It’s not every day artists decide to go into auto repair, but that is what makes Donna Curtin’s story so unique. She always had an interest in cars. Unfortunately, the gender divide kept her from doing anything with her dream. She went on to graduate from Binghamton and Harvard University in the fields of art, psychology, and science illustration. From there she found work creating illustrations for science and environmental publications. She eventual began making her illustrations for State University College at Cortland.

According to, 17 years passed and she still loved cars. That is when she decided to do something about it. In 2003, she began researching eco-friendly technology and launched a auto body and paint shop that would allow her to utilize those tools. She went on to share some key pieces of advice that helped her succeed.

Surround yourself with what you are passionate about

The strength of your business resolve is tied to your passion for what you do.


Only you know how much your dream means to you. Here is where you really need to be honest with yourself because a new business is going to mean a great deal of sacrifice. Especially financially. Unless you are buying an established business with a healthy financial track record, be prepared for a pay cut. If you have a family, you need to be honest about what everyone’s expectations are. This includes your financial situation moving forward, as well as your time commitments. Your new venture is your new baby and will require a great deal of time. No one was kidding when they said business owners eat, sleep and dream about the business seven days a week.

Maintain your ethics

Be responsible to your customers, vendors and suppliers. Again, when you make the effort to work with people, they will work with you. This is especially valuable when you run into times of hardship.

Photo by Brian

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