One of the many joys of being an entrepreneur, is finding the person you’re meant to be and what you love to do. Even if it’s a far cry from who you thought you were and what you were doing. Most of the journey of entrepreneurship is about discovery. And if you can throw a little love into the mix, you very well might have a recipe for success. But be mindful what you add in your mix for success. Add as many cups of optimism as necessary, knead in some hard work and commitment and on occasion, a few pinches of reality are okay according to taste. Not a very long list. And like the ingredients for success, what goes into Meredith Killian’s Love Leigh Chocolates, doesn’t require genetically modified chemically altered ingredients (that no one can say), but enough natural ingredients: “chocolate, real cream, and spices, herbs or fruit” and a flair for presentation.
Love Leigh Chocolates was born partially out of honor to Meredith’s mother, who gave her the middle name Leigh, a name still loved. Meredith thought it would be most fitting to incorporate it in her first business. Meredith always wanted to start a business, like so many of us who need and crave that creative and directional freedom. It was in law school that Meredith found her passion. But it wasn’t in the court room or at a high power firm. It was in the kitchen. After graduating from law school, she started doing some consulting work, but somehow would always wind up back in the kitchen. After some consideration to what she really wanted to pursue, Meredith made the jump and decided to head over to culinary school and make the kitchen her forte. Fortunately, when she leaped, she didn’t leap by herself. “I have always had the support of my family and friends. A number of people have come through for me to help make things happen. A friend of mine, Antwane Cowen, did an amazing job designing my website, Genelle Brooks-Petty from BPC Interior Design, has been a mentor. My boyfriend’s coworker volunteered to help with the logo. When people believe in you and your product, things come together slowly but surely. “
Slowly, but surely, things did come together for Meredith and Love Leigh Chocolates. Like anything else worthwhile in life, it has taken time, energy and constant dedication to make the dream a reality. Dreams come true, not free. Meredith had to dip into her savings to start her business, “not something [she] would recommend for most people, it’s scary. If given the chance, I would have pursued alternative funding options open to small business.” But for a dream, we do what we have to do. There have been other offerings of opportunity to grow without a high price tag. “In California, there are a lot of free seminars given about how to start a new business; take advantage of these and talk to people while you are there. Start accumulating knowledge on things like business plans, and where your costs are going to come from. Especially since each business is different.” Even different businesses, share commonalities, common strengths, goals, struggles and uncertainties. There are some things Meredith wished she had known at the beginning that would have helped her business later. “I wish I had really understood how important marketing was. Some people are natural sales people and so for them it might be easy, but many of the small businesses I know would like to have someone assist them with their marketing plan.”
At the end of the day, your business is only as successful as what you put into it. You may not know much, let alone everything. Part of the process of starting a business is finding and connecting to the minds that do and can help you. You may not have every dime you need to get to where you want your business to be. But you’ll be surprised at what you can do and accomplish once you take that first step. “Don’t get discouraged. Come up with a plan [and] goals and then build a product that you are proud of. There are going to be highs and lows, but honestly that’s life. Every baby step you make gets you closer to that goal. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was not to forget ABC…..Always Be Closing.”
To find out how you can order your specialty Love Leigh Chocolates:
Visit Meredith’s website at: http://www.loveleighchocolates.com
Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org