A passion for photography turned this Russian expat into an entrepreneur: here’s how

“There’s no such thing as easy money”: This is the first financial lesson Russian expat Dayana Tertyshanya learned from her mother when she was just 13.

Tertyshanya took part in the ‘TEDx Talk’ Ideas Showcase in Dubai this month, where she shed light on the plight of women business owners, the importance of trusting your instincts and the power to implement discipline in all areas of one’s life to achieve success.

Tertyshanya’s mother single-handedly provided her with everything she needed – a roof over her head, education, and a home when she was a child. But at 13, she remembers her mother telling her; “If you want something beyond basic needs, know that money is something that has to be earned.”

“Naturally, as a teenager, when some of my friends were showing off their branded products, I would get jealous, but my mom would always say, ‘You want something branded – go earn some money to buy it.'” She didn’t want to spoil me, giving me everything I asked for so quickly,” Tertyshanya shared.

“Since I wasn’t very good at housework, my mother told me: ‘either you clean your house yourself, or you earn money so that someone does it for you. I I was always good at school, so I used this knowledge effectively. I did homework for my well-to-do classmates and billed it. In this way, I used my knowledge and used the money for a cleaning lady.

Tertyshanya’s passion for photography started as a teenager, but she turned it into a Dubai-based business in 2016.

“I discovered my love for photography as a teenager when I was taking profile pictures of friends for social media. I also developed a strong business acumen when I was 17,” added Tertyshanya.

Tertyshanya’s mother owned a business. She decided I needed some practical work knowledge and put me in charge of a business she had just opened, Tertyshanya added.

“As a project manager, I had to manage everything (or at least learn on the job), as the employment of staff and health inspections were part of it. My mother also spoke to me as an investor and not as a parent, which helped me focus on work instead of treating it as something frivolous.

“Since my mom was a business owner and investor in my business, I learned a lot growing up, especially about business building skills, relating to people and understanding the value of a team. .”

So how did the idea of ​​starting the business come to you?

At 17, she developed a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of running a business or working within a business. Before starting my own business, I moved to Dubai in 2015 and started working in real estate.

At 17, Dayana Tertyshanya has developed a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of running a business or working in a business.

3 entrepreneurial lessons that Tertyshanya learned from his professional experiences:

Business Lesson #1: Never over-promise and under-deliver.

Selling the highest quality property to clients who trusted him taught him the importance of honesty and integrity in business.

“You do not receive a salary in the real estate sector in Dubai, but you receive a commission on your sales. When your work is of high quality, you will always have clients willing to invest in your services. The experience has helped me immensely in developing my sales skills; I think I can sell sand in the desert now.

How did you start and fund your photography business?

“I took a loan of Dh30,000 from my mother and started ‘Dialight Production’, a luxury photography and videography business in Dubai. I managed to repay the loan one year after the launch of the company.

Tertyshanya opted for the “baby business” category registered in the free zone, which made it possible to hire six people. The start-up is a photography and videography business, so cameras and equipment cost around Dh40,000, while licenses and visas cost an additional Dh40,000.

“Today, entrepreneurs will find that the paperwork and costs associated with starting a business in the UAE have dropped significantly. The freelance license options now available cost Dh12,000 per year. The Freelance option was not available when I started.

“The government encourages the growth of start-ups and initiatives, whether local or expat-led. I was impressed and delighted to see how easy it was for an expat to set up a business in Dubai. Starting a business was relatively easy in terms of paperwork.

What were the challenges you faced when starting your photography business?

In the first two years, the only difficulties Tertyshanya faced were with banking institutions, as there were so many start-ups opening and closing in Dubai in its early days.

“I had found a bank that asked for the lowest possible account capital because I had just started their business, so entrepreneurs need to do extensive background checks and have a minimum amount in accounts until that they look at the turnover of the business,” she explained.

Apart from that, everything was simple as several professional services work quickly and efficiently. Paperwork and licenses took Tertyshanya less than a month.


Image used for illustrative purposes.

Business Lesson 2: When thinking about where to start a business, you need to think about market opportunities and legalities.

“While the UAE is an ideal destination for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in these cases, I think independent research should always be done. Ask yourself how safe and protected your money is and how does accounting in your business?

Tertyshanya was forced to work aggressively when entering the competitive photography market. At that time, very few companies focused solely on wedding photography. There was competition, but not as much as there is now, she explained.

“Furthermore, what helped me succeed was my perseverance and hard work, coupled with sales skills learned through my childhood work experience, hands-on work for an employer in the same field and training in business administration.”

Business Lesson #3: Always have a financial backup plan.

Tertyshanya is passionate that her savings have helped her business through the pandemic.

“As a company in the events industry, the pandemic has greatly affected the way our industry does business, and it has been a time of great challenges and growth. If I didn’t have any savings, my team and my business would have suffered a lot.

“Everyone was looking out for themselves. I expected more support from the people I was renting the office from, but they were also looking to get their money. Since then, I have put in place a backup to at least six months wages in case of change or loss of income,” Tertyshanya added.

Savings are crucial for this budding serial entrepreneur

She added that a little financial planning will go a long way. You have to understand and ask yourself “what if your business stops making money for you? », « how are you going to survive, feed your team and yourself?

“I believe money should work for you – never the other way around. Therefore, saving is vital and you should not spend what you earn. I now religiously put 10% of monthly business income into a savings account that should not be touched. It ensures smooth navigation in the event of any form of unprecedented crisis.”

She urges entrepreneurs to enjoy the fruits of their labor, not compromise on lifestyle, and invest in what makes them happy, but still mindful.

“I am currently focusing on growing my new business Fleur du Désert, a luxury flower shop. Once I achieve this goal, I might consider investing in real estate. I currently have no retirement plans other than investing in real estate. The UAE has really helped me develop my niche industry and earn a living. »

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