INTERVIEW WITH A METAL ARTIST (BLACKSMITH)

She is a guest here, because , despite challenges,  she made it go right and

established her studio and business and a producing artist now.

She uses traditional and modern methods to do her job. And  she is located in Gainesville, Florida.

I’m going to let her tell her story. Very inspiring! 

 But before I go, you know how Grant Cardone says “Success is your duty, obligation and your responsibility”.

I think Leslie is a living example of that. And thank you so much Leslie,  for sharing your story with  the world.

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Leslie Tharp

 

Q: Why did you decide to have your own business          (as opposed to getting a job somewhere).

I’d come out of art school around the time the economy was failing and there seemed to be zero well paid creative jobs in my field. After picking up some different jobs and working for minimal pay in fields I wasn’t passionate about, I decided it was time to get serious about selling my artwork.

Q: Did you have any worries at first? And how did you overcome them?

I was mostly worried I would be rejected. That no one would appreciate my skills. I got through my anxiety by making lists of tasks to complete by certain dates, and then treating them like homework assignments. I put aside time every couple days to get something crossed off the list.

 

Q: What were the first five actions you took to get started?

1-I signed up for every cheap or free tutorial, blog series, or workshop on owning a business. I had a whole slew of creative and technical skills to make beautiful art, but knew very little about how to sell that art. These tutorials would cover topics like pricing my work, budgeting for costs, negotiating contracts, utilizing social media and more.

2-I budgeted time to work on my business. I chose to wake up an hour earlier to work on my website before work, or dedicate 5 hours of my Saturday to being in the studio, methodically practicing new techniques. Basically, I had to prioritize my time, and make sure I was showing up and putting in the hours even when I was tired or would rather be fishing.

3-I found ways of surrounding myself with folks doing similar things. It really helped to know other people were in the same boat as me. We shared tips on getting started, but we also drank coffee and complained about how broke we were. It was just what I needed.

4-I started saving money to buy tools. $40 for a grinder one month. The next month I could afford a $50 vice. I didn’t have much extra income at the time so this was tough, but bit by bit I started building my shop.

5-I made time and space to make my art. It was really hard to learn all the business stuff, work a bunch of jobs, and still be creative and make art. I started clocking my hours, and proving to myself that if I just showed up to do the work than inevitably the work would get done.

Q: Did you come across with challenges and doubt yourself (thinking “what am I doing?” )

All the time! I’m really stubborn though, so I’m used to just gritting my teeth and going for it. It helped to know other people who were at the same stage as me, trying to create their own art business , having the same issues (we even got to complain together) and also searching for mentors.

I organized a group of artists in town and we would meet and hold meeting in each others’ studios. This group helped me meet people who were finding success in creative fields, and they would help me sort out problems I was having.

Q: Did you invest a lot of money?

I started small by buying power tools at local pawn shops. Probably $50 a month for the first 6 months. I was able to acquire basic shop tools that way, which included a drill, grinder, safety gear, and some other handy tools. After about 6 months I began investing in “big ticket items” like a  , forge, anvil, and oxy/acetylene set up. Those each cost anywhere from $300-$600. With those items I could operate a modest blacksmithing business and would only have to come up with the cash for coal and gas to burn. It wasn’t until I got my first big sculpture commission that I bought a nice welder, which cost me $1400. Over the next couple years I spent nearly everything I made on buying large tools for the shop, a power hammer, plasma cutter, all the big investments that could in the long run would increase my efficiency and make me money. It took several years to have a shop that wasn’t always in need of something, but I was able to get there without having a dime to my name when I began.

Q: How do you see the future of your business?

Interest in my artwork and custom metalworking has increased and I hope to move into a larger metal studio in a couple years and possibly bring in some help, as I typically make large public art sculptures or large custom metal projects.

Part of my original business model was to incorporate teaching into my practice. I love teaching and it was so difficult for me to find someone to learn from in Florida when I caught the blacksmithing bug, so it always seemed like a great idea to offer blacksmithing classes. I’ve been teaching in my studio for about 5 years, but interest has really picked up lately and I’m working to expand that endeavor into a blacksmithing school, under the name of Leslie Tharp Designs that offers both short terms and long term learning opportunities that focus on the art of blacksmithing.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who want to start a business?

Be willing to learn and adapt as you go and take every opportunity you can to refine the way you run your business.  Enjoy the ride! It’s a wild one, but it’s so worth it!

 

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The Chase, photo by Historia Photography
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The Chase, photo by Historia Photography
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Out of the Woods
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Startle
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Startle
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Summer Showers
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Cycle

Leslie Tharp1

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Photo by Angela Boggs Photogrpahy

Leslie

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Lift – photo by Historia Photography

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Lift – photo by Historia Photography

 

 

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Photo by Sean Deckert
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Photo by Sean Deckert
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Photo by Sean Deckert

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Only the legs by Leslie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANOTHER SMALL BUSINESS STORY

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Today we are with the Well Done Cleaning Service owner Elena Krymoff.

She founded her business 2 years ago. Today she runs the business with her fiance’ Steven Kovaleski.

 

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Q: Why did you decide to have your own business (as opposed to getting a job somewhere).

A: I like creating and organizing. When people don’t know how to organize,  or don’t have time for it, I know how to do it, so I do it for them.

Also I don’t want a limited income. This is not my first business, I had a few other business’ before. One of them failed, one of them was successful…


Q: Did you have any worries at first? And how did you overcome them?

A: I had no worries. I usually start a business with enthusiasm and big interest.  Worry comes later  : )


Q: What were the first five actions you took to get started?

    1-Decided.

     2- Studied how to clean, get more info and orientation to the subject.

     3-Find the first client

     4-Buy supplies

    5- When the clients weren’t increasing, I went online and put an advertisement. 


Q: Did you come across with challenges and doubt yourself (what am I doing? )

A:  No. My experience has been positive. When I go to a place my job is to create an in order and clean environment for my clients. I know how to do it. I do it and usually my clients are very happy. After my first visit to a client, we usually get a call “the place is so nice, thank you, when can you come again ?” .

A: No this business doesn’t require much money. I paid money for supplies (soaps, brushes, rags, mops), got a new vacuum cleaner. I spent about $350.


Q: How do you see the future of your business?

A: I want to have a big company that is operating in the Southern part of the US. I want to hold seminars to teach how to clean. Philosophy of cleaning (theory) and practical as well.


Q: Do you have any advice for people who want to start a business?

A: For people who can’t decide for a line of business, ask yourself, “what do you like doing the most?”

Maybe it is fixing cars or something else….

If you can’t figure out, make an analysis of your past. Where you worked and liked your job and how you can create money with that field.

It is important to be in a field that you know how to do and like doing it as well.

 

Thank you Elena for sharing your story with us. Thank you Steven for taking pictures. : )

And best wishes with your expansion plans.



 

 

WORK YOUR WAY UP

 

 

Hello everybody.

Today we are with Mauricio Munoz.

He is the founder and owner of Pressure Washing Clearwater.

His web : http://www.pressurewashingclearwater.com/

Without further delay, here are the questions and his answers.

 

Mauricio Munoz

 

 

Q:  Why did you decide to have your own business (as opposed to getting a job somewhere) ?

A: My entire life I wanted to have my own business. To do the things that I wanted to create.I wanted to generate employment for others as well. Also I didn’t want to be like my father who worked all the time and didn’t have time for his family or anything else.

 

Q: Did you have any worries at first? And how did you overcome them?

A: To begin with, I had a good paying job but I decided it wasn’t too ethical. So I quit it. I didn’t have a job, no money, no credit cards. My wife was pregnant.  At that state I didn’t have any other choice but do something….So I worked for construction business’ for a while. To answer your question, no I didn’t have worries about starting a business. I was already broke. 

 

Q: What were the first five actions you took to get started?

A: 1- Decision to have my own business

     2- Observation. When I was working in construction, I was looking to see what was needed and wanted in the field. I saw that window cleaning was  easy and didn’t cost much money to get started.

     3- Get information on how to do it.

     4-Buying the tools necessary to clean windows.

   5-Printed Business Cards and Flyers Free Google Advertising, Craigslist. Anything free I could find online I used. Then headed to local stores and offered my window cleaning service.

 

Q: Did you come across with challenges and doubt yourself (what am I doing? ) 

 A:    Yes. It had been a while I was cleaning windows, I remember  my younger daughter was about 1 year old. I used to work all the way from 7 am to 12 at night. Looking for new work, I didn’t have a car, so I was riding my bike to work. Between work and riding bikes, I was exhausted. Physically I wasn’t in good shape. I used to fall asleep soon after I got home. I had no time for my family or anything else. Then I started working with another person, he had a truck, that handled the ride situation but still I was tired and didn’t have any time but work only. If I didn’t work we wouldn’t eat…those times I used to occasionally think, maybe I should work for a company and get a paycheck instead of working so many hours.   

 

    Q: Did you invest a lot of money?

   A:  No. Only about $200 to start  (for tools and business cards ). 

   

Q: You started with window cleaning, how did you get into pressure washing field?

 A: I was cleaning windows ,mostly for gas stations, then I got a call from a regional director,he asked  if I could clean the windows for all of their gas stations. Then I was asked if I could pressure wash their driveway. At first I was renting the pressure washing equipment, eventually I got a new one and even built one myself as well. 

 

 Q: How do you see the future of your business?

 A: I see a very bright future. I want to produce 1 million dollar worth of service. I want the people I work with to prosper and expand too.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for people who want to start a business?

A: I suggest people to start their own business’. Because the society is on the shoulders of small business owners & entrepreneurs. 

     If a person isn’t happy with what they are doing or they are frustrated with their work conditions, they need to take the chance and see things from a different point. Look around, see what you are good at.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

  A:  My wife’s name is Charlotta. My parents in law are Ralf and Doddi Gerhardy. Without their support in every stage of my business from day one until today I wouldn’t be able to make it.  Thank you.

 

 Thank you Mauricio for sharing your story with us. 

 

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I say , Great Job!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOALS AND SERIOUSNESS

Hello everybody.

Clarify your goals in life.  Keep taking actions towards them…ideally big continuous actions, if not even the small ones will do! Continuing is more important then the size of the actions.

Of course, unless there is an emergency or something.

About seriousness, God knows I have work to do at this myself.  Taking life seriously doesn’t make you successful, I know that.

And we know the importance of this when we get out of the “business of seriousness” for a bit…not that we plan, but it happens sometimes…right?

Here’s a video (2.5 min) you can watch and see what I mean…Will Ferrell, I don’t feel he is worried about how he looks….he is more focused on entertaining people. I love it! We appreciate this quality in people, being genuine. He gives people freedom.

It’s a quality we are missing in the world, we are all obsessively trying to fit in the norms.

Anyway, my suggestion is, keep your eyes on your goals, do the best you can but don’t be too serious. So what  if you are not perfect (according to others) at something you don’t care much about, that’s alright…

BLACK OR WHITE

As far as I know, people have positive feelings toward each other as long as they can understand each other. 

A normal person doesn’t decide if a person is good or bad by their RACE, GENDER and STATUS. Good people look at a person’s actions and decide if they are good or bad.

……………….

In fact good people are too good sometimes, they can be too naive and buy a person’s words rather than their actions , but that’s a different story.

………………………….

This Black and White “conflict”  happening in the U.S.  is Bull Shit. Excuse my language.

So my advice to you,  don’t play the game and don’t take side.

Keep your positive feeling you already had towards the other race. The exact idea behind these news is for you to take side and make new (negative) conclusions on the other race, commotion and conflicts.

Show your support to each other. 

Pass around positive messages on social media. 

More powerful than any other method I can think of…and don’t forget, it is your spirit that matters, not your body. See the bigger picture.

Much Love

The lyrics of the song are Here

He says powerful things like

Protection

For gangs, clubs and nations

Causing grief in human relations

It’s a turf war on a global scale
 …..

See, it’s not about races, just places, faces

Where your blood comes from

Is where your space is

I’ve seen the light get duller

I’m not going to spend
My life being a color 

FARMING

We have a situation in the world that, I can assure you, came about from not taking responsibility.

It is the way vegetables are grown. Use of pesticides, other chemicals and genetically modifying crops (vegetables, fruits and grains).  Isn’t that lovely.

As far as I can estimate, people at large think, FARMING is an empty job ( meaning not bringing one status and money) and perhaps they even consider it lowly.

It’s so not true.

If we think we need to eat to survive, to that degree we need these guys, farmers! We are dependent on their services , so how could farming be so “unimportant” of a job then?

Reason being false information and that at some point people were prevented from having their own lands. Otherwise why people would go work at other people’s lands, right? They would work on their own lands. If you don’t believe me ask your parents how it was for them and for your grandparents.

My mom told me, my grandfather used to work at someone else’s grain farm and that those landowners were people who were the head of their village council .

Plus, I see the same scenario in British period dramas, you know the servants that do everything for you. Farming, as well as cooking, cleaning, everything… I’m a fan of that period, when things were simple, so I watched quite some of those. Perhaps I was a rich person at the time : )

Anyway, I bet similar things happened in Japan, India, Russia, Bulgaria, Mexico….you can do your own research.

Enough with the estimated history lessons, the point is you CAN grow vegetables and sell them. It is very valuable especially at this time in world’s history.

People need clean food, they also need variety.

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newfamilyfarm.com in Des Moines, Iowa
from new family farm
New family farm, produce

You get to work in wide open spaces, be in nature. I think organic farming is not that complicated, I noticed there are some web sites and organizations dedicated to “researching” it…

You put the seed the ground and watch it grow! Water it of course, get rid of the weed. Not a rocket science.

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organicempire.com.au , Melbourne, Australia
Angela Gioffre
Angela from organicempire.com.au

“The Organic Empire was formed from out of one woman’s true love and passion for fresh, healthy and ‘tasty’ food. Founder and nutritionist Angela Gioffre’s social awareness and passion for health and the environment is what drives a unique business model that delivers you the highest quality produce each week.”

Good idea Angela!

Here is a link to Japan Organic Agriculture Association

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Itaatli Farm in Antalya, Turkey (from wwoof.org)

WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming. The motto of the organization is  “Linking Volunteers With Organic Farms and Growers”.

It works like this;

Usually you live with your host and are expected to join in and cooperate with the day to day activities. In most countries the exchange is based on 4-6 hours help-fair exchange for a full day’s food and accommodation.

I say what a great opportunity for you to learn about farming!

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The Applefactory in Ekero, Sweden (from wwoof.org)
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From wwoof Nigeria.wordpress.com
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http://trainingabroad.mesaprogram.org

You can start small. If you have a backyard, instead of having just grass, you could grow vegetables and conserve for yourself to eat in winter. When you have more produce sell it at the local market or sell it to your neighbors.

As you get more and more experience, buy a few acres. The land isn’t too expensive anymore (since there is “nothing” to do in the country anymore : ) haha.

You can get a couple of acres about $10K, although in the cities they are more expensive. but you can find more affordable land about an hour away from your city. In that way, you can bring your vegetables to the city, to farmers markets , much needed service.

Or some people put organic vegetables in boxes and deliver them to customers, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Here you go, another opportunity for you to do something .

Get going and good luck : )