I’m Arto Sivonen, the founder of Måndag, a design agency specialising in social impact based in Helsinki. I became an entrepreneur because I couldn’t find an employer that I could have been proud of. I wanted to decide what my professional skills would be used for myself. I had a clear and fairly absolute idea of what I wanted to do. I felt like I had to at least try to follow that and not make compromises.
I became an entrepreneur because I couldn’t find an employer that I could have been proud of.
I have 20 years of experience in the world of advertising agencies around the globe. I have worked with everything you could think of from limestone mines to cosmetics, to manufacturing and from there to media. Agencies are indeed good places to pursue knowledge and develop your own idea further. It also lets you delve deep into business: where does money come from and where does it go? How are things sold?
Understanding this is good but can be also scary if this power is not used properly. For me, the reason to leave this world was both professional and ethical: I only got to use my creativity as is expected in traditional advertising and my own values did not align with that world.
Continuous learning is addictive.
I soon realised that I need to get a salary and pay rent. When it comes to the company’s finances, I was quite clueless in the beginning. I asked experts for help and realised that it is not that difficult at the end of the day. The reality in the beginning, however, was that I had no idea what was going to happen the following month. As an entrepreneur you must be able to live with that uncertainty. On the other hand, it is also a perk of entrepreneurship: you must live in the moment.
Complete freedom attracted me and continues to do so.
In Finland, things are too often done alone, but that is just nonsense. Meet industry leaders at events, invite people for lunch, use social media and build networks. If you want to work with someone, push yourself into the situation. You must not stop asking stupid questions because that’s what learning is: if you don’t ask, you don’t learn anything. I continue to do all of this. Continuous learning is addictive.
The myth about entrepreneurship being rough is false. It can be if that is what you want to make it.
Tips for a fresh entrepreneur:
- Be a part of the society. Do not just think about money.
- Test everything but especially your business idea.
- Do things with others and go where people are more knowledgeable than you.
- Treat people well and help whenever possible.
- You are never ready.