Category Archives: Interviews

An Interview with a Photography Boy-Genius

Today’s interview is with photographer, Braulio Negreira. We first met him as a follower of our blog on Tumblr a couple of months back. He’s slowly turned into a pretty good friend and is even a photographer that our company uses. Now here’s the kicker….he’s only 16! I feel like he has a real bright future ahead of him and it’s a joy to know him and help him grow as an entrepreneur.

  • What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

Braxen Photography is located in Fremont, California USA.

  •  How long have you been in business?

I’ve enjoyed photography as a hobby for about two to three years, but as an official micro business I’ve been around since March 2012.

  •  What does your micro business do?

I use my passion and photography skills with Braxen Photography to provide automotive event coverage, photo shoots, and product photos for companies like Vip’d Out and Habermann & Sons.

(Me: this product photo shoot came about after he purchased some shirts for us and asked if we would post his work if he took pictures of our stuff on our blog. I didn’t high expectations (because I didn’t know of his photography skills at the time) for the pics but my jaw literally dropped when I saw them. That’s when we knew we had to work with him)

  • Why did you decide to start your micro business?

I decided to start my micro business as a way to display my passion in a form so that many others could enjoy it. I also had the tendency to scatter my work on various blogs and pages, so by putting everything under the Braxen Photography name, a hub was created so all my photos could be in one place. This would also allow others to communicate with me which is really important to me.

  •  Who else is a part of your team? What are their roles?

Braxen Photography is my brain child and I’m the only photographer but I do collaborate with many other companies for publishing purposes so I’d say that they’re a part of my team.

  •  What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

I’d have to say some memorable moments would be getting my first products to shoot and getting sign on to the Vip’d Out team to cover events for them. This milestone has also grown the client list available to me to shoot which will definitely help grow my business.

  •  What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

I’d rather forget getting blown off by a few people even though they said they’d love to have me on board but I guess that happens to everyone.

(Me: Yeah, it unfortunately does happen to everyone. Even though someone may promise you something, nothing is set in stone until it is actually happening. Don’t let these things discourage you. Keep on going and you’ll eventually find someone who would really love to work with you.)

  • What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out?

I wish I would have known that an email or a single image could make such a drastic difference and that being approachable pays off.

(Me: I’ve experienced the same thing with the Micro Business Kid. There are some posts that get hundreds of views and there are some that don’t even get 10. It’s really hit or miss but the more you do something, the better idea you get of what people want to see more of. Being available is really important. I’ve learned that you don’t really know who looks at your work until you really get to know them. These people may know someone “important” or may have some pull in their social circles.)

  • If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

Don’t be afraid to dive into the deeper end from the start but be ready to paddle to shallower waters if the need arises; you can always swim deeper but you can’t always come back from going under.

(Me: Don’t be afraid to actually get started!)

  • What do you think is a key trait that you possess that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

A key trait which I possess that helped me with my micro business is being social. Now that may sound very broad, but we can narrow this down to two distinguishable interactions. The first is be open. Since most of my business involves event coverage, you always have to be able to work with and around people. Always keep a decent face (you don’t have to smile ear to ear like a maniac) and look approachable. The second part is all up to you. Go on website, forums, blogs, anything that allows you to communicate with others. Make your own pages, send emails, and start talking with other people. It may feel slow at first, but after a little while, you’ll see the rewards of speaking with other.

(Me: Couldn’t have said it better!)

  •  What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

I think the most important thing to have in mind when starting your micro business is to have set goals for yourself and your product. Start simple and work your way up. Also, having someone who supports you as a person following their dream is nice, even if they sometimes don’t support your product. Lucky me, I have 100% support.

  •  Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?
  1. Continue to go to various meets/events.
  2. Continue to shoot for Vip’d Out.
  3. Get more practice in and learn new techniques
  4. Shoot for Carsxhype
  5. Continue to have fun with what I do while gaining more support for the public
  •  What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

In the business aspect of it, I feel a definite myth that was broken for me was that you need a physical place to display your work, which is totally false. In the photographic aspect of it, a myth that I broke was that it’s hard to get noticed for your work as a photographer.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to share or address? If so, what?

Well there’s only one thing I’d really like to say. As with everything, including life, there will be ups and downs. Don’t let the downs deter you from your goal and don’t forget that you won’t always be on a “high.”

* * *

That wraps things up with Braulio. As you can see, he’s a photography boy-genius. A down-to-earth kid, he’s pretty grown up for a 16 year-old so if you need a quality product shoot, don’t let his age deter you. He does great work and is a real professional. Check out his Tumblr, Facebook, and his Flickr to get in touch with him and check out his portfolio.

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An Interview With the Other Guy Behind Habermann and Sons

The Micro Business Kid gives you awesome interviews each Tuesday with a micro entrepreneur. Today is a special guest; my dad. He’s been my business partner for almost 5 years now and has been my mentor and role model for much longer than that!

If you’re a follower of our business on Tumblr, he’s the one who creates most of the epic posts and the extremely talented artist who we’ve showcased work from over the past couple of weeks.

Without further ado, my interview with Markus Paetzold. (My name is Marc and yes, it does get confusing sometimes.)

  • What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

Habermann & Sons Classic Motorcycle Clothiers in St. Petersburg, Florida

  • How long have you been in business?

Since 2008

  • What does your micro business do?

We offer vintage-style motorcycle apparel to motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the world as well as a very unique “old-school” service that we’re going to launch soon.

  • Why did you decide to start your micro business?

Because I grew up in the motorcycle world and wanted to get back into it after 20 or so years. I rode with World-Class riders like Eddy Hau and Danny LaPorte and planned on participating in the Paris-Dakar Rally if I didn’t meet my wife at that time.

  • Who else is a part of your team? What are their roles?

My son Marc, and of course my wife, who is ultimately our boss. I’m the creative force in the group.

  • What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

Every day in the business is memorable and brings new opportunities and challenges with it.

  • What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

Spending way too much money to be a distributor for a certain company.

  • What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out?

You don’t need to have a storefront to have a successful business.

  • If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

Just because you start out small, don’t sell yourself short. Think big and sooner or later you’ll get there. Be persistent!

  • What do you think is a key trait that you possess that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

Passion for the industry that I’m in. If you’re passionate about something you more than likely have more insight and knowledge of that matter than others

  • What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

A dream because it will lead you on your way to success. Always keep that dream in mind.

  • Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

We’re launching a new service really soon and are looking to create an impact with it.

  • What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

You don’t need a business degree to start a business although experience in the field helps.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to share or address? If so, what?

I couldn’t have done this without the support from my family.

* * *

Some of his work:

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An Interview with Marc Paetzold, aka Myself

Tuesdays at the Micro Business Kid are usually reserved for interviews with other micro business owners. I didn’t have one set up for this week so I decided to interview myself so you weren’t disappointed. It’s a bit awkward to interview yourself, but its a great way to reflect and think. Try it out sometime!

  • What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

Officially, we’re known as Suncoast Classic Bikes, LLC for tax purposes. I use that entity for Habermann & Sons Classic Motorcycle Clothiers and the Micro Business Kid. I’m currently located in St. Petersburg, FL but I’m hoping to be able to run both businesses along with consulting micro businesses from Europe within the next 2-3 years.

  • How long have you been in business?

Since July 4th, 2008

  • What does your micro business do?

Habermann & Sons started life as a vintage motorcycle shop that repaired, restored, and serviced vintage motorcycles from the 60s to the 80s in a storefront on St. Pete Beach in Florida. We were also distributors for Metro Racing and Parts Unlimited. The Recession hit so we were forced to move back into our 2-car garage. Best decision ever. The garage is our workshop and our family room has been our office ever since. We now are more of an online business. We offer Metro Racing apparel on our website as well as eBay and we are in the early stages of getting our own clothing line going. We’re getting ready to launch a new service soon but I can’t really get into that here.

The Micro Business Kid is a blog that offers a blueprint, support, and resources so anyone, anywhere can start and grow a successful micro business in their spare time. It shares my business experiences, thoughts, views, and ideas so others can learn from them and integrate them into their businesses.

  • Why did you decide to start your micro business?

My dad decided to start the business because it was a life-long dream of his. He reached a certain milestone at the job he worked at and wanted to go part-time to build the business in his new-found spare time. They said continue to work full-time or quit. So he quit.

Growing up, I always was interested in business and knew that I wanted to have my own someday. The freedom, control of my life, and other stuff that supposedly comes with it was very appealing. I was in college studying Economics at the time but burned out and dropped out to help my dad with his venture and pursue my life-long dream of playing professional soccer. We’ve spent more time together since the start of the business than the previous 18 years of my life because he always worked crazy hours. This is definitely something you can’t put a price on.

I decided to start the Micro Business Kid because I found myself helping other businesses that we met on Tumblr with their businesses. They told me that I really helped them so I guess I did something right. I’m passionate about business and even more passionate about helping people with theirs.

  • Who else is a part of your team? What are their roles?

My dad is basically my clone except he’s a lot more creative. He has more of an old-school approach and I’m more new-school. Combine us, and we’re pretty awesome. My mom is the one who keeps us in check with all of our ideas and makes sure the bills are paid on time. One of the most important jobs if you ask me. We’ve worked with countless designers, coders, photographers, and other freelancers that have helped us out tremendously. I’d say the team at Metro Racing is a part of our team as well. They’re also a family business and we know them all on a first-name basis. We have incredible professional and business connections around the world who I couldn’t thank enough. I’d include all of our followers on our social networks as a part of our team as well. They help create our products, give us feedback, and are a wonderful support system. Without them, we literally wouldn’t exist anymore so I can’t thank them all enough.

  • What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

Seems like there are always memorable moments going on. I’ll always remember our first day and our first sales in the storefront, on eBay, and on our website. Meeting all the great people on our social networks is also always memorable. You never know who you’ll meet and who or what they know.

  • What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

The couple of times we’ve gotten scammed and that one time we got a death threat. It’s not fun, but sometimes it’s an unfortunate part of business. As long as you learn, you’re better off in the long run.

  • What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out?

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. It takes time to create trust with your customers. I also wish we would have gotten started creating connections on social networks A LOT sooner. I also wish I would have known that you don’t necessarily need to have a physical storefront to have a successful business. Knowing that everything is negotiable would have also been nice to know. It’s all about perception as well.

  • If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

No one cares as much about your success as you do.

  • What do you think is a key trait that you possess that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

My positive outlook on things. There were many instances when we could have or should have quit. Moments when there was hardly any hope and we were really discouraged to the point of depression. Somehow, I’ve been able to get through those times, learn from them, and become a better person and entrepreneur because of them. If you quit or give up, you give yourself no chance to ever succeed.

  • What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

Having an idea that will either help, improve, add value, or benefit someone and making sure that person is willing to pay for it is what you first need. If it doesn’t do these things, no one will want them and you won’t be compensated for them. That’s the perfect example of what kind of business model you don’t want to have!

  • Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

We want to move away from eBay as much as possible. All of hoops we have to jump through just isn’t worth it anymore. Getting our new service going is something that I’m really excited about. We’re working on creating new products and new collaborations as well. Some that are more “traditional” than others.

With the Micro Business Kid, I’d love to have some guides available for sale and grow my client base and the businesses of my clients. As they grow, I grow.

  • What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

You need a business degree to be successful, that “experts” are always correct and that they are absolutely necessary for success.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to share or address? If so, what?

Reading is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to grow as an entrepreneur. If you are faced with some issue and don’t know the answer, Google it. If you don’t know how to do something, copy what your successful competitor is doing. Use technology to your advantage. You won’t become successful overnight; you become successful by doing something each day to advance your business. In other words, just be proactive!

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A Word with Taryn from ToughLove MPD

This is the second installment of interviews with micro business owners at the Micro Business Kid. Today’s interview is with Taryn Scalise from ToughLove MPD. She was great to work with and I hope you enjoy!

1. What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

My business is officially called ToughLove MPD. People ask what the MPD stands for all the time so I’ll go ahead and tell you. It stands for makeup, photography, and design.  I’m located in Michigan but I’ve worked all over. (Me: When she said make-up, I figured she’d be based somewhere like New York or Los Angeles. I was really surprised when she said Michigan but this just goes to prove that you can have any sort of successful business anywhere in the world.)

2. How long have you been in business?

Since 2007

3. What does your micro business do?

If you want to get fancy, it specializes in vanity.  I do various things. For the most part I work with models and I train and coach them. There is a difference between the two. I also create make-up looks for clients for weddings and stuff like that. Along with that, I set up full-service photo shoots for companies and clients in which my models are used. A part of that service includes me designing sets and style shoots.

4. Why did you decide to start your micro business?

At the beginning, I didn’t even realize that I was starting a micro business. I just had a real talent for makeup artistry and everything that goes along with it.  It felt natural to me and like it just what I was meant to do.  Along the way I turned what I did for fun into my career and I haven’t looked back since.

5. Is anyone else a part of your team? What are their roles?

Well on the business side, ToughLove is officially just me but I do work with a lot of models and photographers. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do so I consider them to be a large part of the team.

6. What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

There’s been a lot of memorable moments and I feel like every few months I hit a certain milestone in my career and I “level up” so to speak.  Getting my work into magazines, commercials, and ads has been pretty amazing.  A pretty cool experience was when I was once asked to do make-up for a big runway show in my area just because of the way I looked. She could tell I was a Make Up Artist so that was a pretty big deal for me.

7. What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

There aren’t really any that I want to forget.  Any moment that I can look back on and say “Oh man, what was I thinking?!” keeps me humble.  Remembering where I came from, and what I have been through keeps me grounded.

8. What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out?

I wish I had documented every look and written down every idea from the beginning. I also wish I could have dedicated more time to practicing more looks and techniques.

9. If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

Keep going! Anytime you feel like giving up, push harder! You will be exhausted, and burned out at times; it’s inevitable but keep going. You are keeping your dream alive!  All the blood, sweat, and tears will be all worth it in the end.  I promise.

10. What do you think is a key trait that you have that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

Passion!  I was once told that I am just a big ball of passion for what I do.  I think that is definitely key.  LOVE what you do.  If you don’t, then what’s the point?

11. What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

The only thing I started with was raw talent.  That’s all I had.  So with determination, small connections, and persistence, I grew a little bit more every day.  I also practiced every free moment I had, and worked on my craft and did lots of research.

12. Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

I would definitely like to be more organized with my appointments, shooting, even my costumes, and makeup!  I would also like to create more series of shoots and start working on my book. A type of shoot that I really want to do more of is product shoots for companies.

13. What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

That you absolutely need a degree to start a business! I didn’t go to school for any of the work I do and I am doing better with my business and craft then half of the people I know who have spent 7 years in school.  Yes, a degree may be helpful in getting your foot in the door but actual experience in the field is the way you’ll build a good career.

* * *

That wraps things up with Taryn. If you’d like to find out more about ToughLove you can check out their Facebook and Tumblr.

If you are a micro entrepreneur and would like to have your business featured, please send an e-mail to microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

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A Quick Chat with Adam from Untitled Motorcycles

You may or may not enjoy my ramblings about micro business so it would be nice to hear from other micro entrepreneurs from time to time, wouldn’t it? Well, here you go! I met Adam about half a year ago when he commented on my old blog. He simply asked me to check out his blog and let him know what I thought of it. So I did. I didn’t think much of it at the time but apparently what I said really helped. We’ve exchanged e-mails on a pretty consistent basis since then and I’d say that we’re pretty good friends now!

  • What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

Untitled Motorcycles – London, England

  •  How long have you been in business?

Since 2011

  •  What does your micro business do?

We currently customize motorcycles and are hoping to start selling shirts and parts in the near future.

  •  Why did you decide to start your micro business?

I don’t know as I’m still working for the man to pay most of the bills. (Me- I’m pretty sure that Adam’s passion for motorcycles was the reason for the creation of Untitled Motorcycles. Since the business has only been around for less than 2 years, it is normal that you will need an outside source of income to fund your micro business and to pay your bills. Don’t think of this as being a failure!)

  •  Who else is a part of your team? What are their roles?

Rex is the chief mechanic, Anita is his assistant, and I fabricate parts, put bits of the bike back together, and do all the social media stuff.

  •  What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

Selling our custom UM-3

  • What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

Agreeing to work on a Kawasaki VN800!!! (Me: If you’re unfamiliar with motorcycles, Adam is basically saying don’t agree to do something that you don’t usually do or are not totally comfortable doing. Stick to what you know!)

  •  What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you started out?

Being helpful is better than the hard sell

  •  If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

The above

  •  What do you think is a key trait that you possess that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

I don’t know if we are successful yet. (Me: If you’re doing something that you are passionate about and are adding value to the lives of others, I think you’re successful on some level. A lot of other people can’t say that they do the same thing! Adam is still in the “early” stages of his business. If you stick with something long enough and are determined, it will all pay off eventually.)

  •  What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

Determination, connections, being helpful, trusting others, social skills, and great products.  Why? Because without these, you are not making it easier on yourself to succeed. You won’t like yourself if you do “make it” by treating others horribly. (Me: To sum things up, I think Adam is trying to say, be a good, honest person who runs a business which makes honest, quality products and you will like yourself and your customers will like you as well.)

  •  Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

We’re hoping to create more t-shirt designs and have more parts available for sale.

  •  What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

You need a lot of money to get started.

  •  Is there anything else you’d like to share or address? If so, what?

Having a great mentor really helps.

A great, big thanks to Adam for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview for the Micro Business Kid. To thank him, check out their website, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Also be sure to check out the write-up Iron & Air magazine did on them here and their builds on BikeExif.

* * *

If you would like your micro business featured on the Micro Business Kid or know someone who does, please send an e-mail to microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com. Remember, a micro business usually only has 1-5 employees. The Micro Business Kid has gotten almost 2,000 views in 6 weeks so being featured on the blog could mean an increase in traffic and/or sales on your website. To sweeten the deal even more, I will help you with your top 3 business concerns, issues, etc. free of charge for as long as it takes to fully address your needs.

What do you have to lose? Again, if you’re interested, send an e-mail to me at microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com.

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