Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with William Mellon, Owner of Earnest Money & Sons, located in Wilmington, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Earnest Money & Sons is a relaxed adult cocktail bar focusing on freshly made cocktails in an intimate and comfortable environment.

Tell us about yourself

I have been in the hospitality business for more than 25 years and have worked in every facet, including bartending, server, manager, dishwasher, and busboy. I became an owner in 2010 when we opened a 48-seat restaurant in Wilmington, NC, called manna. Earnest Money & Sons (or e$ as we call it) was something we conceptualized in 2018 that would be a unique cocktail club specifically for a membership base--in effect, a place that wasn't overrun with loud bar patrons, not about volume but about hospitality & comfort, a quintessential place to enjoy yourself, your friends and the surroundings in a place that felt like the guest has ownership.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Getting to build these spaces and seeing them come to life--just like we envisioned. It also is nice to see our team grow and watch some of our long-tenured workers move up the ladder into a better place professionally and financially.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

We really seek out the details. Having several entities means that there are lots more details to tend to...setting a goal to get to them all can be taxing, but it is part of the process of being good at something – accept the roles & challenges that come with the territory.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you surround yourself with a great support system--that is, you have to be among the winners on your team--self-starters that have ambition and energy and understand the long game. You will NEVER succeed by yourself.
  2. Expect to come up get knocked have some difficulties in the journey. Just be willing to get up and keep pushing forward: Keep your eyes on the prize.
  3. Take great concern about what you can control---leave the rest alone. That is something that I have had to learn over time.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.