Client Tell is a guest-post series from clients who have worked with me and want to share their process. The first series is a 5-part story from Alison Turner, Brownie Boss of Signature Bites, a small-batch, handmade and all natural gourmet brownie company. Let us know what you think of her story–and her brownies!
Blazing the brownie trail
Wow, just six weeks since I last wrote about my new life in the entrepreneurial world and three months since connecting with Dyana, and things are looking great for Signature bites.
No, I’m not a millionaire – but hey, it’s not all about money anyway.
As the pull to return to ‘Corporate America’ further weakens, I’m really starting to appreciate what self-employed business people have told me for years about the joys of working for themselves. It’s not easy, but it’s far more rewarding.
Plus, it looks like I’ve been able to strike a great balance between utilizing my established career skills to keep funding my new venture.
Allow me to explain.
A former colleague of mine from my last corporate job called a few weeks ago to ask if I was interested in doing some freelance/project writing work for her team (she had moved to a new corporation a few years back and we’d stayed in touch). When she explained that the work required me being on site just two days a week, and she didn’t blink when I gave her my hourly rate, we struck a deal to start the following week.
The unexpected and appreciated income allows me to sleep at night – and even better, will provide much needed capital to invest in my business. The first check is already promised to the upright freezer for storing brownie inventory in the garage! And the second check is earmarked for a professional web designer who will build a kick-ass website with all the brownie biz bells and whistles: online ordering, better graphics, and tools to help me manage while I grow.
Two days in a cubicle is enough to tell me I don’t want to do that full-time again – and that feeling surprises me more than anyone. Three months ago, on the heels of being laid-off, I would have loved that “security” again – but with Signature bites launched and thriving – a part-time gig is just perfect.
On Memorial Day weekend, Signature bites participated in a charity bake sale event at a major local mall, along with some notable South Florida chefs and established businesses. During the planning meetings I got to meet some inspirational women who have already walked the path I’m traveling – taking their baking business from the home kitchen to a commercial kitchen and onto national success. I’ve adopted Lori Karmel of We Take The Cake, Jennifer Behar of Jennifer’s Homemade and Sharmila of Cookies by Shar as unofficial mentors to my quest, plus I know I can rely on them to answer all my novice business questions.
Moreover, as I hoped for, “word of mouth” is spreading. People who received Signature bites as gifts from friends are now calling to place their own orders. I made a delivery to one lady whose mother and sister had just arrived from out-of-town for a visit. They ordered 10 boxes right there, before even tasting them (they loved the packaging), so they could take them back to their home towns.
This week has been about shipping out Father’s Day orders – not as many as for Mother’s Day – but it’s all good. I’ve continued to barter too. A friend-of-a-friend who is a designer put together a web banner for me so I can set up a site on www.etsy.com – I shipped her a box of brownies as chocolate payment! I hope to be selling via Etsy in a few weeks – using it as an online sales channel ahead of getting a new website completed.
And as I make one step forward after another, I think of Dyana.
“Practice brownie brazenness,” she told me.
And I try to, every day. It may be a small act of brazenness, or a big one. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s pushing me forward. Thanks Dyana!
Give Alison some feedback, add your own story and add your own blockades or blockade-busters below.
Oh, and buy some brownies!