Clicking into Place: Resilient Entrepreneurship in Los Angeles
Los Angeles based small business owner Kim Meckwood shares her tips for networking, creativity, and perseverance to help entrepreneurs reach their goals.
For Los Angeles entrepreneur Kim Meckwood, starting a business was never part of the plan. But when she had a creative product idea, she embarked on a business journey that changed her life. Now more than a decade into that journey, Kim shares a few key lessons for women entrepreneurs starting a new chapter through business ownership.
Kim Meckwood didn’t set out to start a business, she just set out to solve a problem: carrying a huge load of groceries by herself through crowded Los Angeles is logistically and physically difficult. That challenge sparked a fantastic idea for Kim, and the Click & Carry was born.
The innovative product had so much potential, but Kim needed to build more than just a product prototype in order for Click & Carry to succeed. So she got to work, and she learned a lot along the way.
What you know is important, but who you know can be a game-changer.
Kim remembers all sorts of people, both professional and personal connections, who contributed to her business in some way. Her friend encouraged her to take the leap and develop the product “instead of just talking about it,” and a neighbor of Kim’s in Los Angeles just happened to be connected to a manufacturing facility that ended up creating the first version of Kim’s Click & Carry.
As she continued to build the business, Kim seized opportunities to grow her network by connecting with small business development centers and entrepreneurship groups in and around Los Angeles. She also built a network of potential investors and advisors by participating in pitch contests, networking events, and conferences in her area.
Kim also built her network by participating in inaugural cohort of the FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab, powered by nonprofit partner Accion Opportunity Fund and e-commerce consultancy 37 Oaks. This four-month program provides immersive e-commerce courses and workshops, coaching from industry experts, networking with fellow entrepreneurs, and online sales support for small business owners like Kim to continue to grow their e-commerce sites.
Kim advises other entrepreneurs to be open to helping their fellow business owners, because those good deeds can create strong connections that will open doors in the future. Kim’s network has helped her perfect the Click & Carry product and build a strong customer base, all because she was willing to connect with new people.
Life still happens when you’re running a business.
All business owners, but especially women entrepreneurs, must be masters of multi-tasking in order to succeed. Women business owners are more likely than men to need to balance family responsibilities and full-time work alongside their entrepreneurial ambitions, and this was certainly true for Kim: she worked full time in medical device sales for several years while Click & Carry was getting off the ground. Living in Los Angeles certainly isn’t cheap, and Kim wanted to wait until it was financially responsible to enter the business full time.
Kim also experienced a major health scare while balancing her day job and Click & Carry. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo two surgeries, among other treatments, to ensure a clean bill of health. The emotional and financial consequences of this brush with cancer changed the trajectory of Click & Carry’s growth, but more importantly, it changed Kim’s life forever. Luckily, she’s now able to add another title to her growing list: not only is she an inventor and an entrepreneur, but now she is a survivor.
It’s okay to get knocked down – as long as you always get back up.
Becoming a cancer survivor reinforced a lesson that entrepreneurship had been teaching Kim for years: perseverance will get you everywhere. Just like she refused to give up on her health, Kim also refused to give up on Click & Carry, even when success didn’t come easy.
For example, Kim set a goal to get major national exposure for Click & Carry via the television show Shark Tank, since her product is perfectly suited for that kind of opportunity. She applied every chance she got for eight years before she was finally accepted. She still holds the record for the most applications submitted in the show’s history.
It’s that kind of dedication and tenacity that makes Kim’s story so instructive to other business owners. She reminds, “It’s really okay to fail. You just have to get back up and keep going. That’s what gives you grit.”
All entrepreneurs, but especially women, can learn from Kim’s savvy networking, creativity, and perseverance. Find more resources for women-owned businesses here.