Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nehal Harley, Owner of Filora, located in Charleston, SC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Filora is a brand and identity consultancy. My customers are small business owners and solopreneurs seeking to define a memorable brand presence and identify a clear reason for being.

Tell us about yourself

I "grew up" as an account person in New York creative agencies, spending 17 years across integrated marketing disciplines, including PR, design, advertising, and media. I started freelancing on the side nearly ten years ago with friends who were brave enough to start their own companies but couldn't afford to hire an agency. I was able to scale the strategies I used in my day job to help them articulate their brands so they could focus on getting their businesses off the ground.

I've always been fascinated by why brands exist and what the elements behind brand identities mean. I have been lucky to work with dozens of different types of companies of all sizes and industries during my career. Now I partner directly with the people who are coming up with the concept or product in the first place and am there to bring it to life. It makes me part of the "why."

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of the first brands I worked on once I established Filora was a tween girls’ clothing boutique in New York City. We talked with the founder about her experience shopping at that age, the women in her life who shaped her style, the brands she loved, and how she wanted to make her customers feel. All of that made it into the naming and brand concepts in some capacity, and seeing the joy (and relief!) she felt, realizing her vision actually was coming together, was genuinely rewarding. And who doesn't want to see their logo on retail signage in New York City?

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Time management! Managing my own schedule and workflow allows me incredible flexibility, but if I'm not doing the work, no one is covering for me. Learning how to focus and be productive in shorter time periods (2-3 hours at a time vs. 8-10 hour work days) is still a work in progress.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start with a side hustle. If you're employed, but don't think your current job is your end game, try exploring a new path after hours. You'll miss out on some sleep or the occasional happy hour, but the job security will anchor you while you consider whether a large-scale change is ultimately right for you.
  2. Keep in touch. As a consultant, the relationships I've made over nearly two decades are part and parcel of the investment you're making. Every professional (and often social) interaction is a chance to expand your network and, by association, your expertise. Remember who you worked well with; you might have the chance to do it again someday.
  3. You're only one person. You don't have to finish everything you woke up thinking you would. After nearly two decades of agency account management, the cliché is always ringing in my head: "It's not brain surgery." Ask for help, and be ready to receive it.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.