We were lucky to catch up with Laura Larkin recently and have shared our conversation below.
Laura, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear about the things you feel your parents did right and how those things have impacted your career and life.
Growing up as a teenager in the ’70s was all about women’s empowerment. I can remember the song by Helen Reddy, “I am woman,” playing on the radio. Although I felt I could have the career I wanted, my parents consistently told me; Laura, you can do anything you want to! So give it your all, and discover what is out there. I wanted to try acting; I was scared, shy, and quiet, but my dad said, I know you can do it. So I started taking acting classes and auditioned for my first play. Although I did not get the part, I felt a fantastic sense of ” I did it.” Throughout my journey in the workforce, I never let doubt stop me. I could never have become an entrepreneur without my parent’s encouragement when I was young.
Laura, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
My name is Laura Larkin; I had a 20-year career as a senior technology specialist. How did I become an entrepreneur? While working for the city, my “cube mate” and I collaborated to start a side hustle; we listened to Gary Vaynerchuk, Andy Frisella, and others while working. We decided to create Sweet New Baby’s business, a photo-sharing website, pre-Facebook. We worked hard, spent our extra money, and then Facebook appeared. It was a lesson learned but the start of some fantastic projects. I went on to open a juice bar but realized after a year that having a brick-and-mortar store was not as fun as I thought while I was also still working full time. I then began to think about retiring early, so I went back to school in my spare time and became an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I’ve always been passionate about health and Nutrition, so this was going to be the perfect fit. However, what I thought I would do turned out to be something different. I started a Non-Profit, The Delia Foundation, where we have a center for orphan children with disabilities with an emphasis on Nutrition. We have been in operation for four years now. We also have a new program in Phoenix called Bluvillage Respitality, a non-profit and for-profit business model. I started a benefit Corporation, Charity Pots, which is just getting off the ground in my spare time. Charity Pots is an online store. We offer meaningful ways for you to make a difference. Every seed purchased helps support small grassroots non-profits. Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future by connecting our customers with small businesses, respective artisans, and eco-conscious products.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I have always been the type of person that wants to do everything myself and my way. I ask for advice and listen, but most of the time, I listen to myself. I had to unlearn being that person with the Delia Foundation and Charity Pots. I had to take a step back and listen and let others step in. You cannot run a company or a nonprofit alone; you need a strong team and partners that share your vision. I have been so fortunate to have such an incredible team around me.
Other than training/knowledge, what do you think is most helpful for succeeding in your field?
To be a successful business owner/entrepreneur, the best thing you can do to succeed is never giving up and know when to give up and move on. For example, I did not want to give up on owning a juice bar, but I realized it was not the right fit for me.