Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ariel Garcia, Owner of ByAriel, located in Portland, OR, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a creative marketing agency, and we turn brands into industry icons. We are typically working with brands who are trailblazing new ways of doing things in their industry and who need unique creative vision to tell the story of what they do and who they’re for!

Tell us about yourself

Honestly, I started my business because I don’t enjoy working for other people. I wanted freedom over my time, and being my own boss felt like the best way to make that happen. And that still remains my motivation to this day. I love that I can build my life exactly how I want it to look. This business has given my family and me opportunities I could never have even dreamed of!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

A couple of years ago, I created a program for graphic designers who want to turn their freelance hustle into a successful business venture. We mentor and help them develop their own unique creative voice. That’s something I never had as I was learning — someone to validate my own (vulnerable and scary) creative ideas. And to push me to be my best creative self. So far, we’ve had about 400 graphic designers go through the program, and it’s been so cool to see how their lives have changed — leaving jobs they hate, being able to support their families, living lives of time and financial freedom, on their own terms. It’s something I’m so proud of building.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Definitely decision fatigue. There are SO many big and small decisions you have to make daily as a business owner. Not to mention, lots of people rely on you and need you, which can, at times, be very overwhelming. I’ve tried to get in the habit of limiting how many things I “have to” get done each day, which leaves mental and physical space in my day to recharge before the next decision needs to be made.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do something to get started today! Starting a business will always feel overwhelming. You’ll never know what you’re doing. No one does. You just have to go for it. And tell people about it! Telling people makes the business feel so much more real in your mind.
  2. Find a coach or mentor. There will be A LOT of hard problems to solve while building your business. A coach can help you see clearly and make the best possible decisions. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the mentors who guided me along the way.
  3. Your uniqueness is your greatest strength. I used to observe other successful business owners and adapt how I did things to be more like them. But at the end of the day, my perspective, approach, and way of doing things are what sets me apart. The more I become more me, the more successful the business is. Don’t be afraid to do things differently or discover a new way forward.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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