Tips for Starting a New Business – Part 1: Tales from Food Entrepreneur Blog Series

I received some great advice when I started this blog: be consistent, be brief, and be authentic.  Of all of these, the last one about being authentic is the most important one to me.  When I find myself struggling to write, typically this means I’m trying too hard or it’s not the right topic for me.  I then find something else to write about.

Today I find myself in an uncommon (and thankfully infrequent) place.  I’m down.  I mean really buried in one of those annoying valleys I’ve often described to you guys.  I considered either skipping this week’s blog, or writing about a different “happier” topic, although both of these seemed inauthentic to me.

So instead, I decided to channel a little of piece of my funk into some advice I’d give to a new entrepreneur.  Here’s the beginning of what will probably turn into a long list in the coming months:

Get Advice

Surround yourself with free or low-cost talent: Places like the SF Small Business Development Center (SBDC) were/are extremely helpful to me.  Thanks to them, I have a business coach, a marketing coach, help with my bookkeeping, not to mention the various classes I’ve taken on tax laws, social media, accounting, and other relevant topics.  If you don’t have a local SBDC, check the surrounding community colleges or even the city planning offices to see what assistance classes are offered, for example the Oakland BAC.

Get Support

Develop a “tribe” of both personal and professional contacts: Starting a business can be grueling, so having a support system in place makes it a little easier.  It can be as simple as a group of girlfriends getting together for a wine club (shout out to my wine gals!).  On the professional side, seek out other small businesses in your field.  There is typically some partnership opportunity, and at the very least, someone who can relate to what you’re going through.

Get Money

Save a bunch, borrow if you need, and plan for the unexpected: Money is a constant source of concern for any new business owner.  The reality is that you need 1) start-up capital to invest in your business, 2) living expenses for around two years, depending on the business, and 3) some cushion money for emergencies.  Use the Rule of Three; it takes three times as long, and costs three times as much than you originally expect.

Get Happy

Create a “happy folder” and fill with anything that makes you feel good: When I get really down, I open my happy folder and re-read emails that I’ve saved over the years: accolades I’ve received, heartfelt emails from friends, encouraging comments from clients, etc…  Sometimes I have to read for 30 minutes, but I always feel better afterwards.  It’s a way to keep things in perspective and remind myself of what’s important.

Reminder to everyone that I will be launching the Scoop on Starting Solids Q&A blog series next week.  Dr. Julia Getzelman of Getzwell Pediatrics will kick off the series by answering a few questions submitted from readers.

Win a free pack of baby food if we feature your question.
Just post a comment on our Baby Food Giveaway page to submit.

6 Comments to “Tips for Starting a New Business – Part 1: Tales from Food Entrepreneur Blog Series”

  1. Thanks for the tips. SBDC’s website is great! Nice gem.

  2. Sabra says:

    I too have a positive energy folder that I refer to on the “blue” days. Keep it up – everyone is rooting for you.

  3. Lisa says:

    Dear Jill, As a Mom, I am touched and proud to read this week’s blog because it shows me how much you have grown. From the five year old who stole candy from the gas station to the woman and entrepreneur you are today, all I add say is “Wow.” You are a teacher of the creative arts and in the life of starting a business. Your friends and family are lucky…and poor Hilton who lost one of the best.

  4. Wendy says:

    Love this post and your tips :) Good stuff and keep it rollin’. As the old adage goes, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

  5. Marty Robinson says:

    Jill, you are doing great, it is a journey with ups and downs and round abouts. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.You are in charge!!

  6. sandra simpson says:

    this is my favorite of all you have written.

Leave a Reply