Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andy Starr, owner and co-founder of Level C, located in Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Level C is the world's most visionary brand education program—we teach principles and techniques of modern branding to professionals across careers, categories, and countries.
Tell us about yourself
My path took me from majoring in English Literature to professional music school, finance, law school, and then into marketing and branding. I've done award-winning work with all kinds of businesses, and now I get to help other professionals level themselves up with new ways of uncopyable thinking that lets them outmaneuver competitors and market challenges.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
From the business side, I've grown a 3-year-old live-event company through a stuck-at-home pandemic using the principles we teach, maintaining a lean startup model and mindset without taking a penny of investment capital or spending a penny on marketing and still growing 130% heading into year 4.
From the brand side, and still practicing everything we preach, we've empowered our audience to build the most visionary AND disruptive brand in an overly crowded space, where our expertise outshines even the most substance-less social-media-fueled "celebritise."
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Everything about it is hard—the uncertainty, the unpredictability, the amplification of "heat" from every "fire" that pops up, the self-doubt...but if I had to identify one thing as being the most challenging or the greatest obstacle, it would be myself. I am the most likely reason why the business will fail or falter; I am most likely to get in my own way and in the way of my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- FOCUS — be crystal clear about who you are, what you do, and why it matters. That is your business and your brand, and it will let you help your audience understand the value you're offering to them. If you can't do that, there's no point.
- KISS IT — It's cliched, but keep it simple SMART. That will help you focus and keep things actionable and achievable. Do the one thing that makes you and your product/service different, and do it BETTER than everyone else, at all times.
- EMBRACE DANGER — Don't play it safe. Safe sucks. Let yourself embrace the fear, the pain, the uncertainty, and the danger of starting and running, and growing a business, especially in today's social, economic, and professional landscape.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't know something? Go and learn it, but be ready to practice it. That's what we've learned about what and how we teach.
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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