The lovely Katrina Fox who runs Vegan Business Media, released a wonderful book, Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business late last year. Within the pages you can find an plethora of business knowledge from 65 vegan entreprenuers (like myself) and vegan business owners from all over the world who have all had businesses for at least 5 years. I've been quoting a few of the lessons and stories since reading the book. If you'd like to open a vegan business - and make sure it's sustainable, then start with reading this book.
Katrina took some time out to answer my questions recently:
Why did you decide to write your book?
I’d been working as a journalist for 17 years and that industry was changing, I was looking to put my skills to good use and grow my media coaching, training and consultancy business. I began hanging out with business owners and entrepreneurs and going to networking events but wasn’t meeting the kinds of people I was keen to work with. Any good marketer will tell you to find your ‘tribe’ – the people who, even if they aren’t paying you for your services, you’d want to hang out with anyway. My tribe is vegan business owners and entrepreneurs – or those who are not yet vegan themselves but want to run their businesses on ethical vegan principles.
My mind started percolating with questions: What were the challenges for vegan business owners? How did they overcome them? What did it take to run a vegan business? One night I woke up excited with the idea to find out this information, interview those running their businesses, and write a book. Then I thought someone must have written it already but found they hadn’t. I took that as a sign from the universe that I was meant to write this book! So, in a nutshell, I wrote the book because I wanted to read it and I figured others would want to, as well.
What do you hope to achieve with the release?
That more and more people will be inspired to start their own business and run it on vegan principles. Also, that they will be guided by the many practical strategies and nuggets of wisdom from those who have been there and done it. My big picture is a vegan world – where every shop on the high street selling food, fashion and skincare is all vegan. Vegan businesses have a huge part to play in realising this vision, so I want aspiring and existing vegan business owners to have a tool they can use to be inspired as well as realising what it takes to run a business and avoid as many pitfalls as possible.
What has the response been like so far?
It’s been absolutely wonderful! I’m so thrilled – and relieved! One young woman wrote to me and said it literally changed her life and she’s now launched her vegan food delivery service. Another new business owner said she was so inspired while reading the book that she put it down and took a step that was way out of her comfort zone to grow her business. I was honoured to learn that the book is required reading on Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan academy in New York, which trains and certifies people in vegan lifestyle coaching. I’m really happy that people are finding it valuable and taking action to start their businesses.
What’s the message you want people/activists to take from your book?
It’s possible to create a business based on your passion. At the same time, you have to put in the work and be prepared to be challenged and pushed way out of your comfort zone.
What are your future plans?
I launched a vegan business podcast, Vegan Business Talk, on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and on the VeganBusinessMedia.com blog. It went live last month and will feature interviews with vegan business owners and entrepreneurs from across the globe and a round-up of latest vegan business news each week. I’m also growing my media coaching, training and consultancy services with this clientele to help them raise their profile and succeed.
How long did the book take to create from concept to release?
A year. I deliberately put a deadline on it because I work well with deadlines and it keeps you accountable. I was aware that, because I was interviewing so many people, the project could drag on if I wasn’t careful. It was an intense year but well worth it.
What other vegan people helped you with the book?
Well, in addition to the 65 owners of vegan-run businesses, including marketing and PR professionals that I interviewed and whose insights are woven through the book, the cover and text layout was done by Robin Ridley of Parfait Studio. Robin was great as she’s both a designer and wordsmith. It’s rare to find someone who has high-level skills in both and I thoroughly appreciated her attention to detail and ‘can-do’ attitude. With her managing both the cover and typesetting, this took a lot of stress out of the production process.
Vegan business is a huge growth area right now, which is exciting. There’s never been a better time to start a vegan-run business, so if that’s your dream, go for it. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and hope for the best. Some of the interviewees for the book were working part time and one even full time while running their businesses. Make sure you do your market research and that your product or service stands out. Don’t let fear hold you back. Even the most successful entrepreneurs had to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’!
About Katrina Fox
Katrina Fox is an award-winning journalist, media coach, content marketer, editor of the vegan business blog VeganBusinessMedia.com and host of Vegan Business Talk podcast. She is the author of Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business and has written extensively for niche and mainstream media for 17 years on animal advocacy and ethical business.
- Published: 08 February 2016
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