It’s Monday and I’m already feeling drained and overwhelmed for the week ahead. But it’s important to put my mind and heart at ease, knowing that running your own business takes time and many many attempts to get it right. Nothing great was built over night. And these are just some lessons I’ve learned from Ash No, Founder of SF Rugs. She’s an incredible woman with great tenacity, inventiveness and resourcefulness. All the makings of a good entrepreneur.
She got her start in entrepreneurship by selling candy and cd’s in high school. Since then she has started 5-10 companies. It is my pleasure to share my interview with her.
A side note: I’m thrilled and honored to know that she and I share the same love for HBO’s “Silicon Valley”.
When did you start your first company and what was it?
My first “business” was in high school. I sold candy and CDs in high school and had two part time jobs. I didn’t care at all for high school. It was never a priority for me. But I cared very much about earning my own income.
I started my first “real business” at 18 (while simultaneously quitting college). It was developing websites for small businesses. Nothing sophisticated at all, because my talent was limited, but I created something that got them online.
How many companies have you started since then?
After my first business, I’d say I’ve started about 5-10 companies since. It just depends what you count as a company, lol. Most would fall into the “project” realm because of the time I spent on them and their lack of profitability.
But the real companies I guess would be…
The software company that developed a flashcard app on the Blackberry, Mac, and iPhone that helped students study called Cram. The mobile game company called Fine & Dandy – we made an indie mobile game that ranked #49 in the AppStore.
Then the marketing software company I sold about 2 years ago.
What got you started in entrepreneurship?
It’s just natural for me. I’m a natural problem solver and I typically see some sort of value in everything I do.
Those are the characteristics I find in people that are naturally entrepreneurial and have been from a young age.
What do you love about what you do?
I could say there are 3 main things I like about what I do now:
1. Finding new rugs. As much as it’s a chore (this is being nice) to drag 100lb rugs down sketchy alley ways and convince grandmas to sell me that heirloom rug their kids have no interest in, it’s fun. I get to see the city, meet new people, and hear stories you’ll never hear working behind your computer.
2. Connecting with brilliant women on a daily basis. Coming from the tech space I dealt with men all the time. And that’s fine. But women just have a completely different outlook on the exact same project or concept that I find refreshing (since I’m just not used to it). I can show both men and women an idea, an article title, or a photo and you’ll be shocked at how completely different they will respond, idealize, and execute it. It’s magnificent.
3. Seeing the before and afters of my customers’ space. I’m a total before and after junkie. I love weight loss before and afters, home decor before and afters, makeup before and afters, car before and afters…you show me a before and after of pretty much anything and you have my attention. Before and afters usually encapsulate what I love best about humans. Humans are really good at taking a little bit of nothing and turning that nothing into awesome sauce. So when my customers show me photos of their plain bedroom and then a few weeks later show me their bright space with one of the 100 year old bad ass rugs a grandma told me she bought in a bazaar in Turkey, it gives me enough mojo for 3 more hard weeks of business. There’s just something so truly amazing about it.
Humans are really good at taking a little bit of nothing and turning that nothing into awesome sauce.
How’s that for Monday inspiration? I think that will get me through another few days! Now, for another cup of coffee. I’ll need all the energy I can get to crush the rest of this Monday!
More about SF Rugs
SF Rugs is an online boutique that sells one-of-a-kind hand woven vintage and antique rugs to customers around the world. I curate these rugs during my travels and bring them back to life before I put them in my shop. The thing that makes SF Rugs so special is that we curate and hand select antique Persian, Turkish, Oriental, and Kilim rugs that are more bold and unique in style.