Bianca Beattie & the Creative Entrepreneurs

The following interviews, conducted by Bianca Beattie, seek to understand:

  • If these creative entrepreneurs sought capital in starting their organization
  • What ways they may have done so, if applicable
  • What advice they have for aspiring creative entrepreneurs. 

This interview process is part of SMU Meadows’ class Creative Entrepreneurship and Attracting Capital.

Alex Rossman: Founder & CEO of MetroStudio, an integrated marketing firm dedicated Alex Rosman to providing the highest standard and quality services for a diverse range of vertical businesses

Have you sought funding for your organization?

No, we didn’t seek funds for our organization.

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization?

Throughout the work we have been doing, we have reinvested the money into the company.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

I would say, basically, going through the practice of getting new clients, getting new jobs, and using that income to reinvest in the company and, at the same time, increasing every single department, like sales and marketing, we invest a lot in doing some marketing for ourselves. So, always reinvesting throughout the company.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs, regarding raising funds?

One piece of advice is, at the beginning, try to be conservative when it comes to incomes so re-investing the funds. Try to set goals that are realistic, that’s my second advice. And then, the third one is try to be creative. Try to find different ways to do things.

Patricia Arango: Founder of 327 Design Inc., an artistic diamond jewelry design Patricia Arangocompany based in Miami, Fl.

Have you sought funding for your organization?

No.

How were you able to grow without outside capital?

I just started building up from below to what I have today, very slowly, because I was also a mother with kids at the same time so I started working part-time.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

Well, I used my own money to start my business and since it was a very slow growth, I didn’t need to look for funding.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs, regarding raising funds?

About raising funds, what can I say, because of course, that would be my weakest point. I’m more into the creative part of the business that is my strongest part. I would say to have a very organized business, to keep all the accounts and everything very organized, and look for outside help when you need it. I am not good with numbers so I use the help of my husband, who is an accountant.

Susan Linning: President of Echo Marketing & Media, a boutique digital marketing Susan Linningagency specializing in social media and integrated digital marketing and consulting.

Have you sought funding for your organization?

Let me preface all of this with I did not raise capital for my business.

How were you able to grow without outside capital?

My business happened by accident. I was married and running a nonprofit called The Oscar Project. I set up a training program that would give caregivers and families CRP classes, get them certified, teach them how to manage crises, and how to prevent accidents and problems in the home. I was in the middle of doing that, which was terribly successful and where I had many sponsorships from Miami Children’s Hospital and various organizations in town where I had raised capital from. Somewhere in the middle of it, a woman said, “Susan, you know I realize you speak Spanish, I’ve got a great business idea, but I need help putting together a business plan. I don’t know anything about business but I’m a technical person and I’ve set up this platform online and I’d love to be able to sell it forward, but I need someone to set up the business plan.” And so I met with her, heard out her idea and said, “Hey, this is something that doesn’t exist and should.” So, from there we formed a business together and started to pursue this service.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

So, we took the idea to the Miami Herald business plan competition and actually came in second place we were two points away from coming in first. Then after that, I remember meeting with these guys on Key Biscayne that were like, “Look we have one million dollars that we want to throw at you. How is this going to play out, how are you going to invest this money, and where is this business going?”. So even though we didn’t take the money, that business plan competition definitely put us on the map in Miami because we started receiving traction from newspapers, radio stations, and even tv shows that wanted us to come and talk about what we were developing.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs, regarding raising funds?

I think what’s really important is to get out in the community; go to community workshops, join the chamber of commerce. Business is all about who you know and getting lucky. Timing is everything. You don’t roll out a business before it’s due. We had business plans developed, I had financial projections put together, and within 6 months, Groupon launched. Suddenly, we realized we had to move really quickly or we were going to get eaten alive. By that time, our business had morphed into something else because along the way when we were selling this coupon platform, people had just heard about Facebook’s business platform and wanted us to start posting content and develop it for them. So one side of our business was social media development and the other side was the couponing platform. Quickly, we realized all of our business was going towards the social media side so our business morphed and that’s something that you need to be aware of as an entrepreneur. You have to be agile, as you’re building a business because whatever your business plan starts as it might not end up being that because as you’re listening to your customer base and you’re listening to people you want to work with you.  You may realize this has already been done, but if I do it in a different way, I’m going to find a real core for the services or products we have. So three things I’d say are: know your community, timing is everything, and be flexible.

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