Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in content creation but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Knific, owner of Melissa Knific, LLC, located in Scotch Plains, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a food content and strategy business. I have a journalism and a culinary degree, in addition to more than a decade of experience in the food space, so I write copy, develop recipes, and work on overall strategies to help brands develop and grow their voices and, ultimately, audiences.
Tell us about yourself
After spending most of my career in publishing staff roles, it was time to do my own thing. I wrote for daily newspapers and fashion trade magazines in my early journalism years. Eventually, a curiosity about food led me to culinary school in New York. Upon graduation, I landed a Food Editor role at Family Circle magazine, where I spent seven years learning the ins and outs of a test kitchen. I then transitioned to HelloFresh, a food tech company, where I served as a liaison between the editorial and test kitchen teams. I was recruited back to magazines as the Food Director of Rachael Ray In Season in my most recent role. During that time, my company was acquired, and the decision was made to fold several titles, including mine. Losing my job was the motivation I needed to go out on my own. I built up a ton of industry knowledge and contacts throughout the years, so it felt like the timing was right and that I could make a meaningful solo career.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Landing my first client. As an editor, I'm not afraid to cold call people for an interview, but when it comes to selling my services, that's another story. I contacted a client I admire, and they quickly hired me. It probably sounds silly, but I almost couldn't believe it. That gave me a huge boost of confidence and made it clear that my skillset is valuable.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Acknowledging my value. Even after that confidence boost, I still find it tricky to assign value to my work. And it's not like I have to fake it until I make it. I have the experience to do all the things I'm selling. The publishing world is amazing in so many ways, but it is also very broken. You're made to feel lucky you have a job, and it's difficult to get to the next level without leaving a company or the industry. That treatment has lasted throughout my career, and I'm working to change that thought process within myself.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be kind to yourself. I tell this to my children because I believe this starts from the minute you're born. We all need reminders, especially when starting something so big and personal as a business.
- Set small goals. Obviously, it's important to think about long-term goals when launching a business, but it's also really important to set small goals, so the big ones don't feel so overwhelming and unattainable.
- Laugh at yourself. You're going to make mistakes, and you're going to learn from them, but why not find humor along the way?
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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