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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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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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What a Blogger with 3 Million Page Views a Month has to say about Blogging

I listened to an interview between Darren Rouse from Pro Blogger and Ana White from Ana-White.com the other night. Ana is a carpenter from Alaska whose blog gets over 3 million views a month! I think we can all learn a bit from her.

The interview was a Q&A format where Darren would pose a question and Ana would answer. The following is what I got out of listening to the interview:

  • When asked if you choose the niche or if the niche chooses you, Ana said that the niche chooses you. You basically can’t force yourself into a niche, it has to happen organically.
  • Instead of plainly describing her blog as somewhere that she shares furniture plans with others, she describes her blog as something that helps anyone improve their lifestyle regardless of time, money, or skill level. The way she describes the blog is a lot more intriguing to me instead of the “plain” version.
  • Her hardest challenge is committing to the blog and finding the time to do stuff regarding it. She’s also a parent and a wife so sometimes its hard to find the time. A blog really is a full-time job and you have to treat it like one.
  • Ana’s content strategy is simple: meet the needs of her readers. Her content must either be inspirational, informational, or interactive. You do not want to waste people’s time when they read your posts!
  • She doesn’t really have a certain time of day that she posts but she is consistent with her posts. Consistency is very important!
  • Of course, a popular question was: how did she get so much traffic? There really wasn’t much strategy behind it. At first she hardly got any page views which apparently is very common when a blog first starts out. It takes time for people to discover you. Her traffic took off when she asked another blog if they’d showcase her work and they did. Traffic basically comes from word-of-mouth because of great content. Without great content, traffic is pointless. That was something that she reiterated…great content is key.
  • Instead of using social networks to promote her blog, she uses it as a way that her community can get in touch with her.
  • Ana doesn’t outsource anything. She spends her time doing things that answer this question: what do people count on me to do?
  • Instead of searching for and writing guest posts, she focuses on writing great content. Guest posts are not something that are necessary to have a successful blog.
  • When it comes to making money, she started the blog because it was something that she wanted to do; not to make money from it. As time went on and her server bill got high, she needed some way to pay for that. The way she decided to do that was to work with an ad agency to create ads on her blog. This has enabled her to make a “full-time living” and she’s now able to support her family. She doesn’t want to charge people to get her plans and there’s deep meaning behind that. She started the blog when she was poor and she doesn’t want $5 or any amount to get between someone who was in her position from improving their lives. That’s something that I really respect about her.

Instead of providing reviews of things I do, I’ll give you links and information on how you can experience those things for yourself in the future.

Darren Rouse is looking to do more such interviews. You can receive notifications of these by going to this link and filling out some basic information.

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