Harmonious Homesteads Founder Christina Anthony decided to go for it and launch a home organization business—just before the pandemic hit. Here, she talks with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about staying the course and making connections in our local small business community.
NAN PRICE: Have you always been entrepreneurial or planned to have your own business? How did this start for you?
CHRISTINA ANTHONY: I’ve always wanted to work for myself, but I couldn’t find something I was passionate about. My background is working in the art industry and I’ve always had a good understanding of how to balance design, function, and organization.
After I got married and I had my first daughter, we moved into a new house and I had more time to start getting some good systems in place for organizing. Some of my mom friends who came over saw that I was in the middle of a project and started asking me if I could come to their homes and help them get more organized with a better system.
That was when I realized this would maybe be a good idea for side business. And it grew from there. I have a business a business management degree but I never actually thought of doing what I’m doing as a business until I was at home with my kids. It wasn’t a planned thing. It was more something that came out of the blue and I love doing it.
NAN: Did you get connected with any local business resources as you were starting out?
CHRISTINA: I connected with The Small Business Collective Founder & Principal Annisa Teich, who has helped me immensely. She’s introduced me to a lot of people and helped me with my website. I’ve also joined some Connecticut small business groups on Facebook. That’s helped me put myself out there and get connected with more business owners in the area, because I’m still pretty new to the whole small business scene.
NAN: Do you have any business background?
CHRISTINA: I have a business a business management degree but I never actually thought of doing what I’m doing as a business until I was at home with my kids. It obviously grew from there, but I’m like now just starting to get immersed in the whole culture of the small business world.
NAN: When exactly did you launch?
CHRISTINA: I started pre-pandemic. That’s when I had my first official client. And then two days later, we went into lockdown.
NAN: How have you been marketing and building your clientele?
CHRISTINA: I use word of mouth and social media. I’ve been trying to get to some networking evening and meeting more people in the community, like at the recent networking event hosted by The Small Business Collective.
NAN: What would you say has been the biggest challenge for you?
CHRISTINA: I would say the pandemic. With what I do, I’m being invited into someone’s living space, which is very personal. With the pandemic, especially early on, concerns were heightened. People have to feel comfortable with me in their home—and I take safely very seriously.
However, people have been in their home more; they’re starting to be more aware of their surroundings and they want to have more of a system in place. So, business is better now, but COVID-19 definitely played a part in the challenge.
NAN: With an eye toward the future, do you envision yourself remaining a solopreneur or do you plan to build a team?
CHRISTINA: I would love to build a team. I’d have to train somebody because I’m particular, which makes me excel at what I do. I’m starting to get more clients and it’s a lot for me to manage as one person with my kids and their activities. So, I would love to eventually grow. That would be so exciting.
NAN: Any advice you have for others?
CHRISTINA: Our local small business community is such a warm and welcoming group of people. So, if you do have an idea and you want to get it off the ground, I would suggest doing so and connecting yourself with other people who have a small business, because the support network is great. Everyone supports each other. Everyone helps get your name and your message out there. It’s been a wonderful experience.
Also, if you have something you really love doing and you want to make a business out of it, then do it because you’re going to be successful if it’s something you’re truly passionate about. My advice is to go for it.