You can't plan for the unknown. No one knows this better than Michelle Harrison. She certainly didn't plan to suffer a stroke just weeks after giving birth to her oldest son. And she didn't plan for a global pandemic to be the defining point in her career as an RN. But one thing Michelle knows is that the unplanned can often lead to unforeseen opportunity.
A Series of Fortunate Events
A stroke and a pandemic in the span of a decade sounds like some pretty unfortunate events. But they were part of what led Michelle to where she is today: the founder and owner of HoneyInk Publishing, makers of high-quality inspirational journals and stationery, and publisher of uplifting children's books.
For Michelle, it's not all that different from her work caring for stroke patients. This type of care, though, leans more into the mental and emotional well-being of her customers through the art of journaling.
I really wanted to focus on busy women like myself and have a place for them to feel comfortable expressing themselves emotionally. I think it's super important to be able to express yourself on paper and see your thoughts on paper so that you can process that and reflect on what you want out of life, what you need out of life or to heal from whatever you are going through in your life.
Michelle Harrison, founder and owner of HoneyInk Publishing
A Colorful Love Story
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, many of Michelle's fondest childhood memories involve the public library. Crayons in hand, she would spend hours doodling and drawing. As she grew, that love evolved into reading and writing. By the age of 13, Michelle was journaling every day. She found that the act of journaling gave her a safe space to process her emotions and connect with her inner self.
Today, Michelle has combined her love of reading, writing and journaling into her greatest passion: helping others see themselves on paper and in print. And it goes beyond journaling. Michelle and her husband have also started a series of children's books designed to spark a love of reading, especially among children of color.
I want children to believe and know that when they're reading, they can imagine the world that they want to see.
For Michelle, it's another aspect of her life that's come full circle. She fell in love with words in the public library, and now her books can help other children do the same.
Michelle Harrison's HoneyInk business certificate
HoneyInk Publishing LLC business cards
Michelle's Top Tips for Starting a Business
Making time to start a business isn't easy when you're a wife and mother with a demanding full-time career. Michelle knows this too well, but she also knows she's living proof it can be done.
It's just about scheduling time, writing it down and making committable goals that I try to achieve every single day — short and realistic goals; tiny habits that I can focus on. And making sure by the end of the day, I get it done.
Michelle Harrison, publisher of children's books
HoneyInk journal book
"Journaling allows me to see myself on paper."
For hopeful entrepreneurs, Michelle says there are a few steps that can make it easier to achieve your goals:
Make a business plan.
Make a business plan.
Research your competitors.
Learn about what they offer, but mostly, learn about what they don't. Find out how you can fill gaps in the market and meet your customers' pain points.
Understand the cost.
For Michelle, this isn't just about money. She says understanding your bandwidth and the time you can commit is just as important as knowing how many dollars you can spend.
If you dream it, you can achieve it. It's so rewarding to have your own business because it's something you can call your own. If you work hard, then you're going to see the end results, and they're going to be successful.
What's Next for HoneyInk and Michelle?
While she's gotten used to juggling a career and a family with her growing side hustle, Michelle's sights are set on eventually turning it into a full-time gig. To do that, she has a few key goals:
Michelle hopes to connect with retailers to get her products more widely distributed by reputable and recognizable companies.
Michelle is looking to ramp up the creativity and partner with known and upcoming artists to create inspiring, uplifting and visually appealing designs.
Michelle strongly believes that entrepreneurs must be involved in their local communities. To that end, she's launched an event called Reading in the Park, which gives free books to kids. She hopes to grow the event and develop new partnerships with area organizations.
Why She Trusted Bizee
Michelle knew she needed support to launch her business dreams and turn them into a reality. When she discovered Bizee, she realized she could do it with a little help from her friends (that's us).
What I loved was I was able to do everything right there on the website. They actually helped me start my first business account and get my first business credit card. They set that all up for me, which was super, super cool.
Michelle appreciated the simple and straightforward process that allowed her to stay focused on planning her business while someone else (us again) handled all the hassle and paperwork.
It was just like one day I wasn't a business owner. And less than a week later, I was. Literally, I press that button, and a few days later, I'm official.
Michelle's Top 3 Business Tools
- Mailchimp: for communicating with clients and potential customers
- Canva: to create professional-quality flyers, infographics and social posts
- Adobe Creative Cloud: because, as Michelle says, "Who doesn't need Adobe?"
Michelle has come a long way. She would say she's come full circle. But there's so much more she wants to write in the story only she can tell: the story of her life as a woman, wife, mother, nurse, survivor and entrepreneur.
And she wants others to do the same. "If you haven't made the step to entrepreneurship and you are longing for that, and that's something you're really thinking about, I would say just plan it out. Figure out if this is something you want to do, and then do it."
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