Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Capitures Photography

By: Nicole Babauta
CNMI SBDC DIrector/Business Advisor

My name is Myla Capilitan. My parents first arrived in Saipan in the early '90s as missionaries and my sister and I got here in '96. Since then, Saipan has been my home. Today, I share my life with Matthew Deets and son, Javon Gersonde.

 I wanted to do something that I was excited about and found fulfilling. I was always envious of people who had careers and were passionate about their job. I had to stop and think to myself, "What is something that I could do and be passionate about at the same time?" The love for photography kicked in when I got my first Samsung smartphone. From then, I was amused at how such a small device can take such detailed photos that look better than how you normally see it with a naked eye. I then started to learn about photography equipment and technology. I wasn't sure if I could be good at it but I always had an appreciation for good photos. As it turns out, I am in love with the art of photography, getting to know each client and being able to capture their story through photography.
My first experience with photography occurred when I worked for the Seventh-Day Adventist School. I was asked to take photos for the school yearbook and school events. This peaked my interest in photography and I dove in with my very little experience, but I was committed to learning everything since day one. I am currently attending the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) while working on my certification as a Professional Photographer of America. My mentors include Adam Waltner and George Delgado, who are both high profile photographers in the mainland.

I first learned about the CNMI SDC when Nicole conducted a "How to Start a Business" training for the Marianas Young Professionals (MYPros). Not long after, I met with her for a one-on-one counseling session. The CNMI SBDC continues to provide information necessary to help me expand my business. After having dreams about working on a big photography project, I knew that I had to start my business. While working for SDA school, I knew that the school photography business needed improvement and better services so I figured I should start my business from there. I started using funds from a loan I received through Bank of Guam.

When I decided to get into this industry, I knew I had to be well educated about copyright and photography. My biggest challenge now and maybe for as long as I'm in the industry is trying to protect my work, especially in this generation where digital copies are easily downloaded and shared.
The most memorable triumph in the startup process is being awarded First Place in the Photography Category for the Bridge Capital's 8th Annual Art Competition at this year's Flame Tree Art Festival.

My short-term goal is to keep the business running at a profitable level. My long-term goal includes having a fully functioning studio and covering all sorts of photography from events to passport photos. I'd also like to expand my services to our sister islands, Tinian, Rota, and Guam.

Firstly, network, network, and network. Reach out to people you already know and ask them if they could help you out in whatever profession you choose to pursue. Use your contacts. Secondly, and probably the hardest, be really organized. This is one of the best things you could do for yourself. Lastly, set goals. Once you set your goals you'll be able to prioritize and tackle them. Be prepared for anything and don't forget to set time for yourself to decompress from the daily challenges of being a business owner.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Get Fit with 23Fitness Personal Training

By: Jane Ray
Certified Business Advisor/Training Program Coordinator

The term "exercise" has scared off many people. This particular word does not get used too frequently outside of doctor visits, looking at the scales aiming the wrong direction, or showing up on the famous fortune being told within the fortune cookie that you just opened. In all honesty, it is not on the favorite list of words to be used for most people and definitely not on mine. That fear of exercise has remained part of our lives unless we are committed to addressing it or when the doctor gives an ultimatum.

23Fitness is a private training studio that helps individuals who wish to face their ultimate dear of exercise and want privacy at the same time. 23Fitness Guam opened its door in December 2017 and is centrally located in the village of Tamuning. After years of experience as a personal trainer in local gyms and obtaining a good understanding of his clients' needs, Mychal Borja decided to open his own gym and take his idea to the next level.

23Fitness provides personalized and individually tailored approaches to individuals that have a firm commitment to bettering and improving their health not just physically
but also mentally. He emphasizes providing an environment where his clients feel 100% comfortable and the accountability they need. The privacy the clients' desire has made many choose his private training studio over the crowded gyms.

Mychal is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioning specialist with the American Council on Exercise. Beside his certification, he has been extensively involved in sports on both the Guam junior and men's national basketball teams. When it comes to fitness, he understands the dynamics of training and the hard work it takes for top performance.

Mychal credited Guam SBDC Business ADvisors for guiding him in starting up his business and providing him with the foundational tools that he needed to get started. Advisors were able to answer questions that he had and advised him to consider critical factors pertaining to the startup of the business. The startup process was exciting and, once he was able to find the right location, he opened its doors within five months. He funded his business startup through personal savings.

The biggest challenge in startup process for him was preparing and building out the location and eventually equipping it with the needed equipment while continuing to train his clients and maintain a healthy training schedule at the same time. When not training clients, he was actually working at the studio which required him to work late nights and early mornings. In addition to hard work, strong discipline and determination, and an amazing moral support system from his wife, two daughters, and family, helped him overcome this challenge.

The most memorable triumph of the startup process is seeing the studio for the first time in its fully operational stage. It was rewarding when he received positive feedback from his clients about the space and the privacy it provides. The immediate goal for the studio is to perfect his processes and maintain the highest quality of his training for his clients.

His entrepreneurial advice for others who are interested in opening their own business is to be ready to dedicate time and effort and also believe in what you do. Not being afraid to ask questions and for help will help you succeed in the long run. In the meantime, if you are one of those individuals who want tottake some time for yourself, contact Mychal for an individualized and personalized consultation appointment at 23Fitness Guam. You might just fall in love with your better and healthier self!.

Let's Ride Guam, LLC.: Take a Tour of Adventure

By: Jane Ray
Certified Business Advisor/ Training Program CoordinatorGuam SBDC
A strong family support was the driving force for Joey Crisostomo Jr. and Justin Cruz, owners of Let's Ride Guam, LLC. to start their own business in 2017. They wanted to set a good example for others and always wanted to work for themselves, and most importantly, enjoy what they do. These are the reasons they wanted to start a business for off-roading. Some activities that Joey and Justin enjoyed most of the time away from work are mixed martial arts and off-roading in their buggies. Those activities fulfilled their love of thrill and adventure.

Joey and Justine worked for Cars Plus for years where they gained most of their businesses experience. Learning a great deal from the business and gaining extensive experience working with family and others, this is where their idea to start Let's Ride Guam was born! Let's Ride Guam aims to provide a once in a lifetime experience exploring the beautiful nature of Guam's unseen terrain that makes our island unique to local customers and customers from all over the world. They firmly believe that our island deserves to be appreciated and there is no better way to do that than to embark on an adventure in the beautiful village of Santa Rita.

With the close guidance from Guam SBDC business advisors, they were assisted in every step of the way from the business planning, to the loan approval and closing process, obtaining licenses, marketing strategies, creating the website, to launching the business. They were able to receive funding from Bank of Guam.

A few challenges were faced by Joey and Justin during the startup process. One of the biggest challenges was building the website with an off-island company which made it difficult to communicate due to the time difference and understanding their expectations. The product was eventually finished; however, it did not meet their expectations. Luckily, Justin's wife, Gabby, took the lead and built their own website from scratch through WIX.

The most memorable accomplishment for Joey and Justin was the signing of the Hafa Adai Pledge. Both Joey and Justin are Chamorro and committing to preserve and represent their language, culture, and traditions. They firmly believe that taking the pledge is important to them and their business. The values behind the pledge are easily integrated with the mission of Let's Ride Guam and a great start to their business.

Looking further into the future, they would like to be the most popular adventure tour on Guam. They are looking to give back to the island community through working with the University of Guam, Sea Grant, and the Center for Island Sustainability in promoting responsible off-roading. Joey and Justin hope to offer visitors an unforgettable experience while ensuring the sustainability of our island while educating the participants about the importance of building a strong ecotourism industry for the future of our island. Their entrepreneurial advice for others who wish to open their own business is to always do what is right and never give up.

If you wish to experience Guam in a way that you never had before and visit Mother Nature at its best, consider taking a ride with Let's Ride Guam!