Starting Your Own Business

My friend Mark called me up to tell me he'd had it working for someone else and was going to start his own company.

He'd been there for 10+ years and though it was good money, good benefits, and a work-from-home-situation he was miserable.

To complicate matters it was a family owned business so walking away was going to be difficult and painful for the entire family. Talk about making a tough decision.

But I have to hand it to Mark because he did it.

Yes, he was a nervous ball of energy while it was all happening, but also the happiest he'd been in a long time. So after a red-eye flight to NY and a lot of negotiating I'm relieved to report that everything went according to plan. 

He now has a thriving successful business: VIVO.

A little backstory, Mark and I have been friends for over 35 years, we met in kindergarten. One thing we've always had in common is that we're both entrepreneurs at heart.

In fact, back in the early 90s we owned a candle business called Twilight Candles. Without knowing anything about anything we somehow managed to keep it going.

We started out by doing candle parties and would sell to people in their homes. And by "people" I mean all of my mom's nursing friends who took pity on us.

We tried everything. We even sold candles out of a van at a Grateful Dead show (which is a whole other story in itself).

At one point we made a pop-up shop completely enclosed in what is now Cosmic Cafe in Placerville, Ca.

We also had some bigger successes and managed to get our candles into Coldwater Creek's magazine and the Yosemite gift shop.

Mind you, this was all pre-internet marketing and the ease of digital cameras.

For a couple of quirky 20-year-olds we actually accomplished a lot and we had fun doing it. 

So Mark asked if I would create the brand and website for VIVO and of course I said hellz yeah! VIVO means "alive" or "living" in Italian and is quite an appropriate name for his new beginning.

For the brand I wanted to set him apart from other brokerages which tend to be heavy, dark and ugly as all hell! So I created a clean and modern design aesthetic. Black and white with pops of color. Totally opposite of what other brands are doing in his market. 

VIVO Branding  |

The feedback has been incredible and Mark is super stoked with the outcome. 

Down the road when I develop special labels for VIVO I envision stamping the logo onto butcher block paper for more of an artisan/old world look.  

Not everyone is meant to run their own business and that's OK. But if you keep hearing that inner voice tell you it's time to go ... I think you owe it to yourself to listen. Because nothing is impossible.

I'm really proud of my friend Mark because it takes a lot of courage to follow your inner compass and he did.