Rubeena Ianigro

Founder - The Gray Muse

I founded a creative shop with fun products like enamel pins, stamps, and stickers for artists, makers, dreamers, and doers. I inspire people to be courageous enough to pursue their passions and love what they do, in turn giving permission to others to do the same.

What inspired you to start your business?

I had my first child last year, and every time I look at my daughter, I think of all that's possible for her. I think that if I kept playing small, I wouldn't be giving her permission to dream big either. I found the courage to start my business and finally launched it a week before she turned 1. Raising a baby while starting a new business hasn't been easy but it has been the best thing that's happened to me (after her, of course).

What is something you would say to someone who is struggling in their first few years of business? Is there something you struggled with and learned from in those first few years?

I'm still in my first year of business, but I've learned a lot. Get to know your audience. Who is your ideal client and what problems are you solving for them. Why should they give you money? Since I'm product-based, I focus on making my fans feel good about themselves (who they are or what they do, i.e. crafting). Another thing I learned is that it's okay to make mistakes. Be open to trying new things. Action and experience leads to clarity! You can read all the books and take all the courses, but you won't know what works for your specific brand until you start testing out posts, images, captions, newsletters, content, offers, and more. The more you show up, the better you get at it. One other thing is to outsource what you're not really good at or takes up too much time. My family helps with packing for now, but I've outsourced the design work. Next, I'll be outsourcing some of my market research and content. Work more on your business than in it!

What hobbies, causes, or activities are you passionate about aside from your work?

I love art, crafting, watercoloring, collecting enamel pins, and personal and professional development courses. I love inspiring people to make time for hobbies and if they want to start their own business and seek advice, I freely give it.

Image Credit: Jennifer Brown, https://www.jenmakeswork.com/, www.instagram.com/jenmakeswork