Who is Renata Pollock, could you please introduce yourself?
I was born and raised in Brazil. In 2001 I moved to Canada with my husband, whose family is originally from here. Burlington has been my home since 2003, where I live with my husband, our son and two cats. I’m a homebody who loves to have a full house of family and friends, and a good book with wine and chocolate.
What is your business and when did you start?
I’m a portrait photographer and specialize in Headshots, Personal Branding and Family and Studio Portraits. In 2012, when my son was a toddler, I started working part-time doing Birth Photography and had the privilege of photographing 8 babies entering this world. Over the years I tried different genres (weddings, newborns), until I finally found my passion in studio portraits.
What inspired you to start your business?
I spent my twenties and thirties suffering from chronic pain due to endometriosis, and only started my career in my early forties. Being a photographer gives me the perfect balance of letting me explore my creativity while being my own boss. I’ve always been fascinated by old photographs, and as a child I loved to look through our old family photo albums. Now I get to create those beautiful memories for my clients.
What were the challenges in the initial stages of your business and how did you overcome them?
The hardest part was overcoming my shyness and learning the business side. Putting myself out there was hard, but I started to network consistently and that has made a huge difference. Mom2MomBiz was the second networking group I visited and I’m so glad I found this fantastic group of supportive women.
What motivates you about your business?
Meeting people. Feeling fulfilled. Making my son proud. Giving my clients photos that they will love and pass to the next generations. In this era of cell phones, when people are constantly taking pictures that never get printed, creating a beautiful portrait that was thoughtfully lit to showcase my subject, getting it printed to be admired and put on my client’s wall to be enjoyed everyday is what fills my heart.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Excel at your craft and put yourself out there. Don’t compare your journey to others, and network, network, network. You will find some incredible business partners and maybe make some friends along the way.
Interesting fact most of the people do not know about you?
I was born and raised in a tropical country but I don’t like summer (unless I’m drinking coconut water at the beach, I run away from the sun). I love karaoke and do a great version of Last Dance by Donna Summer… although I think my family might disagree with that.
The best business advice I ever received was…
Just do it! Don’t wait until you think you are ready or you will never get started.
My definition of success is…
Happiness, family, friends, health and kindness. When these are aligned everything else falls into place.
If I could go back in time when I started my business, I would tell myself to…
Be more confident. You are really good at what you do.
Three books I recommend for entrepreneurs are…
Hard to pick only three, there are so many great books.
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
The One Thing by Gary Keller
My personal tagline is…
I’ve always loved this quote by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa:
Tudo vale a pena se a alma não é pequena. (Everything is worthwhile if you pour your soul in it.)