Entrepreneurship is not only defined by taking risks. It also involves development of discipline, especially when one wants to create success on his own terms. This concept can be applied to Francisco Rodriguez, Owner of Picture Pendant Jewelry that glamorizes people’s photographs through the use of custom graphics. The novel business idea came about by combining knowledge derived from working in his father’s business with his entrepreneurial insights.  After building a successful online presence for the company, he branched out by setting up a store on 47th St. Diamond District in New York City.

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In a brief tete a tete with us, Francisco Rodriguez gives his take on entrepreneurship and his future business goals among other things.

Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.
Our company produces Picture Pendant Jewelry.  We take customer’s photos and edit them by use of the state of the art photo software. We carry out color correct and enhance the photos which are submitted to us. Thus, by use of a technology for imprinting, we transfer the images onto our silver or gold jewelry lines.  We also do custom graphics for our laser cutting service in which we create a photo or name jewelry items using CorelDraw and then create a custom line that our customer’s design and which has been then perfected by us.  Our jewelry lines are for sale in both markets as wholesale accounts and retail customers are welcome.

Kindly give us a brief description about yourself.
I was raised in New York City. My father was a jeweler and model maker.  I was only 16 when I started to learn how to create jewelry items out of metal and carved them into shape and objects.  I was about 20 when I started and created my first website.  I learned how to by reading books on HTML and software that I had bought in stores.  It was a pretty good success in the first and second year, so good that I decided to open a store in New York City on 47th St. Diamond District.  I was at 47th St. Diamond District for a total of 10 years when I was into making and selling wholesale and retail picture pendants and name jewelry and custom jewelry pieces.  I never had a degree in business so I decided to go back to college and seek a degree in business, which I am now attending, Bergen Community College.  My latest website is by far the best I have ever had and the products offered are priced well and our services have been never better. As for the years that I have been in business, I have learned that customer service is very important.  Our office is at Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. However, our business is conducted online with technology being so advanced that an online presence is really what our business needs to serve our customers.

How did the idea for your business come about?
I wanted to take what I learned from my father’s model making business and take it to the next level, that level being the start of my own business.  Picture Pendants and personalized jewelry was a branch of this skill, to create with a design of an image. It is, in many ways, what we do when we create a photo or name a jewelry item.  I like to create custom jewelry pieces which have photos or customer names.

How important have good employees been to your success?
Good employees are the lifelines of our personalized jewelry business.  The need of good workers cannot be expressed enough. It is very important to any company.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
First, I would say complete college, knowledge is power. Secondly, you should do what you love and lastly, never give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would have finished college with an MBA.  I would have also started with more capital money.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Risk taker, creativity and a drive to succeed

How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
I never give up.

How many hours do you work a day on average?
12 hours.

How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It has made my family life better because I got my family involved with my company.  We work together as a whole.

What motivates you?
Seeing that our customers are happy with our products is what makes me happy.

How do you generate new ideas?
I think about how we can improve an item and it grows into something different as time goes on.

What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Going out of business is my biggest fear.  I deal with this fear by facing it if it happens and will not give up and just learn and go forward and try again.

What are your ideals?
Honesty

How do you define success?
Success is what you make of it; each person defines it in their own way.

What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Be honest and ethical.

Where did your organizations funding and capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
I saved my money and I also got money from my mother and father.

How did you obtain investors for your venture? How do you build a successful customer base?
You need to always listen and complete orders in a timely fashion.

How did you decide on the location for your business?
NYC 47th Street is the jewelry capital of the world. Where else would you want to start.

Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
No. There are some set ethics that need to be in place.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I enjoy the creation of jewelry and I like the control over my future.

To what do you most attribute your success?
My drive and my desire to never give up

What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Drive, ethics, capital, desire and knowledge.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I have had many small moments, far too many, in fact, to type about in this interview.

What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Entrepreneurs love to take calculated risk.

How do you go about marketing your business?
I have used pay per click and advertising

What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Pay per click worked really well at one time.

In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Exciting!

What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Not having enough capital.

How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Mistake will happen the trick is to make them only once and then when possible correct the mistake and never repeat it again.

What are your hobbies?
The stocks market

What do you do in your non-work time?
I study for my college classes.

What makes you happy?
Health

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
I am still working on being successful; the bar of success is always being lifted once what has been achieved is undertaken.

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Tiffany & Co.

Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
I see myself starting many companies. In 20 years, I see myself running companies and working at a company.