Life is too short to not be fulfilled
For our next feature in the entrepreneurship series, we interviewed Kenny StGeorge, newfound entrepreneur and photographer based in Philadelphia. CQ's founder met Kenny back in high school (yell CHS!) and recently reconnected via social media. Kenny talks about his transition from a stuffy corporate position to a less certain, but more liberating chapter of life:
Tell me your favorite thing about being Black:
My favorite thing about being Black is our strong sense of culture, you know a lot of the things that people champion these days from style, fashion, music, food even… have been inspired by Black people. Our imprint on this country has been amazing- with all the inventions that we’ve come up with that a lot of people don’t even know about. Being black is a strong sense of pride, for everything we’ve overcome not only in our history, but on a day to day basis even today. So that’s probably my favorite thing, just the pride about being Black, the culture behind it.
What you do for a living?
I’m a professional photographer, so I’m an entrepreneur; I do mostly sports culture as my main thing, but I also do portraits, events, different things like that.
How did you get into photography?
It’s a crazy story actually… I was working a regular corporate job like most people…
What were you doing?
My last job was as an insurance broker, I was helping nonprofits get insurance. I had a finance degree so I was trying to utilize that and do that whole thing, and I ended up losing that job after a leadership change. They brought in a bunch of college kids; it was a very small company... got me to show them how to do the job and fired me. That’s basically how it went. Before that I was working for CHOP (which is the Children’s Hospital of PA for all you non-Philly folk) in the business office, so for me, I was really fed up after that.
During that time I’d gotten my first apartment too. I was finally feeling like I was starting to get my stride in life and it was like it was able to be taken away, just like that.. and I didn’t like that feeling. I didn’t like the feeling of someone else having control over my life. So I said hey... I need to figure out what I want to do with my life.
I made a decision that day that I wasn’t going back to a job unless it was something that I really wanted to do. So I started out writing... I was doing journalism. I went out to New York for about 6 months but it’s a burden when you can’t write about what you’re passionate about all the time. If you’re writing daily content for someone, that sometimes turns into you trying to reach for words and it can burn you out.
I started taking pictures to go along with the pieces I was writing and eventually I just started liking photography more and picked it up full time about a year ago, like Ima do this now. So here we are.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an entrepreneur?
Um, the biggest challenge is a two-fold thing. It’s like a double edged sword, where it’s a challenge but it’s also what makes my life enjoyable to me. You never know, at least in my field, when the next check is coming, so it forces you to stay sharp and stay on your game. I may have to do some really extreme things like hop on a bus late at night because an opportunity just came my way and I have to go to another city. It makes my life eventful but at the same time it is a challenge because there is no comfort of knowing what money I’ll get in two weeks. That would be awesome, and that’s what I’m working on- getting my entrepreneurship to become stable. Getting the clients that you know you’re gonna get consistent work from because they trust you, they know your work, so it works out for you as if you had a steady 9-5.
If you could talk to you a year ago when this started, what would your advice be?
It would be to be patient. It’s a long road. I’ve had this from the beginning but I would also reinforce faith. Be faithful that everything is gonna be okay. I’m a Christian, I believe in God so, thats what’s gotten me to where I am now, being able to progress and go a little further in my field. So that’s what I would tell myself: Don’t be scared, understand that it may seem a little uncomfortable, but this is the best thing for you… just do it.
Anything else you wanna add?
One thing I am gonna say, one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned in this time that I’ve been an entrepreneur is to do what fulfills you. Life is too short to not be fulfilled. I never pressed on anyone “quit your job” because that may not be for everybody, and I can’t even say I jumped off this major ledge. I was forced into this position in a sense. God had my life go in a certain way and so I’m following that.
But I would tell people, do what fulfills you. Be happy! If that’s being an entrepreneur and starting your own business, don’t be afraid to go do that. Understand that there will be challenges but if you want it, you’ll get it. As long as you stay consistent, keep your faith high, and stay patient- good things will happen. If that’s you being a teacher or being a doctor or an accountant, whatever it is that you do, if that’s what makes you happy, do that. That’s my main thing, protecting my happiness, and I want everyone to do that. Whatever you have to do in this life to be happy, go do that.
You can follow Kenny at @visualsbyksg_ on IG, and contact him via his site: http://www.kennethstgeorge.com