Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jesse Goldstein, CEO of Fresh Branding, located in Nashville, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a branding and design agency that focuses on the food and beverage industry. We have an amazing assortment of clients ranging from small, independent restaurants to large multi-unit chains, distilleries, and even packaged food companies.
Tell us about yourself
I originally started my career in the restaurant business, working as a professional chef in restaurants and on movie sets. That experience led to restaurant management, with a focus on marketing and brand management. But I have always had a passion for art and design and first began the transition into this side of the business back in 2004. I had hired a graphic designer to work on a new restaurant I was opening and was disappointed with the quality of their work. So I bought the design programs and taught myself how to use them. Over the years, I was able to hone those skills and learn many new ones before starting Fresh Branding in 2015. The fact that every client is unique means the work we do each day is different, which certainly keeps us on our toes! I've always said that as an agency, the work we do is not about our identity but about that of our clients. Having an understanding of the industry not only gives us an understanding of the business but an ability to design for function, not just aesthetics.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having started a business with just myself and a laptop working out of coffee shops, I take immense pride in building a business with a large team of incredibly talented designers and marketers that all share the vision of doing our best possible work each day.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I laugh now at how, when I first started the business, I felt like I could make my own schedule and take any day off that I wanted. But as the business grew, I had to realize that there was no such thing as a day off. When employees and clients are relying on your direction, you have to be accessible at all times.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and most importantly, make sure it's something you can be passionate about. Loving the work you do helps keep the long hours and stress of owning a business in perspective.
The second piece of advice I was given many years ago that I still follow today is to not become habitual in your work. For us, that's easy since every client is so unique, but try to have a sensitivity to not "carbon copy" what you do for one client to the next.
And finally, surround yourself with talented people and encourage a culture of "push-back." If your team can't be open and honest, your business will never do its best work.
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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