Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Micah Choquette, Owner of Sapulpa Times, located in Sapulpa, OK, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I run a local newspaper in the heart of Route 66 at Sapulpa, Oklahoma. We're a town of about 20,000, and we have a strong love for our community and all the great stuff happening in it these days.

Tell us about yourself

I first started Sapulpa Times when the other local newspaper failed to adapt to modern times. We began as an online news outlet in 2015 and gained a good online and social media following. We started printing a physical newspaper in 2018, and surprisingly, people really began to enjoy it. We've found a niche audience by writing for the folks that live here and talking about the issues that are important to them. I have a small space located right on the main drag through downtown, which I love. I love the work I do, even though it can be difficult at times. Having the sense that we're doing work that is important to the community is what keeps it going day after day and sometimes long night after night.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'd have to say being able to provide adequate coverage to a community that has needed us at times has been a big accomplishment. In 2019, our town was hit by 2 tornadoes in one night. All the electricity went out. All we could do was report on the scene via Facebook Live. People thanked us so much for that. "Our cable went out; we didn't know what was going on. All we had were your Facebook posts," they told us. We gained a thousand followers in one night because of that. The following year, when COVID hit, we were the only local news source that provided the coverage needed for the community to prepare for lockdowns, virtual schooling, and everything else. We told the stories without polarizing and alienating our audience. Because of that, our community came out of the pandemic stronger than most of our size.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Until you've been in the trenches, people don't typically understand just how much time it takes to really accomplish what you're trying to do. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort. If you only do it halfway, you're not going to get where you want to be.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find something you love and would do it for free—because chances are, you're going to be doing it for free at some level for a while. If you don't love the work you do, you will quit when it gets hard, when you have to sacrifice money or family time to make things happen. You have to find something you love enough to give it away because as you work to build business relationships, you're going to establish trust by helping others when they need it and when they can't afford it. You have to have faith that it will come back around for you and lead to better days.
  2. Focus. Narrow down what you want to do to the smallest available objective. We started by being online, covering local news only. We still have a rule not to venture outside the county to cover stories except on rare occasions. If you can do one thing really well, you'll make better progress than with a scattershot approach.
  3. Be Consistent. Consistency in doing your job is almost as important as doing it well. All the best businesses, whether it's mom-and-pop or the largest franchises, are successful because they have a level of consistency that people can trust. It's consistency in store hours, turnaround time, or quality of food—it matters more than most people realize.

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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