Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Aleksandra Zuraw, publisher at Digital Pathology Place, located in Fairfield, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is a digital pathology publishing website - the Digital Pathology Place. I am helping digital pathology scientists and businesses promote their products and services through (featured) blogs, podcasts, and videos.
Tell us about yourself
I am a veterinary pathologist, and my first pathology job was to support image analysis scientists in a digital pathology company. I have realized that there is a big communication gap between pathologists and other professionals in the digital pathology space. I truly believe that advancing this technology will improve the lives of patients and health professionals involved in this area, so I'm on a mission to bridge the gap between all the involved professionals (pathologists, computer scientists, regulatory experts, vendors, and life scientists) to advance this technology as fast as possible and bring it to everyone who can benefit.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I promote digital pathology in the scientific community through blog posts, podcasts, videos, and webinars. My recent greatest accomplishment was hosting a full-day computational pathology event where an audience of over 800 digital pathology enthusiasts gathered online to learn from the experts invited to the event. The event was called "Bridging the gap between pathology and computer science" and was organized in collaboration with academic and industry partners. I am so happy I could provide so much value to my audience.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is the responsibility that comes with your business mission. If you truly believe in it, if you are really convinced that what you are doing needs to be done (which you are, otherwise, you would not be in business), you are responsible for actively winning people over for your idea. That includes relentless marketing and selling of your offer. You need to keep putting yourself out there over and over again. Being shy or playing small does not reflect on you anymore - it reflects on your mission, and if the mission and the lives you want to influence are important to you, there is no backing off. This costs a lot of energy but is also extremely rewarding.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Business is about providing value and helping others. Find something that you are already doing for others that can be monetized. In my case, it was talking about advocating for and teaching digital pathology that resulted in my products and services, the blog sponsorship packages for digital pathology businesses, and informational products for digital pathology enthusiasts starting their digital pathology journey.
- Providing value and helping through a business requires a lot more energy, mental stamina, and toughness than any type of volunteering. Volunteering is like, "Here is the value; feel free to do whatever you want with it." Business is like, "I will do everything in my power to make you aware of the value I am providing, how much worse you are without it, how much better you will be with it, and I will charge you for it so that you are invested in improving your own life." The latter sounds a lot less friendly but has a lot more impact.
- Listen to your audience. You are in business to serve them, so listen to what they want and need.
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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