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Name: Briana Feola

Business: Brainstorm

Industry: Arts & EntertainmentDesign

Location: Dover, New Hampshire, U.S.

Reason for starting: I started my business without knowing I was starting a business. After graduating in 2008, I spent months searching for a “desk job” that I thought would be right for my recently obtained graphic design degree. While I was doing this I was also making screen prints in my parents basement and selling them at craft shows. Over time, I found I had little time for job hunting as my time was being taken up by creating new posters, preparing for craft shows and online selling. Eventually the light went off and I realized this could be my day job. Then it was full steam ahead and here I am today!

Related: It’s ABout Women Running Start-Ups

How do you define success? Success is never having to wake up to an alarm. Making your own schedule. Making the rules about how to spend your days. Success is working incredibly hard to make your own luck. It is never having a boss to complain about. It is being able to travel on a Wednesday (and not have to call in sick), but working extra hard on Thursday because you love what you do. Success is being happy about your choices and being able to build something that feels important to you. Success is doing something every day that brings people joy.

Biggest Success: My biggest success is learning to be happy and confident with the choices and sacrifices I’ve had to make and will have to make in the future. There are many risks involved with running your own business. I consider being fearless and persistent to overcome daily and big-picture stresses with grace a success. The ability to adapt to many different circumstances is another.

Related: Read about another arts entrepreneur here. 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? It is the greatest thing in the world to work with your partner in life, but it’s also the most challenging. Learning to properly communicate with my business partner and fiancé Jason is one of the most difficult things that I’ve found in running a business, especially a creative one. We both have our strengths and weaknesses and trying to stay above the emotional side of our relationship can sometimes prove difficult. However, with every bad day there are seven good ones and being able to share everything (including challenges) with each other is a great triumph. I cope with tough days by reminding myself to be grateful! Also, neither of us have ever taken a business class, so that has been challenging too. Using tools and technology that are available help us figure things out along the way. We learn something new every day.

Who is your most important role model? My important role models are those who have the guts and persistence to better their life. It’s risky to go after happiness but there’s a great reward if you do. I also respect those who make the pursuit of happiness for other people their priority.

Twitter   @wearebrainstorm

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Edited by The Story Exchange