Meet Simona she captures the first year of a baby’s life

It all started with a goal to chat to entrepreneurs over 60. Then out of curiosity we decided to talk to entrepreneurs under 30. We believe these two very vast generations can learn and grow from each other. 

This week we visit the Netherlands to chat with Simona Graszl who captures the first year of a newborn baby’s life.

I love your business name Year in a Life; tell me what inspired you to choose this name?

My companies goal is to capture the first year of a baby’s life. I start already when the mum is pregnant, and through my photographs I tell the story of the family. Babies change so much in the first year, they go from basically not being able to do anything, to walking and talking. I am fascinated by this process, and I want families to remember these milestones. Also I am a big advocate for printing your photographs, so at the end of the first year they receive a hand crafted fine-art album.

What are some of the struggles you have faced starting your own business?

I jumped into starting a business with no business background. I consider myself an artist, so when I first started, I had no idea how to run a business. Over the years I came to the realisation, that the business side is just as important as the art. I thought that just because I take great photographs people will be lining up in front of my door. After the first few months bookings have gone, it was a wakeup call I need to start learning how to market myself. I also ran into lots of people, who just because I was a young and small business owner tried to take advantage of my services and willingness to get my name out there. After those first years of mistakes, I am much more aware if a situation feels already compromising from the beginning.

Can you tell me a little bit about your mother and how she has inspired you?

My mother raised me as a single mom. Right after I was born and she finished university, she started working from home, teaching Italian, so at least during the brakes she could spend time with me. She was always very passionate about her business and she didn’t take no for an answer. I remember there were times when we were tight on money, because she didn’t get enough students. Even in those situations, she would become creative and find some translating jobs, or anything she could get her hands on. She has written a book many years ago, she’s constantly updating it, and still using it in her curriculum.

Now after 28 years she’s still working for herself and she’s one of the most sought after Italian teachers in Budapest.

What are some of the important lessons that you have learnt from your family?

My mother has always encouraged me to follow my passions. As a child I was quite keen to try out different things all the time, and my mom always made it happen for me to participate in all these outside school activities because she knew how happy it made me. They taught me to never settle for less, because there’s always a way to achieve what you want if you work hard.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stop caring about what people think! Speak your mind and stand up for yourself. All throughout my school years, I was bullied a lot. I went to eight different schools in the 12 years of my scholar years. Lots of times my classmates would make me cry and I would just shy away from responding to their criticism.

As soon as I stood up for myself and was firm in the person I was, they stopped. I wish I would’ve started that earlier. Maybe then I didn’t have to switch school so often. Also I would probably tell myself not to give up so easily. It takes time for the hard work to pay off.

Who is an older person that you admire and why?

Cameron Dezen Hammon is one of my biggest role models. She is a musician, writer and theologian. I was only 18 years old when I met her. She is a close friend and mentor. I was quite lost at the age we met. Cameron was one of my first friends who would be totally honest with me and not sugarcoat anything. She taught me about how to respect myself as a woman, and to be more kind to myself. If I was doing something stupid she would flat-out tell me and that is exactly what I needed. I admire her, because she stands up against mainstream beliefs, has goals and knows how to achieve them.

If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why?

Well if I could be safe and sound in my time traveling capsule I would probably visit the mesozoic era to see the dinosaurs. I have been fascinated by them even since I am a child and I would love to see them in real life.