Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anik Waldeck, Founder of Academy of Art History, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

Picture a forum where you can learn about art and its history from an expert in a coherent, relatable manner. Imagine developing the knowledge and skills necessary in order to stroll through a museum or gallery and actually understand what you're looking at without consulting someone or something else.

How amazing would it be to settle into a comfy chair, your beverage of choice in hand, while being expertly guided through history's greatest works of art? What would it feel like to chit-chat about art like a pro, impressing family and friends with your newfound knowledge?

Academy of Art History is a platform that guides you through the beautiful and fascinating world of art, expands your artistic knowledge, and inspires the budding connoisseur that exists in us all.

Tell us about yourself

I'm an art historian with a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, and I'm passionate about making art and its history easily accessible, approachable… and fun!

A question I have been asked repeatedly over the years goes a little something like this:

"Anik, how can I truly understand art when I don't have the academic background, skills, or know-how?"

I came to the realization that there can be a certain level of intimidation and overwhelm when it comes to learning about art, and I knew those barriers had to be broken down. I felt compelled to inspire and empower others to engage with the world of art and everything it has to teach us.

With the Academy of Art History, that's exactly what I do. Through our Masterclasses and Courses, as well as private events, I help others develop a deeper understanding of art and inspire them to become the art aficionado they were meant to be.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is helping others discover the beauty and wonder of art.

Art is about so much more than pretty paintings or stunning sculptures. It teaches us about the past and the present, about different cultures and ways of life. It broadens our horizons and, in so doing, helps us to understand each other. Knowing that my knowledge and expertise give people a new perspective and allow them to gain deeper insights into the world of art is an incredible feeling.

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

Being your own boss is empowering and rewarding, but there is a lot of responsibility involved. You have to wear many different hats, all while maintaining a strong sense of organization, and keeping certain feelings of overwhelm at bay can, at times, be a challenge.

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

  1. Do your research. From the technical side of things, such as setting up and maintaining a website, to content production, marketing and finances, there is a lot to learn. Getting your ducks in a row and knowing all of the various aspects that go into creating and growing a successful business is crucial.
  2. Be prepared to put in the time. Contrary to what some business coaches out there are saying, there is no get-rich-quick scheme when it comes to starting your own business. It takes long hours, dedication, and a strong work ethic.
  3. Take action. Sometimes we get hung up on certain details, trying to make everything perfect, but this can impact other areas of the business in a negative way. While you need to make sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, it's important to keep moving forward. As the artist, Salvador Dalí once said: "Have no fear of perfection. You'll never reach it."

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Starting your own business can be a scary and daunting prospect. Many people put it off or simply abandon the idea entirely, but if you are passionate about something and truly want to put it out in the world, my advice would be to trust your gut and jump in with both feet!

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.

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