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My Hunger for Gr8ness (And How I Started a Clean Granola Business)

 Erica Liu Williams and Gr8nola
Erica Liu Williams and Gr8nola

People always ask what motivated me to start a granola business. (I agree, its a bit random). Looking back, I never considered myself to be the entrepreneurial type, but now I can’t see a future without gr8nola. Two things triggered this hunger for #gr8ness:

  1. Working in tech and being part of startups that were successfully acquired
  2. Seeing many college classmates start their own successful companies— many of whom I never would have thought were the “entrepreneurial type

    The above challenged me to look at my future differently and less linearly. Doing the 9-5 and climbing the corporate ladder is a choice, but not the only option. Could I create something that people love and value while creating value and freedom for myself? There was only one way to find out—just do it!

    As they always say, it's easier said than done because I had no good ideas.

    I found myself with this “entrepreneurial itch” for at least six months without a clue of what to do. Having always worked in tech, I naturally thought I would do something tech-related, but I couldn’t code. I began jotting down every problem or idea that crossed my mind. All I was left with was a full [Ever]notebook, but nothing that ever stuck.

    Then one day, it dawned on me. I was bored in Mississippi, my husband Tank’s home state, during the holiday work lull. Amidst my boredom (which I endearingly refer to as “white space”—time which we all need to reflect and think), I realized I already had a great product in gr8nola, my homemade granola recipe I created during our annual cleanse (it didn’t have a name yet of course).

    However, it happened to be a consumer good, not tech. Looking back, I had to let the idea come to me versus seek it out. I knew I had an amazing product that celebrated clean eating that people also loved for its great taste. And in that moment, I realized this was my opportunity to commit and turn it into a business

    It took a lot of pumping myself up and humility since I knew nothing about the food space or starting a business. A couple months later, I finally trademarked my business name and filed for my LLC. From there, I set a deadline for myself to launch at the local farmers market and just worked relentlessly towards this date. And the rest is HERstory—no looking back! :)

    Biggest lesson learned when starting a business? As soon as you have your idea, map out your next steps and drive action to validate it quickly. There are many things that inspire me, but these two quotes have stuck with me through my journey...

    "Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.” –Andre Malraux


    "We think good ideas to death, when we should be acting them to life.” –Brian G. Jett

    Find your hunger for #gr8ness - and take a bite!

    My Hunger for Gr8ness