Since starting to blog at MooreApproved.com, I’ve been seeking opportunities to better myself.
From a young age, I’ve had a strong interest in entrepreneurship. As a senior in high school, I worked 20 hours per week at an engineering firm as a file clerk. On the side, I also had an under the radar endeavor selling soda out of my locker.
Let me explain…
The vending machines at my school wouldn’t start functioning until after classes let out for the day. I was (and still am) a huge soda drinker in the morning rather than coffee, so I would bring my own cans of carbonated goodness in.
My classmates would constantly hit me up for a can. Being a bit of a cheapskate, I started charging them for it. The going price was 75 cents per can, so that meant I made the most profit if I bought my inventory at the lowest price possible.
Whenever there was a great sale on name brand soda, I would usually buy 4-6 cases at a time. My target price per can was around 25 cents. I grew up in a small suburb called Lancaster outside of Buffalo, NY. For the couple weeks it was warm outside, I would store the soda in the refrigerator. Otherwise, I could store it in the back of my car (a hip Ford Escort station wagon!) and it would stay chilled.
That little “business” didn’t make me rich, but it did pay for my own snacks and beverage.
Fast forward to college, where I managed to find two more money-making enterprises. There was a semester where I took a photography course that involved dark room developing. Most of the students in the class purchased photography paper from the college bookstore for around $1 per sheet.
Wanting to save money, I bought larger boxes of 100 sheets from Adorama.com for around $50 – about half the price everyone else was paying.
Toward the end of the semester, everyone was working on final projects for the class when tragedy struck. The bookstore ran out of photo paper!
Because I was the only one who had an easily accessible supply of paper, I sold sheets for $1.
Another class I took was Business Law – where the class required text was West’s Business Law. It’s pretty much the widely used standard, and there are many editions of the book.
I majored in Communication at a very small, private school – Grove City College in Western Pennsylvania.
GCC students mainly bought and sold used textbooks internally, and I bought my copy of West’s Business Law used for about $50.
When I was looking to sell it – I discovered Amazon. This was back in like 2003, when Amazon was just an online bookstore. (Doesn’t it seem like eons ago?)
The going price for West’s Business Law on Amazon was approximately $120-$130. Instead of selling my copy on campus, I listed it on Amazon for more than double the purchase price. After shipping costs and the seller’s fee, I netted around $50.
I thought to myself – why couldn’t I do this again? This arbitrage opportunity seemed potentially lucrative for a college student like myself. I posted signs around campus looking to BUY more copies of West’s Business Law. Sure enough, I found sellers willing to part with them for a range of $45-$55.
This was over a decade ago, but I remember repeating the process with maybe 10-12 books? It wasn’t too time consuming, I just had to buy the books, wrap them, and take them to the post office down the street.
This also didn’t make me independently wealthy, but it did cover the cost of my own textbooks. I estimate profit in the neighborhood of $500 over the course of a couple weeks.
After graduation, I did not start my own business. Instead, I’ve held a string of “real jobs” working for various companies as a media professional.
In the back of my mind, I’ve still always harbored a desire to someday start something on my own.
Moore Approved has been a great outlet to express myself creatively through articles, sewing projects, and producing videos.
Another thing about me is that I’m a rather obsessive Dave Ramsey radio show listener. I love his practical wisdom and advice, and am at the point where I can usually predict what he will say to callers.
Earlier this year, Ramsey Personality Christy Wright (a business coach and motivational speaker) was a guest on the show. She was announcing her new event to help women navigate the challenging waters of business through a conference called Business Boutique.
Almost immediately, I registered for a VIP ticket.
In September, I went to Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour in Atlanta. The VIP ticket was totally worth the extra money. You get much better seating at the front of the venue. Ramsey’s team is like a well-oiled machine with live events. The experience as an attendee was fairly smooth and stress-free due to the high level of organization that must happen behind the scenes.
With Business Boutique, the VIP experience included the best seats in the house, a VIP lounge with water and snacks, a private breakout session with Tennessee Bun Company founder and businesswoman Cordia Harrington, and a catered lunch with some of the speakers.
Prior to the event, Christy and her team set up a Facebook group called Business Boutique Academy. Anyone can join, regardless of attending the conference or not. Before even going to Business Boutique, I made quite a few wonderful connections with other women.
He wasn’t advertised as a speaker for the event, but Dave Ramsey himself made a surprise appearance on the first night! Dave spoke about his mother – who was a real estate agent at a time where the idea of women working at all wasn’t socially acceptable.
Then he introduced the next speaker…
Daughter Rachel Ramsey Cruze – who spoke about personal finance and the burden of debt. She has such a high energy level, and I enjoy when she joins her dad on the radio show.
Plus, I follow her on Instagram – and LOVE her personal style as well.
Christy joined Rachel on stage later, and they shared a horrifying – yet hilarious story about going on the road years ago to speak at a series of Christian teen events.
Friday afternoon I attended a breakout session with social media ‘Queen of Facebook’ Mari Smith. She offered lots of great insight into Facebook’s algorithms, and how to reach the best audience for your business.
Smith is very humorous in a self-deprecating way, and I ended up buying her book later on in the evening. Her husband Chris joined her, and he took the photo above! They are both such lovely and intelligent people!
Harrington was a single mother who established a successful real estate business. Later on, she bought a McDonald’s franchise in Effingham, IL – and made the location hugely successful by also buying a Greyhound bus franchise and putting a bus stop in the McDonald’s parking lot.
As a McDonald’s owner, she joined the restaurant’s corporate bun committee and realized she wanted to become a bun supplier.
During the VIP breakout session, she talked at length about how difficult that process was. McDonald’s told her “no” more than two dozen times to her request to be a supplier. Harrington stressed to us that “no” is just not an option for her.
In 1996, she was able to start the Tennessee Bun Company – which serves many other businesses with baked products.
Cordia Harrington is so warm and kind in person. She sat at our table during lunch, and she is so genuine and authentic. We were able to ask her questions, and I appreciated how she gave everyone an answer with very specific advice. I’ve been at countless events where speakers give canned, generic answers – so this was refreshing to experience firsthand.
Christy Wright is a certified Business Coach who often speaks about work/life balance and small business. As a speaker, she is very engaging, effective, relatable, and high energy.
Throughout my life, I’ve had the opportunity to be in the audience for countless speakers. I’ve also personally interviewed business owners, celebrities, politicians, and public officials. Not everyone has the talent and natural ability to be a motivational speaker.
Christy Wright is definitely in the top 95th percentile for public speakers in my opinion. She really holds her own on stage, but has the ability to organically mesh with others. Her material was a good combination of practical information and uplifting inspiration.
During the conference, Wright hosted a couple panels of business experts. One was more about logistics, setting up a business, taxes, and protocol. The other was more about sales, marketing, and social media.
Another breakout session I signed up for was about Marketing/Branding with Shannon Litton – president and CEO of 5by5 Agency. I wasn’t sure what material would be touched on, but I was impressed by Litton’s presentation. It’s been many years since I took one advertising class back at GCC. Other than that, I don’t have much knowledge in this arena.
If you have a business, I’d highly recommend signing up to get Litton’s entire presentation emailed to you for free. It is indeed the same content from the session, and it’s NOT anything I’d ever heard before.
Besides the speakers, I was able to develop some great relationships with women from around the country and even Canada! We exchanged information, and I look forward to staying in touch with my new friends.
The atmosphere was very warm and inviting, and I didn’t feel “isolated” going by myself.
Since this is a review, there are a few small criticisms I have for Business Boutique:
On the first day, I wanted to get to the venue super early to make sure I snagged a decent parking spot. I’m not from Nashville, and had never been to this church before. I was exploring the property and trying to find my way around, when a very perky gal who was at most 25 spotted me and chirped: “Are you an attendee???”
I said I was, and she instructed me to follow her and she would show me and a couple other women to the “waiting area” outside. Not sure why this bugged me, but I felt this young woman’s tone and treatment was a tad condescending (like I was in trouble for something). Especially since I must be 10 years older than she is, I have 13 years of experience in my field, am married, and I’d paid $279.99 to come to this thing.
It definitely wasn’t very inviting or welcoming – not a great way to make a first impression.
Has that ever happened to you?
I do think I appear to be younger than my real age, and I’ve been treated like a kid before by people who obviously don’t realize I’m 33.
Anyways, I find this type of behavior to be annoying. It seemed somewhat disrespectful, and I personally wouldn’t speak to another woman like that. I never call another woman “hun” or “sweetie” because I don’t like it myself.
Much of the speakers’ material was obviously aimed at mothers. I get it – most of the audience has kids. However, I don’t have children – along with quite a few others I met. It did feel a little out-of-touch to constantly hear these references.
The food/parking situation got a little hairy with 1,200+ people at the venue – a mega church. Friday night, the organizers had arranged for food trucks to roll up in the parking lot. Unfortunately the lines were ridiculously long, so I decided it wasn’t worth it – and attempted to take a power nap instead on a church pew.
After the closing session, I stuck around for about 45 minute afterward to avoid the massive traffic situation in the parking lot.
So – is Business Boutique ‘Moore Approved’?
I’d say yes…
If you have your own business or are interested in entrepreneurship – it’s definitely something to check out.
There will be more of these events in the future, and I may consider this again – if the speaker lineup is different enough.
See you next time!