For many aspiring entrepreneurs with a compelling dream or exciting new idea, the first question is often, ‘Where do I start?” Building a firm foundation, managing start up risks, and launching with confidence and clarity are integral steps to establishing and growing a thriving business. Nakiesa Faraji-Tajrishi was a recent University of Central Florida graduate when she began contemplating starting her own venture, Nakiesa’s Photography. She turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance.
Nakiesa’s Photography isn’t your ordinary photo studio. It offers so much more, specifically professional photography and videography focused on serving clients in the luxury/adventure travel and travel-related services. “The product that I offer is social media content creation for travel products, for hotels, for tourism boards,” shares Nakiesa, “as well as general photography services.” She specializes in digital manipulation applying cutting edge software to a combination of drone and handheld photography, resulting in the creation of dynamic and impactful content that captivates people’s attention.
“When I was looking to start my own business, I actually had no idea where to start or what to do,” describes Nakiesa. During an online search, she discovered the Florida SBDC and its ‘How to Start Your Business’ seminar, and she was quickly off and running. “I was really excited about the opportunity to get some advice and seek some counseling from people who had been in the industry and understand the things you need to do to be successful as a small business owner,” she recalls.
Nakiesa committed herself 100 percent to starting her new business on the right footing. “With the Florida SBDC, I have actually come in about every two weeks consistently for the past two years for consulting services with my FSBDC consultant Chuck Wheeler. He’s just been phenomenal. He’s my go-to guy for just about any question I have. And I love that he has experience in the advertising industry which is the same industry that I’m trying to establish my business in.” Highlights of where Wheeler and the FSBDC assisted Nakiesa include its no-cost consulting, access to vast market data and research resources, and digital marketing planning.
“I found the FSBDC to be very warm and welcoming from the get-go,” continues Nakiesa. “When I approached them, I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t have an LLC. I didn’t have any of those things. I just had questions and from the very beginning they were very friendly, explained everything with patience, and made me feel like it was completely possible and reasonable to start my own business. They held my hand and walked me through all the steps I needed to take in order to become this liberated entrepreneur that I feel I am today. It’s just been fantastic. I cannot recommend their services enough.”
“The success I have seen with my business and the results that I’ve achieved since I started working with the FSBDC have been phenomenal,” Nakiesa concludes. “Every single year since I started with them, I’ve been able to double my income from the previous year. This year I’m on track to double my income again. In just two years of operation, I am profitable and looking forward to expanding my business. I cannot stress enough how valuable the FSBDC has been to me in the creation and growth of my company and I am eternally grateful.”
— FSBDC —