YEARS as a BUSINESS Owner: 23
Raoul is a linchpin of our photo industry and his company Flashlight Photo Rental supports us for many of our shoots throughout the year. More than that, Raoul is an entrepreneur, always chasing new ideas. He's about to open his next venture - a record shop called Flashlight Vinyl.
You've been around the photo industry for a long time. What's the most common mistake you see freelancers making?
The beauty of being a freelancer is that you can use your resources (money) now to set up the business life that you want to have in five years.
If you have a vision of what you want your life to be, you can invest in it and lower your tax bill at the same time. The mistake is in the shortsightedness that comes with youth.
How long did you work before you became a business owner?
I did not actually work to become a freelancer. I did my first photo internship when I was fourteen and learned quickly that I did not want to be a staffer.
I wish I knew this advice when I first started:
Invest in yourself and use every financial loophole that you legally can as a freelancer / entrepreneur.
You're about to open a record shop, which is a complete departure from running Flashlight Photo Rental. What is the importance of this new venture for you and why you chose to do it?
I love music and I have been trying to find a new business that was ultra tactile and stress reducing. Photography, Food and Music are my passion centers. I use to DJ as a teenager and a record shop is the perfect fit for my life right now.
What makes you happy with your Work?
My work now is a product of my creative needs and a personal vision. I wake up to work in an environment that I created or better yet - that I want to create. It's very satisfying.
How do you view your competition?
I wish my competition thought more nationally. It seems like a lot of photo companies are use to thinking small and not investing into their businesses emotionally or completely.
After all of this time, what is your definition of success?
My thoughts on what is successful has changed a lot over the years. I thought we all wanted the same thing. I think that success is a way of life that is authentic to your creativity and your heart.