Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in media but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christine S. Escobar, Founder of Represent Classical, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is my publication Represent Classical: the only news source in the world dedicated to the future of classical music centering the news and performances of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color classically trained musicians and scholars. We promote the visibility, appreciation, representation, and contributions of these artists and thinkers who have been systematically excluded in the historical record of classical music through our interviews, reviews, podcast, and news stories.
Tell us about yourself
I have been a long-time advocate for music education and have been an independent journalist for many years. I also worked in publicity, marketing, and communications for arts organizations. During that time, it occurred to me that there were virtually no publications in existence that highlighted the multitude of artists in classical music who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color). It wasn't for lack of musical contributions, that's for sure. I knew that readers of music publications and audience members would be interested to learn more about these artists, and I knew these artists deserved to have better representation in the media. I decided to put my skills in writing, editing, and interviewing to good use and create Represent Classical. It has been a very exciting journey over the last 2+ years. I have met and interviewed so many fascinating musicians and scholars along the way. Every day I look forward to the next interview and to publishing these stories for our readers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That would be my belief in a world where BIPOC artists are featured front and center just as often as their white counterparts are. Too often, what industry gatekeepers portray is a world that doesn't reflect the reality of the demographic of musicians in the U.S.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the most difficult things about being a business owner is just having the confidence to keep plugging away at an idea, a concept, or a product that you believe in but are still trying to obtain buy-in from customers, or in our case, audiences of readers and followers. It can create a lot of doubts. But there are also days that are really fulfilling when you once again remember your goals and your reason for doing what you do, and everything comes together perfectly.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Think about who your customer or audience is going to be; really try to come up with an imaginary persona of the ideal customer and work toward making your product or service the best it can be for this customer.
- Learn from other business owners, ask questions, get insight, and ask for opinions from other trusted colleagues. Get outside of your head once in a while and stay aware of the environment in that your product or service exists. Understand how this ecosystem is shifting, and be adaptable, all while keeping your eye on your mission.
- Do as much as you can without adding cost to your business, to begin with. When these tools and techniques cease to become useful, then add in more paid services, but do so without straining your business budget too heavily until you have a solid product or service first. It's easy to be dazzled by all the bright and shiny tools out there that claim to help your business run more efficiently. But evaluate them carefully before you make the leap.
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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