Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andy Brenits, Owner of Brenits Consulting & Creative, located in Queen Creek, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My agency, Brenits Creative, helps growing businesses and business owners who are working by themselves to compete with name brands. We specialize in brand positioning & messaging strategy, naming & visual identity, and brand marketing.
Tell us about yourself
My creative story started when I was a very young child, coloring perfectly within the lines of my coloring books but using unexpected colors in the spaces. And when the pieces of paper I was drawing on were too small, I decided it was perfectly OK to express the stories I needed to tell visually with grand scenes on the walls of the family room. Fortunately, my parents decided to send me to art and drawing classes rather than admonish me. My first professional freelance project came at 15 when I designed a line of T-shirts for a local surf shop in Long Island, NY (yes, LI has surf shops) and designed the new uniforms for my high school track team. I knew then that design, branding, and marketing were what I wanted to do.
I earned a BFA in graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and a Master's Degree in Design Management from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Before founding Brenits Creative, I led in-house creative teams at GAP, Banana Republic, NFL, KPMG, and Arizona Public Service. An experienced mentor and teacher, I have taught undergraduate and graduate classes at Pratt Institute, Rowan University, The Art Institute of Phoenix, Sessions.edu, Columbia University, and most recently, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). I've been accepted as faculty at Grand Canyon University but have not taught a class yet.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Sure, accolades, awards, and recognition are very nice but honestly, having a sustainable solo business for so long feels like the most significant accomplishment. I've never had to start a side hustle, take a part-time job, or say YES to a project I didn't want to do or a client I didn't want to work with.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's too easy to work 24/7 but remember, we didn't go out on our own just to give ourselves another 40-hour-per -week job. Work smarter (not harder), and get help with the things you don't really want to do (or don't do very well).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Your network is more extensive than you think it is. Friends, family, old classmates, past work colleagues, your neighbors... Anyone can be a resource for help, referrals, or work. Build and deepen those relationships; don't be afraid to ask for a referral. Just don't sell to them. Instead, educate them about what you do and what you're looking for in a referral so they can keep an ear open for opportunities that might be good for you.
- Forget time management, practice attention management. It's OK to turn off the alerts and silence the smartphone so you can get important stuff done. Block out time to get the important work done, and spend time on yourself.
- Be protective of your time. You don't need to say YES to every meeting or project. Rarely is anything genuinely urgent enough that you'll need to stop what you're doing and shift focus.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Your brand = your reputation. Figure out what you want your brand to be known for, and then work diligently to meet or exceed the expectations of your clients and prospects. Be consistent with everything (the services you provide and your marketing) because it's ten times harder to repair your reputation than to ensure you're being consistent every day.
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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