Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ricardo Mora, Owner of R.Mora Photography, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a commercial food photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. I work with local businesses as well as national brands that are looking to create new content. This can be new images for their marketing, pictures of new dishes or food products that they sell, or sometimes just new content to be posted on their social media accounts and website.

Tell us about yourself

Originally, I went to culinary school to study baking and pastry. I worked in this field for years and still enjoy baking when I have the opportunity. Over the years, though, I found that I was no longer feeling creatively fulfilled and was looking for a new opportunity, something that still allowed me to work with food, but in a new and creative way.

After years of working in the kitchen, I came across The Bite Shot, a YouTube channel that focuses entirely on food photography. I had always been interested in photography but never knew that people are able to make a whole career out of photographing food. I found it so interesting that I started binge-watching and learning as much as I could. Then after Covid hit and I was out of a job, I decided to buy my first DSLR camera and start practicing food photography as much as I could.

Since then, I have continued learning by going through courses and mentorships with highly experienced food photographers and have been able to work and take on many clients of my own. The best feeling is seeing a client's face light up when they see how good their food can look with the proper equipment and lighting.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I never thought I would be running my own business as a photographer, and it has been difficult getting to this point. There has been so much I have had to learn along the way. Much more than simply how to use my camera and a light.

I have had to learn how to create my own website, manage my SEO, and learn how to prepare food, so it looks its best on camera. I have invested lots of hours and late nights into learning how to run my business, and some of my biggest accomplishments have been having the opportunity to work with some larger nationwide companies that only a few years ago I thought would never be interested in working with me.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It is very difficult-staying motivating when running a freelance business by yourself. Hearing so many no's and reaching out to people who don't have the courtesy to respond gets very discouraging and leads many people to give up and get a job that is much more stable.

I have seen friends of mine lose all interest in their business because it is not growing as quickly as they had hoped. It is hard to push yourself to grow and continue learning when things aren't going the way you imagined, but those that push through the difficulties and the struggles are the ones that get to the point of having a stable business where they are able to make a full-time income.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. I would recommend surrounding yourself with others in a similar situation. This can be others who are starting a business so you can mutually support each other when feeling discouraged, or possibly a more experienced person that has gone through the same struggles and offers you some advice when needed. Having a network of people to turn to for support can make a huge difference and help you to keep working towards your goals.
  2. Another piece of advice would be to just go for it. It is easy to get caught up thinking about the ideal situation, such as having a certain amount of money saved or mastering this extra skill before officially starting your business. The truth is you will likely never feel ready to start, and there will always be reasons to put off taking that first step. The only way to grow is to simply start, and the rest can be figured out along the way.
  3. Lastly, you shouldn't be afraid to invest in yourself and your business. I have come across small businesses where the owner is not willing to invest money to help grow their business. It can feel tempting to keep as much of the profits to yourself as possible or spend it on luxuries for yourself, but in order for a business to grow, you need to invest in it regularly. I have spent thousands of dollars on professional equipment for my business, but then thousands more still on courses that helped prepare me to take on higher-end clients. Whereas when I was new to photography, I would make a few hundred dollars per client project, I now am able to take on clients where I make four or even five figures from a photo shoot. If I had not been investing in courses and learning from other photographers, I might never have gotten to this point, and certainly not as quickly as I did.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

There are so many free resources out there, and people share their knowledge freely. I highly recommend taking advantage of that when starting a business.

Whatever field you are thinking of going into, you can likely find someone on YouTube talking about that same subject and sharing their experience and knowledge. This can be a good way to get an understanding of what a field is like and whether you are really interested in pursuing it.

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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