Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Roshell Rinkins. Roshell is a supply chain expert, and has leveraged her 10+ year experience in the consumer products industry to create a virtual beauty destination to serve the lifestyle of time deprived women on-the-go. For more information, visit: www.liquidcouragecosmetics.com.
SmallBizLady: WOULD YOU RECOMMEND PEOPLE STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS TO ALSO HAVE A 9 TO 5 TO SUPPORT THEIR BUSINESS? WHAT IF SOMEONE JUST WANTS TO START A BUSINESS, BUT NOT WORKING. WHICH IS THE BEST ROUTE?
RoshellRinkins: It depends. If you have the industry, domain expertise and enough capital to run your business and pay your personal expenses for 2-3 years, then having a full-time job wouldn’t make sense. Spend every waking hour building your business. But if you’re like most small business owners and lack the money outlay to pay for business and personal expenses for at least two years, I highly recommend keeping a 9 to 5 while you work on your 5 to 9 start-up.
SmallBizLady: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENTREPRENEUR WHO HAS LITTLE TO ZERO BUSINESS ACUMEN? WHERE SHOULD THEY START?
RoshellRinkins: Take care of the business basics. Register your business, file for patents or trademarks if applicable, open up a business bank account, etc. I suggest hiring a private attorney or tax advisor for advice about what type of business entity will meet your business needs, and what your legal obligations will be.
SmallBizLady: SO HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE YOUR 5-9 YOUR 9-5?
RoshellRinkins: Be realistic” and ask yourself, “what would need to be true?” to fully transition out of your 9 to 5 to working full-time on your startup. I’ve set a specific business revenue goal to help guide this decision. In my case, the decision lies on a specific revenue, but for others the measure could be learning a specific skill, making a specific connection in your respective industry, etc.
SmallBizLady: I NEED MONEY. WHAT RESOURCES HAVE YOU FOUND HELPFUL?
RoshellRinkins: I recently concluded a successful Kiva campaign where I raised a $5000 interest-free loan to expand the Liquid Courage PowHER brunch series. Kiva is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs. This was a great way to not only engage my family and friends but gauge interest on the idea from customers. I was pleasantly surprised by how many customers participated in the campaign. Kiva allows borrowers to make monthly payments over a specific timeframe to repay the loan.
SmallBizLady: WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LESSON IN YOUR ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY?
RoshellRinkins: Find your tribe and build your community. Spend the time to research and understand the habits of your “ideal customer i.e. what’s her preferred way of getting information i.e. e-mail vs. text messages, what’s her go-to media outlet i.e. social media vs. specific apps, age i.e. Millennial vs. Baby Boomer, where does she lives i.e. suburban vs. city living, etc. This will help you more clearly understand how and where to market to her, which ensures the highest level of return on every dollar spent to acquire a new customer.
SmallBizLady: WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS ON HOW TO MANAGE BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR WHILE WORKING A FULL-TIME JOB?
RoshellRinkins: Prioritize and Focus. I read a study that showed 70% of employees are only effective 3 out of the 8 hours during a typical workday. I don’t check personal e-mails or surf the web during core work hours. I figured the more efficient I became at my 9-5, the more time I created to work on my passion-based business. Optimizing your productivity will yield incredible dividends for your business.
SmallBizLady: WHAT TOOLS OR SERVICES ARE YOU LEVERAGING TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE?
RoshellRinkins: Creating and maintaining strategic partners is one of my top priorities so I spend an enormous amount of time scheduling meetings. Calendly is my go-to meeting scheduler that allows the user to show availability during a specific period of time through a personalized booking page link. The receiver uses the link to pick an available time and the event is automatically added to your calendar! Calendly removes the phone and e-mail exchange hassle for finding the perfect meeting time. The best part is that it’s completely free.
SmallBizLady: WHAT IS ONE THING YOU BELIEVE AN ENTREPRENEUR BALANCING A 9 TO 5 AND A 5 TO 9 MUST MASTER TO DO WELL AT BOTH?
RoshellRinkins: Outsourcing. Make no mistake about it I’m a recovering control freak so it should be no surprise why outsourcing is what I struggle with the most. As an entrepreneur, it’s vital that you decide what items you can outsource which free you up to work on growing the business. My go to resource for outsourcing is fiverr.com. Fiverr is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, referred to as ‘gigs’ beginning at a cost of $5 (yes only $5) plus a $.50 per job processing fee.
SmallBizLady: IF MY GOAL IS TO ULTIMATELY TO LEAVE MY FULL TIME, SHOULD I JUST COAST UNTIL ITS TIME TO WORK ON MY BUSINESS FULL TIME?
RoshellRinkins: I view my full-time job as an angel investor in my early stage start up. It affords me the opportunity to invest in my passion. I have to do a good job in my full-time job because I depend on the resources and the capital to ensure that Liquid Courage continues to thrive. There can’t be one without the other.
SmallBizLady: YOU LIVE, WORK, AND PLAY IN SILICON VALLEY. WHAT HAVE YOU PICKED UP FROM FOUNDERS WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY RAISED MONEY FROM ANGEL INVESTORS AND/OR VENTURE CAPITALISTS?
RoshellRinkins: Prove out your proof of concept. Acquire customers, solicit feedback from your customers, and use the learnings to improve your product or service. An entrepreneur has to be customer centric and market responsive to succeed.
SmallBizLady: WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU RECEIVED FROM A FELLOW ENTREPRENEUR?
RoshellRinkins: Done is better than perfect. Perfection can be an enemy of progress. The key to moving ahead is follow through and solid execution. You could always use more money, more people, and more time. Make the most out of the resources that are currently at your disposal and continue to build. You will never know how the market will respond to your product or service if you never execute. Once you have the feedback, you can begin to make adjustments to ensure continued growth and success. Innovation is an interactive process.
SmallBizLady: WHAT DOES BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR AND HAVING YOUR OWN COMPANY MEAN TO YOU?
RoshellRinkins: I’m wired to solve problems, so I know I was born to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs wake up thinking how to provide solutions to both known and unknown problems. The ultimate satisfaction is that I have the power to build a business that can afford me the freedom to have ownership over my own time. I also find it inspiring and part of my purpose to serve women.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
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