Carla Hall is one of the top chefs in the nation. She co-hosts ABC’s “The Chew” and owns the successful small business, Carla Hall Petite Cookies. Carla was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to dish on how she gained the courage to leave her job as an account to embark on a new career, the secret to starting a successful money making business, and how 20 business owners can win a $150,000 grant.
Candace Rose: You left your job as an accountant to become an entrepreneur and work in the culinary business. What inspired you to leave your job and embark on a new career?
Carla Hall: “It sounds crazy. Why would I leave a safe, secure job where I had taken the CPA exam and I had passed it, and it seems like everything is going great. I wasn’t happy, and I realized that I had to do it before I had a family, before I had a mortgage, before I had all of these things that were going to keep me tied to something that I became a slave to. I saw the writing on the wall and I quit. I didn’t know what that process was going to be, I didn’t now where I was going.
I think, for a lot of people it’s about taking off what you don’t want to do. Sometimes not doing something, you’ll actually learn what you want to do…so that was my path.”
Candace Rose: What’s the secret to being a successful business owner/entrepreneur?
Carla Hall: ” I have Carla Hall Petite Cookies, and these are the three things that I’ve found to be really important.
The support from your family. It’s so important that my husband understands that when I’m out and I’m working long hours, I may not be home when I thought I would so I need him to understand so I don’t have that pressure where I’m thinking more about him more so than the task at hand. You need the support from your community. The community is where you’re going to get your sales, but you’re also going to get your labor force from your community. If you can be the type of business that says when people have your product like ‘I would love to work for that company’ then you are already off to a great start before that person even comes through the doors looking for a job.
The second thing is a mentor. You need someone who has gone through what you’re going through – they have been through the tough times, they’ve made it through, they have a successful business. When you’re going through those tough times and you’re like ‘I cannot take another step. I can’t do it.’ That’s when the mentor steps in and says ‘You’re going to make it to the other side, I’ve done it. That problem that you’re having, that challenge is not unique.’ They can be sort of that little cane to help you get by.
The third thing, and I know people know this is capital. You need money. Sometimes it makes the difference between you taking that big leap forward because you have that account and staying stagnant with your business. Without that capital you can’t grow, and that’s what I’m talking about today with Chase, and that’s why I’m so excited because I have a company who I have taken that little leap up. Chase is rewarding 20 small businesses $150,000 and that’s a lot of money.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice on growing a money making business?
Carla Hall: “I think that you have to be organized, you obviously have to have a good financial picture. You need a really good accountant, so you need to make sure you are in compliant with whatever licensing, permits and all of that. You need to make sure that you are legal. But a business that is already growing and established, they already know that and just make sure that as you grow that you have everything that you need and that you ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to fail.
What I love about this program with Chase, they’re not just giving you the money. They are giving you the support, they are giving you the mentors. One of the premiere sponsors is Google. Google is inviting all 20 of the recipients to come to their headquarters and do workshops. They’re giving them $2,000 in market research – these certificates. A lot of small businesses don’t have that kind of money to put back into marketing and they’re giving all of their recipients a Google Chrome laptop.”
Candace Rose: How can businesses become eligible for a $150,000 grant?
Carla Hall: “They can go online to MissionMainStreetGrants.com. The application deadline is October 3rd, so they have from now until October 3rd. All of the applicants will get a marketing tool kit, and they will get $150 gift certificates for market research.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Carla Hall: “The one thing that I want to say is and maybe I said it earlier is just don’t be afraid to fail because there are so many lessons. When you fall down, there are lessons from the time that you are standing until the time that you fall, and that is the most invaluable experience that you’re ever going to get.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?