Every day, people use Square tools to help start, run, and grow their business — here’s one of their stories.
Meet Rachel Dorsey, an entrepreneur, producer, and business consultant. She’s the host of Owning It, a Square Production that shares how small business owners grew their passions into a business. Today she’s speaking with Joanne Canady-Brown, a self-taught baker and entrepreneur.
After Joanne’s first business venture crashed and burned, she opened The Gingered Peach, a bakery in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Using four credit cards, determination, and hard work, she’s brought in millions of dollars of revenue, and is breathing new life into her hometown.
Click the link below to listen to their full conversation. You can click out of the window and read the rest of the article as the interview plays.
Here’s a preview of their conversation, in which the two women talk failure, growth, and the best advice they’ve gotten about money.
Rachel: Talk to me about failure.
Joanne: Because we live in a time of everything you do, everyone sees, right? And we’re constantly celebrating our achievements. I was scared that if I fail, how do I explain to everyone that I failed? It makes me cringe thinking about it. But I love that the conversation has changed recently. Right? People’s failures are being embraced, and it’s being celebrated that I was able to overcome my first major failure.
I did what I was supposed to do, right? I went to college and I got that major and I got that job that you’re supposed to have. But I kept going back to baking, because it made me feel whole and it was fun.
I think all entrepreneurs know that moment where they hit a point and they say, “I want to do this for the rest of my life.” And that’s what it was for me. It was — I hit that point one day where I made these cookies and I was like, that feels amazing. And I knew I wanted to just do that. And then I went from there, and took the next steps.
How do you get it all done?
My kids show up to the bakery every morning with me, because I think it’s important for them to see me in that role, and to understand that this is our life. They think it’s exciting, too, because they go to school in the town that I own the bakery in.
My employees understand that I have children and they know that when they need me, I’m there. But sometimes I have to pull away and they respect that as well, so it’s all about just staying open and communicating. I also have to stay on top of my to-dos, and manage my time properly, because if I’m not good at that, it all falls to pieces.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten about money?
Money is a revolving door. You’ll lose it, but with enough drive you’ll get it again. In order to keep the revolving door moving, you have to keep pushing. Money isn’t obviously just available anywhere, but the message is that you can lose money on a business venture, on that purchase, whatever it was — it will come back to you. Focus on how you’re going to get it back, and be proactive about where your revenue streams are going to come from.
In my business, it’s the same thing. I’m constantly thinking about what’s the new revenue stream. Like, how do we make something that’s not a business right now? How do we turn that into something new and great?
Tell me more about how you’ve grown your business:
There’s always a reason why they [traditional lenders] can’t lend to you. Right? First it was, “It’s food, it’s risky.” But my credit score is great, and I have a proven track record, and I have all this education. I was in the restaurant industry for 12 years and I had a background in leadership — I did training and development.
They tell you, “Check all these boxes and you’re, like, good to go.” I checked them all and they’re still like, “Ooh, still not a fit for us.” So I exhausted all my resources. In fact, I even went to the small business development center as a last-ditch effort. I thought that maybe I was doing something wrong — maybe I wasn’t emphasizing the right strengths that I have in my business.
Maybe I’m just not doing it right. I met with a counselor and he actually said, “I think your outlook for growth is overly ambitious and you should just be okay with where you are right now.”
So basically, I exhausted all my resources and after that I said, “I’m not asking anyone for anything anymore. I’m going to do this myself because I’m tired.” You know, you get tired of being told no, I spent my whole life being told no. And it was just because we couldn’t afford it. Right. I don’t want to be an adult being told no, especially when I know that I’m qualified and I’m capable and I’m smart and I’m articulate and that I have made a lot of money for other people. That was insane.