This story is about…
Female entrepreneur: Care Johnson
Company: Nikon Shooter
Care Johnson, 18, is a freelance photographer who was started up in business with help from The Prince’s Trust. She is one of six young people fronting the youth charity’s new Tomorrow campaign to inspire a generation facing record levels of youth unemployment.
The campaign will see established industry leaders such as designers Zandra Rhodes and Kelly Hoppen and British beauty entrepreneur Liz Earle mentor a young person who has overcome unemployment with support from The Prince’s Trust. Between them, they will create a range of products that will retail nationwide to raise funds for the charity.
Care was chosen from a number of Trust-supported photographers across the UK by world renowned photographer, Rankin, to help him shoot the advertising creative for the campaign. Their work can be seen on the campaign’s website which aims to provide advice, inspiration and support for those struggling in the current climate. www.princes-trust.org.uk/tomorrow
Age range: Teens
Find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/picturethemagic
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business…
I am an 18 year old self taught Freelance Photographer and qualified makeup artist. I cover things from events to family portraits. I work full time for myself and love every minute of it!
What was your main motivation behind starting your business?
I had always dreamed of working with horses since I was tiny. I was brought up around animals and it seemed like a natural progression for me to find a job working with them. I landed myself a fantastic job on an equine yard but a few months down the line my allergies forced me to give up the only thing I loved doing. Jobless, depressed and lonely I had no motivation at all. Imagine having that dream job and not wanting to do any other job in the world, then imagine having to give it all up due to health reasons – this is exactly how I felt. I knew I didn’t want an office job, or to work in a salon or even a supermarket for that matter. I also knew I didn’t want to be jobless and I wanted to prove to people that I could turn my life around. So this is when I got into photography. After receiving my first camera from The Prince’s Trust on the 12th April 2011 I haven’t stopped. It lifted my spirits and kept me occupied, which was exactly what I wanted.
What’s a day in the life of you like?
Most days are spent either shooting on location, meeting clients or sat at home in front of the computer all day editing and catching up with email inquiries, phone calls and social media sites. I try and keep the weekends relatively work-free, because sometimes it’s nice to just unwind and not have to worry about things. I always keep my facebook fan page updated and thank everyone for the support I have been given, this I do religiously.
What challenges have you faced?
Money or lack of it is always a challenge in itself. Also not having any family support was a bit of a setback. Luckily I have a few close friends I have met along my journey that I can tell anything to, ask for advice and just generally have a catch up with them. You will always get people who will put you down and make you feel worthless, make you feel as though you can’t do it and that’s hard to take in, but when you look back and see how far you have come it doesn’t even bother you anymore.
How have you overcome the challenges?
Not quitting is the answer to that. I found myself struggling to get on with things when I had setbacks. I think people need to realize that everyone is unique and different in their own way. People laughed at me when I first started the business and I let them laugh because it was my business and nobody could tell me what I could and couldn’t do. This is when I started to step up a gear and prove them wrong and it’s a great feeling – it really is!
What is your biggest achievement so far?
It definitely has to be working with The Prince’s Trust on the youth charity’s new Tomorrow campaign. I was chosen out of a number of Trust- supported photographers across the UK to work with photographer to the stars, Rankin, on the advertising creative for the adverts. I got such a rush from meeting other young entrepreneurs that had been in similar situations to me. I felt like I had done something right and it was an honor to be a part of the campaign because ultimately this charity is what changed my life. Being able to tell others my story, my background and how I changed my life is inspiring to myself because it’s all surreal still. To think that this time last year I was unemployed and had literally nothing to my name and now I have a fantastic career ahead of me, I have met the most wonderful people and I hope it can inspire other young hopefuls.
Rankin said, “Care’s work interested me and it was her portraits that caught my eye. But I was really surprised by her approach to work. It’s very mature for somebody so young, without any formal training. What I found so striking was her resilience. You need a lot of that in this business. When she developed her allergies and could no longer work with horses she said: “If no one is going to employ me, I’m going to employ myself”. That is admirable, and very brave – you have to have that fighting spirit. At 18, she is now self-employed and building up a portfolio of commissions, having turned her passion for photography into a pay check. I think she has a great future.”
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I shoot self portraits! What ever mood I am in at the time (angry, upset, lost, happy) I keep myself focused by bringing my mood into my work to create art, and this is what I love doing best! I can get creative and learn new things as well as keeping myself motivated.
Who inspires you?
Young people. I absolutely love talented young people who are different and creative but also fantastic at what they do. I just love the way some people are so driven and determined about their work and at such a young age.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Never give up!
What’s your favourite quote?
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
What’s your goal for the next year?
I’d like to see my work improving and I’d like to be meeting lots of new people. I’d also like other young people to read my story and have confidence in themselves and have faith in what they do, have the drive to succeed and get more people back into employment.