Entrepreneur learns valuable business skills

Student learns time management, teamwork through passions

Emme Tucker, Staff Reporter

A woman works on a computer with a camera next to her

Calvin Quisumbing
Hannah Phillips updating and editing her latest images for her online photo business.

It is a bright summer day. Hannah Phillips remembers picking up her mother’s old camera. 

Phillips stands on the soft grass of her backyard. A young family friend dancing around in a hula skirt begs Phillips to take her picture. 

She felt something she had never felt before. She felt fulfilled and empowered. 

“I realized then and there why this is a passion of mine. It’s this feeling that I have done something that is meaningful,” Phillips said.

Phillips is a junior majoring in visual communications with a minor in business. Phillips has been taking photographs for over ten years and started her own photography business two years ago.

She currently uses her photography business to build her portfolio and client base. Phillips also runs an earring business through an Etsy page. 

Phillips said it is easy to enjoy working because she has her own creative direction. Running her own business allows her to do the things she loves while developing her time management skills and learning to work with others.

“When you look at being an entrepreneur from the outside it looks very risky, difficult or intimidating, but I just look at it as something fun to do,” Phillips said. 

Although it is not intimidating, running her business does pose some challenges. 

Phillips said that a big part of running her own businesses is learning how to manage her time as she tends to overcommit herself.

She remembered a time last summer when she was working at a boutique in Seattle, interning and running both of her business full time. 

Phillips said she used to take pride in saying how busy she was. 

“Our culture is focused on everyone wanting to be busy all the time and it turns into this hurried way of life,” Phillips said. 

By the end of summer, Phillips realized she had overcommitted herself and how exhausted she was. Phillips said that time management is a skill she had to learn. People can talk about managing their time, but it is really something each person has to experience for themselves. 

Phillips explained it was hard to turn down photoshoot opportunities because she felt like she would never have those opportunities again. This fear to turn down jobs was difficult to control because she wanted to build her portfolio, but knew it was too much when she became exhausted doing up to three photoshoots back-to-back in one day. 

Learning how to decline photoshoot jobs was something she had to learn. Phillips said overcommitting herself caused a lot of stress and put strain on her relationships. Now, she believes that if opportunities are meant to be, they will present themselves again. 

Phillips also said that, through running her own businesses, she has learned to work with people.

“I really believe in teamwork,” she said. “When many different minds come to the table and work together, that is something that can’t be replicated just as an individual,” Phillips said. 

Although Phillips has learned a lot from running her own businesses, she said it may be in her future to work for someone else. She said this is important because people can learn different skills by working for and with others, rather than just working for themselves. 

In the future, Phillips wants to get into more fashion editorial work. She wants to take a creative approach to fashion photography where she can explore her imagination more. Phillips said one of her goals is to become a creative director of a fashion brand because it combines her passions for fashion, design and branding. 

Phillips said that even if she ends up working for a company, running her photography business will always be something that she will do on the side. 

She said she does not know what the futures of her businesses look like right now, but Phillips knows that she wants to strive to find meaning in her work, whatever she ends up doing as a career. 

“The best way I can describe it is like I’m walking in fog and I don’t know what’s fully ahead,” Phillips said. “I can only see a few steps in front of me.” 

To contact or to see Hannah Phillips’ photography visit hannahphillipsphotography.com or her Instagram account @hannahphillipsphoto.