Who is bringing home the bacon in your house? What if you needed to start your own business and weren’t sure how to generate new customers and get the word out? That’s where the site “The Bacon” comes into play. It offers a free webpage, ads and free leads for your business. In turn when you get a customer and finalize payment, The Bacon gets a small percentage of the income. Everyone from plumbers to writers is on this site, which is the brainchild of Jennifer Shima, who has only lived in Louisville a year and a half and started this business in October. Did we mention she just had a baby in late November (on our interview date, she had been up 36 hours in a row). Sounds like she really is bringing home the bacon. Meet today’s FACE of Louisville, Jennifer Shima!
Tell us about The Bacon and how it works.
The Bacon is a website that makes it possible for people to start new service businesses or grow the ones they already have, and it makes it simple for local folks to hire them. Customers can hire local businesses to give them a hand with whatever they need. Just tell us what you need done, and we pass it along to the businesses in our ecosystem that can help. On The Bacon, you’ll get messages from local businesses who want to do the job, read real reviews from your neighbors, and choose who you’d like to hire, then pay online when you’re happy with a job well done. We make it simple and safe to hire local people to help you with anything from plumbing and landscaping to pet care and zombie makeup (yes, we have zombie makeup artists on The Bacon!). If it’s a service, it belongs on The Bacon.
On the flip side, we give local service businesses and people who want to start a service business everything they need to do what they love and bring home The Bacon. Free webpage, free warm leads, free advertising, payment processing — we make it simple to do what you do best.
The Bacon is intentionally designed to put the communities we serve before profits. That’s why we get paid only when our businesses do. It’s how we stay accountable, and it’s how we stay connected to the communities we serve.
What was your impetus for creating this company?
Before moving to Louisville, I lived in an economically depressed city in Ohio for a few years while my husband completed his residency. It seemed like no matter what I did and where I looked, I just couldn’t find a job. I’ve always wanted to have my own business, and my perfect Friday night involves a glass of wine, a red pen and stack of papers, so I decided to put my English degree to work by starting a resume editing business. I dove into the research process to learn how to start a new business and all I found were brick walls. Finding customers, advertising, building a website – it all required some degree of expertise and it all cost money.
Suddenly, doing what I loved seemed impossible; that’s when the lightbulb came on. I realized that I’m not the only person who wants to make a living doing what they love, but can’t because starting something new is so expensive, difficult and risky. That’s why I started The Bacon — so that anyone can bring home The Bacon doing what they love without the risk and without having to have any particular business savvy.
I have my resume editing business on The Bacon now, and I’ve done a few jobs. It’s a really amazing feeling!
You just had a baby a few weeks after starting this company. How are you managing to get anything done!?
Raising an infant is so much more time consuming and difficult than I ever imagined! My husband and I are a great team — we share parenting and night duty, and between the two of us, we manage to keep her alive and well and get a little work done ourselves. A caregiver will be joining the team this week so we can return to being fully functional human beings!
What was your career before this?
I was a waitress in a 24-hour highway diner in a tiny rural town.
Where do you hope to see The Bacon in one year? In five years?
In the next year, my goal is have The Bacon start 150 new service businesses in the Metro area and help existing local service business increase revenues by an average of 10%. In the next five years, I’d like to bring The Bacon to other communities across the United States and make good on our mission to empower economically disadvantaged women to become business owners through access and opportunity.
How did you end up living in Louisville? What were you most surprised to learn about the city after moving here?
We moved here for my husband’s fellowship and absolutely fell in love with Louisville. I’m especially blown away by our incredible local businesses and all they contribute to our community. I love how committed our civic culture is to buying local and encouraging the creativity and success of these local leaders.
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
I start every day with WFPL and a cup of coffee, and that’s usually where the “typical” ends. One thing I love about my job is how different the challenges are from day to day. I wear many hats, and it’s never boring. I spend lots of time on the computer, but my favorite thing to do is meet with local business owners and learn about their challenges, then work with my team to innovate solutions that The Bacon can bring to the table. I’m addicted to possibility! When I’m not out learning from our local business owners or working on the computer, you can find me with my bacon cart, giving out free bacon at local events to drum up customers for our local businesses on The Bacon.
What are three words that describe you?
Tenacious, imaginative, energetic
What advice do you treasure?
There is no such thing as perfect.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my _________.
Red lipstick. If I’m not wearing it, it’s in my bag.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I really love just walking around our lovely city, taking in the architecture of the historic homes and buildings and soaking up the life and energy all around me.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series is breathtaking, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m also reading a fascinating biography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Weisen Cook and chipping away at the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.
Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three of your favorite things right now?
Kombucha, sleep and succulents
Read about more inspiring local women in our FACES of Louisville weekly features here.