Bay College Virtual Career Panel-Small Business
All right, hello, my name is Gina Wollner. I am the dean at Bay College West Campus. And today we're doing a virtual crew panel, we're continuing it. The topic is entrepreneurship and owning your own business. The purpose of these panels is to educate our students and the community on different fields of interest and the folks on our panel today, we have Eden Caudel the owner of Moose Jackson Cafe, give it away.
Kate Pearson, owner and stylist of the Good Earth Salon. And Steve Roell, pharmacist and owner of TDS pharmacies. All three of these businesses are located in Iron Mountain, Michigan.
So go Dickinson County. So like other ones we're going to get things kicked off with just hearing a little bit about each of our panelists before we jump into our questions. So Kate why don't you get us started. OK, my name is Kate Pearson, I own the Good Earth Salon and I am in Michigan as Gina stated. I am a 2003 graduate of Kingston High School. I graduated from the Douglas J Aveda Institute in East Lansing in 2005.
I worked at a salon in Marquette, Michigan for eight years after that, then another Aveda salon in Iron Mountain area for three years after that before opening the Good Earth. And one thing about me that maybe people would find interesting-- I don't know I find it pretty interesting, is that I'm really into diving into personality types because I feel like it helps me run my business and manage relationships within my personal life as well. So I'm a huge advocate for the Myers-Briggs 16 personality type test for my employees as well as finding out what Enneagram people are and also finding out what peoples' love languages are. And I like to educate myself on that stuff for my life. So I find it very interesting.
There you go. That's awesome. We can talk about that sometime. Thank you. Steve how about you. My name is Steve Roell, I grew up in Channing, so I'm a local throughout my life.
I graduated from North Dickinson. I went to Michigan Tech for two years and did my pre-pharmacy which is kind of unusual. Most people don't go up there for pre-pharmacy. And then I transferred to Paris where I completed my degree in pharmacy at the pharmacy school. I worked for a couple of years in Lansing. I did a residency in hospital pharmacy down there then I came back worked at Dickinson hospital for a about a year and a half.
Then I came over and started working for TDS, for the drugstore, in 1989, I think it was. And it was in about 2000 where I bought into the business and this industry. Any interesting fact you to share about yourself? I'm a grampa. Yeah. There you go. That's a wonderful fact.
Yes, it is. All right, Eden, wrap us up on the intros. OK.
My name is Eden Caudell, and I was born, actually, on the West Coast, San Francisco. I graduated from high school, downstate Michigan. I've lived on every coast, and I met my husband, which brought me to this area. Although my father and his side of the family, they've all retired up this way, so my brother actually graduated from Marquette and went to Northern and everything. And I love living in the UP. I consider myself a complete transplant.
I'm from here now. I went to Michigan State, but I finished school down in Florida at a small private school. And when I moved here from Seattle, which was coffee Mecca at the time, I was in marketing and I was working for a running shoe company, and I didn't know what I was going to do, having moved here.
And when I thought of going into marketing, publications and stuff, that seemed a little more daunting. So we didn't really have a coffee shop, and thus, came the Moose Jackson idea. And it's really been a gift to me.
We'll be 23 years in April. And I know a panel, it's a question of learning things, but owning your own business and being an entrepreneur as Kate and Steve, it's just-- I do think it takes a certain type of individual, because I think some business owners think they work so hard, and then some, like myself, I think I work hard, but I think I hardly work at all, because I really love what we do, and you're growing and you're changing. And something to add on to Kate for her management style, which I find interesting. Like I'd like to hear more about that. But I also, too, I had a mentor. He was our CFO at Brooks Sports, my company I work for.
And they weren't micromanagers. They were a European company. And I really believe in empowering my staff. So I'm not one to huddle over one, hope you train them enough, and let them add their own creativity and input so then they feel more a part of it.
And I'm a chatter, so I think that's probably all I need to say about me. OK. Nope, that was perfect. All right.
We're going to jump into the questions. And like I said, we'll have one person own it first. But I think I want to hear from other folks. Then we'll just manage our time the best we can and speed things up if we have to.
So Kate, why did you start your business? You're lucky I'm a fast talker. I can get through a lot. So you told me that you wanted honesty when it came to this today, so to be honest with you, it has a lot to do with my own pride. There was a few comments.
My family's always been super supportive of what I wanted to do, but there was a few comments throughout my life from people asking, can you make a living doing hair? Is there any room for growth once you're to a certain level of stylist? And when I did get to a certain level of stylist, I did want to grow. So I found that that was the only way that I could see the growth happening. And also where I wanted to be, leveling up and financially and in different areas. So the growth and the pride really were a big part of it, but all in all, at 13 years old, I told my mom I wanted to make my own decisions. And so at the time, that couldn't happen, but a little bit later on in life when I finally was able to make my own decisions, I just jumped on it. I don't really think too hard or long about many decisions in my life, and I decided I wanted to open a salon.
And I went to somebody and asked how I got started. And they gave me a few pointers, and I found a building, and I bought it, and I moved into the upstairs, and I just got going. I guess the last part of the reason why it opened is because I had worked in two different places before owning my own salon, and I wanted to supply a place where maybe three to five other stylists could have a really great atmosphere, make a really good living commission-wise, and really love where they work, and love doing what they do where they work because I felt like that was needed. And so far, I don't have any turnover with my girls. I've been open for eight years. I pretty much have everybody that's been hired with me.
So I guess I must be doing something right in that way. But I really wanted to supply a place that people could come and do hair and love what they do and love where they work. That's awesome. Steve and Eden, do you want to add to-- for you guys, what was the reason that you started your business? Oh.
I think it was just finding something. I need to be busy. I need a purpose to my day.
And I just didn't know what other career path I was going to go. And I like a project. I'm best when there's a lot to do or something to do. So I think I just open my-- and then I think there was a need for a hub in Iron Mountain. 23 years ago, there really wasn't a coffee shop or anything like it.
And it just didn't seem that daunting. It was just, this can't be that hard. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I can figure this out. Same.
My story is a little bit different because I worked for the business, and then I ended up buying the business. But some of that reason was, I was young and I was energetic, and I was putting all this, myself, into this business that wasn't mine. And I thought, if I'm going to continue doing this, and I'm going to continue working this hard, I need more say and I need more-- I know. Maybe I'm controlling.
But I want to direct this ship a little bit more than I am right now. And so then when the opportunity came, I jumped on it. I want to add one thing. One thing I noticed, just the three of us, is that Kate, because she wanted to grow, me, I need to be busy and be creative, you, you wanted more control.
And I think that is what an entrepreneur-- at times, when I've counseled younger people in college when they ask to interview, it's always that. You know what I mean? You need to believe in yourself, your idea. And I do think there's an air of confidence that we all carry as entrepreneurs because I can just do it better than someone else, maybe. And I know that sounds kind of arrogant, but it is true. Your name's on it too. Yeah, you know it's yours.
And I think it's a necessary trait. Yeah. To take pride in yourself. In the 16 personality type quiz, horribly enough, we probably all fall under the same personality type, which is nicknamed The Commander because it's all about setting goals, reaching goals, having confidence. Like we exude confidence. So it's really interesting to find out like what personality type you are and read about yourself because entrepreneurs, most of them, or a large majority of them fall underneath that one 16 personality type.
That makes sense. Interesting. Yeah. I think that's really important for team dynamics, for sure.
So Eden, you answered what education you had. But a lot of the folks listening to this, they're going to be college students or high school students. And I think a big question a lot of students might have, interested in starting their own business, is what do I go to school for? Should I even go to school? How do you use the education that you did receive in your business? And do you feel like that has helped you succeed? Well, I'm an advocate of education, and of college education, but especially in today's world that's ever-changing, there's such a new dynamic to the trade industry.
And all I think, I just want to say quickly, for colleges is I feel like all college does is show the business world that you are capable of setting a goal and reaching it, that you're teachable, that you have desire. But did an education help me? I mean, I was a liberal arts major, so I spent a lot of time studying English literature and women's studies. But I also took a lot of business classes too. And I think, you don't necessarily need a college education, but you certainly-- that just broadens your perspective, it makes you a better communicator, it shows tenacity for research papers and things like that. But I never want to discourage someone that maybe might not finish college or go to college. Because I'm always a proponent to go.
It's just, you have that your whole life, and it just makes you well-rounded. But you don't necessarily need it, but it's never hurts to be educated. It just broadens your mind.
It just makes you that much better, that much more capable of making decisions. So did my education help me? I'll always say yes. Yes. Kate, Steve, do either of you want to add to that or pull from that at all? I'm not-- sorry. Go ahead, Kate.
Go ahead. I'm not a good one to ask this to because I do not have a degree. I don't have any education. I don't have a college education.
I have the cosmetology degree through the institute that I went to. My father was really huge on me going to four years of business classes to get a better background for business, and I do wish that I would have accomplished that. Because of the challenges that I was faced with the first two years with the salon, I think I would have had a much better-- I would have had a much better-- I would have had better knowledge of the things that were coming before they actually happened to me had I gone to business school. You know what, no, Kate, I don't even know if that's true, because I don't know that college really prepared for me all the licenses I have to get, or-- your $10,000 piece of equipment breaks down. You know what I mean.
And you're a perfect example of someone with your hard work ethic. So if we're talking to college students or kids attending classes, it's a perfect example to look at Kate. But just like you, I would never want to discourage anybody from college. I guess the only reason that I did not go was because I knew that eventually I would have to pay all of that back, and the-- You got trained though, Kate. Like you went to school for your craft. Exactly.
And so I figured it out, and I feel very fortunate to have done so. I just think that college is definitely the right route to go and the business courses obviously give you something to stand on. Steve, how about you? Well, college prepared me to be a pharmacist, but it didn't prepare me to be a business owner.
I mean, not in the least. And in a way, I figured it out as I went. Probably made some mistakes I wouldn't have. But I didn't take many business classes. I couldn't. Our schedule was pretty rigid.
And so you come out with a pharmacy degree, and then you [INAUDIBLE]. And that's changed a little bit, but that's always been something that's been discussed in pharmacy schools, and stuff like, are we really preparing any of these people to really run their own businesses? Yeah. That makes sense. Steve, you have the next question.
What is the best thing about running your own business, and what is the worst thing about it? Well, I addressed this at beginning a little bit. The best thing is you control your own destiny. I mean, that truly is the best thing. The harder that you work, probably, the more you put in, the more you're going to get out.
Another thing I like is the flexibility. You work hard and you work long hours, but you can control those hours a little bit. I own my business, and when my kids were still young, I didn't miss much because-- but I might have to work late, or I might have to come back after supper and do paperwork or something like that. But I had some flexibility that, probably, I wouldn't have had if I worked for somebody else. And on the other-- and maybe that's-- some people, that might be the worst part of it.
I mean, you're responsible. The buck stops here. So you've got to get the work done sooner or later, and you're responsible for it. The other thing that's a little bit hard is if you have employees-- I have quite a few employees-- sometimes it's hard. A lot of things rests on you. Like the business has to do well.
My business has to do well, because it's supporting other people and supporting their families and their insurance and all that kind of stuff. So there's a little bit of added stress that comes with that, whereas you just work for somebody, you're not worried about that. But it's worth it. It's worth it because, like I said, you control your own destiny. Kate, Eden, do you guys want to hop on that one for you guys? Echo what Steve said, or maybe it's a little different for you? I forgot the question. Best and worst? Yeah, what's the best thing and worst thing about running your own business? I think best is just-- it's just pride.
I love my cafe. I love what I do. I love my employees. It's just, the novelty wears off.
Like every now and then, I forget that I created it 23 years ago because it just becomes-- not effortless, but it just runs itself after a while. And although I have a great staff, and like Kate, we get the college turnover because they're baristas and things like that, or kids go away to school, but I've had staff [AUDIO OUT] and seven, whatever it is. But employees, because I have 14, I think that, at times, can be the hardest, keeping everybody on the same page, consistent, motivated. I like everybody to be self-sufficient. Go ahead, Kate. Yeah.
Along with those two answers, the best thing for me is it's super fulfilling. The worst thing for me, I think, is that plans are only plans. My dad used to say plans are only plans until you have kids, and I added on to that, or you own a business. Because there have been multiple times where we've decided to go to Marquette for a night and got a hotel room for our family, but then all of a sudden, the hot water heater breaks, or there's water all over the basement, and you don't end up going because that takes first priority.
Also when things happen with your employees, personal things. One of my stylist's grandmother out in Washington was sick, and she had to leave for six weeks. So it then takes on-- you take on the role of having to go through that person's schedule, and reschedule six weeks of clients, and explain what's going on with them because you care about them and because you're the umbrella over this team of people. You help them out when they need to be helped. And so everything does fall on you. And I think that that's one of the hardest parts, is that you never fully leave.
You're always there. 100%. Don't you think, Kate, with that, when you're addressing your employees and their problems and stuff, don't you feel that it becomes like a family, and you certainly share in their disappointments and their sorrows, but you also get to share in their joys. Oh, yeah.
Like when one of your employees has a baby, or they get married or something. It's like just having a really big family. Yeah. And in the beginning, when things happened, I would get so stressed out about it, and how am I going to do this, or is this going to work out? And now my heart doesn't even skip a beat. It's just like, well, it'll work out somehow.
I'll sit down for an hour at the salon, and I'll work on this right now. And then when I have time later, I'll work on this. And it always works out. Even the water in the basement, it always gets fixed. So it's not a worry to me anymore.
Well, I think you have to be able, as a business owner, let things-- water off a duck's back or whatever that saying is. Because when it's crazy and there's catering and line to the door, and everybody's like-- I always tell the staff, if I'm the owner and we're just selling sandwiches, in an hour, this will all be over. This rush, this problem. You do the best you can.
Try your hardest. Smile on your face, and you move forward. I think that's team building. That's your staff coming together.
And those are the moments that, as crazy as they are, I love those moments. Yeah, it's so fun. I love when it's crazy and then it all comes together. That's awesome. All right, Kate.
Since you're into the personality types, this is a perfect one for you. What skill sets must a small business owner possess, in your opinion? This was the hardest one, when I was writing down my answers, for me to try to come up with because I was like, what skill sets do I possess? I would like to say I'm super organized, but that's not true. One good skill is that I know how to delegate. So in the beginning, it was just myself and Courtney. And then I brought in a full-time receptionist, and so then I took-- I worked 60 hours behind the chair in the beginning.
And then I would train this receptionist in between in order to start taking on some things for me. And then the more that I trained that person, then the more I could just concentrate on being behind the chair. And then all of a sudden, my hours behind the chair started to dwindle because then I hired a third stylist, and then I hired a fourth stylist.
But all the while, giving this full-time receptionist more and more duties which would take things off of my plate. So that was definitely-- I guess it's not a skill, but it's something-- I think that's a skill. To be able to delegate correctly is very important.
And I am beyond direct. So I think that's a really good skill to have, I hope. I don't know. It could be good, it could be bad. The girls know exactly what I expect, and I don't feel like I ever put it harshly. I do regular salon meetings.
I say you guys, what's up with this? I never sugarcoat anything, but a lot of them have come to me and told me how much they appreciate that because they always know what's expected of them, and they can go from there. I don't hold back on anything, so if one little thing is going wrong, I'm like, hey, we need to change it this way. And then we just keep on rolling. So those are a few things that are important for my business. Eden or Steve, you want to weigh in? What do you think are some important skill sets a small business owner must possess? Well, just to add on to Kate, I'm one of those sometimes, and I work on it constantly-- well, not so much anymore because now I have it down. But if I can do it quicker, myself, and better, I just want to have it done.
But that really doesn't get you anywhere as a business owner. So like I said, I model off everybody as self-sufficient. The cafe can run itself without me because you girls all know I trust you.
You see my vision. But I think you have to have a strong vision of what you expect. Like everybody, I always tell people, we're never allowed to say no at the cafe. And it got to the point where I said, before you think of uttering the word no, you should picture me in the back of your head.
I am the only one that says no. Because otherwise it's too busy. We can't deliver, we can't do this, it's too many times.
But you lead by example. And I try my best to always-- I'm not asking you to do anything that I haven't done, or don't do. And you really need to have a strong vision and a strong sense of confidence to lead that, and be able to expect that from your employees. Steve, anything to add? I don't know if it's a skill set, but you've got to be willing to work. You got to be willing to work hard. And like Kate said, you got to be willing to mop up the water in the basement if you need to.
You're not going to be able to afford to call somebody every time this happens or this happens or whatever. You're going to have to learn to do some stuff and just to bite the bullet and do it. And so, if you're afraid of work, this ain't going to work out. For sure. I was going to add that one if you didn't.
As I say, I think you guys are all really hard workers too. All right. Eden, what were some challenges you encountered when you first started your own business, and how did you overcome those challenges? I think when you're opening your own business, it's all new.
Steve was young, working, and then Kate too. There's no 101 book of licenses or reaching out. So it's really just, that's where it just takes, I think-- I just know I can do anything if I set my mind to it, because everybody has to be taught something. So challenges were just the unknowns. It was a constant unknown, one after the other, and you just have to be able to persevere through those or figure it out.
In everything, be patient with that or be tenacious with that. And also, too, we were opening a coffee shop selling, back then, $3 or $4 coffees, and people are used to spending $1. And I think challenges is really staying true to your vision because everybody wants to tell you what you need to carry, what you need to do, how it should be, or our town being so small.
And I'm always open to new ideas, but I really try and stay true to what I want to do. Because they wanted me open on Sundays, or into the evening, or just everything. And I think a challenge is always not getting off track of what you set out to do. That's good. Steve, Kate, how about you guys? The first year you started, what were some of the biggest challenges, or the biggest challenge you encountered? I've got a whole load of them. OK.
Taxes. Somebody didn't tell me that you pay out this much in payroll, and then the next month, there's all these payroll taxes due on the 15th. And then on the 20th is your retail sales tax. And then you have all this withholding. And then you have all of this unemployment.
And then you have-- the amount that comes out in taxes, and as you start doing better and better and better, and that amount gets higher and higher and higher, and you start to, as those numbers are coming out, you're just like, what is this even for? Again, didn't go to business classes. Maybe that would have helped me. Another thing is, having a good CPA because the challenges in the beginning, for me, had a lot to do with that. But also when to spend money, and when to save money.
Because as the money's coming in, you want to put it back into your business. You need write offs and all of that. That whole balancing act, for me, was really, really tough to get used to. And it took me quite a few years to realize, I need to put this profit back into my business. I need to have this as a good write off. And then another thing was, just the management of people, for me, in the beginning.
I wanted to be everyone's friend. You can't be everyone's friend. And right now, I am everyone's friends in the salon because we've all been together for almost eight years. So we've really learned how to have that boss friendship relationship. But in the beginning, I was trying too hard to be a friend, and I was not being a boss. And so I had to learn that the hard way, twice.
And that was really challenging for me as well. It's a huge challenge, I think. We talked about that a lot in our leadership classes.
Enormous. Is just, you used to be buddies with someone, and you're going. And then also, when you have to have a hard conversation, that's a hard thing to do, for sure. And if you take, in my situation where I took over a business, probably the hardest challenge in the beginning was breaking through that thing of, with employees, that, well, this is the way we always did it. Or this is the way we want-- this is how it's always been done.
Well, yeah. We're not going to do that anymore. We're going to try it this way. And because you have your own ideas. And you also don't want mutiny on the bounty. You don't want everybody quitting either.
So it's a balance. It is a balance. Let's think about that idea, but maybe we could do it this way. You can't be too strong either and just say, well, it's my way or the highway, because maybe it'll be the highway, and then you'll be stuck. For sure.
Those are all really good, good, good, good points. All right, Steve. Please share with us the network of people and organizations that helped you start or purchase your business.
Well, I leaned a lot on, at the time, Fleury and Singler, because they were our accountants. And they did a lot of cash flow stuff for me. And probably not as much as maybe I should have defined but you know, you need a good accountant because there's just so much stuff you don't know, and you don't realize with taxes and all that other stuff. You don't get to keep all the money you make, unfortunately. And then also the pharmacy, now, has come a long way. There's different organizations that really can help somebody purchase a business, or at least look at it.
But I would suggest if somebody was really, really looking at a business, is to go talk to somebody that's running a similar business and go out of town. You don't want to go talk to your competitor down the street. They might not be giving you the right advice. How are you doing things? Go somewhere. Go somewhere where somebody is doing it well. And they'll usually help you.
I mean, they usually-- they like to talk about in their business. If it's in the UP or northern Wisconsin, they'll totally help you. Right. They'll say, oh, come on in. Sit down. Have a beer, and I'll tell you about it.
But go find somebody that's doing what you're doing, and doing it well. And chances are, you can learn from them. I think that's some of the best advice.
I originally opened up my business with Maddie McCormick, my partner. Still best of friends. Just, I think, owning your own business, like I said, it either-- you think it's a lot of work, or-- when you're type A personality, it's hard to let things go. I'm more of the type C personality.
But anyway, talking to other businesses, Maddie and I traveled all around northern Wisconsin and the UP and visited shops. We went to seminars from Colorado to LA, all over for that year. Took about a year and a half, I think, before the building was built and everything.
But it's invaluable information to talk to another business that's doing the same thing that doesn't mind sharing. And so that's why, too, I always try to help anybody that's interested in opening their own business, to encourage them and tell them the things that were hard for you. But it's invaluable, Steve, I agree, to talk to someone in the same field from anything. Setting up your salon, setting up your coffee shop, your pharmacy, whatever.
Anything to add, Kate? Are you waiting for me? Yeah. Everyone over at the First National Bank was incredible for me. I had so much help over there. And then Lisa Fittante who's my CPA, she was the one that helped me with all the Michigan dot gov stuff, all of the setup of the licenses. I did not go and talk to any other businesses or any other salons. I guess that was the prideful part of me, is I just thought that I could do it without help.
But that got me into a little bit of trouble too. But the most help, and I'm not just saying this for good points, but the most help did come from my family and my husband. I met Mike the week I bought the building. And I couldn't have done it without him. And he says to me all the time, what would you have done if you didn't meet me? Because you had millions and millions of plumbing and just carpentry work, and what would you have done? And I was like, I don't know. I would have figured it out, but thank God I met you.
And then my father, he retired at 54, the year I bought the building. I was 26. And he retired, and he did most of the painting and ripped up flooring. So my mom was there, putting 16 boxes of Aveda on the shelf. So everyone really came together. And if I had to say that, that that was definitely my support group.
Cool. All right, Kate, I'm going to have you kick us off, but as a business owner-- we'll keep it, in this part, short and sweet, but try and run through-- what does a typical day look like for each of you? Starting with you, Kate. I usually wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning.
I have two kids that both get up at that time. I check my emails. I do my online banking.
I get back to some people if I can, and then after I get the kids all set up and off to daycare and I go to work, I'm usually at work about an hour early. And sometimes just for morale, sometimes just to talk to the girls about their weekend or certain things going on in their life. Other times, to write out bills and talk with Amanda, the receptionist about things that need to be done that week. Then I'm behind the chair anywhere from six to eight hours, four days a week. And then during that time, it's also talking to people about advertising, making orders, helping Amanda with inventory.
There's a lot of things that go on. Some days, I'm just behind the chair, and then I go home, and I eat dinner, and the day is done. Other days, it seems like there's about 15 other business things that need to happen, because I either put something off too long or it just comes all at once. That's my day.
Perfect. Steve, go. I usually try to get here at 7:00. And I agree with that.
It's nice to have a little bit of time in the morning to figure things out before the day gets too-- off and going too much. But I like to say, there's no typical day. No day is typical. Every one is different. But that's really another thing that's nice about having your own business is, it's not monotonous ever.
So I usually work a couple hours at my desk in the morning, or I do the advertising, some of that. Talk to my accountant. All that kind of stuff.
And then I'll go work in the pharmacy for a while. There's some days that I'll go like, yesterday I was in Crystal Falls for the whole day. Tomorrow, I'm going to be at Norway at the pharmacy for the whole day. I enjoy that once in a while because then, I'm just a pharmacist, and I don't have to-- I can shut everything else out. But yeah, so I bob between management stuff and pharmacy stuff.
Cool. All right, Eden? So I have been at the cafe in the beginning from the moment we open until we close. I'm fortunate, now, that I'm not actually on the schedule. But I'm here every day. And my mornings, I talk to the cafe every morning. But I do my emails, ordering, catch up on whatever at home, and then I usually come in mid-morning.
And like I said, I'm not scheduled anywhere. So if the kitchen needs help or if up front needs help, or if I'm just doing inventory myself, or there's always emails and bills and payrolls and stuff. But I mean, I love it, and the way that I feel so blessed is that I can spend an hour talking to a customer. Because I'm always needed and everyone says, well, the cafe runs better when you're here, and it probably does, but they can run it by themselves. And I think that takes time.
I'm going on 23 years, so that's a big thing. But what is my typical day like? It's just, the cafe, like Steve. I don't know why one day is busier than the next, or why everybody comes in this Tuesday and not next Tuesday. And 23 years later, rain, does that bring them in? Does sunshine? It just doesn't matter. And that's the thrill of it.
I thrive on chaos, and to create the order. Did you feel like when you were first starting the cafe, though, that-- I mean, when you were first starting it, that first year or two, you were there all day, all the time? Well, first many years. And then Maddie and I split it. And then when I bought her out, I was here from start to finish. As an owner, you should be there. You just should.
It runs better. In our small towns, people like to see the owner. I'm always a little bit like Dave Kashian because I love First National too. He's like, must be a busy day if Eden's behind the counter. Which I'm always a little insulted, to be honest, because like, I am here. I'm just not always right here.
Right. And I'm in that position too. I'm probably similar age to Eden. That's what it sounded like. And I'm not on the schedule as much. as behind the counter, and people come in and say, oh, Steve's working today? Well, Steve works every day.
But it's a nice position to be in, too. And I can do the same thing. If I want to spend some time or so something with the customer, I'm not-- You can get that time with your customer too. [INTERPOSING VOICES] --scheduled, the better. That's awesome.
That's really cool. You guys, that sounds lovely. You'll get there, Kate.
You'll get there. 10 more years, Kate. 10 more years.
OK. Eden, how important was your business plan when you first started? Did you make one? Did you follow it? I think-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] --gets tossed around a lot. I did, and it seemed like a daunting task. In fact, they're still around, Northern Initiatives. I had met with them.
But I think, I want to suggest to anybody opening a business, they should do a business plan. One, your bank's going to want to see it. But two, it wasn't really that hard to write, to be honest. It seemed so daunting, like I'm never going to be able to do this.
But a lot of people, figuring out your target markets, figuring out the demographics, figuring out how many cups of coffee I need to sell, my hours. It's good for you to see on paper, is this viable? Because if you're trying to like, oh, I'll just figure that out or I'll make it work. Not when you're talking with a large sum of money to open a business.
So I strongly suggest-- and if you're having trouble, there's so many resources for people to reach out to help you with the business plan. And especially, this was 20 years ago. So now, it would be even easier.
But I think a business plan is crucial just for you to set your own-- like in that first year, because if you've never owned a business before, you really have no idea, like taxes. I knew enough, Kate, because I am not a math person. I have a sense for business, but I hired an-- I have two accountants. One that helps me monthly, and one that's my big-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] This is a strong theme in this-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] You don't want to get in trouble with the government, one, and two, it's painful to watch those checks go out.
So I'd rather them just figure that out and do it. For sure. So a business plan, yes. I think it just helps guide you on what you need to do. Makes you write everything out, what equipment you're going to need to buy, because all that equipment you think you have to buy, you have to buy that much more.
Set up your counter, your building, your rent, all that. Things you wouldn't think about just trying to open. Sure. Steve and Kate, business plan? I mean, I took over a business. I didn't really have much of-- but I'm just thinking about Eden and the kids that are watching this, when she opened their business, there was no-- she didn't have the internet.
She couldn't go search the internet for whatever-- I know. I'm so old. I am so old. And we're not that old, but-- Way to throw her under the bus, Steve. You weren't just on your computer looking on the internet for this stuff, right? No.
In fact, this is how old I am. My husband bought me-- when I had just thought about opening, it was like, Opening Your Business For Dummies. There were a set of these books for every-- The yellow books? Kind of business.
I mean, I probably still have it somewhere in my shelf, because it was nostalgic. But yeah, I had to resort to books and research. Kate, how about you? I remember writing a business plan for First National Bank. I don't think I ever looked at it ever again.
It was not anything that I needed to get going. I wrote it because they asked me for it. I do, however, remember, because I'm so visual, in the beginning, writing down how much my equipment loan was for all of my initial equipment, how much the initial Aveda order was to stock and fill up the salon, and how long it would take me, based off of how many cut and colors per week I could do, to pay those off. So I lived upstairs, and I did 60 hours a week behind the chair. And I knew what I charged for cut and color, and the average that I would do in a week, and how much could go towards those two big loans. And that, to me, was my business plan.
That hung up on my refrigerator, because I just worked my butt off so that I didn't have to have those hanging over my head. But as far as the business plan for the bank, I don't know. Whatever. Good answer-- Yeah.
That was the answer. It was good. It was there, at one point.
I'm going to have Steve start this one off, but I have it worded as, if you could speak to your younger self just starting out, what advice would you give to yourself? But I wonder, too, is if you were mentoring someone, a high school student or a college student on starting their own business, what advice would you have for them as well? So with that, Steve? Probably be patient to a certain extent. And I probably didn't research things as much as I should have. But it wasn't as easy, like I said back then, and probably made some mistakes along the way that I wouldn't have needed to make. So know what you don't know, and don't be afraid to ask, is probably some good advice. And yeah, you're going to make mistakes, but ask. Don't be too cocky and think you're opening your own business and you're going to do it your way.
And you've got to have a lot of self-confidence, but you also got to know what you don't know. Yes. Eden? I think just stay true to yourself and your vision. And I don't necessarily have a mission statement, which maybe I probably should, and if I did, I can't remember what it was. But you should stay true to yourself, and focus, and just believe in yourself and your idea.
And if you don't believe in yourself enough, that you can do this better than anyone else, or bring something new-- make sure you're bringing something. Does the community need it? Will the community support it? Am I going to do a great job at it? And just be confident and stay true to yourself 100%. And that's what being an entrepreneur is.
You think you have a better idea than the way someone else is doing it. That's what entrepreneurs are. They are adding, to make it easier for someone, to offer a new product, offer a new service. You need to be confident in your idea.
If you're going to sell something, you have to believe strongly enough that what you're doing is the best option, if you expect other people to buy. And like Steve said, too, though, things will happen. And sometimes mistakes can be the best thing. Just like the universe. If things keep going wrong, the universe is just going to keep teaching you that same lesson.
Maybe you'll meet your husband the week you buy your building. The universe-- So serendipitous. So pay attention. Yeah. Kate? Do you want to wrap us up? Yeah.
If I was mentoring anybody younger, which I feel like I just started this, which I did eight years ago, but I agree with Eden 100%. I think that passion for something leads to success. And I definitely feel like if you have enough passion in and industry, and enough want, and enough drive, that you will make it happen. When I went to my parents with this big college level speech prepared, I had everything written out on a huge, huge bulletin piece of paper about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. And my dad, being the engineer that he is, had so many technical questions for me. And at one point, I was just like, you know, Dad, I don't really know.
But I'm going to figure it out. I'm going to buy this building. I'll live upstairs. My mortgage will be my mortgage for my business and for my living expenses, and I will work my butt off, and I will figure it out. So honestly, these young kids that are so unsure of themselves but know that they want to own a business, that is the biggest piece of advice that I can give, like Eden said, is you just have to know that if you have enough passion, you will make it happen.
Yeah. I have goosebumps. Totally true.
Right. But you have to do the work. I think that, sometimes, is you can be passionate about an idea, but you have to be doing-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] And let's not kid ourselves.
When my cafe first opened, now I have people that come in after school and clean, but Maddie and I would be down here at midnight sweeping, mopping. When you open a business, you are there 24/7. Because it's cool to open a business, but not all parts of it, I don't think, are-- When I lived upstairs and the phone downstairs in the salon would ring, it doesn't matter what time of night it was. If I heard the phone ringing, I would run down the stairs and grab it. Because I lived upstairs.
I wanted to get every phone call and every appointment that I could, so I just was there all the time. It's worth it. Yeah. Well, I think both of you are both admirable business owners. I mean, Steve, I know how hard you work at yours and how busy your store is. And Kate, really, your salon just keeps growing better and better.
And my hair, the new products that you keep talking about, love, love, love. There we go. We're plugging it. We'll plug it.
No, I feel very fortunate that all three of you were willing. You guys are all really buys, and I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. So with that, I'm going to wrap this up.