Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts & crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Arenal, Owner of Arenal Surfboards, located in Ventura, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am in the business of making surfboards. I have my own label I work under called Arenal Surfboards, and I also shape under some other labels such as Hobie Surfboards. I make boards primarily for surfers in Southern California but also work with some shops in Japan and go to Portugal to build boards for Europe.
Tell us about yourself
It all starts and continues with surfing. I never started shaping with the mindset that I was going to do a business out of it. I just really took to it, and it consumed me. So over time, as I started to get orders and some jobs through shaping, I made the moves necessary to keep it going.
My goal is work/life balance. I can see where trying to do this to make a bunch of money can go, and it's a sad place. I want to enjoy life and have a good time with the people I make boards for.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having the ability to set my own schedule and be able to live my life the way I want to.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me personally, and more recently, as things have gotten busier, it has just been juggling everything myself. I don't have any employees, so I have to think and handle everything all the time, which has gotten overwhelming and not ideal. I think that's a reality for a lot of business owners.
Taking work home with you, so to speak. It's easy to always be thinking about it and "working" even when you're not at work. So, that's something I've been working at. Trying to get better at planning things out and getting help where I need it.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Work on a business plan, and create a mission statement. It may sound obvious, but you have to know why and how you're going to make your business work. They will be your "true north" when things get confusing or difficult.
- Do what you are good at, and hire people to do the rest. The business is only going to thrive if you focus on your strong attributes and the same for your employees. Otherwise, it's going to be like pedaling a bike uphill in the hardest gear.
- Take weekends off. There's no doubt that you'll need to work some overtime in the beginning, to get your business up and running, but even take a day off. Working 7 days a week is not cool. It happened to me, and I see it happen to people around me all the time. You'll end up burning out, and the business will start to suffer. You are the business, and the business is only going to succeed if you are mentally well. So don't overlook your mental health. Take care of yourself, and you, your business, and those close to you will be much better off.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Be true to yourself, get into some nature, eat well, play with a dog, connect with your family and friends, try new things, and make some art, we're all going to die, and I love you.
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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