Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tessa Newsome, Founder of Kalalla Illustrations, located in Columbus, OH, USA.

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

I am an illustrator and a Creative Director. I help others learn how to grow, have confidence, and sell their own artwork and I also sell mine. The customers that buy my artwork loves stories and relate to the artwork in one way or another.

Tell us about yourself

I have always been an artist, and I truly believe anyone else could be too. We all choose our own passions to continue, and I never put creating art down. My first realization that I could be an artist professionally was when I was 9 and saw a storybook full of illustrations that were not to my taste. And I thought, if this can make it, I can make it. I believe anyone can be successful if they never give up, no matter how cliché that sounds. I am motivated by the chance to tell my stories. I grew up alone and felt like I didn't fit in for a long time, and I wanted to show people out there like me that they are not alone and they can make it. Kind of like a reversal of my 9 yr old self. If my stuff can make it, yours can too.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Getting accepted into the Columbus College of Arts and Design and the fact that I will be getting my degree in about a year. I can tell more stories now that I am branching from Illustration to Games; I really like making games.

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

I spread myself very thin. At the beginning of all businesses, you will find yourself grinding and being nonstop, and that doesn't stop for a long time. You have to build a house before living in it, and I don't think a lot of us realize how hard it is to build a house.

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

Main tip - if you love it, don't give up on it. NEVER tear yourself down. NEVER compare yourself with someone else. Because in the matter of art, only YOU will be able to make that art, and there will always be customers; you just have to find them. Secondly, do the steps. No matter how long it takes, if you want to go back to school, if you want to hand-make things, if you want to do anything that takes more than a day, do it! Because the time will pass anyway. If you want to go back to school, 4 years will pass if you do or not; you might as well get that degree. And the third tip is to believe in yourself more than anyone else could.

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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