It Takes a Village to Start a BusinessRieva Lesonsky
While there are some universal tenets of success, entrepreneurs wouldn’t be entrepreneurs if they didn’t march to the beat of their own inner drummer. Many successful small business owners have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that help them achieve success.
Here some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Kasey Blaustein, founder of Kasey Jones, Ink., which offers a variety of interactive and curated services for events, companies and individuals using multiple art mediums. Kasey says “everything is handmade, designed specifically for the client and created with love.” Her services include Live Art Activation and murals, lettering, event signage, illustrations, specialty gifts for brands and individuals, and the interactive photo experience CHALK SHOT.
Kasey’s client list includes some of the country’s most recognizable brands, including HBO, TOMS, Target, Kettle Brand, Lacoste, Fabletics, HSN, JUSTFAB, Plymouth Gin and EXTRA TV, as well as brides, event planners and interior designers throughout the United States.
Kasey has been creating, branding, drawing, gifting and chalking for herself, her friends and her family for more than 20 years and launched Kasey Jones, Ink, a one-stop shop for custom art, branded experiences and influencer gifting, in 2014.
She says her greatest inspiration comes from her grandmother Adela’s passion for creating personalized gifts just for the simple joy of giving and her grandpa Roy’s meticulous dedication to stellar craftsmanship.
Kasey has a Twitter account (@kaseyjonesink), but says she’s not too active there. If you want to connect with her on social media, you’ll find her on Instagram @kaseyjonesink.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Kasey Blaustein: A special events planner and an interior designer. I’ve always loved making experiences pretty and personal for people.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Blaustein: It fulfilled me, emotionally and financially. It started as a hobby and organically grew into a full-time business. Working your butt off doing something you love for people who love what you do—that’s a great feeling. Getting compensated for it at a rate you set makes it even better.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Blaustein: Yes, I started measuring success by how happy I was [instead of by] how much money I was making. It was then I fully switched gears in my career, quit my job and made my part-time hobby my full-time business. A week later we booked on-air activations for Extra at the Golden Globes and I knew I was on the right track.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Blaustein: It takes a village. When you’re a small business, you'll need to lean on others for guidance and mentorship. You’ll also need a handful of trustworthy people you can delegate tasks to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept good advice when it’s given. It’s the only way you can grow.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Blaustein: Keep fine-tuning your skills and learn new ones. A big goal for me this year is to take a new art or business-building class per quarter.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Blaustein: I feel like this is a great time for small businesses. The traditional workspace model has transitioned into one that really supports the freelancer. There is also an abundance of on-demand and networking services available to entrepreneurs to assist turning an idea into an actual business. It’s made the transition of becoming a business owner much less intimidating and more tangible.
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Blaustein: Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, especially the second book, The Subtle Knife. I’m sure that sounded beyond nerdy.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Blaustein: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” - African proverb