Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in community workspaces, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mike Arzt founder at The Public Works & Battery621 based at Denver, Colorado.
Tell us all about your business...
Both of our businesses were started as a quest for the best possible quality of life. For that to happen, it cannot be a solo mission. We needed to surround ourselves with the best possible people we could find. We bought a building and have grown an agency around this. Each person who joins in brings that much more zest for life and success to the party.
This was written in the description of a podcast I did. I cherish these kind words -
"Mike is generous, relaxed, and intense at the same time. He’s been through a lot going through many career journeys. He chases snow like he’s independently wealthy and works at his job like he doesn’t know where the next dollar or meal is coming from."
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That is a tough one to answer. Buying a 30,000 sq ft building in Denver was huge. Buying the other 2 partners out of the building three years ago was big. Getting through COVID with two businesses and coming out stronger I guess just might be the biggest but that story isn't finished yet. Can't let one's guard down. This is a crazy ride.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?
The more you grow, the more people are banking their lives and success on you, and the bigger the risks for screwing up. When I was first freelancing, it was on me to support my wife and me. Now we have kids and all sorts of employees with families and tenants and families of those tenants and on and on. It keeps me awake but it also energizes me. Don't want to let anyone down.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
1 - Put as much time into choosing your business partners as your life partners.
2 - Great friend gave me advice about having kids, "You will never be completely ready". I think launching a business is the same. At a certain point, you just have to have the guts to jump in and do your best to swim.
3 - Do whatever you have to surround yourself with amazing people. For me, this was starting my career in the snowboard industry. So many of those people are still making life and business better for me almost 30 years later.
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?
I am not sure there is ever a complete balance between work, family, personal, and community. It is a never-ending struggle to find it. I try so hard to not let one of those 4 areas get neglected, but when it does, it must be corrected quickly. I am in an entrepreneurial group (EO) that helps us all to work hard at finding balance in life.
Where ever I can, I try to mix all four. I am sitting in NYC right now writing this. We have a shoot next week, but I came early so I could get someone on one day with my 16-year-old daughter. It's best when I can mix work, family, and fun.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs? Do you have any must not miss business resources that you’d recommend?
My dad ran his own business. Was/is my biggest influence. My parents always help me through accomplishing my biggest and craziest dreams.
Jake Burton, the founder of Burton Snowboards, was a massive influence on me. He taught me how to fall in love with a brand. I stalked that brand until they hired me. Working there for seven years still has an impact on how we run our business today. Plus I met my business partner there.
I'm in a global entrepreneurial organization with 13,000 members. Every small business owner teaches me something.
I think the list is almost endless of influences. I have read a lot of business books also. I started to feel like too many. While they are good and I also crush hours of podcasts, the real-world relationships are what influence and help me the most.
Where can people find you?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.