small business

For many, becoming and entrepreneur doesn’t happen by accident but for others, a great idea presents itself without the person ever looking for it. That was exactly what happened with Tina Menzie. Tina was a busy law student and like so many of us, she forgot to send out a Christmas card to one of her friends.

Soon after, she talked to her friend who was jokingly questioning  the strength of their friendship when Tina said that she didn’t know why Christmas cards were so important since most people threw them out soon after Christmas anyway.

Both Tina and her friend are ecofriendly people who don’t like to throw things away. Tina’s friend challenged her to come up with something like a Christmas card that was more environmentally friendly.

What she designed was an environmentally friendly, biodegradable Christmas card that comes with a seed that the recipient of the card could plant. After graduating from law school Menzie patented her idea, started Future Oxygen, a company that has since expanded to not only offer these cards but also bracelets, key chains, necklaces, and buttons.

Each of these products can be worn for two years. After that, the person soaks the product in water and buries it allowing the seed to grow in to a tree. Nothing, including the metal, is harmful to the environment and with an increasingly larger focus on more environmentally responsible living, Menzie’s company continues to grow.

Advice

When asked what she would tell other small business owners and entrepreneurs, she says to connect with other business owners in your space. Although your direct competitors may not be excited about helping you succeed, non-competitors in your industry may see it as a way to help themselves get ahead. A plumber and an electrician aren’t direct competitors but they are in the same field and that could be a fruitful relationship for both parties.

Bottom Line

If you have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur but haven’t found the right idea, be patient. Keep exploring ideas until you find the one that seems to fit your talents, passions, and budget.

Menzie says that starting her business was hard work but well worth the reward. Don’t expect the road to success will be easy but many have found that their life is better when they stop working for somebody else and become their own boss. It’s not less work but it’s often more rewarding.

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