Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Alicia Santistevan > www.AliciaSantistevan.com
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Courage, tenacity, and enough money for at least six-month’s bills.
What did inspire you to start your business?
The freedom I experienced in freelancing while I still had a full-time job.
How did you finance it?
Savings, a business loan, and the continuous support of my boyfriend.
Being Hispanic-Does it have any influence on your business?
Absolutely! As a photographer, I am always consciously or unconsciously adding my voice, experience and opinion to every image.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I decided from the beginning that failure was not an option. I keep problem solving and asking myself what I can do to make it better and keep growing.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
I think the obvious answer is money, but really it’s adapting to a changing economy and photographic industry. Learning to optimize my contacts and continuing to network was key in overcoming this.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
Cash flow and my accounting workflow...but I’m working on it!
What was your childhood ambition?
To be someone to be remembered-someone above average. Someone who makes a difference through what I do and who I am. Someone who does something GREAT. Come to think of it, I STILL have that ambition.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Maya Angelou-she is by far one of the most awe-inspiring, trailblazing women I can imagine. Her work for African-Americans, the arts and her creative thought all render me humble and speechless. Can read her books over and over and still learn something new every time.
My mentor, Anne Lazarus. Her ruthless sense of business and her ability to be, (in her words), matter-of-fact are incredible.
George Lopez. He is the epitome of taking what you’re good at and running with it!
For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I like to be flexible to what works best for my client. Some people are morning people and some are not. I find it makes people more at ease to meet with if it is at a time when they are not rushed to run off to another obligation.
What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
Well, my whole “quality of life” had to shift. No more getting my hair and nails done every month, no personal trainer or impulse shopping. These small things add up to a big difference when most of my income needs to back into my business. I am much more mindful of expenses and need vs. want.
What is your favorite quote?
There are SO many. If I MUST pick just one, though, it would be one my Dad used to often say: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” My Dad was so smart.
Is it difficult to be unconventional?
There is always a risk in putting yourself out there and being different. A risk that people won’t like you or will criticize. The fact is that some people will. You can’t be all things to all people and you have to be ok with that. The only way to really do something great is to step off the beaten path and be DIFFERENT.
Biggest mistake made?
Not having a solid time-management and accounting workflow UP FRONT!
I am a professional editorial and advertising photographer. I specialize in narrative photography that accelerates marketing goals and engages readers. I have been in the photography business for 12 years and have strong connections with people and food. I enjoy helping other businesses grow with the power of visual narrative.
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