Our neighbour, Gustavo Arens from production company ‘Grilled Cheese Studio’, speaks with us about challenges facing a new entrepreneur and phases of growth in one’s personal and business life.
His passion lies in creative freedom and in interacting with video and camera.
In 2010 during a vacation in Barcelona, Gustavo fell in love with the city and returned to pursue a course in animation. “By 2015 we were looking for a small studio space here. We were just walking around and found Passatge Sert. It was like ‘Wow’ and we saw a place available for rent inside. And we are still here 5 years later!”
Does the Passatge compliment your personality or work in some way?
I think Passatge has its own energy. People who come to it always feel like, ‘Why did we not come here before?’ All businesses in here are small and personal…more artistic and humane in nature. It helps to keep alive the magical feel.
What is Grilled Cheese Studio? What kind of projects do you take on?
We specialize in photography, video and animation, adapting these to the needs of the client. When we started, we wanted to do everything. But we realized that we needed to specialize. There is a phrase in Spanish that means if you cook too many rabbits at one time, at least one will get burnt! This way the clients would see you better and you can serve them better.
Is Grilled Cheese Studio (GC) your dream or are there others as well?
Dreams… dreams… dreams! I mean dreams can change. You can always have more than one. GC was something I have wanted to do for a long time and I will love to keep it forever! I want to open a restaurant and an ice cream place also. I have some very special ideas!!!
“You will never be ready to start a business or have a baby or anything else. Just do it. If you don’t, you will never know what will happen. Just try… maybe not in a big way. What will you loose? TRY IT!!”GUSTAVO ARENS
How do you feel about ‘side hustles’ and do you have experience doing 2 businesses together?
If you are running 2 big businesses together, it can get more crazy. Because in a business there is always something to do – paperwork, something to fix, something to buy, something. Especially if you have a big space. It can work better if there is someone to help with one business or both. Like I worked with my girlfriend in a pillow business, but I only did maybe 25% of work there… at least during the first year of the business. Because once it starts working by itself, you will have more time to work on another project.
So how much time do you spend on your business right now in comparison to beginning?
1st year you have many doubts about the business. We are from Venezuela and did not have contacts. You don’t know if you are making right decisions. You have to pay bills. You might be able to cover expenses. Clients don’t trust you. I remember not sleeping many nights. By second year people have started recognizing you and they recommend you. Clients start calling. By the third year you have more clients! You see how you have grown, clients you have worked with, projects done. 5 years later you are not the same person who started the business.
What has been your motivation to keep moving through personal and professional challenges?
My new motivation is my daughter! But I have learnt that it is equally important to say ‘no’ to things in order to keep motivated.
Any advice for our readers?
“If you have an idea you will never be 100% ready for it. You will never be ready to start a business or have a baby or anything else. Just do it. If you don’t, you will never know what will happen. Just try… maybe not in a big way. What will you loose? TRY IT!!”
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