Welcome to the very first Women In Biz - Inspiring Interview series. This series actually got its inspiration from a book I bought "In the Company of Women" by Grace Bonney, a New York Times Bestseller. I loved that the book was filled with women from all areas and varieties of business, ages and life stages. It was uplifting, had advice and their thoughts. What I wanted to do a little differently was to ask more questions from one person at a time, to dig a little deeper. As I am appreciative of all the fantastic women I choose to surround myself with near and far, this is about authenticity, a celebration of their accomplishments, learning from them and myself being a woman who wants to support other women. There is much-perceived competition out there, so ditch the bitchiness towards each other because I'm not here for that. This is women sharing their insights and experiences with other women. It's about being authentic. There may be some humour and straight talk, definitely real-life experience. It's all about supporting, encouraging and empowering each other as women in life and business. Enjoy it!
Let's create a force within ourselves and others to go further in our journeys. ~ Melody xo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It is an absolute thrill to welcome my longtime friend, the fantastic Stephanie Bonetta. Stephanie and I go way back, about 25 years. I love that she is always willing to follow her passions and not afraid to take her journey down several paths. She has always been open to trying new things, a DIY gal at heart she uses her hands and passions to help others. For the past 5 years, she has been working in the Health and Wellness Industry teaching: yoga, meditation, breath work and cooking healthy. She also teaches through workshops on holistic health and private clients to address their health concerns and needs. She does this all while continuing her own health and wellness studies and working remotely around the globe. " I have a passion for educating and empowering people to take their health into their hands and balance their “imbalances” via natural holistic healthcare products." Stephanie Bonetta
The 21 Questions
1. What made you decide to make a business of your creations or services?
Growing need in Western society to eat healthier, way too much health washing out there, my passion to pass on all the knowledge I have learned and 10 years of experience to help those on their own health and wellness journey
2. How did you come up with the name of your business/brand? OR Why did you choose to use your own name?
I choose my name because I am authentic, I am genuine and what you see is what you get - transparency, plus I am proud of who I am and have become. Ok, let me be TOTALLY honest.....I love my last name because so many pronounce it "bonita" and that means beautiful in Spanish lol
3. Where did you start your business? (home, kitchen, garage etc)
My first business Girlnola - vegan, gluten-free health granola and truffles started in my second kitchen....aka the Italian basement!
4. How long did it take for you to go from the birth of the idea to selling your first item or service?
3-4 months the granola was a prototype in plastic cone bags. I sold almost 100 bags at a gym in Mississauga that was attached to Physiomed clinic. In fact, the manager, Andrew, at that time helped me get my foot in the door!
5. From your own early starting experience and maybe not knowing everything, what do you wish someone had suggested or recommended to you when starting out?
Do MARKET RESEARCH, make a 1, 3 and 5 year SALES and MARKETING PLAN!!! Seek out volunteers and co-op students. I should have done all this the first year and then started selling the following year when I had a much better idea of target markets, budget, costs etc.... instead, I dove head first!
6. What was the best or worst piece of advice you received and why?
Best advice is you can't please everyone all the time, so do your best to be true to your vision and mission and you will please many some of the time. Worst advice is you won't make any money in the first 3 years and it will be so hard! Damn negative Nancy's lol! Another bad piece is "just give them (customer) what they want" ..... unfortunately many pieces of advice were not objective because they were their own personal experiences and we all have different experiences, that's why they are called "personal".
7. What is the biggest leap or bravest thing you did to get your business running?
I listened to myself and my passion and desires and even if the food company had to close its doors after 2.5 years, the experiences and the amazing people and food I made was priceless - I feel so rich because of it and I lost about $80k!
8. What your favourite part of your work? Least favourite part?
Now, my favorite part of being a nutritionist, cook and yoga teacher are the people I get to meet who want to make a positive change and transition for themselves (self-love is huge!!!!) and the results and positive feedback I get from almost everyone thanking me for having helped them. The least favorite is when clients don't like some of the food I make because its too "healthy". Also clients who expect miracle transformations and even put expectations on themselves and myself for a certain ideal outcome, instead of approaching it as a "lifestyle" or "work in progress, a journey" not a "destination"
9. Many of us get lost in perfectionism…everything must be lined up and’ just right’. Time, location, stage of life, you know those things (excuses) that hold us back from pursuing our dreams. Can you share some words of wisdom in this area?
Just do it! Carpe diem! Definitely get organized and do YOUR RESEARCH but the more you wait, the more others will take the lead and you will be left in 2, 3, 4 or last place. Also, team up or collaborate with like minded companies or people and they don't necessarily need to be in your same line of work!
10. We all occasionally have self-doubt and will question what we are doing. In those times, what do you do to push through it?
I talked to my parents who have been entrepreneurs and business partners for 45+ years, I also went on line and did some research but at the end of the day, I meditate and do my angel cards and ask the universe and my guides for guidance, peace of mind and trust.
11. I personally don’t believe in true work/life balance, it’s all life. One will always be more than the other at different times. Do you have any rules in place that separate them or do you go with the flow and it works out?
I used to go with the flow but that didn't work because I neglected myself. Now I make sure I focus my time on my priorities. Now, having said that I classify my priorities in 3-4 health categories: physical (eating and hydrating, HIIT, sleep min.8 hrs), spiritual (meditation and yoga), emotional (family and friends), mental (clients, website, collaborations, research) and I make sure to adjust my time to do all 4 of these everyday even if its just 10-15 minutes of meditation or speaking with friends, it's awesome!
12. Success is so very different for everyone. What do you personally feel is your greatest success to date? (personal or professional)
Staying sane in this insane world! LOL! I am proud and grateful for the relationships I have had and those I still invest my time and emotions in to this day, also for the entrepreneurial "carpe diem" drive I have to lead a meaningful life by following my passions and guide and inspire those around me who need and want it.
13. Help for some of us, is a dirty word, as we can be stubborn and think we can do it all. When should we really say it’s time for help? (this is different for everyone, so your experience is great)
I like to use the word guidance and collaboration I think we need to reach out anytime we want to our "tribe" or "community" of friends, family and those we might not know too!
14. What is your greatest strength? What is your least strongest area?
Passion, drive and energy.......tactfully communicating negative or problematic situations
15. What was the toughest part for you starting a business? (funding, finding a location, peoples opinions)
Not having saved up enough money or finding collaborators/investors BEFOREHAND so that money was not constantly worrying me and it thus became such a negative hindrance and slowly ate away at my enthusiasm and drive.
16. We all make mistakes, experiences are made, and lessons learned. What’s one lesson you needed to learn?
Collaborate and work together with like minded people and don't put the cart before the horse. Baby steps and research!
17. How do you deal with competition? (perceived or real)
I used to be intimidated by competition but now I come at it from a place of abundance and there is enough for everyone to have a piece of the huge pie. I am happy and send everyone success, love and fulfillment in all they do. I also look at them as potential collaborators for joint ventures!
18. What is a source(s) of inspiration for you?
My inspiration is my clients but my drive and passion for healthy natural healing, food, yoga and meditation because all these things combined (along with a few other modalities I use) are a recipe for daily inspiration.
19. Who is an inspirational woman to you and why?
I have many women who inspire me - those uber successful and those just starting out too. My mom and nonna are the closest supporters because of their unconditional love, patience, guidance and understanding.
20. Do you ever have creative blocks or get stuck for fresh ideas? What do you do when it happens?
Yup I do......I completely disengage my mind and go do something totally unrelated to it. Then I revisit it and in the meantime keep my alertness on finding inspiration from things and people around me. Walking and meditation helps me a lot. The less I talk about it the better and clearer things are in my mind. I observe and listen to silence around and within me!
21. I call it my ‘brain-drain’ - when I purposely take time out (usually to sun and sea) and give myself permission to let go of what isn't working and refresh, re-energize and re-invigorate my mind and spirit. What do you do for it?
I cook or bake, bust out some handstands or a short yoga series, go for a walk or bike ride or even just rest by sleeping or being in a meditative state by finding a quiet place either inside or outside and just look at the beauty that surrounds me.
Follow along with Stephanie on Instagram @stephaniebonetta and contact her @ 647-393-3372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
**Would you like to be featured with these 21 Questions? I'm currently looking for women who have a small business in the following categories: Jewellery designer (you make your own pieces) Skincare and or Makeup Line Creator (make your own, not a private label version) Contact me here and tell me a little about yourself.