Big dream, small business | Shop-owner got her start at UMKC business center

While many people dream of one day starting their own business and working for themselves, there is always an overwhelming fear and great risk.

How can I be successful? Where do I start? These were the kinds of questions Johanna Miller asked herself when she first had the idea to turn a hobby into a business.

With the help of UMKC SBTDC, Miller turned her yarn dyeing hobby into a successful small business. (Source:: Johanna Miller).

With the help of UMKC SBTDC, Miller turned her yarn dyeing hobby
into a successful small business. (Source:: Johanna Miller).

Miller owns an online shop called Potion Yarns. She sells hand-dyed yarns to artists and crafters who use them for their projects.

Miller has been a knitter for years. She got the idea to dye yarn for the first time when she was working on a project and could not find the specific color that she wanted. Soon, dying yarn became a hobby.

Miller, who was already self-employed as a hair stylist, had always wanted to open another business. She was unsure if she could turn this hobby into something successful. This is where the UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) helped.

UMKC SBTDC helps both aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners. They are a part of the UMKC Innovation Center and The Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center. The center offers a range of classes, from social media to financial planning, and employs counselors who specialize in all different aspects of owning a business.

Miller completed the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program at UMKC SBTDC and loved her experience. She learned how to research a business idea, as well as the foundations of owning a business.

The program attracted Miller because it did not require any previous business experience and was not a huge commitment of money or time. She said the things she learned served as encouragement to open her business and a springboard into other, more specific classes.

“The [program] is really empowering because it teaches you to not see your limitations as limitations,” Miller reflected. “It teaches you how to look at them as achievable challenges that you can find a solution to and it teaches you how to find that solution.”

While starting a business is still a risk, it can be a manageable one. Miller said her experience at UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center gave her the tools she needed to make her dream possible.

You can find Millers yarns on her online shop, www.potionyarns.com. To learn more about the UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center, visit the center at 4747 Troost Ave., Suite 104A, or call 816-235-2947.

jlm5y3@mail.umkc.edu

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