Tyler Kowalske Explores Business Plan Necessity

In the following interviews, SMU student Tyler Kowalske explores whether business plans are necessary for creative endeavors and whether the creatives began with one when they started. 


Javier Mejia Javier Mejia

Javier Mejia is a photographer and creative entrepreneur and was just featured in the Raw Festival in Dallas.

Did you have a business plan when you started?

When Javier first became a photographer, it was a complete accident. Javier happened to be at a conference where the photographer didn’t show up so someone handed him a camera and told him he would be the photographer for the day. He never thought that moment would have led him down the path to becoming a creative entrepreneur or even working in photography. For Javier, business started by accident and while a business plan could have helped him on his path, it was not needed at the time.

Do You Think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

While Javier did not have a business plan when he first became a photographer, he believes that business plans can be very important. Javier believes it’s important to have some sort of plan in advance and a business plan is one of the best ways to organize your ideas. He suggests a business plan can help you develop the right mindset and reduce failures.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Javier expressed that the most important piece of advice he could give is to love your own craft. When it comes to arts there will always be someone better than you and if you do not love your craft it will be hard to stay motivated. Javier also advised that whatever you end up doing make sure you are doing it because you love it. Make it a business and a lifestyle. The third piece of advice Javier gave was to always be yourself. Never try and steel or replicate someone else’s work just to try and please others.


Eric Gilmore Eric Gilmore

Eric Gilmore is a freelance graphic design artist and was just featured in the Raw Festival in Dallas.

Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

Eric went to college where he planned to work in the graphic design field after graduation. After college, he did not have a business plan and just started freelance work right out of college. Eric agrees that a business plan might have been helpful but for his field of work was not completely necessary.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Eric believes that business plans are important but not always necessary. For Eric working as a freelance graphic designer, developing a business plan did not seem necessary because he was offering a simple service. However, Eric believes that creating a business plan originally would have helped. He believes that business plans are important because they help organize and plan whatever venture you are perusing.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Eric’s first piece of advice was to never be afraid to jump at an opportunity or step out of your comfort zone. It may be hard at first but it’s a great way to make new connections and find new opportunities for you. You might also find a group of like-minded individuals that can help you peruse your craft. His second piece of advice was to work with people you get along with. Business can be much more difficult when only operating with people who annoy you. But most importantly, Eric’s third piece of advice is to always continue to practice your craft and the importance of investing in yourself. Practice makes perfect and when you aren’t practicing, someone else out there is. You should always be investing in yourself by practicing your craft and setting personal goals.


Sam Jost Sam Jost

Sam Jost is a creative entrepreneur that sold his custom accessory company after graduating high school and currently developing a new startup.

Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

Sam told me that he did, in fact, have a business plan for his first business. However, the business plan changed a lot over the course of the first few months of his startup. Sam said his business plan was a good way to stay organized and get his ideas down on paper.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

Sam believes the business plan is the core to any business. A business plan helps you organize your thoughts and ideas while at the same time accomplishing your goals in a timely manner. Sam also believes that once you start trying to develop your business plan is the point where you can start to tell if your idea is worth perusing.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

Sam’s first piece of advice to me was to be passionate about whatever you decide to peruse. This is important because you have to be able to fail over and over again but still have the drive to continue if you want to be successful. Sam’s second piece of advice to me was to always be brutally honest with yourself because if you’re not honest with yourself you wont be able to identify certain issues. If you cant identify the issues in your business you will not be able to fix them so it is important to always be honest with yourself even when the truth hurts. Sam’s last piece of advice to me was to not put all your eggs in one basket and to always be involved in many areas. The way Sam does this is by staying busy in all areas of his life. Last semester Sam took 21 credit hours while working over 30 hours a week. It was the first time he was able to get all A’s because it forced him to stay organized if he wanted to meet his goals.


Interview analysis by SMU student Tyler Kowalske

This interview process was a great way for me to reconnect with old business partners and strengthen my existing relationships. I learned a lot during this interview process and it was interesting to see the perspective the creative entrepreneurs had on the interview questions.

The first question in the interview asked if the interviewee had a business plan when he or she first started their business. I was surprised to see that only one of the people I interviewed actually had a business plan when first starting his business. However, one thing that everyone seemed to agree on was that a business plan would have made everything a lot easier when initially starting. However, Javier goes to show that sometimes you just have to take Eric’s advice and step out of your comfort zone and peruse an opportunity because you never know where it will take you.

The second question discussed was whether or not a business plan is necessary for entrepreneurship. The answers I received for this question were slightly different from interviewee to interviewee. However, while the entrepreneurs had different opinions on weather or not the business plan is absolutely necessary they all agreed a business plan is an extremely helpful tool for entrepreneurship.

The last question asked the entrepreneurs for advice for developing arts entrepreneurs. Personally, this was my favorite part of the interview because everyone had such interesting advice to offer. While everyone’s advice was a little different it seemed like there were a few main points that where important to all the entrepreneurs. The first thing everyone agreed on was the importance of being passionate about what you are doing. It is hard to excel in something you have no interest in. Also perusing something without a passion might be a way to make money but you will probably not enjoy the day to day as much as something you are passionate about. Once you find the thing you are passionate about you will most likely make it your lifestyle.

In the end, all the entrepreneurs had slightly different reasons for becoming entrepreneurs but pretty similar beliefs. In conclusion, It is important to stay organized and one of the best ways of doing so is with a business plan. It is also important to peruse something you are interested in because if you don’t you will eventually become bored and will have no passion for what you are doing.

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