Name: Bob Sweigert
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Business Name: Blueberry Sound LLC
Year Established: 2013
Atrium Member Since: 2017
Membership Type: Pro Desk
Can you briefly describe what Blueberry Sound is all about?
We specialize in audio and video production services, rental, and sales. Our goal is to bring these AV capabilities to small and mid-market venues.
What do you find most challenging about being an entrepreneur?
The diversity of skills required. You need to learn all the skills that are most directly related to what it is that you do and deliver to customers, but when you're a small shop -- one person -- there's also advertising and social media. That's a whole other field that you need to become an expert in. When I started the business, I anticipated doing traditional marketing, like mailing postcards and printing brochures. But that doesn't work anymore. You've got to learn how search engines operate now and how to boost posts on Facebook.
What’s most rewarding about being an entrepreneur?
That your business reflects your values. I want to be known for the technological skills I bring to a musical show or event. But I also want to be known for intangible things, like being easy to do business with and being professional.
Since you started Blueberry in your late fifties, do you consider this your second career?
When I was 19 and wanted to drop out of college, this kind of work is what I wanted to do. I was convinced that this was my calling. My parents said, "Absolutely not, that's the most stupid thing we've ever heard. You couldn't support yourself, not to mention a family." I did like computers, so I went into that field. I got downsized at the age of 59, four decades later, and I felt there were still things I hadn't done yet. One was being an entrepreneur and two was doing something I was passionate about. I left my job on a Wednesday and the next Monday I created my business name and set up shop.
In what ways has your membership at Atrium helped you and your business?
It's a nice community. Everyone has the same mindset when they're here. It’s not playtime; they're here to get something done. The main thing is that it's a good environment, a nice space with a downtown address, and a great place to bring customers for meetings. It does make me feel more substantial as a business owner.
What are your goals for 2018?
When I first set up the business, I identified three things that would make it self-sustaining: service, rental, and sales. I'd really like to step it up in the rental and sales areas.