Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Founder of Master Wine Online, located in Newport Beach, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My customers are those who are looking to either improve their wine palate skills on their own or seek to achieve wine credentials to move up within the wine industry. I help students study wine smarter, not harder.

Tell us about yourself

I used to be in investment banking, and most people may think banking drove me to drink (haha). The truth is it started with a casual wine class after work. I then immediately fell in love with the topic of wine and wanted to know everything yesterday! So I left my six-figure salary in banking and went to go work for a wine store in Manhattan. While working in the industry, I continued to study. In 2008, I became the 4th woman in the United States to earn the prestigious international title of Master of Wine (MW). To achieve this title, I had to pass an exam that included identifying 36 wines blind, four days of essays on viticulture, winemaking, and global business, as well as writing a dissertation.

I now am the author of three books, a professor with Wondrium and The Great Courses, a TedX Speaker, and now have my own courses. I have been featured in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, in magazines such as Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Fortune, as well as on television for NBC, Fox, ABC, and much more. What motivates me is to help others not make the same costly mistakes I made while studying. I want them to save time and money so they can enjoy their lives and achieve their goals.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Independence is my biggest accomplishment, I think. Unlike many business models that heavily depend on social media platforms (and their fickle algorithms) for their income, my success or failure is more under my control. Of course, I use social media platforms as advertising tools, but my income source comes from outside these platforms. I realized that if I wanted control over my brand and my own business success, I couldn't risk a changing algorithm or the whims of another company.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is isolation. Your success and failure ride on your own decisions as the business owner; sometimes, it is difficult to know when to ask for or seek help.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. In starting a business, realize it will be a process, not an event. It also doesn't have to be perfect before you begin. Don't wait to start; just begin (with calculated risks, of course), and you will learn massively along the way.
  2. In running a business, realize that every interaction with another human being is important. The only thing that anyone will ever remember is how you made them feel. People don't remember what you did or how well you did, but they do remember how you made them feel. So make every interaction important because it already is. With every interaction, you impact another person's life; make it count.
  3. In growing a business, it's ok to take your time. While it can be exhilarating to watch a new product take off or customer numbers grow, there needs to be a balance between growth and the energy you have. It is better to take steps to grow in a calculated way than to be in frenzied growth and burnout. Slow and steady wins the race!

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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