In many ways I feel so under qualified to be the one answering this question. Let me preface by saying that, if you are a rock-star businessperson this article is not for you. This article is for the grass-roots person who needs some motivation to get up and get started.

    1. The best way to start a business is to start a business.Lots of people ask me, “I have a great idea but no time to make it work, how do you do it?” Friends, in 2016, when we decided to start farming lavender and sell it to Lush Cosmetics, I was a homeschooling mother of seven kids under the age of ten (one of them a high-performance athlete who travelled the world constantly). I had two university degrees in Sociology and ICU Nursing – and knew nothing about business or agriculture. I had just delivered our 6th child and I had been transplanted from the big city of Toronto onto a 12-acre farm in the middle of Ke-low-no-where-now? If anyone had an excuse not to start a business, it was me. So, I’ll say it again; the first step for starting a business is to start. Assuming you have an idea for a product, here are some basic steps you can take to begin, even this week.
      • Research your market. Google it and read everything you can about it. Obsess a little bit about it. Is someone already doing it? What makes them successful? Realistically, can you do it better? What material, services, colors, seasons etc. are most desirable.
      • Describe your perfect buyer and start thinking of how to reach that person. (Hint: if you know someone that is in that perfect buyer group don’t hesitate to phone them and ask them about your product and what the pros and cons of it are.)
      • If applicable, make a prototype and start using it yourself to work out the kinks.
      • Search domain names (I like GoDaddy or IONOS by 1&1)
      • Download the Canva app and start designing a logo.
      • Start an Instagram/Facebook page and begin building content and a social media trail.

      When users find you, having older content will help you build trust and interest in your brand.

      • Related to social media; google what times and days are the best times to post. There is no point in making brilliant content and posting it when your people are sleeping.
      • If you don’t have time to read, begin listening to YouTube/podcasts – about your industry. (how to grow, pitfalls, how to market, trends etc.). Become an expert in your field – even if you can only commit to watching two or three videos a day.
      • Start making friends on social media and asking for advice from influencers in your field. Some people won’t write you back, but some will and if you can get people to talk to you, they’ll be more likely to take an interest in your progress and promote you. They also will have great advice for you. I have made genuine friends this way – friends I am very grateful for now.
      • Join the Kick Starter app and see if anyone else is already doing what you’re doing – but better!
      • If you like to read and have nothing but time on your hands, pick up a copy of “the personal MBA: master the art of business” by Josh Kaufman.

      The more you immerse yourself in your product, the more motivation you’ll find to continue it. As my 15-year-old daughter likes to tell me, “…eat the big frog first”. That means overcoming the most challenging obstacle first so that everything else seems easier after that.

    2. Find your person. You do not need a business partner though that might feel safer. What you need is someone honest who you can consult, bounce ideas off and to push you through when you want to resign. Maybe you’ll be the one who chooses a great product concept, and it soars right away but more than likely your growth will be a process with dips and curves. I just spent a week cutting down nine rows of lavender in a heat wave and I am not going to lie to you, every day I went out there, I swore I was going to quit. Luckily, I have three people that encourage me every day to keep going and remind me of the bigger picture. People need people. I believe that we were built for relationships. It is how we thrive and how we grow both personally and professionally.
    3. Look for a need and fill it. If you’re reading this, maybe you already have a product in mind or maybe you have already produced a product and are wondering how to sell it. I recently heard an interview with Elon Musk. He told the reporter that when he is hiring someone new, he looks at their resume not to see what school they went to or what their grades were but to see if they have ever invented something that filled a need. There is no point in selling something that people don’t want to buy. Ask yourself, how does my product physically help someone, increase social status, occupy someone’s time, fill a void, make connections, simplify life or increase the enjoyment of life. Personally, I think these are the products that take off and that understanding the need your product fills is the key to marketing it correctly.

I hope you found this article helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts and interact with you on our Instagram page @mylavenderconfetti. Remember where you start is not where you’ll end up! I think that is good news. Learn from your failures and be flexible. Always be thinking of your next move and how you can do something better.

Now, go get started!

Sonya Ramsey

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