Meet Rock31 Member – Karen Grosz!
Karen is the owner and founder of Canvas Creek Team Building and Coaching, as well as the author of What’s Next and Quiet Leadership. Canvas Creek provides team building through collaborative art for teams worldwide from 4-1400 people.
Before starting Canvas Creek, Karen was doing business consulting for a national sales company. “I never liked team building, but I love to create, one day I watched 2 people paint a cup together and was hit with the idea to have team create art together.” The process of creating art together solved the problem most team building presented: being a singular experience trying to create long-lasting, visceral, group results.
Karen’s startup was quick: Tuesday – idea, Thursday – family test, Saturday – public test, Tuesday – first paid event. “It was a dramatic launch and my company flourished and floundered according to the industry and private pressures. I am back in scaling mode now.” There have been a few obstacles and learning curves throughout the life of Canvas Creek, but Karen has learned how to take the twists and turns and run with them:
- It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. “I started Canvas Creek as an unknown in Billings and had to shout quite loud to get attention. Tons of networking, tons of self-promotion. To get national clients a lot of it was luck, but most of it was the same thing: networking on Linked In and damn blind luck.”
- You can start a business with a family, or without a family, but not against a family. “If you don’t have their support, you will be fighting battles that are hard to win. My family cleans brushes, totes tarps, and does everything they can to make me successful…. except find me clients.”
- (As One Million Cups says) It’s going to take a lot of coffee to prove your concept. “I don’t drink coffee, but I have worn out the seats in many coffee shops!”
To overcome the nitty gritty of starting a business, Karen found that she needs to just continue doing the work that she is meant to be doing. “Working on the business is all fine and dandy, and for me an enthusiasm killer, but when I stand in the middle of the mobile art studio, with people creating art and friendships, the electricity that flows through the room ignites my passion again and again and again. Doing the exact work you are supposed to do will always get you through the hell of the nitty gritty.”
Karen’s most valuable advice that she shares with entrepreneurs is that “it is easy to work 22 hours a day every single day. That is not the way to launch or thrive. Establish NONworking hours. Publish Them. Stick To them. Honor them. They will make all the difference in the world. Okay, one more nitty gritty cliche, then I”m out. Ask for AND accept help. From friends and strangers.”
Karen was one of the original private office holders when Rock31 opened in the summer of 2022. She was looking for a work space to meet with clients, but what she found “was a launch pad for the next, most powerful iteration of my business. The conversations we have here are epic and drive me forward.”
Before we wrap up this spotlight, we of course want to share Karen’s answers to our favorite questions:
What are some of your hobbies/interests (outside of work)?
“Tormenting my husband, spoiling my grandchild, hiking, watching my family scuba dive (I won’t swim where fish poop), riding my electric scooter, serving others with the “I’ll Help – Billings” Facebook page, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and (too many) other philanthropic activities, and writing.”
What is the best book you have ever read?
“Read or wrote? Haha! It Takes a Tribe”
A genie grants you the ability to have an infinite amount of one item. What is it?
“$100-dollar bills. Seriously. Glow in the dark balls for the secretary (a 2-year-old Labrador).