As we begin a new year, the cliche seems to always cross everyone’s mind at some point — NEW YEAR, NEW ME. A new year brings many of us to begin good practices, change anything undesirable in our lives, or accomplish new goals. With it not only being a new year but a new decade, it is the perfect time to focus on good financial health habits.
To get you there, you might be considering starting your own business. If you find yourself nodding in agreement but are skeptical of the crazy idea you have, this is your push to do it! There is no better time and place to start your own business than right now and right here in Houston
As the fourth largest city in the country, Houston has been creating a name for itself in the startup industry. Being named one of the most diverse cities in the country, Houston has been ranked as a top city for minority entrepreneurial success and ranked 7th for most startups with female owners last year. These numbers are huge when thinking of starting a business in Houston is the right decision for you.
Another positive factor is that the city and state are both super business-friendly. There is no state income tax here which is huge for business owners. This means companies have more money to invest in their business, their future, and their families. Another huge positive for businesses in Houston is that there are no zoning laws here so there is less risk to opening doors here, as opposed to other cities.
Your dollar goes further here making it easier to come out on top. The cost of living is lower than average for any major city in the country. Your paycheck goes further when having to dish out for daily expenses without having to sacrifice your social outings. The affordability of the city makes it a leader for minority owned businesses.
An Insider’s Perspective: Miya’s Munchies
You might be thinking, “This sounds great and all but I don’t think I can do it.” So I reached out to a new local business owner to get some insight and learn their why.
Local Houstonian, Sumiyyah Harvey, listened to her calling from within and took a leap of faith with opening her business Miya’s Munchies in October 2018. In just a little over one year, this bakery and catering company took off.
A History Lesson…
Sumiyyah grew up in the industry with her parents owning several French bakeries and cafes in Virginia. Her fondest memories come from waking up before school to bake with her dad and her mom finally letting her work the register at the age of six. It was a family affair and their vision and drive is what kept the spark alive. Her career led her to Houston where she stayed in senior management with Food and Beverage. Despite the successes she kept having this dream for several years of her in a bakery, behind the counter, smiling over a showcase. She finally decided after 15 years it was time to listen to this dream and pursue it
Where to begin?..
Knowing exactly what you want to do is key. She explains that having confidence in yourself, your product, and what you can bring to the table is how you will reach people. Her confidence came from her professional experience and the first hand knowledge she received from her parents.
The scariest part of starting a business is convincing yourself you can. You have to be able to leave the security of a 9-5. She believes in order to fully be ready you have to let go, allow yourself to be afraid, and let your passions fuel and guide you.
And the most important thing is having a support system. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people and having those people push and encourage you. For Sumiyyah, its her family.
Starting a new business is hard work, to say the least. You have to be okay with hitting rock bottom, downsizing your life, and halting your indulgences to get up and keep running. You have to be prepared financially to not have a steady income and have a plan to counteract that. She has to always be in a mindset of constantly hustling to get the word out on why people should choose her product. You have to be patient, overnight success stories are rare and unrealistic. It is hard and takes so much time and effort and says that even after 15 months, that is still the case.
Currently she’s built up clientele throughout Houston for catering events such as huge holiday parties, office meetings, family gatherings, etc. She also does farmers markets with her goodies every weekend. This past holiday season is when the business seriously boomed. She pulled more all-nighters than ever before and even had to call in extra hands from none other than her family. She says the best part of all of this are the customers. When she sees the reactions on their face as they sample make her so proud despite the difficulties, those reactions are what keep the fire ignited.
Past, Present, Future…
When she started she didn’t know what her next event was or really how to even make money. Now she’s found a rhythm by setting events each week and having a general idea of how much she will make so she can financially plan better. She says she had to learn the hard and costly way of which events work for her. In the beginning she would jump at any chance to set up a booth or take any catering job. Now she is much more selective because of timing or it’s just not the right fit for the product and brand.
Her audience has certainly grown. When she started her social media fans were just existing friends and family showing love. Now it’s people who have stumbled across her at markets who are raving fans, and the first to shout out online. Currently only 15% of her social media followers are friends and family.
Miya’s Munchies is looking into opening a storefront in 2020 to grow the business even more. She will also be diving deeper into the market scene as Houston is in the works on launching daily markets, as opposed to one-day-a-weekers.
People are shopping more locally and supporting businesses in their community. Houston is the place to be for this type of support and the community is there to give it to you with open arms.
”There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than what you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela.