Member Profile Ann Phan Naturely Shop

Meet Mums & Co Community Member Ann Phan from Naturely Shop.

What does your typical day look like?

Since I have been working on my own business, I like to start my day off on a soothing note. A little mediation, a warm mug of lemon water, perhaps some stretching and exercise, followed by breakfast. Gone are the days where my mornings start with a whirlwind of activity, running around with a phone in one hand and a hairbrush in the other – getting my two little girls ready for school whilst packing their lunch-boxes and checking those emails at the same time.

At the beginning of the week, I usually create a list of tasks with a set of priorities I need to do first. On a daily basis, it's important for me to begin by keeping connected with my team and follow up with vendors and customers requests. Mid-afternoon, I take a few hours of break from work to dedicate to my kids and housework, then it’s back to business at night. To relax and wind down, I love to practise some more meditation or read my favourite book before bed.

Give us your best elevator pitch

Naturely encourages a healthy and sustainable lifestyle by connecting customers and vendors through a one-stop destination community. We aim to have organic health products and wellness services accessible for everyone, especially busy mums.  

What was your trigger to start your business?

I developed my passion for organics after an incident which happened to my youngest daughter. She was suffering from severe eczema and I learned the hard way that the typical steroid creams I used on her may have caused more harm than good. Natural alternatives were, unsurprisingly, what I reached out to treat those persistent skin rashes.  

This experience radically altered my perception with natural products. I have become much more cautious when choosing food and home care products for my family, ensuring that the ingredients and materials used are safe and gentle.

However, I found that visiting different e-commerce sites as well as bricks and mortar stores to purchase reliable organics was a task itself - it became difficult to find well-sourced products.

This was when I decided to start building Naturely. I felt the urge to play my part in informing others about the long-term benefits of using organic products.

I wanted to create a platform where shopping for organic and natural products is easy for everyone.

What is your USP?

Naturely provides customers a one-stop destination to purchase reliable yet affordable organic products and health services. What makes us stand out from the crowd is that we are a user-friendly platform with a wide range of products and services that are readily available.

We are a community which deeply values our customers, and we are always excited to share and exchange advice from health experts to benefit everyone. At Naturely, we believe that customers' wellness is achievable by pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle.

What projects are coming up next?

We are planning to launch an interactive forum to facilitate a strong connection between customers and vendors (organic product sellers & health/nutrition professionals).

This will be a communication platform where customers’ opinions and queries are better valued and responded by qualified health experts.

How do you maintain your motivation?

I listen to podcasts such as “How I built this” with Guy Raz and “The Mentor” with Mark Bouris to get more inspirations from other entrepreneurs, it takes a lot of sweat and determination to build a successful business.

Listening to other stories help me to put challenges that I’m facing in perspective. Also, I take time out regularly for myself or with family to recharge and rejuvenate.

What are your favourite business tools ?

My favourite tools are Trello for team work, Later for social media scheduling and Hubspot for CRM.

Trello is free and easy to use.

Later is very easy to use and it has integrations to most popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Hubspot CRM is a great free tool for small businesses. They also offer discounted premium plans for startups. 

What would you like to see more of when it comes to helping women in small businesses succeed?

I believe that there is always room for greater and better collaborations:

  • Spread the love: Small businesses can leverage their social platforms to give a shout out (or put a spotlight on) to other local small businesses that they love. Sharing things within a circle is probably one of the easiest and most affordable word of mouth marketing tactics. The return favour will then just come naturally.
  • Cross-promotion: Cross-promoting each other’s businesses will help grow and expand the reach of the customers base. It also helps small businesses to save on their marketing expenditure.
  • Collaborations in team training (share the expertise): each small business owner has their own unique skill set that, I think, can be of great help for others. So why not collaborate in team training and grow together? Well-trained people are the key to small business success.

What’s your approach to dealing with the pressures of running your business?

Running a new business can mean filling my life with multiple stressors at a time, so my approach is to always rank my tasks based on order of importance. Focusing on priorities delivers a guidance which I can clearly work through.

Another healthy approach that I’ve recently learnt is to celebrate small achievements.

It can be easy to fall in a spiral when things go wrong, such as customer complaints, or sales drop. However, it is so important to not put pressure on these things, but rather, look to the future and what I’ve done right. 

While a list of things-to-do might sound very familiar to many business owners, I also ensure to have a list of small achieved milestones on my table. It is very encouraging to look at them when I’m stressed or under pressure.

What is one of the most important pieces of advice you would give to someone starting out?

To someone starting a business:

A long journey is ahead. Get ready to fight for it!

Passion leads to success. Great business owners all need a huge passion to keep them from giving up when challenged with difficulties and stress. But passion alone is not enough! A strong motivation to create value for other people’s lives, the essential skills to manage your energy wisely is also of great importance.  

A couple of years into their business:

Surround yourself with like-minded people and keep taking advice all throughout your journey. You are always growing and learning about how to improve your business.

Firstly, learning from others can  quickly solve any problems you are facing alone. I am sure that many of the challenges you confront have been experienced by others. Find out how they overcame them!

Secondly, building a network with other entrepreneurs with the same mindset will help you further develop your business. What’s better than refining or generating business ideas with those that share the same interests? 

Moreover, surrounding yourself with like-minded people can also prevent you from investing on unproductive tasks or unprofitable projects. Not only can you learn from their achievements, but also their mistakes.

What service or expertise could you offer our community?

How to start and grow an ecommerce store, website development, system integrations, and digital marketing.

What supportive networks are you a part of?

  • Mums & Co of course 😊
  • Venture Cafe
  • South West Entrepreneurial Hub group
  • ...and several other Facebook groups.

Connect with Ann via:

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