Meet Stacey Kelly, the owner of an E-commerce home and garden brand, Simully. They take orders to decorate your kitchen, bedrooms, and gardens. They deliver custom-made decorations and essentials to liven up people’s homes. They also have their own website, on which they write articles for DIY house repair, and decoration, as well as general lifestyle articles. When Stacey’s not writing the articles herself, she overviews their entire creation to make sure they live up to their standards for quality.
She is a mother of two, loves home decor, small DYI projects, and gardening. Most of her writing is based on her own experiences and troubles she’s had through various home projects.
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Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Stacey Kelly: Hey! My name is Stacey Kelly. I am a striving entrepreneur, a writer, and a mother. I have my own company, called Simully. We are a home and garden company that offers services such as decoration, repair, and creative insights on how to design your house. I quit my job a few years back to start this company. The start of my journey was met with hurdles and challenges which I had to overcome.
Now, I write about my personal experiences on my website to help young aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals. I also have a passion for DIY projects, home decor, and gardening.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Stacey Kelly: I believe there is no black and white answer to this question. From my experience, I think it is a mix of these two elements. However, I think nobody can just rely on God-given talent to be an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs usually have some sort of talent or unique skill which separates them from the rest. What truly sets them apart though, is their ability to constantly learn, and adapt to different situations. I had to constantly develop myself, learn from my experiences, and adapt to different situations my business threw at me.
I found myself trusting my natural instincts as well as using the knowledge that I had gathered through my different life experiences in order to successfully run my business. I believe one can be an entrepreneur at any point in their life if one truly strives towards it.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Stacey Kelly: I would describe myself as someone who is not afraid of taking risks, thinks outside the box, and has a hands-on approach to their work.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Stacey Kelly: We initially started as a home decor company. We would work on different projects for our customers in which we would take requests, as well as add our own creative touch to decorate and liven up people’s homes. As the business grew, we added garden decor to our list of services as well. Now, we offer a wide range of services such as repair, decor, design for people’s bedrooms, kitchens, and gardens.
We also have our website on which we write articles for DIY home decor, design inspiration, etc. I use my own experiences as well as external research to give people the most helpful advice possible.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Stacey Kelly: The first thing a person must assume and fully come to terms with is risk. With business comes risk and reward. If you are too afraid to deal with uncertainty or are in a financial situation in which you cannot bear the financial loss, you should probably try later. Another thing to consider is a novelty. With close to 11,000 businesses opening daily, people are offering all kinds of services. Focus on what you can do differently.
What can you offer to the market that does not exist currently? How can you separate your business from the rest? Lastly, set realistic goals. You should assume that there is a strong possibility your business will not be an instant success. You need to keep realistic goals to track your progress and keep yourself motivated.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Stacey Kelly: I used to think that I could rely on my pre-existing knowledge for my business and that is all I would need. When I first started, I had already been passionate about home decor and gardening. I had spent countless hours researching and reading up on the subject. However, when I actually started my business, I realized there was so much I did not know. Managing clients, employees, a website proved to be a more difficult task than I expected, and the first few months I spent just learning on the job.
Another mistake was underestimating the time and commitment required to run a business. A business is a full-time job, and sometimes even more. You need to be prepared to give your blood and sweat for the cause.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Stacey Kelly: I would tell myself to trust my own instincts. I would tell myself that the stress will just be part of the journey and enjoying it and making the most of it should be my main goal. Initially, I spent too much time doubting myself. I skipped out on too many opportunities, and I did not realize that taking risks is all part of the game, it’s part of learning what works and what doesn’t.
And sometimes, no one else will understand your vision except yourself. So trust your vision, your ability to see what everybody else might not be able to, and work towards making that your reality.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Stacey Kelly: The worst advice I received ironically came from a close family member of mine. They told me to wait until the time is right and not take any risks when starting my business. A business inherently deals with risk and uncertainty. You cannot keep waiting for situations to be ideal or perfect for you to start, Yes, planning is important and you need to strategize.
However, you cannot escape the unpredictability. The lesson I would like to give to everyone is that think things through, but don’t overthink. Do not let the fear of uncertainty hold you down. If you are passionate and willing to start your business, do it. Start small, but start nonetheless. Properly plan, have a vision, and then work towards it. There will be setbacks and you will learn from them. Everyone starts somewhere,
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Stacey Kelly: Despite the obvious daunting negative effects that COVID-19 has had on the world, it has made one thing clear and obvious for all. That is that in this day and age, boundaries are smaller than ever. With the rise of the internet and technology, it is now easier than ever to start and open up your own business.
E-commerce has allowed people to start their businesses without the burden of huge capital investment that was previously needed. Small businesses such as online clothing stores and home chefs have actually thrived during the pandemic. Apart from the obvious increase in online businesses, most fundamental things are the same for entrepreneurs.
You still need to deal with risks, uncertainty. You still need to separate yourself from the rest to be successful. You still need to develop a plan and execute it, and most importantly, businesses still require time and commitment.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Stacey Kelly: A common myth that I believe too many people believe in is that it is easy to make more money when you already have money. Although there is substance to this argument, I believe it still stops too many people from starting their own business if they lack capital investment. Making money is never a piece of cake. Huge businesses can get complacent and go bankrupt.
We have also heard of success stories such as Amazon’s when they started from a garage to being one of the biggest companies in the world. The advice I would give to these people is that do not let your circumstances dictate your life. If you have less investment, start small. There are countless examples of companies working their way up from humble beginnings and there are many more examples of huge investments failing.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Stacey Kelly: I believe successful entrepreneurs are people who are visionary and innovative, They see gaps and opportunities where others don’t. They also have a strong sense of self-belief. They trust their instincts and stick to their path. These people understand how to minimize risk and manage uncertainty.
The most successful business owners have a plan and vision when they start. They have a unique outlook on the world and understand how to do things differently. These people are dedicated and have a never-give-up attitude.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Stacey Kelly: We live in the age of the internet, One of the greatest challenges that future entrepreneurs will face is adapting to new technology. I suggest that they start to make themselves acquainted with technology and figure out new ways to implement it in their business operations. It is now easier than ever to learn from other people’s experiences. I recommend watching interviews and TedTalks of successful business leaders that pertain to your area of interest.
Learn about their unique style and how they overcame challenges in their business journey. Some books that you can read before starting your business can be ‘The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup,’ by Noam Wasserman, The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki, and The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Stacey Kelly: Honestly, I can not see myself being anything other than an entrepreneur now. However, if I had to choose one job then I would like to be a marketing manager of a company. I already have enough experience in marketing from my own business to have a good grasp of the field. I also find marketing to be an extremely interesting field due to the creativity and the human element required for it.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Stacey Kelly: Harriet Tubman is an individual who comes to mind when one thinks of celebrating and immortalizing the achievements of Americans in promoting individual agency and freedoms. As a black American woman, Tubman did not let her circumstances limit or define her ability or her agency as she led some 300 slaves to freedom in early 20th century America.
Born a slave herself, she fought tooth and nail to overturn the system which perpetuated not only the institution of slavery but the oppression of thousands of women across America. Adding her to Mount Rushmore serves as a reminder to those marginalized people who feel alienated by the social system that there is always a fight to be fought and it starts with the effort one makes themselves.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Stacey Kelly for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Stacey Kelly or her company, you can do it through her – Pinterest
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