Chivah GrantQ: Your Name
A: Chavah Grant

Q: Your Business
A: Vida Chic Designs: Events/Wedding planning and decor

Q: Years in Business
A: 5 total: 4 in TX and 1 in Hawaii

Q: Business Structure

Q: What are some things you like about being in business for yourself?
A: The fun thing about owning a business in general is the satisfaction you get from knowing you built something – with your own hands – that is now profitable. The thing I appreciate about my specific business is the instant gratification when you’ve done a good job. I don’t know of any other job where gwhere the entire family makes an effort to hug and genuinely thank you for being such a big part of such a special day. The oohs and aaaaaahs when they walk into a beautiful candlelit room is so rewarding. It really doesn’t get any better. Most people go to work and ultimately don’t know what they’re even doing/affecting. I do instantly. It’s amazing.

Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
A: Besides the obvious issues that come with relocating constantly, one of my biggest challenges as a female business owner is trying to do too much myself. Just because I CAN do it all myself doesn’t mean I should and being a young female entrepreneur  has a lot of challenges on it’s own. Because of the preconceived “she doesn’t know what she’s doing” attitude I constantly feel like I have so much to prove and in turn react by attempting to do everything just to prove that I can. I’m learning how to deal with that and not let others perception of what I can/can’t do not change how I operate.

Q: How has being a military spouse, Veteran or Veteran spouse helped/challenged your business?
A: It has forced me to expand. I actually never thought I would be in a place in business to have more than one location. That just seems unfathomable when you’re 25 and just putting all the pieces together. Now I realize how easy it is once you have your wheels in motion. The military lifestyle really makes you fully understand how small the world really is. It has completely expanded my horizons in ways I hadn’t even thought about before. My original plan was to be a dominant force in the events arena in San Antonio and Austin, TX but after having to move and restart things I have a great understanding of what it takes to transplant and rebuild but with so much more knowledge. The knowledge the military lifestyle has given me is truly invaluable.

Q: What are some things people may not know about your business?
A: It’s changing! The  newest project is sharing this amazing career opportunity with other military spouses. I am working on a course that I will roll out to the military spouse community for people that would like to get into the events/wedding industry. After taking the course they’ll have the opportunity to come on as an independent coordinator under Vida Chic. We’re working to complete and get the curriculum accredited so we can start to enroll planners. Because this is such a universal skill that they can take with them as they move from duty station to duty station it makes this the most ideal career for spouses, especially since it gives them the ability to stay home during the week and do most of their work on the weekends. They’ll get the flexibility of having their own business but we’ll take care of all the financial and legal elements. Win/win!

Q: What would you like your customers/future to know about you and your business?
A: We are expanding and inviting other military spouses to be a part of this industry under a fully functioning event brand. I wish I’d had someone to teach, coach and get me started 5 years ago so I am making that happen. The hardest part is legal, taxes, invoicing and admin issues and we take all of those obstacles out of the way. The fun part is your job. It doesn’t get better or easier. Start your business 10 steps ahead.

Q: For fellow military spouses considering a business, what advice would you give them?
A: I would say two things:
1) Give your business enough room to evolve by listening to your buyers. When  I started I was doing Interior and Event Design. Wedding/Event design took over and I let it. I fought at first to really keep interior design going because it’s what I loved but numbers don’t lie. When I was looking over P and L reports and looking at the margins I realized I would embrace what was working the best. Your core values should stay the same but give your business room to be what it’s going to be. Your consumers are the key to your business thriving – let what they’re telling you (hopefully in the form of $$$) speak louder than your own thought of what your business should be. If you sell 20 items but consumers only really buy 3 main items – you now need to focus on selling those 3 items and get rid of the others. Stubbornness has killed more businesses than people care to admit.
2) Know that running your own business is not for the faint of heart. If you get bored easily or are shy – this may not be for you. If you hate dealing with people or think being “the boss” is glamorous – this probably isn’t for you either. You really have to embrace the fact that this is constant a battle even when you’re successful! Owning a successful businesses simply means you are dealing with the same problems on a bigger scale. So if the beginning seems too scary, it only gets scarier from there. Once you fully understand this – you’re ready to go.The good thing is that many people affiliated with the military have a higher tolerance for fear. It really takes a lot. That’s why this demographic make the greatest entrepreneurs.

Q: We all have lessons learned to hard way, tell about a business experience that you’ve had where you had to learn something the hard way.
A: Your cheapest client is your most expensive client. I interned under a famous event designer who’s done events for Obama and won awards from David Tutera. She’s the real deal. I used to see her pawn off “cheaper clients” and I never understood why. I thought it was rude. “Money is money”, right? Wrong. So wrong. I understand now that these type of people really fight for every little thing. They’ll knit pick every penny. They time you spend explaining every cent could be spent in so many other ways. They will be the most thankless, unappreciative and cheapest clients with potential to really hurt you (bad reviews, badmouthing, etc) in the long run. It’s better to politely decline working with them in the beginning and refer them out. I learned this the hard way several times. The worst was explaining tax added that I didn’t tell them about. Yuck. But remember – a client on a budget is different from a cheap client. Realize the difference and stick to your gut. All money is not good money. Be selective even in the beginning.

Q: If you could go back to the day you started your business with the knowledge you have now, what would you change?
A: I would start sooner. I spent a few years dabbling, thinking and deciding and another year trying to perfect the website. Start now. Where you are. And work through the problems as they arise. We waste so much time thinking and contemplating and not knowing how/where to start. I would be so much farther with that extra 3 years I lost waiting and once I started I thought “Why didn’t I start this years ago?!?!?!”

Q: What do you wish you had more access to? How can MSBAcademy and/or MSBA help you?
A: I would love to get help in accrediting this course and getting the word out about it. We’ll probably open presales in June once I’m a little farther along but accreditation will be a huge undertaking and an even bigger expense so I’d love any pushes in the right direction. We’ll be able to offer it without accreditation as a regular online course either way but that would be an amazing step.
Legal help for the best way to structure this new plan would be amazing also.

Q: Website/Contact info