Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Frank Rocco, a photographer based in Bayside, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a photographer shooting both still and motion (video). My clients are businesses that use original images and videos for advertising and promotion. Every business needs photography (and most people on LinkedIn could probably use a new headshot). I specialize in Fashion and Beauty, but I also shoot headshots, portraits, products, and most images any business would want.
Tell us about yourself
I love capturing images and motion (video), seeing them through to completion, and providing solutions for my clients. I love the act of creation, from planning to execution to the final product. When I first saw images captured with a camera developed in front of my eyes (a Polaroid), it felt like magic, and the magic is still there no matter how instant the process is.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
People who see a photography business from the outside often don’t realize how much time is spent just running a business. For any small business who have survived through the last few years, being in business and continually adapting is a huge accomplishment. Over the last few years, I have found ways to network virtually and make new connections. I am working on a collaborative project with two other artists and planning an opening in the fall.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things for a business owner is staying on top of planning and marketing. It is easy to ignore outreach when you are busy, but you have to remember that the payoff for marketing, networking, and making connections now might not come for months or even years, so we constantly need to reach out to past, current, and potential clients.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Plan way ahead. Be prepared for the fruits of your labor to only come after preparation, maintenance, and care have been ongoing for an extended period of time.
- Buy or rent as you need. I see a lot of people saying that they will start something after they get some equipment or have a space or whatever is holding them back. These are more excuses than needs. With most businesses, you can rent or borrow what you need or even hire people when you need them once you’ve got the work. I know successful bakers that rent kitchens, construction companies that rent equipment, and photographers that rent most of their equipment when they have the need. Don’t let your lack of “stuff” hold you back.
- Join a community of peers. For me, I wish someone had told me to join a trade organization like ASMP (The American Society of Media Photographers) much earlier. Whether it’s a trade organization, a meetup group, a Facebook or LinkedIn group, or even one you put together with former classmates, having a group to bounce ideas, share resources and even share “war stories” with is invaluable.
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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