Interested in starting a business? We sat down with Laurie Everett, owner of Annie Laurie’s, the Indie House, Mother Earth and The Downtown Guesthouse, to talk about being a business owner. Here is some of the wisdom she passed along:
1.Purchase mixed-use properties. Living on the second floor of my shop means I only have one mortgage and set of utilities. The Indie House is mixed use, with an apartment on the top floor, retail rentals on the first and second floor, and a detached Airbnb. The real estate is intended to generate a profit.
2. Live below your means. It’s very easy to want to try and keep up with the Joneses, but if I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. It’s an important financial habit to practice because it allows me to save, invest and start new projects. I also served in the Army for four years to pay off my student debt. … I do have a degree. I have an undergrad and I have a master’s degree [to fall back on].
3. Take a risk. All the people that I know that have been extremely successful in business have taken risk to some extent. So, the thing to remember: The worst thing that can happen is you fail. And you just start over. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s how we learn, that’s how we grow, that’s how we figure out what works and what doesn’t. … It’s okay to fail. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a person. It just means you had the courage to try it.
4. Sacrifice for your business. Starting out, I worked three jobs for seven years to make sure that I could continue to put money into the business so that it could thrive. So it’s a sacrifice, but when you have that extra income coming in, you can continue to put money into your business to help it grow. … It’s a great job, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else, but it’s a labor of love, too. You nurture it like you would a child.
5. Don’t expect to see a profit immediately. It may take years for you to get to that point where maybe you can hire someone or that you can do major improvements. So you just have to stick with it — it’s not that ‘If-you-build-it-they-will-come’ type concept. You really have to put that work in to get it to be successful.
6. Hire amazing employees. If there’s an area of your business that you don’t thrive at, find other people who have those skill sets and talents. So every employee that I have has a different skillset, and that helps us all work together as an amazing team, because one can do this, one can do that. … Everyone has a part, everyone has a role, and I think that helps the business to be very successful, as well, because everyone knows what their role is and it helps it to thrive.
7. Realize you are the one who cares the most. [My employees] — they’re friends, they’re family. But you have to remember that no one is going to love your business as much as you do. So, you have to be kind of at the forefront to make sure that it’s guided in the ways that you want it to be.