Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Jensen, Founder of The Wooden Skillet, located in Minneapolis, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I founded/own The Wooden Skillet, a food blog sharing natural, simple recipes for everyday life. Our customers are people who generally like to cook things a bit healthier (we also always try to give dairy-free and gluten-free options/substitutions) - and we specialize in easy weeknight dinners, grilling, smoked meats, etc. We love food/cooking and inspiring our customers in the kitchen daily!
Tell us about yourself
I have a J.D. + MBA and graduated from law school in 2007 and then turned around and got my MBA hoping to work as an in-house counsel. Unfortunately, the job market was horrendous then, so I landed a job in private practice. I practiced law for seven years focusing on family, business, and municipal law. I started my food blog about four years into practicing and grew it by working about every night and weekend for three years :) I am still not quite sure how I managed to run a house, have two young kids, work full-time as a lawyer and stay up until 1:30 am every night working on my blog, but I loved it, and it didn't feel like "work." When my third daughter was born, I didn't return to my job after my maternity leave and took The Wooden Skillet full-time.
I never regretted it, and the business grew quickly once I could focus on it full-time. I had always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of business (I was always starting small businesses when I was little!) So it doesn't surprise me that I own my own business now. I grew up cooking in the kitchen with my Mom, and it is incredible that I got to build a business from something I love.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment from a financial perspective was being able to take my blog full-time in 2019. It was super scary, but I didn't look back and don't regret it all!!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I am going to name two things :)
Overwhelm: there are so many to-do's, especially when you start as everything from the marketing department to the accounting department to the CEO... You can get paralyzed with everything to do, and somehow every single item is high on the to-do list. This also bleeds into a discussion about having boundaries and trying to have work hours... I don't do this very well and tend to work too much! It is a work in progress!
Growth: consistency lends itself to growth (gradual growth), but if you want to take your business to the next step/level, you usually need to look at ways to delegate and hire out hard and scary tasks. It is hard to give up control (control freak over here!) and threatening to spend extra money paying someone else to do something "you could just do yourself," but it is how you see those big growth spurts! Plus, you can't keep doing the same thing and expect different or better results - you have to change it up!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your why: this will drive you daily - especially on the tough days (and there will be plenty of those).
- Stay consistent: make your business/site a little better every day.
- Focus on quality: quality content eventually rises to the top - serve your audience.
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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