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Use your talent to launch your biz


By Roger Pierce

Few people get the chance to make a living by doing what they love. "Photography has been my passion since I first held a camera in 1986," entrepreneur Paolo Cescato says.

Believing in his skills, entrepreneur Paolo Cescato quit his job as an industrial engineer to open his own photography studio.

He has run his own photography business called Cescato Studio ( since 1995.

"I came to love photography so much that I left my career as an industrial engineer," Cescato says. In his mind, he hasn't "worked" a day since deciding to be his own boss.

Cescato Studio's main areas of photography are portraiture and sporting events. The business focuses on photographing amateur sports and school events for clients within the GTA and across
Southern Ontario.

Cescato realized his photography skills were extremely marketable. "Building a business around your talents is an incredibly satisfying way to earn a living," he says. "You've got to believe that people will pay you for your abilities."

Proper plan

While belief in oneself is important, Cesato says new entrepreneurs must nonetheless put together a proper business plan. "A plan will outline how you are going to package your skills, market yourself and make money," he says. "In addition to guiding my activities, my business plan helped me to secure a startup loan."

As his own boss, he's learning many other skills to add to his photography talents. "I've had to learn not to take some things too personally," he says. "For instance, rejection from prospective clients can be common, and suppliers can be tough negotiators. Your company is your baby so it's hard to stay detached."

Cescato has also learned that entrepreneurship is a marathon and not a sprint. "You've got to have patience in terms of building a client base," he says. His business plan calls for a steady increase in the number of studio hours booked. "My goal is to be fully booked 12 months of the year, and I know I'll get there one client at a time," he says.

-- Entrepreneurship expert Roger Pierce trains people on how to start a small business in the Up & Running Biz Launch Program.