Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Debbie Viola, Founder of Art by Debbie Viola, located in Massapequa Park, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Art by Debbie Viola - my customers are mainly women in their 40s and above, some are creative, and they love art and appreciate what original art can do for their home environment.
Tell us about yourself
I painted a beautiful wall finish in 1998 in our new bathroom, and it became a passion of mine. On 9/11/01, after witnessing the terror attacks from my NYC office window and having a toxic boss for 23 years, I decided life was too short, and I quit and threw myself into figuring out how to make money with my newfound hobby. I still get up each day, 22 years later, pinching myself that I get to live a creative life and make my clients happy by either creating a beautiful finish for their walls, painting their cabinets, or making a beautiful piece of art for their home. I've also taught thousands, from ages 4-103, how to paint, even if they never picked up a paintbrush before, and that is SO gratifying.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The fact that I have remained in business for 20+ years is an accomplishment that only 20% of small businesses reach. I recently became an international best-selling author of The Creative Lifebook, and I am SO proud that I was one of the chosen authors when hundreds had applied. Personally, I think the biggest accomplishment is that I have been able to live life on my terms, do what I love every single day, and not be holed up in an office for 8 hours a day being told what to do and how to do it. I've had clients who cry when I present them with their paintings or when they see their new room for the first time. I love that I am doing something meaningful for others.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things is figuring out everything on your own if you're a solo entrepreneur. Having a desire for a business is great, but taking it from an idea to fruition is definitely a challenge and requires a lot of work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Find something that you truly love to do, and figure out how to make money with it. Make sure it's something you're very passionate about, or else when the going gets rough, you may just want to quit and walk away from it. There are so many online resources available today to get you started that I didn't have. I had to literally build my business one local client at a time and wait for the next referral. Network with local businesses and professionals. Take advantage of everything that is out there to help you grow your business.
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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