Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nomiki Petrolla, Founder of PDS Lab, located in Columbus, OH, USA.

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

PDS Lab is an accessible program teaching students and first-time founders how to transform their ideas into a software product.

Tell us about yourself

First, I'm a mom of 4 kiddos and a wife to an awesome husband. Second, I'm an entrepreneur, designer, and product manager and have been working with early-stage startups for my entire career. I built PDS Lab because there is a major gap in female-to-male funding for startups, and access to education on building your first idea is scarce. I want to change the game for students and first-time founders so they can realize their ideas in a short amount of time, validate them, and figure out how they want to proceed via funding or development before they flounder and spend 10s of thousands on something that may not be right for their business.

I'm motivated by everyone around me. My energy is constantly fueled by the passion others have for their ideas that get channeled into my program. It's a circle of infusion that is never-ending and keeps me wanting to improve and create the best program out there for new founders and students.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is taking the leap and believing in myself. It takes A LOT to be able to step out on your own and risk everything. And this accomplishment alone has given me so much conviction that I will succeed and help others succeed, too.

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

Everything you do impacts your business. Every single thing. You aren't in a cushiony corporate job where your mistakes don't impact the business on a grand scale. This has taught me how to be more deliberate in my decision-making and taught me to fail fast, very fast. We will all make mistakes and fail every day, but getting up quickly and working on those mistakes is what will change the outcome of our businesses.

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

  1. Build something you are so passionate about that even on the hard days, you are motivated.
  2. Test it out before going all in to see if it's right for you. Maybe start a consulting agency as a transition and do some freelance work. Just because you love something and want to try it does not automatically mean that entrepreneurship is for you.
  3. Figure out your financials – can you afford to do this? If not, what has to be done to get to that stage? Be willing to take risks, but calculated risks.

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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