Hannah is an Oxford-based freelance photographer & designer with a passion for social enterprise and sustainable business. She now runs Hello Hann Photography back in Oxford.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I come from quite a creative background; after studying Art & Design Foundation at Oxford Brookes I went on to study Graphic Design at Bristol. I then spent the next five years working and travelling outside of the UK.
Before moving back to Oxford I spent a year in Asia working with social enterprises and sustainable businesses; organisations striving to create profit with purpose. These enterprises not only benefit the community or the environment, they also provide employment and economic growth in places of need. I offered content creation through photography and graphic design to support them in building their profile.Having seen the incredible – and fundamental – impact that these enterprises can have overseas, I wanted to continue doing my part for the community in my hometown.
I am now part of OxWise (Oxford Women in Social Enterprise), an incubation support network for women led social enterprises in areas of deprivation. I offer professional photographic services for low-to-no cost, funded by my commercial work.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Forging your own path: Taking risks, being creative and not settling for the norm!
How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
It is an ever-evolving concept so I’m not sure I can pin-point a single event, but seeing what a difference it can make to individuals and small businesses I hope it continues to grow.
What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Positivity, resilience, patience.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Being in control of my own time; also knowing that my time and efforts are feeding back into my own growth as well as the growth of other entrepreneurs.
What individual, company or organization inspires you most?
Annie Griffiths, Photographers without Boarders, Ripple Effect Images, Kalumburu Photography Collective
If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
I would probably ask for 55 more minutes, then sit them down to ask how I can help them change the world.
What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Balancing work and home life: when working from a home often its easy to getting sucked in (or out!) of work. Finding that balance is definitely a work in progress.
How have you funded your ideas?
I got a small business loan to fund the start up of my business, and still work part time to help support the business in the quieter months.
Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
One of my photographs taken in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, won me a lovely new camera and a double page spread in an Australian travel magazine (not sure if that counts but it definitely made my year)
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Oxford is an intimate place and bustling with life, knowledge and beautiful outdoor spaces (a personal favourite). With the university there are so many opportunities for networking, business and creative support. However, its size can be a drawback; with limited jobs opportunities within the arts.
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them? (Anything Oxfordshire especially!) *
Enterprising Oxford, OxLEP, Independant Oxford
Any last words of advice?
Always take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come.