Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jeff Chisholm, President of Little Hometown, located in New Orleans, LA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Little Hometown is a baby brand offering unique locally-inspired baby gifts featuring numerous state-, city-, and regionally-themed baby blankets, pajamas, onesies, and burp cloths throughout the US. Created in 2016, with everything designed in-house by my wife Marie, we are now in 1,000 US retailers and also sell directly on littlehometown.com to parents and loved ones wanting to flaunt their hometown. We have strategically chosen not to sell on Amazon or Walmart in order to better support our loyal retailer base.
Tell us about yourself
I worked in the 9-5 world for the first 20+ years of my career at Fortune 500 companies despite wanting to be an entrepreneur. However, I didn't have "an idea," and I was risk averse to losing my steady income. I first dipped my toe in the entrepreneurial waters with an Amazon private-label FBA business on the side. That short-lived success led my wife to design her own baby blankets in 2016. What motivates me is that it's all on me, and I get all the benefits. There's no bureaucracy and no hierarchy, so I get to work on exactly what I know needs to get done.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as an owner was bouncing back from the failure of my first entrepreneurial venture and learning from what drove that failure to better secure the future of my current business. My first business died because I was wholly leveraged to the Amazon platform and did nothing to build a community off Amazon where I could drive traffic to my own platform and own the customer relationship.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things is figuring out what to do next. Partially it's an issue of staying on track and motivated when there are no bosses or employees to keep you accountable. Partially, it's an issue of being overwhelmed by the potential things that can be or need to be done. I keep a lot of notes and a lot of ideas across all aspects of my business, so in those moments when I'm not motivated or unsure what to do, I have a ready list of both short-term and long-term projects.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It really isn't that hard to run an e-commerce business so long as you have a quality offer. It is a daunting process, and there's almost limitless uncertainty. But while it may be complex, it's not especially hard, kind of like putting together Ikea furniture. Google and Youtube can answer a majority of your questions and fill in your dark spots.
- Just do it. Move forward today. And then do something more tomorrow. People spend way too much time planning on irrelevant things like the brand name or logo or whatever before they start selling. Your first job should be validating demand as efficiently as possible. Build your boat while you are on the water.
- Just keep iterating. Break down all the aspects of your business and figure out where are the weakest parts that need improving, and improve that part in some manner. The more you are involved in and affect change, the more knowledgeable and helpful you will be when it comes to hiring and managing people to ultimately perform that task for you.
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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