We know Inner Artist is still a baby, but like any newborn, it takes a lot of work to keep up with but reaps a lot of reward. The mind behind the operation here and the one who took the first step on this journey is founder, Lisa Manzi. Lisa sat down to answer the hard questions for a real life look into the reality of starting your own business, and we'd love to give you the inside scoop on her answers!
What made you want to start your own business?
I had my own Interior design business for 17 years and it was a natural to progression into this one. The idea for Inner Artist came from struggles of finding the right art for my clients.
How long did you sit on the idea before you finally went through with it?
Well, I first got the idea in 2013 and for most of 2014 I started doing research about the business and what it would take. I had my design business at the time so I wasn’t putting my all into it. In 2015, I really started moving forward on steps to find the right people to help and realized with quite a few missteps that it was harder than I thought. In late 2016, I found The UCF Incubator program here in Orlando and once I was accepted things really started moving forward. I closed my design business in Jan 2017 and haven’t looked back (mostly because I haven’t had the time).
What is the most common phrase you hear from advisors when discussing Inner Artist?
“Perfection is your worst enemy.” It’s hard to listen to, though I try. If I wait for everything to be as perfect as I have it in my head, we will never launch. I have learned that we have to trust in our community of users to help us out and tell us what they are thinking. The parts they like and the parts they don’t. And from there, we can adjust and grow.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in starting this company?
It is so much harder than I had expected, but I have learned that I can step forward and figure it out. I have learned to put good people around me and accept their knowledge and help.
Who do you look to for inspiration in being an entrepreneur?
There are a few people that inspire me. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, for her strength and Gary Vaynerchuk, for his unending energy. To be honest though, I am inspired by every person that has taken those extra steps to start their own business!
Starting a business is time consuming, how often do you get a true day off? If you don’t, do you miss having them?
In the beginning I was unrealistic regarding the amount of time I needed to work. I figured I would have weekends off. Yeah….that didn’t last long. I work from my office every day, then on the sofa at night and at least 4 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. I try to take a day or at least half a day every now and then to just shut it all down so I can regroup. I know it is time when my brain is so full that I forget how to spell my name!
If doubt ever starts to creep its way in, what do you do to regain your confidence in those times?
For the most part I know that we will be successful, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. It is the fear that pushes me harder to get it right. Doubt can be good, .embrace it! It makes us look more closely at things. Being overconfident can blind us to problems.
Finally, how important has patience been in this process?
Patience plays a huge part in building a business. There have been delays and unexpected problems. You hope they don’t happen, but they do, hence... (which is why we call it the unexpected :-) )
Building our platform has been a lesson in highs and lows. We have had to scrap things, but at the same time we have created some really awesome things we hadn’t planned on. We have learned to pivot, which is a word that anyone starting a business will have to embrace.
If there's one thing we've learned on this journey so far, it's that being upfront and honest about where we are is important. We want you to know that it's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.
If you know what it's like to be apart of a start-up business or are an entrepreneur yourself, talk to us! We'd love to chat!