book selling days started just over 30 years ago, and I've never veered away from it. I've been a buyer and manager for much of that time, mostly in general bookstores. And when the opportunity to open my own shop presented itself (thanks to encouraging parents), I decided to focus on my one true love: cookbooks. It was a subject I was deeply interested in but hadn't exhausted, in fact I had so much to learn, and still do. This is what motivates me... developing expertise in an area I enjoy, and being able to share that excitement with others.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Somewhere along the way, I started publishing small cookbooks, which is a nice contrast to running a shop. To run a bookshop, it really helps to be a multitasker and have a little bit of knowledge (at the very least) about a great many things. But to be a publisher, takes a different kind of focus, and the ability to go deep on one subject at a time. I like being able to bounce from one mindset to another.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Paperwork! Also, I am always on the clock. There is no such thing as a day off when you own AND operate a business that is open 7 days a week.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Write a business plan, even if it's just for yourself. It really helps establish your outlook, goals, and methods.
Also, keep your papers in order and hire an accountant to help set up a good system from the start. Do not resent your staff for making more money than you, and having far less responsibility. It takes time to establish a business that offers a return, but if you keep your priorities straight and manage your ego, there may be a nice payoff one day.
Anything else you'd like to share?
These days, I feel really good about offering people the tools to cook for themselves. But I didn't always feel this way. Whatever your business is, be proud of it and have confidence in what you do. If you don't, pivot so that you can appreciate where you are investing your time and money.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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