Today Beth Anne is talking to Shunta Grant, a successful entrepreneur and a mom of two beautiful children. She runs a very successful hair bow business and also offers business education to other women. It's so great that she is willing to share her wisdom with us on the show.
Press play on the podcast player below to hear the full interview and be inspired by the wisdom Shunta so generously shares with us.
You might be thinking that Shunta must be a busy lady but she would disagree.
“What I do is help women build business and life on the other side of busy. I want to de-normalize that word,” Shunta says.
“If we stop to think about what the word busy actually means, we’d realize it’s not something we want to put on ourselves or anyone else.”
Watching Shunta’s Instagram stories is an excellent way to see this in practice. I love to follow her there because that peek into her life allows me to see that she not only has plenty of time for her family and her kids but also plenty of time for her audience and her students.
Shunta loves to show up on Instagram stories because it can be so freeing to just show up as you are – no fancy lighting or presets — just an authentic self.
From Homemade Hair Bows to Full-fledged Business
Five years ago, Shunta was practicing law and planned to stay in the legal field for the rest of her life, maybe as a judge or as a law school professor, but definitely working in the law profession.
Then one day, as she was helping her daughter Zoe get ready, she realized that all of Zoe’s hair bows that she had ordered from various places actually looked very similar to each other. So she decided to try making some herself. With some cheap fabric from Joann’s and some even cheaper scissors she already had at home, Shunta started watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to make hair bows.
Shunta did not consider herself to be a creative person. After all, she was very analytical as a lawyer and just didn’t think it was possible to be both analytical and creative. But she really enjoyed making the bows and soon realized that one yard of fabric would make several extra bows. The best way to deal with all this extra fabric? By making more bows and selling them on Instagram!
She sold out her first batch and had people asking when her next launch would be, so every time she made a new bow for Zoe, she also made extras to sell.
Learning About Line Sheets and Leaving her Lawyer Job Behind
Shunta says, “It slowly became a thing to the point where stores started reaching out to me saying, ‘Hey, we saw you on Instagram and could you send us line sheets’ and I didn't even know what a line sheet was. But that piqued my interest and made me think if a store likes what I'm doing at my dining room table in the late night and I really love doing this, can this be something that I actually do?”
Around this time, things at Shunta’s day job were not going well and she began to dread going back to work on Mondays. “Sunday night, I would get that cloud of doom. And I was loving this so I said, let me see if I can get this to match, maybe even beat what I'm doing here and focus on this.”
In September of 2015 Shunta left the practice of law and dove into entrepreneurship and Because of Zoe — her hair bow company — full time. She’s been a full-time entrepreneur ever since and says she cannot picture herself ever working for anyone else ever again!
Pitching Stores and Making Hair Bows Nonstop
“When I first started it was just do all the things which is how I ended up learning that that's not how you want to grow a business!”
Shunta was making all of the bows herself, increasing her social media presence, and trying to expand into wholesale by pitching stores.
“It was really just the game of pitching stores, researching stores, making lots and lots of bows, and trying to tell as many people about what we were doing as possible. It really was just a game of whack-a-mole every day, just doing all the things. And that worked in the sense that we were making money. We were doing really, really well and it was something that I loved doing. But over time I realized I wasn't working smart and I wasn't working in a way that was going to really change the trajectory of my life in the way I wanted it to.”
Remembering her Purpose and Staying Streamlined
Over time, Shunta expanded the number of different products she was making.
“At that time we were selling so many different products, not just hair bows anymore. We were selling lovies, blankets, knit headbands, scarves, leather headbands, so many things that we had gotten away from the purpose of why I really got excited about this. And it was about the hair bow.”
One day, Shunta decided that she’d had enough. She went into Shopify and deleted every non-hair bow listing then gathered up all those products to be donated.
“That was probably the best decision I could have made. Income shot up because I was just focused now on one thing. There's only one story to tell. So I think one of the best things I did after doing the opposite was to really go back to the purpose of what I wanted to be known for. I wanted Because of Zoe to be synonymous with hair bows, celebrating the joy of childhood.”
It was time to start thinking like a business owner.
“When I put on that business owner hat and start thinking and acting like a business owner, really honing in on what we want to be known for, focusing in on that and then thinking about how I could get my hands out of the day to day…those are the things that ultimately really grew it and put me in a position to even have space for a second company.”
How to Scale a Hand-made Business and Make a Profit
Initially Shunta was making all the bows herself but you can only grow so big as a solo maker. She started to hire seamstresses but quickly realized that training and quality control were paramount.
“The problem for me initially was, I just couldn't find anyone to make them the way I did and that quality was the number one thing. So one of the things I ultimately did before we really grew our seamstress team was I started changing the style of our bows to something that would be easier to train people on making.”
(This is an excellent lesson to learn from Shunta. From day one, you want to be thinking about the future!)
“No matter where you are in your business- if you just started it today, if you're starting tomorrow- think and make decisions for your business for when you are going to be bigger. If you think about that now- the way you price, the way you show up, the way you build your business- it's going to benefit you because then you won't have to backtrack like I did.”
Building a National Hair Bow Team
Initially Shunta was hiring local seamstresses but eventually she needed more help and widened her search to be nationwide. This brings additional challenges for training and quality control. She was no longer able to exchange fabric and bows in person with the local seamstresses.
“I had to put a system in place and that has been tweaked and changed and now I think we have a really good system. But I had to then figure out how am I going to interview these people? How am I going to see their products, how am I going to test them without giving them our proprietary work — giving them our samples and giving them our patterns?”
It took lots of tweaking of the process but now Shunta hires anywhere in the US.
Shunta says she was learning by doing. “I didn't say, okay, as soon as I can figure out the perfect plan, that's when I'm going to start hiring out. I was like, no, I have a need. Let's start with what I have, which is local, and then go from there.”
There are a lot of things Shunta has to consider when hiring seamstresses. Out of 100 applicants, only three to five actually make it through to the end.
“The thing is, even if you can make the best bow, if you miss deadlines every week, it's just as if you made terrible bows. Integrity is a personal core value, a business core value, and I need someone who can show up and be consistent and be professional.”
Shunta tests not only the quality of the bows made but other aspects of a potential hire, including their attention to detail and organization.
Branching out To Teach Other Women How to Build an Online Business
As Shunta’s business grew, she started to get a lot of messages from other women asking for advice on how to make their businesses grow too.
“I was getting a lot of emails or DMS from people saying, ‘hey, I've been watching you and you're growing your business a lot and I've seen you in this store and how did you do that? Can you talk to me about this?’ And I would just hit an email and write it back. And then after like a month or two of being full time I realized I've written the same email at least four times. Why don't I find a way to just say it once and put it out there and then direct people to that one place.”
She started teaching on Periscope but her videos would disappear after 24 hours so she switched to a Facebook group so that her information would have a permanent place to stay.
“People just want to know what you already know. We all take for granted the things that we know and are naturally good at,” Shunta says.
A few months after a well-known business coach had asked Shunta to speak in her group, she finally decided to start Profitable Joy which was her business education company. Just like Because of Zoe, she started out with a lot of trial and error until she eventually found her purpose and her business education passion.
Frequently she spoke to women about seeing the big picture and getting organized with consistency, focus, and structure in their business.
“It was really just a lot of trial and error and just meeting the needs of the people who would come to me. And from doing that I was able to see the commonalities that they had and the commonalities and the things that I really liked talking about where I actually could get them results.”
Shunta says that although planning and organization are important to a business, you don’t want to get stuck in planning mode forever.
“You have to get up and do something. You have to execute. Otherwise you're just going to be sitting there in that same place this time next month, next week, next quarter, next year.”
A Secret to Business Success Is Learning to Maximize the Pockets of Time We Have
A lot of women and moms are growing their business in the margins. We have to learn how to best use the pockets of time that we have to focus on the most important next steps.
“It has worked beautifully, because I learned how to put a system in place and I learned how to focus on what matters most.”
Peace, Pace, Progress™ is Shunta’s business education course.
“It's a four-step framework – release, visualize, focus, and execute. I show you that what you have is enough and how to deal with that. Each step of the framework helps in some form or fashion with that. Whatever amount of time you have whether it’s 30 minutes a day, 30 hours a week, or somewhere in between, you have the time you need to grow your business.”
The secret is to just keep moving.
“The logo for Peace Pace Progress™ is a tortoise because I love the story of the tortoise and the hare. Everyone's money was on the hare because it's faster. It's quicker. It's agile. But the secret to the tortoise is that it never stops. It keeps moving.”
Shunta’s own business is a perfect example of this principle. She has had the least amount of consistent work time available while being home with her infant son but she just kept making progress on the next best thing whenever she could.
“I am moving, and I'm not going to stop. I'm going to work. I'm going to be consistent because I know that what I'm doing matters. And because of that, it has paid off tremendously for my personal brand. This has been our best year and it's been the year I literally had the least amount of time. And so one of the things I try to help women see is to stop looking at the things that you think are your limitations. The things that a lot of people look at as liabilities are actually assets.”
Having limited time forces you to get very clear on your purpose. Which brings us to the second secret.
Focus and Know What you Want
The second secret is to focus and to know what you want.
“It's one of the first questions I ask, ‘What do you want?’ Because once you know that, then you know how to proceed.”
Build your business to bless your life.
“I teach women that you can do exactly what you want, where you are, with what you have. I just give them the framework on how to do that through the Peace Pace Progress™ four-step framework so that they can execute on their vision. The four steps — release, visualize, focus, and execute — are really teaching them how to build consistency and structure in their business so they can focus only on what matters and make it happen.”
Know when to bring in help
One of the best things Shunta did was to hire a community director.
“It was really hard for me initially, when I first heard that whole concept introduced to me, because I am very big on relationships and being present for my people. And I always want them to know that I'm here because I truly want to see you win and succeed. My mission is to help women win. I just love it so much.”
Eventually Shunta realized that by having her community director on board to handle logistical things, it freed her up to do the things that only she could do.
“Her job is to make sure every student is seen and heard which allows me to just do what I alone can do and that is to teach and to coach and to guide, and then also to create so that we always get better.”
Hiring someone to do the things so that she doesn't have to do was big. It goes back to those early days of Because of Zoe – putting on the business owner hat rather than trying to just do everything herself.
“I get to spend my day doing the part that only I can do and let everyone else do the things that they're better at. That has been one of the best things I could have done this year. It was really being okay with just being the content creator, the educator, and to stop being the administrative assistant, the community director, the website person, the every person. Sometimes you have to start that way- I had to start that way. But I realized that only got me so far and I needed to change who I was and how I thought about business to go to where I want to go with my company.”
Don’t you just love learning from Shunta? She’s always thinking about how best to organize her business and her time, and wow does she make the most of it!
I love her reminder that: “What you have is enough.”
You can do this, brilliant lady! And we’re cheering for you!
Where You Can Find Shunta Online…
Visit Shunta's website, shuntagrant.com, or follow her on Instagram @shuntagrant.
Shunta has also recently released a new product to help women live on the other side of busy. Be sure to check out her Best Today Guide!