Karen Baxter was our guest for episode six of That Sewing Blab. She is a talented business woman who works out the right and left side of her brain regularly. She owns a company that does taxes and is intensely creative in her other businesses where she sews skirts NiKai Designs and makes fantastic personalized planners as Studio Kai. She is also one of the three administrators for the Pericrafters Facebook group and can be found scoping about her life and business on Periscope. My co-host Alethia Hudson and I interviewed Karen about being a small business owner, and how she manages to keep so many different things on the go.
One of my favorite parts of the interview with Karen was her outlook on work/life balance. I always wonder how successful people manage to balance their busy work life with the rest of their lives. Karen suggested that work/life balance is a myth. She said balance is when two items with the same weight are kept level at the same time. But life is not like that often at any one given time certain roles you have whether it is wife, mother, or entrepreneur will need to be at the forefront of what you are doing. Instead of balance we should be seeking harmony, she suggests. Making sure that all your roles work in harmony towards the things you want in o. I found this a really interesting concept. If you want to skip to Karen discussing this during the interview, it starts just after the thirty-first minute of the broadcast.
Another highlight for me during the interview was Karen’s answer to Myra’s (@onesewsweet) question: From your experience what advice do you have for others thinking of starting their own business?
The Three Things Karen Suggests You Do Before Starting a Business
- Find your passion
- Do your research beforehand
- Start the way you mean to continue
Find Your Passion
Starting and running your own business is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. There will be tough times and tough decisions you will need to make. In those times, having a passion for what you do is necessary to carry you through. It is this passion that will help you to be committed to what you need to do to be successful.
Do Your Research Before-Hand
Another great tip Karen gave was to investigate similar businesses to the one your want to start. Research what they are doing. What works for them? What strategies are they using? Understanding the product and where you fit in the market is important. Just because you like something does not mean you should start a business around it. Do the research to make sure there is a market for you to harness. Do people need or want what you plan to sell?
You might research your competition but do not try and be them. Everything you do should be different because if you want to be seen in the crowd, you have to stand out in it.
Start the Way You Mean to Continue
As Karen said in the interview, “don’t be bootleg.” Do it right. First impressions are lasting impressions. Do not rush to market because you run the risk of wasting a first impression.
Make sure your marketing materials are right, your website, business cards, etc. Make sure your financial systems are in place, so you have protected yourself.
The saying is right, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you want to hear more, Karen starts discussing her business tips just after the forty-first minute of the broadcast.