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Pablo Fuentes

Pablo Fuentes is the CEO of Proven. He is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and UCLA. He is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and a blues guitar player and builder.

Recent Posts

Transforming Your Passion Into a Thriving Business | Savvyroot

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on April 26, 2017

Lots of people dream of leaving their day job to turn their hobby into a full-time career.

We spend much of our lives at work, so why not do something that we love?

With families, mortgages and other bills and responsibilities to consider, it can be a very tough decision to make and one that perhaps is not realistic for everyone.

Today, on Small Business War Stories, we talk with Celeste Austin of Savvyroot, who left her career in the dental industry after 8 years to start a designer handbag company. 

She started the company as a side business after she taught herself to sew. She would work from 7 AM to 3 PM at her regular job and then work until 5am on her side business in order to fill orders.

It's an incredible and inspiring story that takes a ton of guts to pull off, but in Celeste's own words, her original career "didn't give her life."

Read the full article >>

Oh No! You Just Got a Cease and Desist Letter, Now What? | Henge Docks

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on April 19, 2017

Imagine this.

You’re super excited. You’re following your dream, starting a company and launching a product that you are thrilled about. You’ve raised money, have customers lined up, a website built, and everything is lined up to build a great company.

Then, 18 hours after you launch, you get hit with a cease and desist letter.

What do you do?

This is exactly what happened to Henge Docks, a company that designs and manufactures high-end Apple accessories. To find out how they managed to survive this ordeal, we spoke with Matt Vroom, founder of Henge Docks, about how he coped with receiving a patent lawsuit within the first 24 hours of operating as a business.

It's an amazing story and one we are excited to share.

Read the full article >>

No Frills, Effective Small Business Hiring | Workology

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on April 12, 2017

Let's face it.

Small business hiring can be a real pain.

As business owners, we have 500 things to do each day with only 24 hours available to get them done. Dealing with finding new employees can be a real drag on top of your regular work load.

Small businesses often lack the bells and whistles available to larger entities. We can sometimes get ourselves into trouble with not having a standardized hiring process or not being well versed in HR law.

To help sort out some of these issues, today on Small Business War Stories, we talk with HR extraordinaire Jessica Miller-Merrell of Workology. We discuss the bare minimum you should be doing to hire effectively as a small business owner, what pitfalls you should be aware of, hiring contractors versus full time and much much more.

Read the full article >>

The Dying Art of Typewriter Repair | Duncan Munoz Business Machines

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on April 5, 2017

Recently, there's also been a renewed interest and fascination with analog media. Young people are rediscovering vinyl records, cassette tapes, and even typewriters.

But even outside of those interested in antiques and nostalgia of a past era, typewriters are still more widely used than you might think. 

The New York Police Department still relies heavily on typewriters. There's also those of us that prefer the limits imposed by a typerwriter. You're not going to accidentally press a button and send a document to your entire company on a typewriter. No one can hack into your typewriter and steal your private information. 

But typewriters are complex works of art and as such, they need maintenance and repair. Yet the number of people with the knowledge, skills and desire to fix these machines is rapidly dwindling.

To dive deeper into the dying art of typerwriter repair, today, on Small Business War Stories, we talk with Steve Munoz from Duncan Munoz Business Machines, the last surviving typewriter repair person in Central Texas.

Read the full article >>

Opening a Gym (and How to Succeed) | Featuring Flagship

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on March 29, 2017

The fitness industry is exploding.

One in five Americans are heading to the gym or at least have a gym membership. Fitness trends like Crossfit, Soul Cycle, pilates and yoga are now mainstream and available in most cities.

More and more folks are quitting their 9 to 5 and chasing their passions by jumping full steam into the fitness industry.

However, starting a gym is not just about passion. The bottom line is, it's still a business and most small businesses fail within the first 18 months.

How do you insure that your gym succeeds and does not become a statistic?

Can you turn your passion into a financial success?

To help us answer these questions (and more), we talked to Brian Hassan of Flagship Athletic Performance, a successful gym enterprise in San Francisco. Brian has succeeded by combining his business background with his passion for fitness and he has tons of awesome advice for anyone flirting with the idea of opening a gym.

Read the full article >>

How to Dissolve a Business Partnership Peacefully | Featuring Joe Mellin

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on March 22, 2017

Let's face it:

There are a ton of challenges with starting a business, especially if you have never done it before.

That's why having a business partner with complimentary skills can be so helpful. Someone to help you stay focused, bounce ideas off of and ultimately shoulder the load.

However, what happens when that business partnership fails? Can you stay friends? How do you dissolve a business partnership peacefully?

To explore these questions, we talked with Joe Mellin, who use to actually be my original business partner.

Read the full article >>

The Soap Making Business and Sustainability | Featuring Zen Soap

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on March 15, 2017

For those of us that grew up in the 90s, it's hard to talk about making soap and not think about Brad Pitt's role as Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club.

However, that's the perfect setup for today's episode of Small Business War Stories.

We talked with Chris Cabiya, of Zen Soap, who is also a practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu. Chris is now in his second year of operation as a small business owner. 

Chris combines his passion for Jiu-Jitsu, a vegetarian diet, and his concern for the environment to create a high quality sustainable soap products.

We talked to Chris about how he got into the soap making business, why sustainability is important to him, and what advice he has for anyone starting a new venture.

Check it out:

Read the full article >>

How to Start a Massage Therapy Business | Featuring Mantis Massage

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on March 8, 2017

There's a growing demand for massage therapy as more and more of the general public have accepted that massages help improve overall health.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the growth rate of massage therapist will be 19% through 2018.

Although a tremendous amount of both classroom and real world training goes into become a licensed massage therapist, there is not a lot of training about how to start your own massage business and how to make it a success. 

Being a great therapist does not necessarily translate directly to being a great business owner.

To help us dissect the ins and outs of starting a massage business, on today's episode of Small Business War Stories we talk with Kyra Gerhard of Mantis Massage.

Read the full article >>

Making a Living in Music | Featuring Austin Vintage Guitars

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on March 1, 2017

Making a living in the modern music business has changed dramatically.

In the late 90s, free downloading services, like Napster, were considered a dangerous threat to the music business.

In many ways, to survive, the music industry has had to reinvent itself. Services like Spotify and SoundCloud help people discover new music and helps unknown artists get their music heard.

The Internet has also had a dramatic effect on the retail side of the business. Budding musicians can now turn to online sites to purchase musical instruments.

With these rapid changes in the music business, how can a musical instrument store prosper? How can you make money as a performer in this new digital age? Ultimately, how you can make a living in the modern music business?

In today’s episode of Small Business War Stories we tackle these challenging questions and more with Nick Boettcher from Austin Vintage Guitars and performer in band The Reverent Few.

Read the full article >>

How to Revive an Iconic Brand | Featuring Antone's

Posted by Pablo Fuentes on February 22, 2017

Iconic brands are instantly recognizable. Think the Volkswagen Beetle or the McDonald's arches.

Brands like these are rooted in our culture. They have a status that goes beyond simply what they sell. They come to represent our desires, hopes and dreams.

However, sometimes an iconic brand may actually disappear. Juggernauts like Pan Am, Blockbuster, and Oldsmobile have been hurt by changes in technology or phased out for various reasons.

Having brand recognition can be hugely powerful, but when reviving a once iconic name, it can actually be a challenge and uphill battle to change built-in perception.

Antone's, a once famous blues club in Austin, Texas has gone through six different business iterations and was even closed for two years after being open every day for 38 years. 

However, Antone's is once again becoming a destination location for visitors of Austin and a place many musicians desire to play. 

In today's episode of Small Business War Stories, we walk with Will Bridges of Antone's about how they have been able to revive this amazing and iconic brand.

Read the full article >>
 

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