Written by Happiness U founder Chief Happiness Officer, Alice Inoue
When I first had the idea of starting my business (Happiness U) – the majority of the business advisors I talked to said it would be smarter for me to do it online, rather than take such a big financial risk by opening a physical location. When I went to the bank and the SBA with my business plan in order to get a loan, they suggested I build something online first, and declined. I understood where everyone was coming from…the bank didn’t want to lose money, and those who knew me didn’t want to see me fail, but I felt strongly that I wanted a place where people could meet me face to face, and interact with others in person
This is because I saw that in this world of modern technology and social media, though we were connecting with more people, we were losing touch (literally) in so many ways. I wanted to have a place where I could greet people face to face, hand them a tissue if they were sad, or hear their laughter when they were happy.
No matter what anyone said, I was determined to make my school a place where people could gather. Well, after working on my business plan a bit more, I ended up getting half the funding I needed, supplemented the rest with my savings, and opened my school in September of 2013. Since then we have welcomed over 2,000 people through our doors. In addition to our paid classes, many people visit Happiness U when we have our free Friday night community events, and though running a business is difficult at times, to say the least, I have no regrets and gain so much joy.
We are still growing and trying to be creative in order to get more people to be aware of us and what we do….and while we are now filming our classes (thanks to our successful funding initiative on Kickstarter) and putting them online for the people that just cannot make it down, I just wanted to say thank you for participating with us through our blogs and on Facebook…liking our posts, sharing our classes with others, telling people about Happiness U. We are all truly thankful.
This post was inspired by a young man in a video (CLICK HERE to view). In three minutes he put into words exactly what I was feeling when I wanted to have a physical location for my business. If you take the time to listen to it, I think you will find value in it.
You are welcome to visit us anytime at Happiness U! Me, Erin Ushijima, Valerie Moriwaki, and our team of teachers would love to meet you in person. If we never meet you due to distance or time…I want to thank you for being a part of my online life. I appreciate all your comments, support, and likes so very much!