Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joe Willingham, Owner of World of Honey, located in Sylvester, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
World of Honey is an online marketplace for artisanal raw honey. We also sell beekeeping supplies and, of course, beeswax. Our customers range from homemakers looking to add honey to a recipe to honey connoisseurs looking to try rare honey for the first time. We are a small veteran-owned business, and we are beekeepers ourselves.
Tell us about yourself
I started beekeeping as a hobby in 2008 when I had Honeybees show up in my backyard. I was fascinated with the bees and began studying them. I read several books and contacted a local beekeeper who helped me by sharing his knowledge. Learning about the bees has kept me motivated in my business. There are always new lessons to learn and new skills to acquire.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is staying in business. After starting the business, I had some health issues that required me to take time away from my beekeeping activities. I had to sell most of my hives since I could not properly maintain them. When I recovered, I adapted by selling honey from other beekeepers while I worked to rebuild my operation.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a small business owner, you have very few days off. The business requires your attention. The bees require your attention. The customers require your attention.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Focus on your strengths and know your business. Choose to engage in something you are passionate about. Never stop learning about your niche.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Beeswax is an often overlooked product from the process of extracting honey. Every batch is unique and a great candle material as it is all-natural. I started working with beeswax when I had less honey to sell and needed an additional income stream. I learned how to melt the wax to just the right temperature to hand pour each candle. All of our beeswax items are still made by hand, one at a time.
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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