Megan Kanzler of Orange Peanut is in my spotlight today. Another dear friend from church, Megan's tireless can-do attitude (and she can do!) and organizational skills are a wonder to behold. If you want to get something done, ask Megan to do it. She has a a husband of 12 years and three boys (8 and 5 years-old and one that joined the family on August 23, 2010).
She has an online shop and a fun blog full of interesting stuff for mommies to learn and do.
Here are her answers to my questions about running her own business.
I've been in business since 2008. I did only custom orders until January of 2011 (when I opened up my Etsy shop). My "business" started more out of necessity - a need to create. I was so busy with 2 little ones, church responsibilities that were very demanding, a husband who was traveling a lot, and a feeling that I was losing me. So I did what made the least amount of sense, and added one more thing to my busy life - I started to get more serious about sewing by making simple things and an apron was among the first projects I completed.
That feeling of creating something with my own hands helped to fill a need at a time when it seemed everything around me was taking from me. I went on a huge sewing fix and made 15 aprons for family and a few friends for Christmas gifts and then I started getting calls from their friends asking if I would make them one as well - that was the birth of my business.
My biggest satisfaction is seeing the finished product! I love taking fabric or basic items and making them into something useful and pretty! I also feel very good when I have someone contact me to make them something because a previous client recommended me or they have seen something I have made. That is a huge compliment and gives me that added boost to keep creating.
My biggest frustration is trying to find balance! I'll be honest, my family takes the #1 spot in my life. I have to pace myself and remember to assign little bits of "work" each day and then put it away. I know there will be a day when I can tackle my projects all at once, without being interrupted 20+ times in an hour span, but since that will be many years down the road, my biggest struggle is finding balance when I feel the need to escape and create. I work mostly at night, once my children are in bed. I also am able to sneak in "work" time when my two older children are at school and my little one is napping.
A thought or tip for those who are wanting to start their own business is to find your niche. Don't try to create everything, just find a few things you like to make and are not too time consuming or costly. I would also create relationships with others who are in a similar business. This will provide you a great sounding board as well as give you a place to get encouragement, if you should need some.
Lots of good advice in there! I identify with Megan's need to create even when she was already busy - creating fills a need nothing else can. Though the end product may end up being for someone else, the process is for me. Thank you to Megan for offering her story!