Drive: Matthew Patton

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Every business cycle has its slow times. How do you handle this?

We’re headed right for the slow times in the jewelry business – June through August, a little bit into September. Kids are out of school, people go on vacations, so funds are diverted toward that. They don’t really spend a lot of it on jewelry. The biggest thing is don’t freak out. It’s like this every year. It’s going to happen. So don’t worry about it, there’s nothing you can do. If you’re not prepared for it, shame on you. But you have to know what to expect.

What is one piece of advice you’d tell any aspiring entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to fail. One of the most successful people I look at in the Baton Rouge area is Price Leblanc Toyota. He has built an amazing car dealership, one of the biggest in the southern United States. But I’ve been told he has bankrupted himself more than once to get where he is today. The fear of failure is what drives people to not do it. It’s getting out of that comfort zone. It’s unfamiliar territory, and people don’t like that. You can be very confident, and you can be very prepared. But you can still fail. So you have to be okay with that.

If you could talk to yourself when you first thought of becoming an entrepreneur, with what you know now, what advice would you give yourself?

I should have done it 3 years ago. I know why I waited so long to do it – it was the financial aspect, planning to make sure I could survive the startup process. But I should have done it 3 years ago. You have to trust your gut.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

The next step of the business. I don’t want it to be a one-man operation forever. My ultimate goal is to figure out how to transition this business model into more than a one-man operation. Because right now everybody that’s doing this is doing it this way. There’s got to be something beyond me being the guy you go to when you need a piece of jewelry. There’s got to be more to this business model.

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