Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Steve Payne, Owner of Steve Payne Photography, located in Charleston, WV, USA.

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

My wife Lynn and I work as visual artists from our home studio/gallery. We serve a mostly high-end clientele that we've developed over many years. We have many fans and patrons that return year after year.

Tell us about yourself

I realized in my teens and twenties that I wasn't meant to be a corporate world worker bee. I was discouraged from following my creative bent and told to keep it as a hobby. I couldn't do that. The pull to be me was way too strong. I am constantly motivated by many things. The simple desire to share my thoughts and visualizations keeps me moving forward.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

That I bucked the trend of failure in small businesses and made a good living for my family.

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

I would replace the word hard with essential. The ability to look ahead and see what's coming that you need to prepare for. To work smarter, not harder. To be willing to outsource things that someone else can do for you. To stay calm and carry on when things get tough, and they will, at times, for anyone in business for themselves.

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

My strategy has always been to do the opposite of what others in my field are doing, thereby creating a unique product.

  1. Be true to yourself and trust yourself. If you are in too big of a hurry, you'll shoot yourself in the foot. Be patient, be the best you can be, and keep going, all the while watching the road ahead.
  2. Don't fool yourself about how much time and money it will take to get your business going. This might be the thing that takes most people down. It always takes longer and costs more than you think it will. The easy money shortcut path is a path to failure.
  3. Always do your best for your clients, even if it costs you money. If you are charging what you're worth, they expect the best, and sometimes, we screw up, but we make it right and keep the client and good publicity. Good clients tend to know one another. Always keep your reputation intact.

I have recently started writing here:, mainly to help others achieve their dreams.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.