Copy of Don't Let Work Make You Feel Trapped

Craig Wolfe, who was featured in’s Small Office Home Office profile series, got into the animation marketing business more than 20 years ago, working with large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, M&M/Mars, Hershey’s and Campbell Soup.

He ran his business from home then, and still does today, only now his business is of a slightly different nature. Wolfe went from animation marketing to designing and creating rubber ducks in the likeness of celebrities, such as baseball star Derek Jeter and comic Lisa Lampanelli, from his home-based company, CelebriDucks.

Although he got into the business with little relevant experience - a college degree in business and religion didn’t help much in the animation business – Wolfe today is able to make a living doing what he loves. But, he said, didn’t get here without a few bumps in the road.

Here are three tips Wolfe offers to anyone thinking of starting their own business.

No. 1: Remember: you are your brand; branding of yourself as an extension will only be as good as your brand.

So your top priority should be to build a great, strong brand, and the natural extension to promote yourself as the brand will happen organically. Promoting yourself first has no substance behind it. Think Richard Branson of Virgin and Steve Jobs of Apple – they had the respected brand first, the personalities later became intrinsically intertwined with the already-winning brands.

No. 2: It’s not how much money you make, it's how much you keep! Paying attention to overhead costs is key; they take down more businesses that you can imagine.

No. 3: Know that you are never without options. It's easy to feel trapped when things aren't working out the way you hoped. But if you can see every misfortune or difficult moment as nothing more than another moment ripe with potential and realize that you can make something out of it, things happen, orders arrive, people call, and onward and upward.

“Never let your mind go into a space where you feel trapped,” Wolfe said. “I don't know why they don't teach that in business school, because to me it is at the heart of every successful business venture that had to overcome adversity.”