Hilary Kearney, founder of Girl Next Door Honey, wearing a beekeeping outfit and tending to bees.
Entrepreneur Hilary Kearney grew Girl Next Door Honey from a small business into an essential, education-based company. — Tosca Radigonda

Hilary Kearney knows what it’s like to have a dream. After all, her thriving business Girl Next Door Honey began as just that.

Kearney’s No. 1 piece of advice to other entrepreneurs is to go after their dreams instead of just thinking about them. She recommends starting with something small, like making a to-do list or an inspiration board. Putting your wildest dreams down on paper is the first step toward making them a reality.

From entrepreneurial dream to successful education business

Kearney started living her dream in 2012 with the launch of her company. She’d always been fascinated with bee behavior and wanted to understand it better. That’s when she began beekeeping.

She noted that even though bees are one of the most studied animals, they’re so complex that there’s always something new to learn. This desire to learn more is what drives Kearney’s passion for the business.

Girl Next Door Honey is unique in the beekeeping world because Kearney’s profits don’t come from honey sales.

“Girl Next Door Honey is an education-based bee business,” Kearney explained. “I teach beekeeping classes, create educational tools, visit schools, host apiary tours, rescue wild bee colonies, and I have written two books.”

[Read More: Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A New Business]

If you can get yourself to take just one step, that will get you excited to take the next one.

Hilary Kearney, founder, Girl Next Door Honey

When Kearney first began her business, she started small. Because she didn’t have access to a lot of land or money, Kearney ended up putting bees in other people’s backyards. This decision grew into the basis of her business: connecting others with bees.

“The general public doesn’t know enough about bees or how important they are,” Kearney explained. “Having backyard hives helps connect people to their local ecosystem. They see the consequences of pesticides, climate change, loss of habitat/forage all in their own backyards through the health of their beehive.”

Given that pollination is critical for food production, Kearney’s business isn’t just educational, but environmentally necessary.

Constantly innovate to grow your business

Kearney’s success comes from two major sources: identifying a need and constantly innovating. By recognizing the lack of general knowledge about bees, Kearney was able to tap into an underserved market. She didn’t stop there, either. She found more ways to diversify her business, including publishing books about beekeeping and apiary tours.

“I’m someone who always has more ideas than I have time for, so I think that’s part of [my success],” Kearney admitted. “My creative brain is just always at work. I think it’s important to pursue things you enjoy and that you are good at, but also you have to look for whether there is a need.”

Kearney recommends starting small and gradually scaling up. New businesses require actions, not just ideas. Even if it’s just making a quick sketch of your logo, Kearney recommends starting somewhere.

“If you can get yourself to take just one step, that will get you excited to take the next one,” Kearney said.

[Read More: 4 Ways To Make Your Small Business More Innovative]

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CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Published February 01, 2022