Finding the work-life balance you seek inevitably means making choices. Sometimes there are hard choices and sometimes not so hard choices.
For Amber Harmon, the founder and owner of My Nona’s Garden, her choices weren’t so hard. Yes, she gave up a lucrative career. But it required extensive travel and time away from the young family she and her husband were building. Instead, she gained the life she wanted with her young children and the opportunity to follow her passion: gardening.
The challenge she faced was how to make a living pursuing that passion. And so it was, with the help of the Florida SBDC at UCF, that Harmon’s company was born. My Nona’s Garden is in the business of selling and servicing 2 x 8 foot low-maintenance, elevated cedar vegetable box gardens for both business and residential customers. The company makes a fresh, organic, non-GMO vegetable garden possible and its goal is simple: “to bring health into our communities, one garden at a time.”
“My Nona’s Garden is my first time as a business owner. I was going out on my own and didn’t know where to start. That’s why I turned to the Florida SBDC at UCF for help,” Harmon says. “They offered seminars that set me on the right path from the beginning. I learned the basics, received the templates and resources I needed, and was able to get my business plan in order.”
“Then I took advantage of the FSBDC’s unlimited, no-cost consulting services,” Harmon continued. “My FSBDC consultant Chuck Wheeler gave me the guidance I needed. I got in depth assistance on my business plan. He helped me test and validate my ideas about my business concept and my product and services. He enabled me to strengthen my financial projections. And he provided me with ideas and resources to manage important business functions, like obtaining insurance and finding the employees I needed. Chuck was there for me every step of the way.”
Launched in September 2016, My Nona’s Garden is off to a good start. The company had its first customer the day it opened its doors! Along with advertising and exhibiting in the Lake Nona area, she is partnering with a major local developer to promote its community gardens with a gardening workshop series. She is also working with the U.S. Veterans Administration Hospital to teach veterans about the rewards of gardening. Another workshop series is planned for a local retired-living community. And Harmon continues to serve local and metro-Orlando clients interested in purchasing the company’s raised gardens as well as having them serviced by My Nona’s Garden.
“I’m happy with the progress we are making,” concluded Harmon. “I would definitely highly recommend the Florida SBDC to anyone building a business. Whatever stage your business is at, the FSBDC can help. It covers all the bases and can answer all your questions. I’m looking forward to their assistance as I add structure to my business and start to manage its growth.”