Small Business Success In New York Is Worth Shouting About From The Top Of The Empire State

There may be bagels involved.

08/07/2016 3:36 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST

Making it in small business is a wonderful achievement, but making it in New York City is next-level success.

It's arguably the world's most iconic city and it's also a hunting ground for savvy entrepreneurs, especially women.

The recent Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index listed New York is the best city in the world to foster companies founded by women.

It's also a tough metropolis -- it's expensive and can be scary for Australian entrepreneurs who venture into its midsts, but there are many success stories including jeweller to the stars Samantha Wills, Business Chicks Founder Emma Isaacs, artist CJ Hendry and coffee king Nick Stone.

Studio 18a
Sam Fletcher, with her husband Lachlan and their children, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her TV doco series on Aussie entrepreneurs in New York.

Brisbane documentary maker Sam Fletcher is fascinated by the journey of these startup success stories and has plans to make a five-part TV series featuring 10 Aussie entrepreneurs in New York.

"I'm really proud of them," she told The Huffington Post Australia. "Over my journey in business they have all been on my radar at some point.

"I think we see the shiny side of success and it's not all like that -- there's a lot of hard work and that's the stories I really want to discover."

Here, four entrepreneurs reveal their secrets to cracking the NYC's entrepreneurial nut.

CJ Hendry
Artist CJ Hendry says you need a thick skin to be a creative entrepreneur in New York.

CJ Hendry, Artist

New York has been a challenge and a reward to hyper-realistic artist CJ Hendry. She moved there because it is "arguably the art capital of the world" and it has helped to sell works to celebrity clients -- she counts Kanye West and Vera Wang as customers.

Hendry says it's hard to identify the main challenges to her business because there have been so many.

"I feel as every single part of my business is put to the test," she told The Huffington Post Australia. "Both financially and emotionally. Perfectly stylised photos for social are not a true indicator as to how hard this city is.

"I am very lucky to have such a strong support system through my dealer Bill from The Coolhunter, my boyfriend and the very small and close team I work with directly in New York."

Hendry says the challenge is worth the reward, and says she is constantly inspired by "the world's most successful people".

Her survival tips for Aussie entrepreneurs thinking of taking the New York plunge?

"Don't do it unless you're ready to jump on a rollercoaster of emotions," she said. "You will constantly feel like no one's impressed by what you do."

Soul Safari
Vanessa Holden said it can be hard to make it in New York, but the city itself can lift your spirits.

Vanessa Holden, Soul Safari

After being in New York for 12 years, Vanessa Holden says New York can literally make your dreams come true, so stick at it.

"This is truly the city of dreams, fueled by imagination and unlimited connection -- it's engineered to make them come true for people who work hard and are willing to put themselves out there to make their ideas happen."

She began her successful creative agency for global changemakers, Soul Safari, while employed full time in publishing in New York and says she had an easier transition than others.

Immigration can be sticky so she highly recommends entering the Green Card lottery to simplify the red tape around living and working in the U.S.

She has plenty of tips for budding entrepreneurs including being super organised; being willing to stay fluid in your plans without compromising your vision; saying yes to everything and then working it out later; and finding yourself a group of expats to help you get through the tough times.

And if you're having a bad day? Let New York heal you.

"Head to a classically touristy NYC spot -- I prefer bustling midtown spots like Central Park, Times Square, or the top of 5th Avenue and get lost in the throng of people who live in and love the city," she said. "NYC's nature is that it's a hustle -- get lost in that bright human tide deep in those midtown canyons and be reminded why you came -- to swim through it all!"

Bluestone Lane
Nick Stone says New York is the best place in the world to build a business.

Nick Stone, Bluestone Lane

Melbourne-born coffee mogul Nick Stone went to New York chasing the bright lights but didn't realise his future was in premium coffee outlets until he arrived and was studying at business school.

But being an entrepreneur in what he calls "the world's best city" is a no-brainer.

"It's the world's biggest brand, so if you're developing a brand and have the fortune of having it embraced by New York City, then that validation can really open up new doors and opportunities not only in the USA but internationally," he told HuffPost Australia.

Stone says New Yorkers love Australians and are very open to new ideas, innovation and hard work but there are barriers -- namely visas, start-up capital, cost of living, competition and a shortage of housing.

Stone says he wouldn't have coped without the support of his wife Alexandra Knight and NY-based Aussie mates, and it has been brilliant experience so far.

"It's exhilarating meeting and working with some many multi-talented, innovative and passionate people who are all trying to survive and make it in New York – living on the edge can lead to incredible creativity," he said.

His top survival tips?

"Be very well planned, don't wing it, make sure you have saved some money so you can invest and for emergencies," he said. "Be relentless, be humble, listen before speaking first and just be ready for one hell of a wild ride!"

Samantha Wills
Celebrity designer Samantha Wills will be one of the 10 entrepreneurs interviewed for the doco series.

In order to film and edit their TV doco series, Fletcher and her business partner and husband Lachlan Fletcher have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000 for production costs.

If successful, the pair plan to move their Australian business and their three children to New York and film from September to January, with the premiere at the Manhattan Cricket Club in New York, a venue owned by another doco subject, entrepreneur Tim Harris.

From there they hope to sell the series to a major network and expand future series to focus on Aussies in other business hotspots.

"We would definitely love this to be a regular series to feature Australians around the world and what they are doing," Fletcher said. "We are pretty open to who is interested in it and we will cross that bridge when we finish the series."

More On This Topic