Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nik Austin, CEO of CoRo LLC, located in Newport News, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're CoRo, and we offer press-on nails, lip gloss, lashes, wall art, stationary, tees—everything you need to look and feel your best every day. We are a Virginia-made, woman-owned beauty brand. Our mission is to inspire empowered women to be confident and fearless while making the world beautiful along the way. From the minute you wake up until you go to bed at night, we want to make sure that no matter what you do or where you go, you're looking and feeling your best. I'm also a published author, and podcast host of CoRo Is a Crush. My customers are mainly women, ranging in age from 18-70.
Tell us about yourself
I'm Nik Austin, and I design, organize, curate, direct, and execute every aspect of the CoRo lifestyle brand. I help our customers spread love and positivity, and I strive to support and create positive change in the world. I am a woman with a purpose who believes each one of us has a purpose in life. What got me started in my business was my parents... my father was a diabetic, and keeping his nails and feet clean was vital to his health. That's what got me into becoming a Certified Nail Technician. I have a son who has life-threatening asthma, so working with acrylics was definitely out of the question, so I turned to press-on nails and have been doing it ever since.
What motivates me every day are the reviews I get from customers about how my products have changed their lives, how my book has made them appreciate themselves a little more, how I'm becoming an inspiration to other business owners, my family stepping in to help me create generational wealth for them and myself, knowing that this was something I always wanted to do but had to wait on a sign from God to get the "green light" to make it happen.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment to date is winning the Recognition Award for Outstanding Community Service from Size Overrated Magazine in 2020.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is comparing our business to other businesses. We're always comparing our journey to others who are in similar fields as us, and then we get upset when we see other business owners do better than us. We can't compare our Day 1 journey to someone's Day 100 because we don't know what it took for that person or business to get where they are at currently. I say, focus on what you are trying to achieve, and look at other businesses in your industries as inspiration to do well, not as competition to become better as them, but to become better than them.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your passion and run with it. Do something that makes you happy and can solve a problem. When you figure it out, ask God (or whomever you worship) to bless it and if it's meant to be, watch how it unfolds!
- Be prepared to work hard. Nothing comes easy by being your own boss. Vendors, clients, customers... they can all be a pain at times. But I wouldn't trade it for nothing else in the world! Get a mentor... they're so worth it!
- Don't give up! You're going to want to throw in the towel and say, "I quit!" You will say this more than once. It's normal... everyone has said it, and some have done it. But I challenge you to keep going. If you don't like your current situation, whether that's working for someone or working for yourself, and you get bored with your work, change it. I have, and it was the best thing for me to do because I gained clarity on what I love to do and how to inspire others to do the same.
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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