Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Peter Lovisek, Founder of Fossil Realm, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Fossil Realm specializes in fine natural history specimens, including world-class fossils, minerals, and meteorites. Our family has been in the business for 40 years, and we've been selling natural history items online for 20 years. Our company has many customers, notably sophisticated collectors, gallerists, and museums.
We are recognized internationally, and our clientele is based in Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. In addition to retail sales, we recently began offering consulting and advising services. The demand for fossils, especially dinosaur fossils, is high these days, and many people are searching for expert advice regarding new acquisitions.
Tell us about yourself
I've been a passionate entrepreneur for 25 years - Fossil Realm began as a hobby business when I was only 13 years old! Science and nature have always been a big part of my life. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in an environment that instilled deep respect, love, and understanding of nature.
My parents were museum workers and founded and directed a nature camp (the Toronto Nature Centre). I spent every summer there for about 15 years - starting as a camper and eventually transitioning to a leadership role. Becoming a natural history dealer/consultant was undoubtedly influenced by my upbringing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That's a tough one. Overall, my goal for Fossil Realm has always been to reach a level where we could offer truly exclusive and beautiful natural history specimens. Achieving this involved constant adaptions to our branding and communications and tweaks to our business model as we grew over the years.
I consider some of my bigger deals to be noteworthy accomplishments as well. Recently, for example, I brokered the sale of an enormous triceratops skeleton named "Willard" (one of the largest ever found), which is now on public display in Hong Kong, and whose forever home will be a Swiss museum.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are many! But for me, it's tough to tune out, relax and free up mental energy for non-business related endeavors. Being a business owner is all-encompassing, which is a double-edged sword: it's rewarding to delve deep into your passion, but it's always a challenge to maintain a balance in your day-to-day life.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Ensure that you're passionate about (or at least deeply interested in) your product or service. But that's not enough—you need to be ready to learn and grow, take calculated risks, and get out of your comfort zone.
Entrepreneurship relies on skills and abilities unrelated to your specific product or service. Thus, if you're the type of person who loves to learn and willing to work hard, you're well on your way to becoming a great entrepreneur and successful business owner.
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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