The Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Story of a Soldier, Father, Photographer
Darryl C. Treadwell
Read the 1st hub in the series The Entrepreneurial Spirit
- The Entrepreneurial Spirit - The Story of a Jewelry Designer
The entrepreneurial spirit is really a gift that is inspiring to others...is made up of passion, positivity, leadership, adaptability, and ambition...These qualities are found in everyday people.
What is the entrepreneurial spirit?
I mentioned in my first article in this series, “more people are taking a chance on tapping into their inner talents and gifts to take the great risk of failure in hopes of making a living on what they really love to do,” especially in the wake of the high rates of unemployment. But not only are the unemployed (underemployed) giving entrepreneurialism a shot, but so are people who already have full-time jobs. Whether to add a few more bucks to their income or to prepare themselves to switch into a full-time entrepreneur, the amount of courage and tenacity necessary is incredible. Let’s call these folks “DRIVEN.”
The entrepreneurial spirit is really a gift that is inspiring to others to “become the best that they can be.” The entrepreneurial spirit is made up of passion, positivity, leadership, adaptability, and ambition. These qualities are found in everyday people. (Pierce).
Darryl in action.
No one takes this definition more literally than Sergeant First Class, Darryl C. Treadwell. He has served the United States as an active-duty member of the Army for nearly two decades. This interview was conducted three years ago when, at 45 years old, he was a single father to his 18-year old daughter; and starting a photography business, which he operates from home.
I first met Darryl as a 15-year old who seemed older than his years. At the time, he had a narrow frame (like most of us did) but played a variety of school sports during his youth. He was and, still is, extremely bright. Don’t let the serious military uniform fool you; Darryl has a crazy sense of humor that can make people laugh until they cry.
On a warm spring morning, I spoke with Darryl by telephone, since he lived in Germany. The time difference (a six-hour difference between Germany time and EST) made it difficult to find just that right moment to talk to each other. He had just walked in the door from work – his army job; and, luckily, it was an uneventful day for him. Darryl was in good spirits; and I appreciated his candor.
Q. What goals you have had in your life?
A. I’ve always seen myself as working for myself – even if it was just a home office. It’s about making decisions for myself. As a child I wanted to be a veterinarian with a solo practice but also considered photography, I wanted my own business in that. Now is the time because I have the money to invest, the opportunity is there. So I don’t see why I shouldn’t do this now.
Q. Tell me more about your interest in photography.
A. (As far as photography) Photography is something I’ve been interested in since I was about 11 years old, (Go to the website’s “About” page and learn more about Darryl’s beginnings.) I’ve taken classes, etc., and I had to invest money, of course. To start a business you need to have the right equipment to do a variety of work, so it took me time to get most of the equipment I needed to start (the photography business). I’m looking to generate extra income through the business and hopefully when I retire from the Army, it’ll be successful enough for me to do it full-time.
Q. When will you retire from the army?
A. In 6 years. This gives me the time to build these businesses. The challenge will be to have benefits and, hopefully, retirement pay. So I’ll stay in the military for now until retirement. Sometimes you have to weigh your options.
Q. So how is the photography business going? It was a hobby, right?
A. Yes, I have done so much research, looking at editorial stock, advertising, portraiture, and art are some of the areas. I talked to the Small Business Association who gave me some advice that it is necessary to generate income and I got really serious about it. Well I just started (the official business), there are still techniques I am learning, but I think I am making progress. I have appointments for portraits coming in the next couple of weeks.
Q. You have a website…fully operational?
A. (laughs) yes.
Q. What are your favorite types of photos to take?
A. Nature and street photography; and now I’ve moved into portraiture. I love landscape and cityscapes because you can take the time to survey, check angles, perspective, compositional elements and get a feel for the environment...feel the wind on my face…hear the birds sing.
Q. What cameras do you use?
A. Right now 2 Nikons – the D5000 and D7000
Q. What do you want for your businesses?
A. I want them to be profitable, to make money, for them to grow. My marketing plan (in these early days) is social media and the website. Once I settle into my new duty station (later this summer) I can start doing print advertising. (Darryl will be stationed in Texas).
Q. How do you feel about your work?
A. Well, I’m extremely critical. I don’t post any photos until I think it's "good." It’s a plus and a negative…what I put out, I think, is high quality, aesthetically pleasing. Being overly critical can put me behind, so I have to watch that.
Q. What is the mission of Treadwell Images?
A. To provide outstanding, high-quality products and satisfy the customer...provide the customer with something they can cherish or truly enjoy; and to provide outstanding customer service.
Q. I hear you have special packaging for your orders?? Not just the brown envelope deal?
A. (laughs) well, yes. The gift-wrapping is a nice idea if it’s possible. It really depends on the size of the product whether or not I can do the gift wrap.
Q. What do you think are important qualities to have as an entrepreneur?
A. Discipline and focus.
Q. Do you see your photography as art?
A. I usually see it as a combination of technical expertise, a vision, a bit of artistic viewpoint, and expression. It’s not a traditional art form like Rembrandt or Monet, but yes, it is an art form.
View Darryl's photos from Afghanistan
In 2012, Darryl was transferred from Germany back to the States to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he currently lives. Shortly after his arrival, he received orders to deploy to Afghanistan for ten months. But even a deployment to Afghanistan couldn't tame his photography bug. He brought his camera with him and took poignant photos of his soldiers in the 4-17 and the local nomadic tribes bringing new insight into the region and the conflict. His blog and photos can be found on his website.
Now that he's back home, safe and sound, he continues his work in his home studio and exploring the Franklin mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert for more spectacular scenes.
To contact Darryl C. Treadwell directly, email him at email@example.com.
by Liza Lugo, J.D.
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Pierce, Sarah. "Spirit of the Entrepreneur." Feb. 28, 2008. Entrepreneur.com. 3/15/12.