Mar. 17, 2010 Giving Back, Photography

APU School of Business Small Business Series

A few months back, we were asked by Dr. Ilene Bezjian, Dean of the School of Business at Azusa Pacific University to participate in their new Small Business Series. At first I thought, why would someone want to know what I have to say and hear about how I built my photography business? Dr. Bezjian has been our friend and colleague for a number of years and my husband has an MBA from APU, so of course, he felt right at home.  
In fact, we are both alumni of APU, so this was the perfect opportunity to give back and share some of the things we learned during our higher education careers from both our undergraduate and graduate programs. Dr. Bezjian asked us to share our hearts, dreams, lessons learned, goals and what it is like to start and run a business while working full time. The room was packed with people who wanted to learn, in our opinion, about how to live the American dream. Not only were there bright and successful college students who were getting ready to graduate in the next few months, there were also mothers, fathers and friends of the university who have dreams and goals to someday run their own successful business.
We went into last nights presentation with butterflies in our stomachs, but once we got going and really shared the details about how to start a small business, specifically in the state of California, we were on a roll. In fact, David and I had never given a presentation together as a couple in front of others, so we were both equally as nervous. We played off of each other very well and the flow of the presentation was perfect. The presentation started at the very beginning of our journey of when we were hobbyist photographers gone professional and ended with what we have in store for the years to come. Tira J Photography is an LLC (Limited Liability Company) and we have learned so much from that process over the past two years. As you can see from the image above, we hit on a number of specific topics when it comes to running a small business. Some other things we talked about were taxes, making money, working with vendors, creating an online presence, branding, giving back, social networking and customer service. When we spoke about giving back, it was perfect that Ryan was in the audience so we could share why we love what we do, and are equally excited for what he and his friends are doing.
Would we give this presentation again? Absolutely! We have a passion for helping others succeed and it is our way of giving back to not only APU, but to the community that helped us grow into the photographers and business owners are are today. We covered a LOT of ground last night and walked away thinking there is so much more to share. If you attended last night's presentation and have more questions, feel free to send us an email. Next week's Small Business Series topic is how to start a catering business. If you are interested in attending, please let me know and I can send you the details.  
*Dr. Bezjian, thank you so much for the opportunity you gave us and for allowing us to share the details of our business. You have been one of our biggest cheerleaders since the very beginning of our educational journey and we will be forever indebted to you.  
*Thank you everyone who came out to hear us speak. We hope that we have given you enough insight as to what you need to start your business and succeed. Please stay in touch with us and let us know how your journey is going and if we can assist you in any way.
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