Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Burns, Co-Founder of Til Death, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a community space in Bushwick, Brooklyn, that offers merch of our brand, hosts popups of other local small business entrepreneurs, private rentals, and DIY moto garage workspace with small snacks and beverages. Our customers are mainly locals in the neighborhood, with a mixture of moto enthusiasts and tourists that stop by regularly.
Tell us about yourself
My business partner, Megan, and I have worked together for approximately 7 years. We opened our space on Halloween of 2020 after our previous workplace slowed down to the point of extreme lay-offs with no real trajectory for rehiring. After calling about a warehouse space from Craigslist, the landlord offered our current lot with the opportunity to take over an RV that the last tenants had abandoned when they moved out. Megan and I were stoked to be given the opportunity of such a blank canvas on a main strip of Myrtle Avenue and right beneath the M Train.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our biggest goal and accomplishment has honestly been to create jobs for ourselves that allow us to pay both our rent and cover the overhead expenses of the business, all while creating a community that's open and welcoming for the neighborhood. The fact that we've been able to keep the lights on for nearly 3 years now while not hating our jobs is such a huge accomplishment for us!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I would say one of the hardest things with being a business owner would be constantly and consistently having my mind reeling and trying to come up with what's next. Whether it's an event, an Instagram post, a menu item, or a merch drop, it's exhausting to make sure you're always offering something new.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
One thing I know I couldn't have done without is having a good support system. It's silly to think you can do this thing alone. Lean into your people and ask for help when needed. I know it's rare, but if you're able to, go into business with someone who compliments and completes your work ethic and style. Megan and I's brains work very differently. She's more of an immediate and in-the-moment, task-oriented person, while I sometimes struggle getting ahead of myself but focus on the big picture of everything. We balance each other out, and I can honestly say it's probably one of the reasons we've made it as far as we have. Another important piece is cliche, but truly treat people how you want and expect to be treated. Don't look down on people, "different" doesn't mean "lesser"; use the resources you have to help people when you can. Megan and I may have different modes of working, but our core ethics and morals line up, and we challenge and remind each other why we got into this in the first place.
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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