Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Neacol Miller, Co-Founder of Bling Squared Cute Glass, located in Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My husband and I are glass artists. We sculpt a line of adorable glass animals that are collected all over the world. Our collectors tend to be nerdy, artistic people in their 30s to 50s.
Tell us about yourself
I got into glass sculpting rather randomly, but this medium either throws you for a loop or grabs you completely. I was in the latter group. I became obsessed with this challenging, magical, and dangerous material. I started out making generic work I thought would most likely sell - but it wasn't until I started making work that I really liked and was excited about that I was selling enough I realized it could be a career. Now I love heading out to my studio every day and making work that puts a smile on my, and so many collectors', faces. I never get tired of hearing how my sculptures cheer people up and make them "squee."
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, just still being in business after the pandemic is probably my biggest accomplishment. In the "before times," our main source of sales was a comic book and pop culture conventions, which all dried up the second things started shutting down. Being able to be flexible and not panic was incredibly difficult, but we switched over to online selling and found new ways to engage our audience to a decent result. After two years, we are finally back to doing some shows, but now we are taking a more mixed approach to how we make sales. We know many, many artists in our community who could not continue doing their work full-time during the pandemic or since. I am very proud to still be here, doing what I love most.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Financial uncertainty and overworking yourself. They go hand in hand. If you aren't sure what's around the corner, or if you are feeling a financial crunch, you tend to push yourself to just work a little bit harder/longer, and it's very easy to burn out.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Stand with your knees bent. Flexibility is key to running any business in this economic reality.
- So what, now what. Stuff happens. How you deal with a crisis is what will define your success.
- If you don't love it, you won't do it. There are lots of unfun things about running a business (filing taxes, updating social media, etc.). But you have to love the products or the service you provide. You have to have to be excited about it, so you'll keep going every day. And customers are attracted to that passion.
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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