Grand Junction, CO (KKCO) According to the Grand Junction Business Incubator, there's been a 33% increase in women owned businesses in Colorado the last few years. The entrepreneurs KKCO spoke to say the timing will never be perfect, but if you never take the chance, you'll never reap the rewards.
"It wasn't fulfilling for me, because it wasn't everything that I loved, which is chocolate," says Christy Hovland, owner of Cherry Street Chocolates in Fruita. Hovland took a chance many never will. "It is a little scary to walk into something you don't know." Hovland left the corporate grind and started her own chocolate business. "If I never opened my chocolate company, I would always regret it; so for me there was no question that this is what I wanted to do when I grew up." Her company opened Valentines Day. Business is booming, but she says hard work is the key to her success. "However much I thought it was going to give, it's double that, and however much I think I can give, I need to reduce that by half; because the truth is, there's only one me, and that's a challenge in a business you own and run by yourself."
The women entrepreneurs tell KKCO one of the hardest but most liberating parts of starting a business is just getting started, and then once you put your ideas into motion, and get your own business, the rest is challenging, but exciting, and well worth it.
"We decided to go ahead and open our own business, and do it," says Kiele Wilson. Wilson was a stay at home mom. She had a passion for fitness, and decided to make her dream come true. "It was a huge leap of faith, and we probably could have done some things better starting off; but we just said let's do it and trusted things would fall into place," says Wilson, also President of the Mesa County Women's Network.
Both entrepreneurs say while owning a business is a learning process; if you're passionate about what you do, "people can see that, and recognize that, and will enjoy working with you," explains Wilson. That way, it will never feel like a job.
Both women also say finding a market niche is key. Both businesses are doing well and not trying to grow too fast. Experts say to also talk to as many successful entrepreneurs as you can before launching your business.
If you're interested in opening a business, but don't know where to start, contact the Business Incubator. If you're interested in starting a food-based business, the Business Incubator offers a commercial kitchen available to entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.gjincubator.org. For many information on Cherry Street Chocolates, visit cherrystreetchocolates.com. For more information on Empower Fitness, visit www.empowerfitnessgj.com, and for more information on the Mesa County Women's Network, visit www.mcwn.org.