The youngpreneur series is fast becoming my favourite on the blog, because each time I come across and interview a young person in business, I also get inspired. There is so much dedication and commitment in building their brand regardless of the line of business, that I can confidently say we are not lazy youths.
Our Youngpreneur today is a young man who is very passionate about telling the stories of people through his camera lens. With his drive and determination, he’s ready to become the next big thing.
Take a look at what he had to say;
A: Hi! Can you please introduce yourself?
S: My name is Samuel Sowunmi. 25 years old, I am a Photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria.
A: Great to have you here Samuel! Please tell us a bit about your brand/business
S: My photography brand deals mainly with wedding photography, although I shoot portraits every once in a while. I decided to concentrate on those two aspects because it gives me the opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level.
A: Amazing. So tell me, why photography?
S: To be honest, I wouldn’t say I have always wanted to do it. I decided going full time 6 months after my NYSC . Photography to me is more than a vibe, it’s a passion. It’s something that gets me out of bed each day wanting to accomplish something new.
A: It’s great to know that even though it wasn’t in the original plan, it means everything to you now. That’s a great level of growth and commitment! On a scale of 1-10, how prepared were you to go into business?
S: To be honest, 1. I basically knew nothing when starting out and I initially learnt some lessons the hard way before I connected with mentors who helped and still push me along the way making it easier.
A: Wow! Thank God you sought for mentors. Basically we shouldn’t underestimate the presence of mentors in our journey to success, love it! In recent times, there are more photographers than there used to be. Now, how can one really stand out in this line of business in your own opinion and experience?
S: First, know why you are in the business and try to differentiate yourself from others, the more you do the same thing as others, the less unique you become. For me, I simply see something and show it to the camera in a way nobody else would.
A: Great tips! Be unique and original. I’m sure that you had some fears and reservations no matter how little before going into business, what were these fears?
S: The one major fear I had was wondering if I was going to make it and if it would be worth all the stress. Also, you’d need to network and put yourself out there to get jobs, being an extreme introvert, it was quite challenging at the beginning.
A: So far, how has it been since then?
S: I’ve had my fair shares of up’s and down’s, but every negative has brought along with it a positive to learn from and grow.
A: I love your spirit! The fact that you’re hopeful and willing to grow is admirable welldone! Have you had any major challenges since you started? How have you been able to overcome them?
S: The major challenge I had was meeting people who could help give me a push. I had to force myself to approach people and build a network.
A: So in building your brand, you need to be ready to put yourself out there and push yourself to network. Noted! How would you describe the importance of social media for the average millennial entrepreneur?
S: Huge, its your showroom. Social media is the new showroom and exhibition room now. You have to be strategic in the way you use social media. I’m still trying to get a good hang of using it effectively.
A: Honestly, you couldn’t have said it any better. I like the fact that you referred to it as a showroom because that’s exactly what it is. What has been the highlight of this journey for you?
S: It has to be shooting my shot by asking to work with a wonderful photographer when I didn’t expect a reply, and him actually inviting me to work with him.
A: Amazing! Guys you have heard, don’t be afraid to shoot your shot! You never know what could be the outcome. If you could have one thing that would help your business now, what would it be?
S: Some people might say new cameras and stuff. But for me, it’s the knowledge to run a good photography business. It’s more complicated than it seems.
A: I was honestly expecting that you’d mention a new brand of camera too, but you’ve just proven that it’s not just all about the surface level, one needs other things too. What steps have you taken, or do you plan to take to build and project your brand?
S: I’ve tried coming out if my shell to build my network, I also watch the kind of jobs or collaborations I take, as I want to be associated with a particular brand of photography. I also try to learn something new everyday.
A: Really insightful tips, even I am taking notes. I know there are various kinds of photographers, for your brand what is your focus?
S: It’s simple. I want my brand to eventually be synonymous with luxury wedding photography. In the same league as the Akintayotimi’s, Alakija’s, Joshua Dwain’s, Yervant’s and co.
A That’s a great goal. We wish all the very best Samuel. Are there people you look up to in your line of business? What are their names?
S: Yes, I look up to a few people in the industry. Akintayotimi and Kelechi Amadi-Obi are personal mentors that have inspired and influenced me immensely.
A: Wow, I follow their work closely, so I know that you’re on the right path. What would you say is the secret to staying in business?
S: Find your secret sauce
A: You heard the man guys ‘find your secret sauce’ and stick to it! What is your golden rule when dealing with customers?
S: it might sound strange but the customer is not always right. Learn to pick your battles wisely and realize not every job is for you. I’ve learnt this lesson over time.
A: I want to stand up and just give you a round of applause now. I absolutely loved that you broke away from the status quo a bit there. Do you have people who work with you or is it a one man army for now?
S: I have a few colleagues who help me out and I also help out when they need it. The goal is to expand with time.
A: Very nice! Who/What inspires you?
S: Myself. I’ve sacrificed so much to follow this path. There’s no option but to succeed now.
A: Ayyy! Can we all just agree that Samuel is a totally different breed here? There’s no option but to succeed now! When you are not creating magic with your camera, what do you do?
S: Reading on things connected to construction.
A: Okay! Such a serious young man, just don’t forget to relax in between. What piece of advice would you give other young people out there who want to start out in business?
S: You don’t need to have it all figured out but have an idea of what you want and just START! You’ll find your way eventually.
I honestly enjoyed this interview and like always, I learned a lot and I hope you did too.
What are your thoughts on photography as a business venture in recent times? What do you think of our youngpreneur?