From a small town in Lithuania to entrepreneurial success, I have had to push and work for everything that I have accomplished.
Born in 1982 in Lithuania, I grew up in a small town called Siaullai. I then went on to attend Sauliu Ragaines High School, studying Arts and participating in athletics. Following that, I enrolled at Siaullai University, where I studied Art and Design and discovered my passion for photography. That was a formative time for me, immersing myself in cameras and photos, learning everything that I could learn. From an early age, I was inquisitive and curious about the world around me, and in photography, I had found an outlet to express my inquisitiveness and curiosity, putting my perspective of the world into images that I could share with others.
In 2002, I moved from Lithuania to the United States. I took a job in the steel industry, first working as the QA lab directory and then as an ISO quality council member, a raw materials buyer, a sales manager, and an operations manager. Along the way, I sharpened my leadership and management skills, attending seminars and observing the executives around me. I made my next big move in 2016, leaving the steel industry behind me in order to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.
Launching my own companies and partnering with other businesses, I knew that I needed to find an edge. I understood how competitive the world around me was, and no matter what it took, I was going to reach the goals that I was setting for myself. The first mantra that I took on (and the first piece of advice I would offer to any entrepreneur) was to work smarter not harder. Using all the resources that were available to me, I tried to leverage as much information and as many collaborative relationships as I could, all to benefit the teams of which I was a part.
As I was establishing myself as an entrepreneur, I was thinking on the fly. In retrospect, though, I can see the specific steps that I took and that other entrepreneurs can take to position themselves for a brighter future. These are:
1. Dig deep to inspire yourself and your team.
2. Never let a fear of failure stand in your way.
3. Craft your budget carefully and stick with it.
4. Research your industry and listen to the experts.
5. Market and promote yourself to build trust in your brand.
6. Surround yourself with people who work as hard and as passionately as you do.
7. Assume that if you are starting now, now is the right time to start. (It’s never too late!)
8. Foster a positive, can-do attitude within your team.
9. Take bold and decisive action.
10. Calculate your risks and be willing to aim for something big.
11. Plan for all contingencies.
12. Do work that you are passionate about.
I believe that there are two key areas in which I have surpassed my competition, empowering me to reach the heights of success that I have. First, I strive relentlessly toward my goals, staying focused at all times. Second, I hire the right people – self-starters who are just as passionate as I am. Toward that end, I try to find people whose communication skills are strong, both when they are talking with customers and when they are talking with management. As grand as my vision may have been, it would not have been enough on its own. It took gumption, persistence, and the right support to complement my entrepreneurial ambition!