Last week I had the chance to sit down with two amazing ladies, a life-long friend, Tiffany Ferrell and her sister, Karissa Jones, to discuss their new business and how they managed to reinvent themselves and successfully balance it all.
First, a little background. Tiffany and I met back in Junior High and became fast friends; we had very similar outgoing personalities. Over the years we dated guys in the same circle, were in Cheerleading together and basically became inseparable. Her sister, Karissa, was always along for the ride, as sisters often are. Recently, this amazing sister-duo started their own small business, The Cone Connection. I’m thrilled to bring their story of empowerment and courage to you in this month’s blog.
We're very organized. We set a timeframe of what needed to happen before we went to the next stage.
Q: What inspired you to start The Cone Connection?
KJ: Tiffany and I grew up in the restaurant business. We had always talked about owning our own food truck and how fun that would be. I was at a local ice cream shop when the owner mentioned he was selling his ice cream truck. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, I just sort of filed in in my mind. I knew in my heart that we were going to get that truck, but I kept it to myself for a while. Part of me was concerned that if I vocalized it to Tiff and said no, I would be sad about it. A month or so later I just happened to mention it to her casually at a swim party and she was instantly like, “let’s do it.” So, we did.
Q: Wow, just like that? No hesitation?
TF: Yeah, it’s weird because usually I’m the worry wart, but for whatever reason I just knew it was right. I didn’t have IBS over it so I knew it was the right thing to do. Initially my husband got mad because he was worried we made a huge financial purchase, but he came around quickly. I really wasn’t thinking of anything – it felt right and I wasn’t stressed. It was meant to be.
Q: What have you learned about yourself in the process of starting your own business?
KJ: That I’m capable!
TF: I can take a leap of faith with no safety net and succeed. Because of COVID we’ve had so many obstacles, yet here we are doing what we set out to do. You expect it not to go smoothly, but when you’re in the thick of it, you just have to shift your plans. We learned we can form out a DMV form properly.
KJ: The DMV was seriously the hardest part!
Q: What advice do you have for women that want to start their own business but haven’t made the leap yet?
KJ: Get out of your head! What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Ask yourself, if it doesn’t work out, am I ok with that? If you are, then you’re already ok with the worst possible outcome. The chances of that happening are minimal.
TF: Spit out everything that could go wrong and see how you’d deal with it, know what your strengths and needs are, and be realistic. Trust that you can do it.
Q: What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
TF: I can’t say there is one specific piece of bad advice, but I can’t stand unsolicited advice. Not that I want to be right, but if I want advice, I will ask you. It’s like when you have a baby and everyone tells you how to handle things. Everyone’s business is diff because you’re an individual. How do you know I didn’t think of that already? I probably did, but there’s a good reason I didn’t choose that option.
KJ: To me when people offer advice, they are showing they care. They think they have knowledge that could help and want to share it. If it comes from a place of love, it’s not annoying. Worst piece I’ve ever been given was get a 9-5 job! That has come from so many people. In 30 years, you can retire and have state benefits. Which is fine for some, but any type of long-term commitment suffocates me. I’m not meant to work in a cubicle.
Q: Tiffany, how has starting your own business changed how you parent?
TF: It really hasn’t changed. It’s been a great benefit because I can still be there the kids. My priorities remain wife, mother, everything else. That’s my legacy and that’s why I had kids – I want to be there for them. They get to see me work full time and run a business which is also full time. I’m teaching them responsibility; we have them help. We started when we were young and I want them to see what we do. They said, “We are going to rake it in.” I had to set them straight, “No first we rake it out. We have to work hard to get the money.” Olivia, our youngest, always helps, so she definitely gets a cut at the end of the season.
KJ: We can pass it down to them someday too.
Q: Karissa, you’re a newlywed, how are you finding time for your hubby, dog and cat?
KJ: I’ve always been the type to have a full schedule; I keep busy. I actually recently reduced my number of commitments because I need to nurture my marriage. It can be easy to put it aside or put it on back burner. It’s still cooking, but I wasn’t focused on it. So, I took some things off the stove. We plan date nights, so we have dedicated time to together, which we both look forward to. We really enjoy watching bad TV and decompressing together. When things get really hectic, it’s important for your spouse to know this isn’t permanent. Get them to support you. We ask, “What can I do more of now or can you do more of during this busy period?” Slack has to be shared – we’re a team.
Q: Is there anything you would do differently if you had to start your business all over again?
KJ: Educate myself a little more on lingo and terms, but not really anything else. I don’t like to dwell on what I should have done differently – it’s already done.
TF: Maybe save more financially for it. Overall, the process flowed well. We’re very organized; I love my lists and office supplies, which is helpful. We set a timeframe of what needed to happen before we went to the next stage. It went smoothly given the pandemic. Actually, I would change the pandemic and not have one.
KJ: Well, I disagree. Because we had a slower start, it helped us make adjustments where we needed to. It forced us to slow down in other areas, so we could focus on the business. I would have been doing all the other stuff I’m involved in, full force. Where would I have had the time? I would’ve been miserable.
TF: True, I would have been in the thick of baseball season.
Q: What do you love most about having your own business?
KJ: That it’s ours and that we do it together. Everyone loves it; it feels good to inspire others. It makes others so happy. It’s an ice cream truck but it represents more than ice cream. People look at it like I want this, but they really are vocalizing whatever their dream might be. I love bringing that out of people.
TF: I get excited we’re doing it together and we have someone to celebrate with. We have a lot of fun! I almost flew out the window the other day, Karissa takes those turns a little fast. Make sure you’re insured. That’s another piece of advice!
Q: Many women find it hard to find “me” time and prioritize ourselves. How do you make sure you’re getting time for yourself and how do you spend “me” time when you get it?
TF: Well, what constitutes "me" time? It might be getting my nails done, or if I’m missing my friends, I’m calling and texting them to plan dinner. It might be watching the boys play baseball. Tapping into what you enjoy and making sure it’s scheduled in works for me. It’s on the calendar, so it doesn’t get pushed away.
KJ: I love makeup and skin care. At the end of the night after my shower, there is nothing better than putting a mask on my face. I also meditate every day – usually at night, sometimes in morning to set my intention.
Q: My sister and I tend to have a love/hate relationship. So, I have to ask it: do you ever fight with each other? And if so, how do you resolve it to ensure the family business stays intact?
KJ: We really don’t fight. We just have times where one isn’t understanding the other and it’s almost comical, yet frustrating. Like Tiffany with math.
TF: I am awful at math!!
KJ: But we get there eventually – we’re a good yin and yang. She keeps us organized and does the bookings. I do the math and inventory, so it’s a good balance. We know each other’s weaknesses. It’s just like a friendship, you don’t get mean and nasty, you love, adjust, and fill in the gaps.
TF: We do get frustrated…like when someone loses their credit card a few times.
KJ: I found it right away!
TF: We set the business up as an LLC, so it’s a 50/50 split. Each person pulls their weight. It’s clear in the agreement who does what. We have open communication – we talk a lot. We’re making memories together – not a lot of money yet, but we’re having fun. We don’t want relationships to dissolve. At the end of the day it’s a business, but family is more important.
Tiffany and Karissa, thank you so much for your time and sharing your experiences with us today. You’re inspiring so many women to bet on themselves and stop letting their fears hold them back.
Q: I’ll give you the last word. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TF: Just go for it. You’ve got to. Everyone is creative in their own way and it’s cool to see different ideas and companies out there. It inspires others to make a change and spreads in a good way.
KJ: It’s nice to be motivation for other people. We can be an example for others on the fence. Be good to yourself, manifest what you want, put it in the universe, tell everyone so they can hold you accountable. You will prove yourself right. You never prove yourself wrong. Speak your truth.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Cone Connection, you can follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheConeConnection.
If you’re thinking about starting a business and having trouble overcoming your fears, a Life Coach might be what you need to get you over the hump. Learn more about how I help clients like you, EDIT™ Your Life and achieve your goals. As always, thanks for reading and have a beautiful day.