3 Tips from a Small Business Owner: Start Smart

5 min read • Oct 25, 2021 • Lendio

Bethany Hawkins loves her business, Crackers in Soup. “It’s not a restaurant, and we don’t make soup. We do podcast production!” laughs Bethany. While her daughter may have inspired the name of the small business, the day-to-day falls to Bethany, her part-time employee, and multiple contractors, who together help clients with podcast production, audio editing, episode notes, graphics—everything that makes a podcast possible.

“Creating this business was a huge leap for me,” says Bethany. “Personally, I didn’t know any entrepreneurs. Now, it’s who I surround myself with on a daily basis! I have family members telling me how brave I am and how proud they are of me. I have zero regrets.  ”

We sat down with Bethany, who was one of Lendio’s Small Business Week Giveaway winners in September 2021, for her advice on getting started:

Tip #1: Currently Employed? See Your Current Job as an Investor.

“Money is a big freakin’ deal,” says Bethany. “Anyone who says it’s not doesn’t like to eat.”

Bethany’s first step in financing her business was to save any extra money she could find during the six months she spent learning her trade, and researching and planning her business — which she did while still employed full time. “If you aren’t financially secure, look at your current job as an investor in your business.  If you are trying to get clients while worrying how you are going to pay rent, it is going to feel very overwhelming.”

Bethany Hawkins, small business owner, in her podcast studio

Prior to starting her podcast production service, Bethany Hawkins saved whatever she could while working full-time. “Look at your current job as an investor,” she says.

Tip #2: Know Who You Want Your Clientele to Be.

“If you’re trying to talk to everybody, you’re actually talking to nobody,” says Bethany. “I’ve been extremely fortunate because I strategically vet the people I welcome into my business’s life. I only navigate around the people I truly enjoy. 

Still, not every business connection works out: “I have been in situations where people have disregarded my expertise. In one situation, I felt they sought me out solely because it’s now the ‘in’ thing to retain a woman of color,” says Bethany. “That feels funky; there’s no better vernacular for it.” Ultimately, when Bethany found herself in that situation, she had to make a decision: keep the client or finish out the contract and part ways. She split the baby. “We finished half of the contract, and I explained to them we were not a good fit. They were shocked but I have to do what’s best for my business and my team.”

Tip #3: Build the Foundation.

Leading up to her first months in business, Bethany took online courses, learned to produce podcasts, connected with people who were already successful in the industry, and tried to get everything lined up for success. She did all of this for six months while still working her 9-5 (and beyond). Once she finished her website, Bethany felt she had no more “excuses.” She gave her employer 3-months’ notice and committed herself to Crackers in Soup full-time.

Bethany also looked for mentors to guide her through the success she wanted. “I sought out podcasters I adored. I immersed myself in their lives until they couldn’t ignore me,” she jokes. She would find mentors in Facebook groups and through social media channels (like Instagram,  or YouTube) and comment on their posts and interact with them. “I knew I wanted to create my business to help women of color get their voices heard—we’re underrepresented. I wanted to know their stories, hear their stories, and get their stories heard, so I found people who were already doing that, followed their lead and then put my own spin on it.”

About Lendio’s Small Business Week Giveaway

Crackers in Soup wasn’t the only Lendio Small Business Week Giveaway winner.  From September 13 to September 17, Lendio gave away $500 per business to two randomly selected winners each day. By the end of the week, more than 3,000 small businesses were nominated and a total of 10 small businesses benefited from the giveaway. Nominations were powered by the public, who submitted or tagged their favorite small businesses on Lendio’s daily posts on Facebook and Instagram, and on the Lendio website.

“Lendio celebrates small businesses every day, but this year we wanted to invite the general public to help us surprise their favorite local stores,” said Brock Blake, CEO of Lendio. “No one has shown more resilience, determination and ingenuity over the past 18 months than small businesses. Lendio wanted to show up for them during Small Business Week, and we’ll continue to do so every week thereafter.”

Congratulations to each of the following small businesses, too.

Salt Lake Running Company: a fitness and running store located in Salt Lake City, Utah

Tiger Trap Media: a cinematographer and film director based in Salt Lake City, Utah 

Bustos & Sons LLC: a construction company in Midvale, Utah, specializing in decks, concrete, landscaping, roofing and sheetrock

Crackers in Soup: a podcast management company that streamlines the podcast process of creation. 

T.I.P. Services: a tax registration and auto registration services business based in Chula Vista, California 

Brownies! Brownies! Brownies!: a brownie shop located in Salt Lake City, Utah

Visionary Dancer: a collective of extraordinary dancers based in Oceanside, California

Ballenger Farm: an event venue and outdoor market supporting local vendors in Hamilton, Virginia

JETS Air Pro: an environmental technology company providing Innovative Air Purification Equipment for workplaces, schools, and homes

Finn & Quinn Ice Cream: a small batch artisanal ice cream maker in Savannah, Georgia

 

Are you a Lendio customer with a story to tell? Tell us about it here.

 

The information provided in this post does not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

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