Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lee Vujnovich, Principal and Creative Director of COOP Design House, located in Costa Mesa, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
COOP Design House is a graphic & website design business specializing in building marketing assets that visually transmit the clients' messaging to the market in a clean, modern, and effective way. In order to provide my clients with fully customized services, I predominantly work with small to mid-sized companies.
Tell us about yourself
I fell into this business years ago while working as an assistant in LA at a commercial real estate company. They did not have an in-house marketing department, so, being creative and having a knack for business, I saw an opportunity to learn as much as I could and began building pitch and marketing materials for them. I ended up starting my own business years later, primarily to be home for my daughter while she was going through elementary school; since then, my true motivation has been working with awesome clients and learning about the businesses that they've built, poured everything into, and are proud of. It's my passion, and I make it my mission to be an asset and teammate in their success.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Owning a business has many hurdles and growing pains that turn into great successes, so there are, thankfully, a million answers to this question, but I would have to say the biggest accomplishment for me has been the ability to hire and work with people I know and respect. I know some very talented professionals, who are also friends, and to be able to bring them work and income is really exciting to me. To collaborate with them on amazing projects is a bonus!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner, for me, is wearing all the hats. My daily tasks include business development, social media, client relations, furthering education, growing my network, trying not to grow too fast yet grow, finding and hiring contractors, being a contractor, accounting & finances, and then providing the actual work in a form that I'm super proud of. And balancing life outside of the business is another hundred layers. It can be a lot to do so many things, and it is quite an art form to balance them all without letting any of the plates fall, but thankfully, I figure it out a little more each day!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I would say, for me, a few nuggets that have been huge to me are:
- It is so important to have peers/friends who are also small business owners to lean on. And getting to be of service in return is a great feeling as well - and a gauge of your own growth. It takes a village.
- You get out of your business what you put into it, so make time for it. If I get distracted, my business slows down, but when I put my attention on it, wonderful things start to happen. I experience this all the time. It's never failed.
- Be yourself. This isn't about impressing people; this is about earning trust. Clients are people too, and they are looking to you for what they need. The more you can relax into what makes you, you, the easier it is for you to trust yourself and for them to trust you in return. Just remember that you are your own special brand, not somebody you think people want to see. This also helps greatly to ensure that you attract clients that you actually like working with.
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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