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Name: Ana V. Ramirez
Business: Ana Ramirez Photography
Location: Vista, California, U.S.
Industry: Arts & Entertainment
Reason for starting? Since I was a kid I’ve been an entrepreneur – making things to sell and turning my artistic abilities into different businesses. I first began selling my photos in 2010 with the help of my mom. At that time I wanted to create something beautiful that would add happiness to peoples’ homes. I still aim to do that, but my ultimate goal and reason for being in business has expanded since then.
I’ve come to learn that creatives share similar struggles and that by sharing mine I can inspire others. Also, in 2014 my third Husky, Mr. Bear, came into my life to teach me a valuable lesson. His time with me was short but thanks to him I learned how valuable adopting a senior dog can be for both the dog and the adopter. The “why’s” that guide my business today are the desire to help other artists and continue to adopt and care for older dogs.
Related: Read about another Arts & Entertainment entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? I define success as having the freedom to choose how I spend my time. Doing what I love, sharing that joy and inspiring others, and adding another dog or two to my pack – that’s the dream. During much of my life I was considered “weird” for following a different path. I’ve been given “helpful” advice. I want to encourage other creatives to embrace their weirdness and find their personal version of happiness rather than following someone else’s idea of success.
Biggest success: In late 2012 I was selected to be one of the photographers on PotteryBarn.com. Being selected is an honor, and it has been one of the highlights of my career. I recently completed my MFA in photography, that’s a pretty big deal, too.
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What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? It’s ironic that after being in marketing for over 10 years I find sales and marketing to be my biggest challenge. But there’s something about doing it for your own business that’s different. I’ve begun to treat my business as I would any other, and I’ve made it a priority. After all, I have to take it seriously if I expect others to.
Now the challenge is to get more visibility and make more money from my marketing efforts to be able to scale up. Although it takes money to make money, I’ve been resourceful and I’ve done a lot but only spent a little. Once revenue increases, I have several project ideas that I would like to do. Then it can become a positive spiral where each project feeds the next.
Shortly after my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I was laid off from my corporate job. That was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the time and motivation to return to being an entrepreneur. Since then, losing her made me acutely aware of how short life is and how important experiences and connections are. This has contributed to how I live my life and how I make all of my business decisions. Starting with the choice to dedicate my time to growing my business. That philosophy also guided me when I learned that my sweet Bella (the dog in my photo) had an inoperable tumor on her liver. I knew I wanted to spend whatever time she had left with her, so I changed jobs and moved to a cheaper city just to be able to do that. It was a financial sacrifice, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Who is your most important role model? My mom was not only my biggest fan, she was the one that taught me about being an entrepreneur. She knew what it was like to be dissatisfied with the way things were and how to turn creativity into profit. Together we opened a floral design studio and worked side by side for seven years. She was also the one to get me started selling my photos, insisting that my work was more than good enough and helping to set up my Etsy shop.
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Edited by The Story Exchange