Daren Fuster says he wears about 17 hats with the two small businesses he operates and other work he’s involved in. This is probably an underestimation for the motivated entrepreneur from Los Angeles.
Fuster, who is a client of 1-800Accountant, proudly runs Fuster Artistic, LLC (based in Los Angeles and established in 2016) and Pro Art Music, LLC (based in Cincinnati and established in 2013). By day, he even works as a booking agent for a music producer.
“I offer a lot of different services in my companies,” Fuster explains.“I can provide music for weddings – everything from a string quartet, to a DJ, to a full-fledged band. I also provide music for other various events and venues. Plus, I offer contracting services to artists and presenters who need an orchestra or other accompaniment at concerts and events.”
Fuster has had the opportunity to work on behalf of many big names in music, including Nelly, Kenny G, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, and Peter Cetera. He even manages a jazz band that went on tour with Jane Lynch.
It was his own musical talent that helped him get into this industry and make the waves he’s made in it already.
“By trade, I’m a professionally trained violinist and violist,” he says. “I have performed with a variety of artists and institutions around the U.S. and abroad. I’ve performed in Italy, Germany, and other countries. I did this for about 15 years, but I knew it was not something I wanted to do forever. So, I then landed some administrative jobs with symphonies.”
According to Fuster, he loves how every day of his life is different.
“I really like the diversity in what I do. We’re able to provide entertainment to so many different people in so many unique capacities. One day, I’m booking something for Nelly. The next day, I’m booking a band for a wedding happening down the street.”
Unlike many entrepreneurs who spend time closely analyzing their competitors within a specific industry and market, Fuster approaches competition differently.
“There is competition prevalent in all markets, but I’ve never been one to focus on my competition,” he explains. “Instead, I focus on the products and services we provide, and I firmly believe in all of them and their quality. After 15-plus years, I don’t think I’d be where I am today without thinking of it like this.”
Some entrepreneurs focus on one specific marketing strategy, while others employ a variety of methods. Fuster falls into the latter boat. He has 3 websites for each of his brands – www.fusterartistic.com, www.musicsocal.com, and www.proartmusic.com. He advertises on online wedding portals, attends trade shows primarily on weddings, and uses both e-mail marketing and direct mail pieces. In addition, his companies are on social media with Facebook pages for Music SoCal and Pro Art Music and Twitter pages for Music SoCal and Pro Art Music.
“I know my clients pretty well and have learned to target savvy buyers,” he says.
Handling the financial side of things has been Fuster’s most noteworthy challenge as a small business owner.
The biggest challenge has been understanding my cash flow and forecasting. These obviously have a direct effect on your bottom line.”
Based on his own endeavors, the musician-turned-business owner offers up some valuable tips for entrepreneurs who aspire to achieve the American dream one day.
“In 1999, I started out with $1,000,” he explains. “That built me one of the most bare-bones websites you’ve ever seen in your life. Almost immediately after that, I partnered with another company that was expanding. This really helped in marketing my company, and after 6 or 8 years, things were looking really good for me. So, I would say start with as small of an investment as necessary to get started. Then it’s really elbow grease and a lot of hard work after that.”
He adds that there are both pros and cons to being your own boss.
“You’re responsible for everything – marketing, getting clients, paying your employees and contractors, and so forth. It’s definitely not a 9-to-5 job. It’s basically like being married to another person because your business follows you wherever you go. But the beauty is that it provides a great amount of flexibility with regard to controlling your own destiny.”
Daren Fuster is a satisfied client of 1-800Accountant.
“Knowing you have the expertise of someone who understands the tax code is invaluable and can save you lots of money. That’s because you are totally responsible for your financial numbers when you are self-employed.”