The art of business: where passion turns into entrepreneurship

What is the greatest benefit of turning your passion/hobby into a business?

This week, we’ll hear from Cindy Lapeña from Art ‘n’ Words Studio and Gallery. We got a chance to catch up to her to talk about how she turned her hobby into a business.

“It’s a creative studio that offers artist services, arts and crafts products, professional writing and editing services, educational services, and my books. I wanted to make a go of turning a hobby into a full-time endeavor so I could have fun and earn from it, as well,” said Lapeña.

Like many entrepreneurs, Lapeña found herself excited for the journey but soon realized that making the decision to go for it was the easy part.

“The most difficult part was actually starting it and doing everything by myself,” said Lapeña.

During our conversation, we explored what exactly makes it easier (or more difficult) to start a business from a hobby. We also discussed advice for Canadian hobbyists-turned-entrepreneurs.

“The easiest part of running the business is providing the services, because they’re things I’ve been doing for a long time. The most difficult part is getting more customers and marketing, because I’m not a natural salesperson and not naturally outgoing. In a way, yes (I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur), although I never envisioned myself doing what large businesses do: budgets, flowcharts, marketing. The hardest is marketing, because it does require time and persistence.”

ArtNWordsLapeña’s advice is sage and can be grouped into a few broad themes.

Time is money (and both are vital)
“You need to have the time to devote to running your business, as well as resources. It’s almost impossible to maintain full-time operations without the financial backing, and unless your business is a high-return operation, you won’t really see much profit in the first couple of years or so – you need to be ready to take a loss.”

Patience is a virtue
“You need to be really patient and make use of every available resource you can find to learn as much as you can about running your business.”

Growth is a process
“I’m always taking courses to upgrade my knowledge so I can continue offering more services as well as do more things on my own. Without support from government grants and a variety of government programs, I would never have been able to devote a full year starting my own business. Because the niche market is still pretty small, however, I’m unable to sustain that business on a full-time basis. That doesn’t mean I’m stopping, because I do still get clients and customers. My services and products cater to a niche market, (so) it takes longer to create a name that will, hopefully, become a by-word in the near future!”

Lapeña runs Art ‘n’ Words Studio and Gallery on her own and since entrepreneurs are so creative, we were not surprised to hear that she has decided to start a secondary venture, an independent distributorship for health products.

Art ‘n’ Words Studio & Gallery exhibits and sells art, One-of-a-Canned™ crafts, and books. Lapeña also offers a variety of services including arts and crafts workshops, art lessons, creative writing workshops, better communication workshops, professional writing services, professional editing services, mentoring, art consultation and more!

You can check out some of Lapeña’s work on her website. You can also connect with Lapeña on Facebook and on Twitter @artnwordsca.

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CesarAuthor: Cesar Gomez, CFIB Business Counsellor
Cesar Gomez Garcia has been with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for six years. His current role at the CFIB involves helping members with questions on compliance. These questions can range from employment standards to health and safety, as well as complicated red tape situations that small businesses face. His passion is reading and writing about entrepreneurship. Learn more about Cesar on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @josuegomezg

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