LivePlan has helped Mona turn a hobby into a growing, successful small business.

In the beginning, Mona worked with concrete as a hobby.

She was introduced to the artistic properties of the material through her now-husband, who creates larger concrete pieces. “He was focusing on countertops and making furniture out of concrete, and I just got really interested in the material,” says Mona. “So, when we met, I wanted to learn a little bit more about it.”

Mona was drawn to the contrast of creating delicate, handmade products out of something as heavy and rugged as concrete. “I think a huge selling point is that it's kind of an unexpected experience,” she explains. “A lot of times when you think of concrete, you think of industrial, rough material. It's actually a really smooth, polished finish, and I think a lot of people are really surprised by that.”

Mona's concrete homewares.
Mona's concrete homewares.

Turning a hobby into a small business

Mona didn't initially plan on turning her interest in creating concrete products into a business. “It really just started off as a hobby and being able to just sell things here and there, just to have a little bit of income and to have a creative outlet,” she says.

She began by creating smaller concrete homewares with an earthy, rustic feel, a product line that feels both artistic and beautiful as well as solid and industrial.

“It's so rewarding to interact with customers—to have someone purchase something and come back later and say how much they love it, and to spread the word to other people.”

“We started off with coasters,” says Mona. “That was our primary product that we made, and we made them together. We got really great reception from the Atlanta community. We sold them at a festival and had a lot of success and got inquiries about selling them locally in stores.”

While Mona planned to sell her products, she'd initially thought of it as a hobby first. However, the strong reception her products received made her think twice—could she turn her newfound hobby into a business?

Just like that, Mona Does Concrete was born.

Mona's concrete homewares, including cheese boards, coasters, and vases.
Mona's concrete homewares, including cheese boards, coasters, and vases.

Finding fulfillment through the process of creation

Mona is, at heart, and artist and a maker. For her, the process of physically designing, feeling, and creating her products is immensely satisfying. “I really like the fact that you're working from conception,” she says. “Where you're thinking about the product, then you're actually making it. Then, you're actually taking it to market and selling it.”

“Initially, when I was thinking of a 'business plan,' I was thinking of a 200-page document. It gets really overwhelming, and then I have a hard time in moving forward. So, LivePlan has been really great.”

With this comes the joy of being able to see her products go out into the world, hear her customers' responses, and see them feel and appreciate her work. “It's so rewarding to interact with customers—to have someone purchase something and come back later and say how much they love it, and to spread the word to other people,” she says. “These people come up all the time that say, 'My friend has this,' or, 'My friend got me these coasters and I love them.'”

For Mona, the ability to connect with customers and share her artwork with them is the most rewarding part of running Mona Does Concrete. “It's been great to go to a show and have something new, and have people come and react with it and give you feedback,” says Mona. “It's just so fulfilling. I love it. It would probably be my favorite part of being a maker. I can't imagine anything else taking over that feeling.”

Mona at work in her studio.
Mona at work in her studio.

LivePlan helps clarify vision and take a proactive approach

LivePlan has helped Mona turn a hobby into a growing, successful small business. As someone without prior small business experience, she felt intimidated by the idea of writing a long, complicated business plan.

“Initially, when I was thinking of a 'business plan,' I was thinking of a 200-page document,” says Mona. She felt daunted by the idea of compiling all the information about her business herself, and turning it into a business plan without any outside help. “It gets really overwhelming, and then I have a hard time in moving forward,” she says. “So, LivePlan has been really great.”

“Our planning was a little bit more reactive, and LivePlan has helped us be a little more proactive.”

LivePlan inspires Mona to think more clearly about Mona Does Concrete, and distill her dreams into concrete ideas (no pun intended). LivePlan made the business planning process less overwhelming; she's never stuck looking at a blank page.

Since LivePlan guides her through the planning process and limits the number of characters she can enter in each section, Mona doesn't have to worry about spending ages writing a lengthy, cumbersome business plan. “You really have to just put something down on the page,” says Mona. “You're not stuck on one thing before moving forward.”

Mona uses LivePlan to help plan and run her business.
Mona working on a new piece.

LivePlan has also helped Mona plan for the future, instead of simply waiting for opportunities (or problems) to arise. “Our planning was a little bit more reactive, and LivePlan has helped us be a little more proactive,” she says.

Mona was first introduced to LivePlan though another maker and Etsy seller. As she wasn't yet sure where her hobby-turned-business would take her, Mona was attracted to LivePlan's ease of use and inexpensive price point. “I looked more into it and thought, 'Wow, this is really great and affordable as well,'” she says. “It's nice that you don't need an upfront investment or anything like that.”

“It's nice that [LivePlan] can help fit your needs along different stages of wherever you are. Even though we used it at the very beginning, I'm excited to know that we can keep using it.”

For Mona, the biggest benefit of using LivePlan has been that she now has stronger clarity and insight into her business—both where she stands now, and where she hopes to go. She can more easily define her target audience, determine which products are selling well, and make plans for how to scale her business sustainably.

“I really feel like this tool can help us with being a little bit more organized and having a clearer path,” says Mona. “LivePlan has made us think a little bit more strategically.”

Mona working on a new piece.
Mona uses LivePlan to help plan and run her business.

Growing and moving forward with LivePlan

As a business, Mona Does Concrete is just getting started, and there's plenty more in store.

Ultimately, Mona hopes to continue expanding to the point where she can hire more employees, produce a wider variety of products, and work as a maker full time. “I still have my full-time job, so right now it's weekends and evenings. But there is a hope that, maybe one day, it could become something that could be permanent,” she says.

[On LivePlan] “I like that it can really tailor to any stage of a small business.”

Mona has found that using LivePlan not only gives her the tools she needs to create a living planning document for her business, but also motivates her to strive for continued growth. “I know that there's just so much more that I could do with [LivePlan], and I'm really looking forward to getting there,” she says. “It's nice that it can help fit your needs along different stages of wherever you are. Even though we used it at the very beginning, I'm excited to know that we can keep using it.”

As Mona takes her business to new heights, she'll be able to use LivePlan every step of the way. “I like that it can really tailor to any stage of a small business,” she says. From planning her expansion into retail stores to forecasting her cash flow and connecting with an accounting solution, LivePlan can help Mona continue to grow her business.


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