Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Miguel Narvaez, Founder of MNPhotoStudios, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What’s your business, and who are your customers?
MNPhotoStudios is a Chicago photography studio that focuses on portraiture. What I shoot the most are Family Portraits, Maternity, Newborn, and Professional/Social Media Headshots (in-studio and outdoors). My customers are families who want professional photos of their children while they’re still little, Soon-to-be moms who want artistic maternity portraits, as well as photos of their newborn babies. Last but not least, professionals (individuals and companies) who want to update their headshots.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a portrait photographer who’s been in the industry for over 15 years. My journey started when I was 19 years old and found a job at a leading commercial photography studio in New York City. I started working as a photography assistant. Years went by, and I showed interest in becoming a photographer. They taught me all about it, and in 2009 was given the opportunity to be a side photographer for one big commercial photo shoot. I did a good job, and from that day on, I was asked to be part of photo shoots. I continued to work for that studio until 2007, when I decided to open my own business. I love the interaction with people in general. My photo sessions are very dynamic and fun. I play jokes and make people smile/laugh for real. There are no “fake” smiles in my shoots. I also love being an entrepreneur/business owner who is constantly finding ways to provide a better, more interesting service every day.
What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was to stay afloat and survive 2020, with COVID killing lots of small businesses like mine. As a business owner, I was able to find a way to keep my expenses down and my income fluent. For the first few months, I did not get any business whatsoever. The time that I used to plan ahead and study.
What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a business owner, there’s always the uncertainty of how next month is going to be. That’s why I don’t slow down; I keep pushing myself harder, so I have good savings for the times when business slows down.
What are the top tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Here are my three tips for entrepreneurs who are looking to open a business one day.
- Don’t expect to work less than your regular 9-5 job: at least for the first 1-2 years, you’ll work your butt off and not see much success. If you keep working hard, you’ll definitely see results later on. The key is not to give up.
- Do your research: you could be the hardest working person out there, but if the business you’re trying to open has no chance of succeeding, then it’s time to see other options or move to an area where you think your business will flourish.
- A business is like having a son/daughter: like any baby, he/she needs the most attention/care during the first years. As it grows, don’t fall into the temptation of having a lavish lifestyle. Most of the money the business generates needs to be re-invested for its growth.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you’ve read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you’d like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We’d love to feature your journey on these pages.
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