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Yadnesh Satardekar may have been following in his father’s footsteps when he started Fatty’s Photography earlier this year, but giving up a stable career for a risky venture initially left him feeling alienated. It took hard work, dedication and a flair for all things photographic, but Yadnesh now has his company on a strong footing and is set to expand ahead of India’s November wedding season. We spoke to the man behind the camera to find out more.
What made you decide to work in photography?
My dad was a photographer and I used to take pictures with him as a child, but I never thought of doing this as a business. Then one of my friends bought a really expensive camera, and wouldn’t let me have a go with it. So I bought myself an even more expensive camera and started shooting!
As I started taking pictures and uploading them on Facebook, people kept asking why I wasn’t doing it as a career. Then last year one of my friends asked me to do her pre-wedding shoot and I took it on. After more positive comments on Facebook, I decided I wanted to do it full time.
Were there any challenges you weren’t expecting to face?
I was a general manager at my sales job and everything was going smoothly – I’d been with the company for five years, and my family was happy that I was in a stable role. So when I resigned to start Fatty’s Photography my dad was pretty upset. As he saw it, everything was going well and I was well paid, so why would I resign? He stopped talking to me, so I had no family support. Money became a big problem.
How did you get through that?
I decided that since I’d decided on my goal, I had to stick with it, even if my family wasn’t supportive. Every day I watched videos and practised shooting to improve my skills, and I decided to rent out my cameras to help with costs. Then I picked up a few assignments – anniversaries and child portraits – and when my dad saw my hard work he decided to support me again.
We have to ask, where did your company name come from?
One of my colleagues used to call me ‘fatty’, then more and more people started using it as my nickname. So when I came to name my company I thought Fatty’s Photography would be a little catchier than Yadnesh Photography. Fatty is something different – it leaves an impression. Although you should know that I’m not that fat!
How has Regus helped with developing your business?
Networking is the best thing for your business, and Regus can really help with that. For me everyone is a client. If I’m walking along the road, the person walking next to me is a potential client. He’ll get married some day, or will need some kind of photoshoot. Since I started Fatty’s Photography I’ve done nineteen weddings, and four or five of those have been for Regus clients. Then I get references from those clients, and that helps get even more work.
You’ve grown quite quickly, how have you managed that?
I always say, don’t keep your talent to yourself, give it to others. There are lots of other photographers in India who aren’t looking to share what they’ve learnt with others. Initially I approached many of them asking for help, but they refused. They were scared I would start my own business and take their clients. But if someone approaches me and wants to learn, they’re more than welcome. I even have future plans to start something like Fatty’s School to teach people how to grow their business, because there’s too many people that have good photography skills but don’t know how to launch and expand their company.
What would you say has been your most valuable skill?
We don’t delay, we deliver. If I agree to be somewhere at five o’clock, I’m there by four twenty. My client never has to call on me or check if I’m on my way.
Do you have time to unwind when you’re running such a busy business?
No, relaxation has disappeared from my life! But I get to explore a lot of places in India – I’ve taken pictures of offices across the country for Regus and they’re on the Regus website. When you work on a shoot out in the mountains or in Goa, and you’re lucky enough that clients cover travel and expenses, that’s also relaxing!
Yadnesh is a Regus Lounge Card customer in Mumbai, India. You can find out more about his work on the Fatty’s Photography Facebook page.
Top tips from Yadnesh:
- You should like what you do. If you don’t like your work you won’t be able to give 100% to it, and that makes it hard to succeed.
- Don’t delay, deliver. Yesterday I got home from a shoot at 1am and by 3am I was uploading pictures, and my client was really happy because they get to see the results immediately. That kind of dedication is important.
- Keep your employees happy, and always pay them on time. They are the base of your company, and without support nothing is possible.