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Soap Makers Tale

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Questions to ask before starting a business at home

If you are like me when starting your business, there are a lot of questions you may have. In this vodcast (Video Podcast) episode, I descirbe the 5 W’s you should answer for yourself when deciding to start a business at home. Download the Free Workbook to answer the questions for yourself.

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Welcome to another episode of a soap maker sale. I'm your host, Zakia Ringgold of LiveSoapschool.com and this podcast is for makers and would be makers. Listen in and get inspired with lessons learned building a hand made business. So this episode is going to be a little bit different. This was actually my first attempt at doing a vodcast, meaning we were live on video and I was recording the podcast so that we could use it as a part of the podcast.

So at the beginning, I do have a little bit of banter. You can fast forward through that. But listen in to learn some of the WS that you should consider when you think you are ready to start a business. Ideas are great, but execution is where the tricky part comes in.

All right, it says we are live. Hello, everyone. My name is Zakia Ringgold and we've been doing a lot of live streaming lately. Not too busy on LinkedIn, but hopefully some of you on LinkedIn are able to come in and catch this. But if you are brand new to me, I like to say welcome.

If you have been here before, welcome back. This is a series I'm doing for a podcast. I'm trying to streamline my work a bit in order to record once and reuse it everywhere that it needs to go. And the title of this particular stream is or I don't know. The title of this particular stream is questions that you should ask yourself before starting your own business at home.

And I've been reading a lot about this great resignation that's happening, right. The power is in employees hands. They can do what they want, when they want, where they want, and everybody has these ideas. I think that the pandemic in particular was a time where people got a chance to sit and reflect on what it was that they were really good at in those things that they wanted to change about either their career, their profession, or what it all means. And so, as I was sitting this morning and thinking about what this episode would be about, it was, what were those questions that I asked myself before deciding to go all in with a business at home on my own?

And it's been 18 months. I'm really excited about it, the growth of it, the trajectory. And when I think about it, in hindsight, there were the five WS that I had to consider. The who, the what, the where, the when, the why, the how of it is where we all really start at, but really it's about figuring out what it is that you are doing. Good morning, John.

So good to see I'm going to get rid of the logo there. Good morning. Very good to see you on the Facebook site. And so I'm going to talk about my journey, but then also give you some questions that you should be asking yourself if you are considering joining this great resignation and deciding to start your own business. And I'm also putting in that one piece about at home because there is a little bit of a distinction when you are doing it at home, but hopefully you found at least through the pandemic that the tools are out there for you to be successful at home.

Christina, very good to see you. I went to high school with Christina. Good to see you, my dear. All right, so let's talk about the why. And the why is, I think the most important part of what it is that you are doing.

The why is why. You not like a why me? How could I possibly be successful? But why are you the person that can provide this particular service, this particular product, or this particular experience for your expected clients? It's more great to see you and I miss seeing Ms.

Page. You are. Thank you. So. Thank you, Veronica.

I appreciate it. All right, I'm going to try and make this a podcast, so I'm going to see your comments off to the side and then I promise to come back to them because otherwise I'm going to have to lose out on the so called productivity of recording once and repurposing it everywhere. So the why is why are you the person that should be actually delivering this thing or has the skill set to do that or you're gaining in those skill sets? Why? Now is another thing.

Why is it important for you to actually do what it is that you want to do now? Like in this moment? Why is it that now is the time? Why haven't you done it before? Why is now the time?

And why can't it wait? And then the other question in terms of the why has to do with the people that you're serving. I know in business, it's all about sell, sell. But I always like to think of the selling part of it as the serving part. So why are you serving those particular people?

A lot of times when people are in business in particular, they tell you you got to niche down, niche down, figure out who your ideal client is, your target avatar. And often times, what I found in my business was I didn't know who my target avatar was, but they kind of found me based on the experiences from the interaction with the events and the soap making and the teaching, all of those things that I was juggling. My tribe kind of found me. And if I had to do it all over again, I would have spent a little more time trying to figure out why it was those particular people that I wanted to serve. Aka cell to.

So when you're starting to think about either resigning, I'm going to quit my job, I'm done, I've had it. Or, you know what? I'm really ready to start a business. You don't necessarily need to quit your job in order to do that. I worked full time for five years as I was building out natural Soap FISA in Life Soap School.

Ultimately, that was not the career or the profession or the business that enabled me to leave my full time job. And I'm going to come back to what enabled me to leave my full time job. And I am not a proponent for quit your job. Follow your passion and follow your ideas. Ideas comes a dime a dozen.

It is the execution of those ideas that's going to make you successful. So I could be in the shower in the middle of the day, like, oh, I had this great idea. But then when you really start to think about what it takes to put that idea into practice, to make it a viable product or service, there is so much more to it than, I had this idea. Hey, Tina. All right, so that's the why.

So why you? Why now and why then? And what I want you to do is get a piece of paper and write this your very first quadrant when you're deciding to start your own business, is that why you? And then you're going to fill that answer in. Why now?

Fill that answer in, and then why them? And them being the people that you want to serve, the next thing is the who. Who are you? And I want you to think of the Marion Williamson quote, who are you? Not to shine brightly, I just ruined her quote.

But that's really the essence of what that means is who are you as a business owner, truly, what are you great at? What do you hate doing? Because those things that you are great at are the things that you're going to double down and triple down on within your business. Those things that you don't like, you want to keep an eye on them because they do become weaknesses if you don't manage them and or delegate them. The other one is, who are you as a business?

What does your business stand for? Right? So if someone were to describe Natural Soap by Zakia, I want them to think of a family brand. If someone were to think of Live Soap School, I want them to think of inspiring, motivating, DIY. I can do it.

To look at her. If someone were to describe the Virtual Experience Design Agency, I want them to think of innovative, completely thought through virtual experiences and hybrid experiences for the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and ultimately my clients who are hosting the events, so I can clearly articulate what those things are. And then you're working backwards to figure out how do you make that come to fruition? And then the next W is the what exactly are you providing? Are you providing a service?

Are you providing an actual product? Are you providing a combination of the two? And what does that ultimately look like? Again, that whole idea. It's great up here.

You can see the millions of people lining up to get what it is. But can you articulate what it is? Because as you are interacting with people, either on social media or in meetings with clients, they're really after, okay, what is it that I'm going to get by buying into what it is that you are saying you have for me? And then the win in terms of the W is when do clients actually recognize that they need what it is that you have? And oftentimes, especially with the Virtual Experience Design Agency company, people didn't even know that they needed me because we were in the middle of a pandemic.

Some people said I didn't even know that this role existed. And so I've mentioned virtual Experience Design Agency a couple of times. But I consider myself an event architect. And as an event architect, I listen to what the client's needs are in terms of what's their desired experience if someone were to come to their event. How should speakers feel as a part of an online event?

How should attendees feel from the time that they hear about the event to right before the event starts, during the event, and then even after, and then matching those expectations to the appropriate tools that have the learning curve down here for the client, if you will, but then also for the attendees to have an optimal experience. And so many people didn't realize that that was something that was existed. How many of you hopped on Zoom for all of 2020? I would like to tell you that there's about 50 tools that you could possibly use in order to have a really successful virtual event. And there are different elements that you plan before an event, during an event, and after an event.

And then I just plugged into my instructional Design experience because virtual was new for a lot of people when the pandemic hit. But we had been building in the virtual space since 2002, right? It was the online courses, it was the instructor led courses. And then, because I had been live streaming for those five years, I knew about various technologies that would make it all work together seamlessly and then designing for the experience that you want. So I did a little bit of a sidebar on there, but I want you to really think about it in those terms.

When do clients actually realize that they need what it is that you have? And the only reason in ways that you are going to be able to answer that question is if you know what it is that you have products, service and how does it serve their particular need and when will you get your new clients, right? So it's great to press the Go Live button so that people can see that you have this skill, this talent, but you've gone live. What's the next step for them to be able to connect with you for virtual events, I was very fortunate in that when people would come, the experience was what sold them. So I didn't need to come on social media and say, hey, by the way, I do this particular thing.

It sold itself because of that experience. If you have a product and people use it and they love it, they're going to tell their friends and they're going to come back for more. So really try to consider how will you get new clients or people to know what it is that you have? Where is the next W? And I guess because I'm talking about a homebase business, you guys kind of figure out where the where is, but where are you going to serve your clients or create those products?

For me, it's at home and on the Internet. As long as I've got WiFi, it doesn't matter where I'm at. Most of the time I am home. But even when traveling, I am able to provide the services, whether that be in live Soap school or the virtual events natural Soap by Kia time to get left by the wayside in these last 18 months, but we are bringing her back. But yeah, that's one thing you want to consider.

Where is it that you are going to provide said service and or product? And I feel like I went over all of them. I have the who. I'm looking at my notes up here. The who, the what, the when, the where and the why.

Notice how I did not say anything about the how.

I think why I was so successful. Every business I launched was without a website.

There was some momentum. Every single time I would do it, there was something that was happening in the background. You can kind of feel it in your bones that you're doing the right thing. And the reason why I don't mention the how when you're talking about the questions to answer is because that is going to shift as you start to figure out the who, what, when, where, why and how. You may not need a website.

You may only need a landing page. You may be going out to a local library. You may be going to a community center with your things. Right? It's all physical.

People need to see you. Hopefully that is not your business model post pandemic. But the how is where most people will start and spend most of their time and get right back into that analysis. Paralysis. Well, I don't have the technical skills to be able to build a website.

Guess what? You can pay people to build a website.

The systems. So once somebody watches my live stream, I want to get them on my email list. But I don't know how to connect MailChimp or whatever email server I'm going to use. You don't have to know that. But if you have all those other things in place.

You can start piece by piece building up what those other elements are. So I hope that you have found this to be something to consider if you are someone who is a part of the great resignation or someone who is sitting at home or at work. Because we are on LinkedIn as well. If you're sitting at work and you've just really been considering, I have this skill, I have this talent. Skill and talent are going to take you, but so far it's always going to be the execution of it.

And you being grounded in your five w's of who, what, when, where and why. That's not just for journalists. That's for everything that we do in life. Always consider the why. The intention behind what you're doing is always going to be so much more powerful when you are moving forward in what it is that you're doing.

So I hope you all have found this really helpful and now I am going to give you an example of my who, what, when, where and why. So my why really started out with I couldn't hand my job to my daughters, right? There was no legacy in what it was that I was doing in corporate. I also had a real fondness for technology in terms of being really curious about Internet tools and how people were able to start businesses from a computer. And I would spend a lot of time on live streams, and in those live streams I would see, people would come up with an idea and execute.

The next day I was in corporate America. Coming up with an idea was stage one of maybe 50 stages that was going to happen to get that thing to execution. So the speed of it was enticing to me. I was always kind of like banging my head against the wall on why can't we do this? Why do we have to jump through so many hoops?

And so my wife was really centered around the love of technology and then learning it and applying it. My background is computer and information systems and so I was always trained even in school on how to identify technology and match it with a business problem. So you have a technology solution that can only go with a business problem. And so I wanted to harness that. And at the time, I really wanted to harness it in the corporate space, but I got more interested in building a business instead of applying it to a business.

So from there, that is where The Natural Soap by Zakia came up because I didn't want any conflicts of interest. And soap was the farthest thing from healthcare, so I thought before a pandemic, it was the farthest thing from healthcare, so there wouldn't be, oh, you're taking this information that you have here and you're broadcasting it live. Soap making became a medium for me to be able to explore this new technology. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely, positively love soap making. So much so that I wrote four books.

I have an online school for it, and I sell it to people across the world. But it was secondary to the love of technology with that instructional design. I knew that the why behind it was being a role model for my kids, creating something that they could see, feel, touch, long after I'm gone, after I'm gone. And then, depending on how successful it was, something I could pass on to them. Because once I'm gone, my job was going to replace me in a week anyway.

The who I was serving was people just like me. Moms who would go to work and then they would come home and they would need something to do other than the routine things. Wash laundry, clean the clothes, wash laundry is cleaning the clothes, cook the food, make sure everybody's homework is done. All of the mom things that were happening, I figured that those people would probably be interested in something else to express their innovation or their creativity. And then when the pandemic hit, that shifted.

In terms of my who, I realized that those same membership organizations I was a part of, those same companies that I worked for, had no idea how to quickly shift into a virtual world. And so my why now answer was there would be no other time in history where people had no choice but to go online before I had a podcast and a live stream that I did on. Do you want innovation or do you actually want to get what is it? The research on whether or not it's successful or not. And it was very evident to me that this would be the only time in history where corporations and companies would not need all of the research and development done prior to adopting something.

If we had a solution, they would still be able to connect. The work that I was providing shifted from the soap making in the online courses to here is your online experience for whatever your industry is, whether that be a law firm, whether that be a nonprofit or a membership organization. They were the kinds of organizations that I either attended events for or spoke as a speaker. And in the course of one week at the beginning of the pandemic, I was scheduled to speak and I was supposed to attend sessions. And all four of those conferences had been canceled in the same week.

That became that turning in your gut that I can feel it in my bones that this is my time. The win was whenever people needed it, there's this particular time that virtual events happen. And then the where was at home. And then the how became very simple. All of those tools that I had previously used or if I wasn't familiar with, I spent time researching them and applying it to my students in live soap school so I could know how it worked before I presented it as a solution.

So I share all of that to say there was no you are going to be successful when or if you use this particular tool. You are going to be able to do XYZ. I share that to say you never know. But what you do know is what your five W's are and you get a chance to work that and then figure out your how along the way. It's never going to be a perfect time.

It's never going to be the optimal day for you to do whatever it is that you're trying to do. But until you take the first step and do a little bit of momentum with what it is that you're trying, you'll never know how successful it can be or how you may trip and figure out a different way that you should be going. There's no failure. There is just a lesson. So I hope you all have enjoyed our second vodcast.

If you are not connected with me on any of the podcasting platforms, that can be Apple, that can be Amazon, Spotify, Anchor, Google Play, whatever one that you listen to your podcast on, please do check out by the Kia on those. And then, of course, this will turn into a blog. So we have the video, we have the audio, and now I'm going to create that document for you all to share. Head over to it's not there yet. I'm not even going to put it in here, but head over to wherever you want to and make sure you subscribe.

Veronica is saying thank you, and I see that we ended up with over 95 of you very early in the day, which is really cool. If you have any questions at all, send me a message and I would be happy to help you. It was great broadcasting now. I will be speaking later on. I'll share that on my Facebook page.

I'm a speaker on how are you able to pivot in a pandemic. So I'll be telling you a little bit more about that. Have a wonderful day, everybody, and see you later.

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Zakia Ringold

Serial entrepreneur, certified soap maker, live streamer, mama of 2 and teacher at heart. Zakia is the Founder of Live Soap School an online academy, ByZakia a handmade soap company,  Virtual Experience Design Agency an event planning and production company and MoveBackstage a Software as a service for event organizers. She started all of her businesses online from her home and shares her lessons in an effort to inspire others to follow their dreams.