Ester Venouziou, LocalShops1 Founder, Live Local! Editor

Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1 and editor of the LocalShops1 magazine, Live Local! Ester knows how to turn a passion for helping local businesses succeed, into a business of her own. She started LocalShops as a part-time gig while working full-time at the then-St. Pete Times. In 2011 she put her attentions to LocalShops1 full-time. When she’s not busy working, she’s busy exploring the local businesses she loves, painting, brainstorming new projects for LocalShops1 and hopes to start learning to cook.  Meet Ester.

1. What is the most interesting thing about you or your business?
What makes LocalShops1 most interesting is the diverse mix of business members, of all ages and backgrounds.

2. What makes business ownership worth it to you?
It’s really all about knowing that I’m doing what I can to make a positive impact in our community. I love learning our members’ stories and seeing all the creative ways they are making their businesses grow. I especially love seeing businesses collaborate with each other and I’m happy to be able to help make the connections.

3. Describe your typical day.
I’m not sure there’s really a typical day, but my week usually includes the following:

  • Maintaining social media pages for LocalShops1 and our magazine, Live Local!
  • Updating content and blogs on our website,
  • Working on Live Local! magazine (planning, writing, editing or designing, depending on the week)
  • Brainstorming session with staff, community partners and/or business members about an upcoming event or Buy Local marketing campaign
  • Participating in discussions with leaders from other Buy Local organizations around the country
  • Researching new products and services that may help our member
  • Organizing monthly networking event and coordinating with host, sponsors, etc.
  • Answering emails & FB messages, checking in on members
  • Compiling member news & writing weekly enewsletter
  • Attend member grand openings or events hosted by our partnering organizations
  • Also, we sponsor many community events and organize our own four signature events (Top Local Chef, Buy Local Night in the Park, Best in Biz Awards and Shopapalooza Festival), so there is always much more to do on the weeks leading to those events.

Finally, I also work on separate writing, design and editing projects so I set a few hours aside each week for my freelance clients.

4. Would you ever trade running your own business for a 9 to 5 job?
I know you’re never supposed to say “never,” but I really can’t imagine going to a 9-5 type of job.

5. What advice would you give to someone considering business ownership or entrepreneurism? Are there certain skills or traits they need to be successful?
I’d tell them to keep the 9-5 job and save as much as possible, to make sure that before they leap they have enough in savings to live without relying on any income from their business for the first year, maybe even longer.
Skills/training needed will vary on the field they go into, of course.  As far as traits, I think they need to be risk-takers and be able to bounce back quickly. There are a lot of highs and lot of lows, sometimes even on the same day. So entrepreneurs need to be able to roll with it, and adjust as needed while still staying true to their mission and purpose.  And maybe most importantly, entrepreneurs should remember to keep things new and exciting and to keep having fun. That’s why they left the corporate world, right?

6. Why do you think you’re successful? What does success mean to you?
I try to surround myself mostly with intelligent, positive and caring people, and that makes a big difference. Success, to me, means having a supportive network and a good reputation, knowing I have people I can rely on, and that people know they can rely on me.

Elizabeth has 15+ years experience in Public Relations, leading local, state and national accounts. Mother, reader, writer, marketer. Read more about me here.

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