Tell me about your business. What is Can I Get the Recipe?
We're a blog featuring recipes, shopping lists, reviews and products related to cooking. We're located in North Vancouver, BC (and worldwide online). We launched in July 2009.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was a teacher/stay at home mom. This is my second business.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I love to cook, I love cookbooks and I am a foodie at heart. I planned our family meals every week and that's when I thought, "I should do this online."
Who did you hire to help you? Bookkeeper, Accountants, Lawyers …?
I am lucky that my husband is a lawyer and he works with lawyers, so I have that part covered. As for the rest, not yet.
Did you operate your business from your home? What were the challenges and benefits to this strategy?
Challenges: Kids in and out through out the day so I have to sometimes deal with noise and requests. Benefits: Kids in and out throughout the day so I get to help them with their needs and requests. (smile)
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
Listen to your instincts. If something doesn't feel right it probably isn't. I think women, especially younger women, in business can be viewed as inexperienced and therefor sometimes taken advantage of. Advantages: A lot of women have a great sense of paying attention to detail and being perfectionistic which can be a benefit if you want to be taken seriously.
With the current economy in a slump, what cost saving tips would you have for a new entrepreneur?
Network. Trade. I have a lot of online businesses who trade ad space on their site for mine and visa versa. Search out sponsors. Be a sponsor by providing product in trade for advertising. For example, I baked 450 cookies with my card attached for swag bags to be given away at a Women Entrepreneur Conference last month. Use your imagination!
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Yes. I use Twitter and Facebook to advertise my company and my weekly giveaways.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Talk! I like to talk about food and recipes. If I overhear people talking in a coffee shop about "What do I make for dinner?" or "I don't know what to cook!" or "I am soooo busy these days!" etc, I hand them my card and say something like, "Here! You might like to take advantage of my site!" I also hooked up with publishers, publicists and food/cooking related product businesses to provide items for reviews and giveaways on my site. Giving away free things attracts people to my site and to sign up.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
Yes and no. I love the freedom, I love the control and the ability to be creative and do things the way I want but it is a learning experience. I also feel more tied to it all than I would a job that I could just walk away at when 5pm hits.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Not yet! Everything I have done so far, positive and negative, has been a blessed learning experience.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Persevere and know that it takes time before you start making money. And sometimes, you have to spend money to make money. Network, network, network and put yourself out there. You need to talk and talk a lot to everybody you can about your business.
Now I know where to go when I don't know what to cook. Thanks for sharing with us, Cari.