Lee Veldkamp, buffalo hunter. Don't worry. He only hunts hypothetical buffalo - the big ideas that are hard to take down. He does an incredible amount of work each day with dedication and persistence (check out what his typical day is below - crazy!). Read on about the ups and downs of starting a new business, advice (including asking for help), and what goes into it.
What has been the best thing about starting Simply Earth?
The emails or comments of people who really love our product and our cause. That is so encouraging. You work really hard on the day to day tasks: filling bottles, handling all the details you missed, and fixing all the mistakes you make. It's nice then when someone encourages you and you get reminded of the why you are doing this which is to be a World Changer through this business. We want to be that encourager for people. When they get our natural product in the mail and open the package, I hope they can forget about their stressful lives and just be refilled. I hope it can make their homes an invited place with the smells. Most of all though, I hope it encourages them to join something bigger than them whether that be the fight to end human trafficking or just a small act of love for their families and community.
What does a typical day look like for you at Simply Earth right now? What is your favorite part of your day/least favorite part?
Answer emails, customer service, and working with review bloggers takes up a good part of the morning. Then random tasks from managing the website, fixing product listings on Amazon, or setting up our email marketing. There is always something to do that we can improve. That is the death of an entrepreneur: always an opportunity. Right now I'm spending time setting up our internship program. So if you want to work for us, let us know. The other part of my day is filling bottles, capping, labeling them and then shipping them out to you, the real World Changer.
What has been the most difficult starting a company?
The emotional strain. People talk in athletics how you have to just push through it. In a business like ours where you put yourself and your work out there all the time, there is some, "you just got to work through it" on the emotional end. You don't want to write it or do a certain piece of work, but you just have to work through it
What has been the most surprising?
How much work everything takes. I'm always like, "we can quick do that" But the devil is in the details. The truth is, a lot of hard things wouldn't get done in life if people know how hard they really were. They go in naive and then just keep fighting until they finish.
What is it like to work with your brother?
Great. He is the wise business person. You don't feel like you are in it alone as there are other people to bounce ideas off of or even take care of whole projects.
Part of Simply Earth's model is giving back - why is that important to you?
Like I said before, we want to encourage people to be a part of something bigger than themselves. If as a business we are just about stuff, we have epically failed. We want to truly help people and use our natural products as a media to do so.
How do you hope to grow/change how Simply Earth gives back?
The biggest thing is really getting involved in these causes as a community. That means going into the trenches ourselves and invited our customers to do the same and then sharing these stories. Because it is in these stories that we will be able to start pushing for more change.
Another dream of ours would to hire people who are living in rehabilitation centers to make beauty products and bigger part of our whole business. The process in making things in itself can be healing and we hope this can be a part of the holistic approach Simply Earth takes as being a socially conscious company.
What is your favorite Simply Earth story?
I'm no good at stories. I read books about how to tell stories :) I think that about sums it up. I'm going to turn this question on its head and ask you. What is your favorite Simply Earth story?
What advice do you have for anyone looking to start their own business?
Go for it. Start small. Use someone else's platform at first to start. This could be Amazon, Facebook, Skillshare.... The opportunities are endless. But pick just one and work at it. For different things you need to do, find family and friends who are better than you at that thing and ask for little bits of help. That network will also be a network that shares what you do as well if they are helping you.
So, there you have it. The buffalo hunter of Simply Earth. Telling you like it is. Comment below on your favorite piece of advice or any questions you may have for Lee Veldkamp - we would love to hear them and answer them!
-Katie (proud wife of Lee Veldkamp) :)
- Katie Veldkamp