It’s hard to believe my baby (The Circle) is fours years old! The Circle was founded on hopes and dreams and very little start up capital. I’m going to be honest here, it’s a struggle to survive some months, but the dream lives on! Our mission is to create a local centric store that would support and showcase as many local artists as possible while staying true to our festival roots. There’s a lot of hype about shopping local these days, but you can believe the hype here at The Circle. We have worked with hundreds of local artists at The Circle, and the money spent here truly goes straight back into the community. We write around 100 checks a month to our local consignment artists. Thank you all for your continued support; this is your Circle too! The Circle is locally owned, unchained, and independent. We depend on the local community for our survival and continue to be an active member of the Asheville community that we love.
Here are the top ten lessons I have learned from being an unfunded, independent, up and coming entrepreneur.
- You can only spend a dollar once! It is mind-boggling trying to decide which merchandise to buy, Grassroots Hats or Local Glass? This or That? Especially when you have a tight budget, every decision is critical. You don’t want to spend big bucks on something that is going to sit on the shelf indefinitely. Give the people what they want, but what do the people really want anyway?
- You gotta have the right employees. The Circle has been blessed with some amazing employees, each with their own special awesomeness. You can’t do it all yourself, who you choose to work in your business will help shape the image, culture, and vibe of the business. I understand this more now and think I’ve gotten much better at choosing the right match for the Circle. Come in and meet the Circle Crew! We got some new members recently and I know you are going to LOVE them!!
- You have to stay focused and on top of all the details. No slacking off! Once you get behind its hard to catch back up. It’s important to create systems and policies that work for your business.
- Marketing, advertising, and social media is a never-ending necessity. Stay fresh, stay current, and get some help if needed.
- Owning your own business takes a lot of dedication and determination. Never ever give up, never ever!!
- Keep evolving and growing. Stay on top with what’s new and fresh and embrace change. Business is fluid, go with the flow, or get left behind.
- Find some balance in your life. It can’t be all business all the time. Enjoy your time away. If you have those awesome employees in place, this is easier because you’re not worried about the daily operations. Having trustworthy and dedicated employees makes this possible.
- Being a single mom and a small business owner is one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges of my life. I love having a flexible schedule to be with my child and I am mindful to be more productive with my time when I’m at work. It’s all about multitasking. I’m writing this blog during naptime.
- Sometimes the love that got you into business in the first place will take a backseat to running your business. You have to be completely dedicated to the business and your gift (in my case art and fashion) becomes a smaller percentage of your working time. Hopefully this will change as the business becomes more established and more successful.
- Owning your own business is the American dream; it takes a special kind of love and dedication to make it. You failures and successes are your own as well as the risks and the rewards.
Thanks again for all your love and support!! Feel free to send me your comments; I would love to hear from you. And make sure you stop in and see us at The Circle!