Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Arianna Litrenta, Founder of Sunflower Creative Co., located in San Diego, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sunflower Creative Co. is a Food Photography, Recipe Creation, and Content Writing Agency. The company's mission is to produce invaluable content for customers to elevate their business. We do this by curating captivating imagery, delicious recipes and providing engaging articles to drive traffic to their website. Sunflower Creative Co. works with brands, magazines, beverage companies, and more.
Tell us about yourself
In 2017, I began working in the world of food & wine through Thomas Hill Organic, a farm-to-table restaurant in Paso Robles. I was the restaurant's social media coordinator and photographer during my college senior at Cal Poly. As well, I also worked as a freelance assistant food stylist in San Francisco. I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in June 2018 with a degree in event planning, but I knew I wanted to continue working around food. So, I moved straight to San Diego to work as a marketing assistant for an event and marketing company that produced large-scale food and wine festivals. I then worked in digital marketing before losing my job in March 2020 due to COVID-19. After working in the events, food & wine, and digital marketing industry, I saw an opportunity to start my own business. I established Sunflower Creative Co. in 2020 and have never looked back!
Three years in, the same thing that motivated me to start my business still motivates me each day. My goal in creating Sunflower Creative Co. was to produce invaluable content for a wide range of clients. I've had the chance to collaborate with so many unique clients and work on projects I once dreamed about. I truly get to do that I love every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As someone who never imagined I would own a business, just turning it into a reality was a huge accomplishment. There was so much I had to learn along the way, and in the midst of a global pandemic, nonetheless. Establishing a successful business model was my first accomplishment, and that is something that is often overlooked by many business owners because they're so focused on the next goal. But it's definitely something to be celebrated!
In my three years operating Sunflower Creative Co., one of my biggest accomplishments is being the sole photographer on a 65-recipe cookbook. The timeframe was tight- less than a month which is crazy looking back on it. It was by far the hardest I've worked, and I couldn't be prouder of the work produced for that cookbook.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest part that comes with being a business owner is the legalities of establishing a business. As I said, I never imagined I would own a business, so I didn't take business courses in college. I had no idea how to go about setting up a business or managing the books. I had to learn how to best use my time since it was so limited. Personally, hiring a great CPA and bookkeeper were invaluable assets to setting up a successful business. It gave me the time to grow my business and the ability to focus on what I love. I think one of the hardest aspects of being a business owner is deciding how to divide your time. That looks so different for each person, and you can only really know through experience.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The first tip would be to just start. So many entrepreneurs wait for the perfect moment or create a list they have to complete before being able to begin. There is no perfect time, and you truly just have to dive in headfirst and learn as you go.
The second tip would be to rely on the people around you. From networking to asking for their expertise on an area you have less knowledge on, just know that you don't have to do it alone.
Finally, understand and accept the uncomfortable. There's going to be a lot of growth in that first year as you learn how to run a business. Each new step will bring new challenges. Lean into the uncomfortable to become comfortable in the stage of your business. It's the only way to stay sane in the midst of constant change!
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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