Sometimes we think we should rename QB Community “Epiphanies R Us!” As countless community members have told us, you just never know when an idea will pop into your head and BOOM! A seed of an idea grows and blossoms into a successful business. Of course, that flash of inspiration is just the first tiny step on any entrepreneurial journey – but without it, you might not be taking a journey at all.
Technically speaking, doing research and development or R&D means officially allocating time and resources to a team of inventors or product manufacturers who think of and develop product ideas. This crack team will make prototypes and conduct formal trials with prospective customers to see if a product will fly. If this sounds like it’s well beyond the scope of your budget and resources (both financial and human), you might be right.
All small businesses have a couple of things in common. First, they’re run by a dedicated, determined, passionate entrepreneur. Second, each one of those inspiring self-employed folks had an idea for a product (or a service) and figured how to transform it into something they could sell. We know – and you do, too -- the process of turning an epiphany into a business is never easy. Here’s how some folks in QB Community have managed to do it.
When Erica decided to sell the “clean,” healthful granola she regularly baked for family and friends, she wasn’t planning to turn her side-hustle into a full-fledged business. But three months after attending her first farmer’s market, Erica was selected as a food vendor for Google. Suddenly, she needed to make gr8nola on a whole new scale.
Meta Mesdag is a mom of three in Juneau, Alaska. Wanting to be available to her kids, Meta has opened two successful small businesses out of her home. Although both ventures have kept super busy, Meta decided earlier this year to start a family “mariculture” business -- an ocean farm where she, her husband and kids will grow (and then sell) oysters, clams, mussels and kelp.
Did you know that the number of African-American businesses is growing by leaps and bounds? Women are seriously leading the charge, with awhopping 605%increase over the last two decades in businesses owned by black women. Wow! That amazing effort is of the reasons we are celebrating Black Business Month this August. Let’s meet some of the African-American entrepreneurs who are rocking it in our community -- and in the small business world!
Book, check. Sunglasses, check. Whole uncut pineapple, what?!Here’s a roundup of all the great people we met and things we learned during June’s “outdoorsy” month. Check it out and then tell us: what are you doing outside this summer?
Meet Matthew Jensen, his family owns The Electric Boat Company, a thriving business in Seattle that lets customers toodle around Lake Union with a boatload of friends, family or with business colleagues.
Photo by Bill DayCaptain Megan Corazza grew up commercial fishing with her parents out of their home port of Homer, Alaska. From a young age she learned firsthand about the high stakes and unpredictability of the fishing business, and she swore she’d never go down that path herself. In fact, she was on track to be a doctor when the fishing business beckoned her, and she decided to follow in her family’s footsteps.
Today, Megan has owned her own commercial fishing operation for nearly 20 years. Each summer in the Land of the Midnight Sun Megan, along with her crew and her sons, catch millions of salmon to sell to canneries. The days are long and sleep is short, but this seasonal business allows Megan to pursue her other passions -- motherhood, writing and skiing -- during other eight months of the year.
We caught up with Megan just before she headed out for a summer at sea to learn how she balances fish, family and finances from one unpredictable season to the next.
Seattle-based entrepreneur Erin Williamson believes in supporting women workers, and she absolutely puts her money where her mouth is. As the owner of Pier Coffee, a cold-brew coffee company, she sources her beans from woman-owned or operated farms. And as the co-founder of a nonprofit called Engender International, Erin works to protect and promote women at every stage of the supply chain.
We spoke with Erin about both her businesses, operating a mission-driven company and why economic stability is so very important for single moms and women in developing countries.
Portland-based chocolatier Steve Lawrence has been in the food business since he started washing restaurant dishes as a teenager. Now he’s ascended to the top of the heap of fine chocolate makers in the United States.
We were able to grab a few sweet moments with Steve during this busy time of year - Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us! - to talk about his growing business, the science of chocolate and how much his wife loves his job.