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How Erica Campbell Turned Her Faith-Based Gift Shop Into A Profitable Business

Erica Campbell had been flying under the radar in The Inner Circle for the past year, but she got my attention recently when she made a post in the group that truly lit me up. Erica’s business Be A Heart, a faith-based gift shop, saw what can only be described as meteoric success. Swept up in her business’s momentum, she did what so many “successful” store owners do and lost sight of the key metrics that should have alerted her to trouble ahead. As Q4 approached, Erica came to the terrifying realization that she was so short on cash she couldn’t afford holiday inventory.

Read on to find out how Erica righted the ship, went from stressed and exhausted to relaxed and excited to keep building on the solid foundation she’s created for her business.

Be A Heart’s Humble Beginnings

Erica’s journey to entrepreneurship started small, when she was a 20-something living in Brooklyn, New York. Working thankless hours at a school and facing some personal challenges, she decided to take up calligraphy in the evenings. She started to post her designs on Instagram under the handle @beaheart , and quickly gained a large following. This early success landed her a new career, this time in LA, creating wedding and event invitations.

After getting married and starting a family in 2018, Erica was ready to let go of the hustle of client work, and decided to strike out on her own selling products featuring her designs. From her original offering of cute baby swaddles, she quickly expanded the range to include other giftable items with a Christian point of view.

More Money, More Problems

Bolstered by her large social media following, Be A Heart saw big success from the get-go. But with no background in business, Erica joined an accelerator program which encouraged her to hire a team to support her fast growth. Because her revenue had surpassed 7 figures, Erica felt confident hiring a team that would allow her to “be the thinker” and stop sweating the small stuff.

But the problem with leaving the details to her team and only looking at the top line numbers is that they weren’t giving Erica an accurate picture of the true health of the business. And with Q4 fast approaching (her biggest season of the year), Erica had a very scary realization – her credit was maxed out and she still couldn’t afford holiday inventory. In the past she had foregone a paycheck at the end of the year, but with a growing family and another move to a new city, she couldn’t afford to do it again.

Something had to give.

 

“When I started, I wanted to employ other women…to provide for more people. But the reality was that in doing so, my family was paying for it. You know, it wasn’t the business [providing] it was my kids who had a stressed out mom who couldn’t be present.”

 

Doing The Hard Thing

On a friend’s advice, Erica read the book “Profit First” and quickly realized she needed to be prioritizing profit, not revenue. If you want to learn more about this type of accounting, check out Episode 82 She began the process of auditing her entire operation to find the leaky bucket – the places in her business that were draining cash without adding value. It was a painful decision, but she let go of most of her team and her ad agency, slashing expenses by 286%. She got into the nitty gritty of her books and applied the Profit First method to her monthly accounting, which much to her surprise revealed that she could pay herself and replenish her inventory. With her finances in order, Erica was able to look at her year holistically and reframe her concept of what “success” looked like.

Revenue Down, Profit WAY UP

So the post I mentioned at the top that really got my attention was Erica’s Inner Circle update – that although her sales were down 11% that month (April) her profit was up ONE THOUSAND PERCENT. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. And what stood out to me really was the confidence in her post. Whereas before Erica would have seen a decrease in revenue and thought she was failing, now she looks at her profit and knows that ultimately her business will be able to weather a bad month here and there.

 

We should always celebrate good sales, but what we should truly celebrate is the store owner who understands the financial health of her business. Most of our students are women who know how to manage debt, provide a good income for their families and themselves, and can sleep peacefully at night. They’re not lying in bed worrying about credit card balances, lines of credit, payroll, or upcoming bills. When you constantly worry about these things, you end up making decisions based on fear.

 

How Erica Scaled Back To Boost Profitability

Erica knows better than to wear all of the hats, but she’s much more discerning now when it comes to delegating. Certain jobs, like social media management and email, are tasks she actually enjoys and is able to manage as long as she schedules them out ahead of time. She is realistic about the time she has each day to dedicate to her business (about 4 hours) and has learned to embrace efficiency, using her time to do only the tasks that will get her closer to her big goals. As a designer, it takes discipline to invest in only her best sellers, but she understands now that there are times when she can’t afford to add new products.

As for her team, Erica learned a lot about what not to do when she was managing a big one. Even though she had promised herself she would not be the type of boss to text her team in the middle of the night with urgent requests, she had found she’d become exactly that. Moving forward, Erica is honest with herself about her ability to manage a bunch of employees. Rather than looking at revenue as the measure of the team’s success, she defines what success looks like for each role. 

She is also now committed to selling more of what she already has (she credits our Ads Made Easy course with enabling her to manage her own social media ads and drive more traffic to her site) and leveraging her inventory management software to keep her best sellers stocked at all times. 

It has made all the difference to know her numbers, dig into the data, and make decisions based on figures, not feelings.

 Looking Ahead

 

“My goal this year is NOT growth. The goal this year is just more profit at the end. And to have that that peace of mind. And to find joy in it again.”

 

Erica has a third baby on the way, so she’s realistic about her goals for the remainder of the year. She’s focused on scheduling things out ahead of time, preparing to spend a little less time working in her business, and filling up her COGS account so that when Q4 hits she isn’t stressed about purchasing inventory.

And the best part is that now she knows exactly how she’s going to make that happen.

If you want to learn more about Erica, the “About Us” page on her website beaheart.com is really exceptional. You can also follow her personal journey on Instagram @EricaTigheCampbell.

RELATED LINKS:

Be A Heart’s Website

www.beaheart.com

instagram.com/beaheartdesign

instagram.com/EricatigheCampbell

3 Things You Can Do To Be More Profitable Today

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/3-things-you-can-do-to-be-more-profitable-today-episode-219/

How To Create Profit Goals

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/how-to-create-profit-goals-episode-209/

Do This Now And Be More Profitable

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/do-this-now-and-be-more-profitable-episode-204/

Gross Profit: Will You Take Charge And Pay Yourself More?

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/gross-profit-will-you-take-charge-and-pay-yourself-more-episode-188/

Pricing To Maximize Profit

https://thesocialsalesgirls.com/pricing-to-maximize-profit-episode-167/

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What To Do When You’re Short Of Cash, Episode 222

What To Do When You’re Short Of Cash, Episode 222

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