Thursday, March 21, 2013

Outside My Comfort Zone

Perhaps the autumn die-off of nearly half of the United Nectar hives was a gift in disguise. How so, you ask?

WomenVenture is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women-owned businesses by providing microloans, working capital, education and ongoing consultation through all stages of business.

In early March I began a WomenVenture small business class through the generosity of a grant from the Kingfield Neighborhood Association.  The 'Be Strategic' class is aimed at people who have been in business but want to take a more professional approach to growing that business.

I have spent the last seven years learning how to tend hives; every visit to the apiary teaches me something new.  That said, I have not succeeded as well at splitting my time and energy between my family, my apiary and my full-time job.  

I am reaching outside my comfort zone being so planful. United Nectar was born out of my love of beekeeping and I have been following my bliss, as they say.  With a job and two kids, pets and all that entails, I have not taken the time to sit down and look at the iniative long-term.  Also, subjecting my ideas to the scrutiny of others does not come naturally, so the class is certainly a stretch for me. 

Because of the class workload, I have decided not to replace any of the colonies that failed last fall.  I will split the remaining colonies and tend them throughout the summer and the lighter workload will allow me to finish the class and come up with a sustainable business and financing plan for United Nectar.  My goal is to tend hives seasonally and work part-time in the winter.

So far the class has been fruitful.  United Nectar now has a Mission Statement:

In support of honey bees and a balanced environment, United Nectar tends healthy, sustainable hives producing high-quality minimally-processed raw honey and beeswax for sale and resale.

My goal is to create a business where I can keep bees, mentor new beekeepers, teach beekeeping and honey education classes and sell honey, beeswax and value-added apiary products both wholesale and retail.

The trick will be to hammer out the numbers for a financially feasible business model and find some funding.  I have no doubt, given the current environment, that the business, planned-well, will be successful.

Onward & Upward!


  1. I hope my bees were ok. The dog yard is still messy, but I hope it dries enough to clean it this weekend. I hope my yard will once again be a host for a hive of bees. I loved watching them last year and talking with them.

  2. garden chicken is theresa rooney in the longfellow neighborhood. I had the chickens in the back yard too.


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