Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
My name is James Roberts, and I am a male African American Entrepreneur. I started Invigor U at the beginning of the year. My mother has been dealing with diabetes and my father has had to take many different medications that have affected his immune system. I was looking for a product that would help both of them improve their health for the long term. And it was by the Grace of God that these products came to me, but the journey has been a slow process. My desire is to help as many people as I can have also helped to sustain me through this time. And Invigor U is one way that I have been able to do so.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
My responsibilities as the owner of Invigor U, including managing my online store, ad and marketing design, advertising, and growing my customer base, managing inventory or product and materials, and product fulfillment. Trying to handle these aspects of owning a company has not been easy. This is mainly due to my 9 to 5 position, which averages 10 to 12 hours a day. These hours leave little time to focus on Invigor U.
What are your best selling products, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?
The current best selling product is the Drink 2 Shrink detox tea. It is made from all-natural ingredients, which include: Holy Thistle, Persimmon leaves, Malva leaves, Marsh Mallow leaves, Blessed Thistle, Papaya, Ginger, Chamomile, and Myrrh. The Invigor U Drink 2 Shrink works for everyone, which is a major accomplishment in itself. Keeping in mind the fact that body chemistry differs from person to person, and the level of toxification does as well. But by drinking 16 ounces daily, customers are able to feel and see results in as little as 8 hours after consumption. As the body begins to rid itself of the toxins, it begins to operate more efficiently without fatigue and increases metabolism promoting weight loss. All the while minimizing joint pain and stomach distress.
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What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
To me, the greatest joy about being an entrepreneur is the fact of knowing that I am providing a product or service that someone else needs or desires. The knowing and feeling of adding value and making an impact in someone else’s life. Because I know when I help make someone else’s life better, I am making my own life better, and the world a little better as well.
There is usually a flip side to the coin and entrepreneurship is no exception. The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is time. There seems to be enough of it, for example; it took me more than a week to fill this questionnaire. Juggling my 9 to 5 position, where I average 10 to 12 hours, then to take care of the other life responsibilities that I have. It seems that my entrepreneurial desires take a back seat to the rest of my life.
Who do you sell to (and how do you get customers)? What marketing tools or strategies you use to boost your sales? Are you satisfied with the results?
Most of my product is sold to those who are looking to improve their health and lose weight. I began marketing mostly on Facebook and sales were pretty good and steady. But after the quarantine began to take effect sales began to slow. That is when I decided to branch out and establish an Etsy store. I still social media, but I also use every selling app I can find in order to boost my sales. I am still analyzing the results, but they could always improve.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
I do, I believe that there is always a process that best fits every business that maximized the potential of that business. At this time I am still searching for that process for my business and myself.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
When quarantine when to effect and the slow down happened. It seemed like for quite a while that no one was making any purchases. So I began to think that maybe quarantine was going to be the end of my business. I was still working on my 9 to 5, but I had to fight against discouragement. To some, it may seem insignificant, but this is my first profitable business. And after seeing this going positively for the first couple months, then to have them take a dramatic turn. Those sudden shiftings can greatly affect you mentally. But Thank God that He gave me the strength to press through the tough time.
What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?
God gives me the needed inspiration to create. It mostly happens when observing different products, then going through processes in mind to see how I can improve or change the product to make it better or my own. Daydreaming about possibilities is one of the best methods that I use to get creative.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
I do offer international shipping. But I have not had any international orders yet. For domestic orders, it usually takes 3 to 5 business days. Domestically, I do offer free shipping. The shipping is something I want to take care of for my customer, which I hope gives them another incentive to purchase from me. My products are frozen before shipping, they are then packaged in thermal bags in order to help keep them as fresh as possible.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
For me, there are three key things that I have learned and had to keep in mind since starting on this journey. 1. Is Faith and Belief: My Faith in God and my Belief that by following His instruction that I will be not just successful but victorious how been my very foundation. 2. Times of Hardship and the possibility of Failing is all a part of the journey, but this should not discourage you nor stop you. You are not a Failure even if you Fail, because Failing is an action. And you do not personify the action of the Failing. Instead, personify Perseverance and Determination to be Victorious. 3. Give; I know as an entrepreneur the whole idea is to make money, as much and as fast as possible. But if you want to do that then you have to learn how to Give, not just monetarily, but also of your time beyond your business. Do not wait until you are successful to find someone to help become come successful. As you Learn, Teach.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
As an entrepreneur, you have to Believe in yourself and that you will be successful. You must also keep in mind that hardships come and failing is possible, but that should not keep you from taking the risk or leap of faith. Learn how to give; not just monetarily, but of yourself. Find someone to help and teach, as you journey along the entrepreneurial road. Helping someone else become successful, makes your success all the more meaningful.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
Business success to me means having the freedom and peace of mind to be able to do anything you would like to do at any time. Such as go on a trip, go to an expensive restaurant, buy whatever you would like. But importantly of all, business success to me means the ability to help anyone who God puts in my path that needs help. So to me, business success means having the ability to give without having to look at my bank accounts first. God has Blessed me in order for me to be a Blessing to someone else.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I normally get up a six and publish a few advertisements on social media. I will check my messages and orders, and prepare my products to be shipped out. I will then get ready for my 9 to 5. After that, I will box up all products and ship them out on my way to work. During work, I may publish a few advertisements, answer any messages, and check orders. After work, I will prepare any orders I may have received during work and publish a few more advertisements. I then work on some of the volunteer assignments that I have each week.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
The best and quickest way for me to grow my business and increase profitability would be to convert more of my listing views and favorites into purchasing customers. I am still working out the strategy needed to accomplish this goal.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I believe the vibrant pictures and signing up for the Etsy advertisement, have helped me get a lot of views on my listing. But on the flip side, I believe not having the testimonial results up and not taking the time to do a little bit more research about the services and processes of Etsy caused me to have to play catch up and potentially lose out on business.