Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with atiya jones, Founder of TWELVE TWENTY STUDIO LLC, located in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

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

My name is atiya jones, and I own TWELVE TWENTY STUDIO. As an autodidactic artist with a unique eye and passion for design, I aim to create imagery that can be applied to a multitude of mediums & surfaces to enhance personal and commercial spaces. My fine art and graphic design services have been commissioned by commercial & residential property owners, breweries, small business owners, and more.

Tell us about yourself

I've been creating for as long as I can remember. Artistic expression has become a space for storytelling, legacy building, and connecting to the community around me. I began my professional journey in 2016 following a series of artist residencies that ultimately led me to Pittsburgh. Presently I am working on a series of line-based images called "Brain Maps" that illustrate my journey in treating/exploring my mental health as a person with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Understanding that others connect to these tropes is integral to continuing to express myself creatively. Sharing my work and seeing others connect to the stories within have always been a source of motivation for me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been knowing when to slow down and support myself financially in other ways. After focusing on my growth as an artist and, subsequently, a business owner, I realized that in order to grow at the rate I'd projected- I would need to take on projects which did not necessarily align with my values. I re-entered the traditional workforce to remain true to my desires as an artist.

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

One of the most difficult decisions for me in running my studio is the choice to make what I want to see exist in the world versus producing what I think people want to see. In the past, I have found print releases to be rather successful; however, I wish to move further toward in-house mural/installation projects. This means that I will have to pursue what's not yet before me to achieve the goals I have. Even with a plan, there's a level of inconsistency that can be terrifying from time to time.

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

  1. Pursue what you are knowledgeable and passionate about: Disingenuous attempts to profit off of what's trending will be noticed or result in one's own misery.
  2. Recognize your weaknesses: I am not an accountant; therefore, I hired one. Allocating tasks big and small is a power move, no matter what you think.
  3. Take a break when you need to. No one is going to eat lunch for you.

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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