Through the Bench partner program, small business owners have the chance to connect fellow entrepreneurs with Bench—while collecting referral rewards and accessing exclusive, shareable content.
We sat down to chat with Monika Rose about her journey as an entrepreneur and a partner with Bench. Through her online courses, Monika helps aspiring entrepreneurs plan, launch, and operate their own boutiques—transforming their passions into careers.
Could you tell us a bit about how you started your business?
My business, Online Boutique Boss, started with me sharing my journey as I launched my own boutique. I was learning as I was growing, and I wanted to document those experiences.
I filmed the behind-the-scenes of everything—from organizing inventory, to attending my first fashion event, to opening my pop-up storefront as a way to connect with my customers.
Keep in mind, this was before “vlogging” made its mark on YouTube, and I was still learning. So, there are definitely some cringe-worthy videos I made floating around out there—but they’re what led me to my joy for video today.
As I was sharing my boutique journey, I began to get questions from other aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to start their own online boutiques. So I turned my YouTube channel into more of a “how-to” resource for my followers. And before long, it took off.
What motivated you to start your own business?
Before I started working for myself full-time, I worked in banking for seven years, and explored every banking job I could—going from being a teller to a supervisor, to being both a personal and a business banker. All of the things!
Looking back, I was 19 years old when I began working in banking, and I was proud of what I had accomplished over the years.
However, deep down, I knew it wasn’t my passion. I wanted the creative freedom to grow a brand and a business that I truly loved. And I couldn’t do that working for someone else.
I had always known that starting a business was my end goal. It was all a matter of when I was going to let go of the “comfortable routine” that was attached to my corporate job.
I launched my boutique, Monika Rose San Francisco, in 2012. My YouTube following began to grow, and eventually I launched my coaching business, Online Boutique Boss, in 2016.
I continued to work in my corporate positions for two years before jumping full-time into running my business.
What sorts of challenges did you face getting your business started?
Going into business for myself meant adapting to a new working style. I am the definition of multi-passionate: One day I’m in the zone working on designs for my new collection, and the next day I’m doing research on how to paint French-style furniture. My creative mind just keeps getting more creative, and it’s an ongoing challenge to stay focused.
That was a bit of an issue early on. When I started to see growth in my boutique business, my creative mind took that as “let’s do something new!” instead of focusing on what was working. I took on too many projects and became—you guessed it—overwhelmed.
Because I was overwhelmed, I started to lose momentum with my business. So, I went back to the basics. I narrowed down the foundations of my online store, created a process for how to manage it daily, and then took one small step towards my next goal—and then another, and another.
I’ve never believed in leaving behind my multi-passionate self, or giving up any of my dreams, but I saw the value of focusing on one thing at a time—in order to see growth, while enjoying the journey.
I also try to find ways to mesh my passions together. For instance, my boutique and my coaching go together like peanut butter and jelly. So, when I have success in my boutique, I’m able to share those strategies with my students. Which means we’ve got a good sandwich on our hands.
Community engagement plays a big role in the success of online courses. What does that look like for you?
Community building has been important since day one. I consider my customers, students, subscribers, and followers a community.
I use social media as a tool for opening up the conversation with my audience. I love a good poll or question box sticker on Instagram Stories, or using the voice chat feature through direct messages.
Not only do I learn what my community needs and which type of content they’d like me to create next, but I’m also able to deepen our relationship beyond the sale.
While that kind of community engagement means I have my hands full, I still have lots of plans for the future. For instance, I just wrapped up the 5th enrollment year of my signature program, the Online Boutique Boss Course. And I’m currently filming new episodes for Online Boutique Boss TV and working on a brand new community, the Boutique Life Lounge.
The Boutique Life Lounge is a place for passionate entrepreneurs to come together for help and guidance while getting the latest scoop of the best business tools and resources.
Speaking of business tools—what has your experience with Bench been like?
I’ve always shared tools and services that I love with my audience. However, the effort that goes into filming detailed videos and writing blog posts is time spent away from other parts of my business that generate revenue.
Being able to partner with companies such as Bench lets me to continue creating free and helpful content for my community, while growing a sustainable business. It’s a win-win!
I’ve been so lucky to have partnered with many of my favorite companies. However, Bench is an absolute treasure.
Do you have any advice for other business owners considering the Bench partnership program?
The Bench Team has always made me feel welcomed and supported through their partnership opportunities. I’m able to reach out with questions or feedback and Bench continues to find ways to enhance their partnership program to make it a valuable and fun experience.
I’d say, if you’re just starting out as a Bench partner, start small: Create a simple guide or checklist that includes why you love Bench, and how the service can benefit your clients. Now, you have something you can quickly reference and share with your audience at any given time.
And always continue to listen to your community. The insights you get help you come up with new topic ideas to support your content around Bench.
Think you might be a fit for the Bench partner program? Learn more and book a call to get started.