Running a Small Business by Bird Trouble

You’ve found this blog post luckily because you happen to get excited when thinking about the idea of starting a business, or selling your art, product, or your skills and knowledge.

Recently I’ve learned something about myself. I’m really good at laying the encouragement flat out. I slap that encouragement shit everywhere, all the time. I’m all like, “COOL. DO IT.” Through practice, I felt and saw myself getting better at starting projects and I’ve only gotten better at working on them as a long-time goal.

Here’s a little personal story to help spark some inspiration to my readers. Along with this post, I’ve included a pile of vibrant photos I shot at last weekend’s Bird Trouble x Aisha Yousaf Pop Up at Deadly Prey Gallery.

Bird Trouble vintage (exclusively found at our in-person events) and our signature Femme Clutches, handcrafted by yours truly or my small team and for sale on BIRDTROUBLE.COM + at local boutiques.
Leather bags can be found on BIRDTROUBLE.COM ||| Deadly Prey Gallery is open by appointment only. Reach them here:

If you’ve known me for a while, or if you’re familiar with my life story, you’ll know that I’ve lived in Chicago plenty of times and years of my life. A couple years ago, I moved to Mexico for a while and did a bit of traveling around the west coast of the US. I ended up coming back earlier this year.

I’ve met so many friendly and supportive folks in Chicago since I returned from my 2 year Chicago hiatus. In fact, it’s been 8 months since I’ve come back. A lot of people I’ve met, I’m connected to through a friend or a friend of a friend and generally, it’s in person. Chicago is filled with fearless people searching for community, connections and friendships.

If my first interaction with a lot of new cool peeps may not be meeting them initially in person. In fact, I meet a lot of cool peeps through a number of ways – including virtually, through some sort of Bird Trouble social media outlet.Maybe Facebook is forever telling them to add me. Or maybe a friend is tagging another friend on the Bird Trouble Instagram account. I believe this is totally okay to do online, as long as we respect any future connections in real life too.

Sometimes I do meet these cool people in person, at an event Bird Trouble has been apart of, or a friend of a friend was speaking highly of a Bird Trouble event or product. I’m not saying everything is done virtually. Being present, in real life, and not online is way more gratifying than creating our life online.

It’s quite magical when you start understanding the power of a good community and word-of-mouth, and seeing it work all on it’s own, with a little push by you.

Put yourself out there. Being recognized and having your work noticed sure does feed the ego and sure does feed it gewd (this means: good, but it’s said as “geeeewd”).

I find that receiving attention almost always ends up being a positives step to a small business or artist life, or what-ever-you-desire-to-be. Sure, I get it when someone says they mostly hate attention. A girlfriend and I were literally just talking about this at brunch the other day, but just admit it, that weird feeling you feel when you get it… yeah, it feels weird. That’s a sensation you’re not used it. Eventually, you’ll start recognizing the good from it and it’ll feel geeeeeewd.

I personally find it encouraging as hell. Yeah! But if you totally disagree and you’re all like super shy and can’t handle people… I don’t know, man. All I have to say is: It’s time to start seeing yourself, and who you want to be while you meet people, so you can be at their reality level. Acknowledge your feelings of shyness of fear, and set an intention to give these feelings space but in the end, comfort yourself just say to yourself: fuck it.

Don’t let fear or self-doubt stop you, ever.

We collaborated with our favorite publication, Majestic Disorder, and promoted their newest beautiful issue! If you’re into sustainability and travel – you NEED one!

I know I’ve been on a blogging hiatus but I’d like to get better at writing again, and I want to start using this blog as an outlet to share the positive light on starting a small business and not a as space to think about negativity or fear. Here’s a little way of me lending a helping hand, as me being a friend to you and sharing the knowledge I’ve learned in running Bird Trouble at all kinds of speeds for the last 6 years.

Like I say to a lot of people, stop Debbie-downing, because I know that’s probably what you’re doing – judging on my journey to where I’m at – not judging YOU. Does that make sense? Turn those ideas into reality. How?

  • Start small, gradually work your way up, and stay consistent.
  • Keep a journal and make goals.
  • Seek out answers to the questions or curiosities you have.
  • Goals and self-discipline, if you don’t intentionally set these already, are what can keep you straight-minded. Goals are my new best friend.
  • Answer this: What do you have to lose, besides another great idea that got away?

In the comments, let’s discuss your plans. I’d love to hear your story and what inspires you. If we keep the conversation going, we’re going to continue to inspire more great ideas, and we’ll create a motivating virtual community of like-minded folks.

Love much,

Alexz Sandoval of Bird Trouble


Recently, my favorite website has been Skillshare. Chicago has finally reached Fall and I’ve been in my new comfy pants from Eskell for 4 days straight, and I’ve learned SO MUCH through Skillshare in my own home. It’s a learning platform for those who love to hear other professional’s advice and tips. I just honestly truly love online classes that are available to the public. This is how learning should be.


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