Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karin van Mierlo, Founder of Photography Playground, located in Lisbon, Portugal.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am the chief photographer and founder & course creator at Photography Playground, an online photography platform where I empower humans with cameras. Learning photography can be confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming to the point new photographers never pick up their once beloved camera again.

That’s why I founded Photography Playground, where I teach intentional, creative, and soulful photography. And, of course, also the technical stuff because if you wanna take great photos, you need to become best friends with your chosen tool, which is your camera.

Tell us about yourself

I’ve been a professional photographer for many, many years - I went to Art University in the analog era of photography, so that gives you an idea. At some point, it felt natural to share my approach to photography with people eager to become better photographers. Because I believe photography is not really about the camera but about the way you see the world. I felt there was a need to learn photography that didn’t just focus on the technique and gear, which is what photography courses are usually all about.

So, in a world that’s very focused on quick snaps, tricks & gimmicks, and the chase for likes, I became a voice of intentional, creative, and soulful photography. Because every human being deserves a chance to hold space for their creativity, experience the powerful nature of photography, and bear witness to the beauty in their lives.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I’d say staying true to my vision and being that consistent voice of a soulful approach in photography. It’s very fulfilling when I hear back from my students or even just website visitors that they truly appreciate my unique approach. It’s like a breath of fresh air to them, and they feel supported and inspired. As one of my students phrased it:

“In contrast to all those websites and books about technology and gear, your approach opens a completely different door for me. Instead of reasoning, it triggers my imagination.”

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Apart from being a one-woman show and wearing all the different hats in the business, I think it’s showing up without being certain of the outcome. And to keep showing up even if I fail. At the same time, I believe that’s also the most exciting thing about being an entrepreneur. Showing up, failing, and figuring out how to come back stronger.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. I think perseverance is one of the most valuable and powerful attributes an entrepreneur can possess. You need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Building your own business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
  2. Develop a big vision of where you want to go and break that down into small digestible chunks you can work on daily. Defining your vision and your why helps you to stay connected to your goal when you get overwhelmed by all things.
  3. As a solo entrepreneur, your work is basically never done. When you finish one project, the next one is already knocking on your door. If you only focus on the things you didn’t achieve or do and forget to celebrate the things you did achieve, you’re on a highway to burnout. So, focus on, celebrate, and be grateful for the things you’ve achieved. Tomorrow is another day!

Where can people find you and your business?




If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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