Name: Alvin L. Tatum Jr.

Business Name/Occupation: A. Tatum Photography

Tell us about your business! I am a wedding and event photographer out of Hampton Virginia, but I do work throughout the DMV. I also do corporate work for a few companies and this past January I was invited to the White House 2015 Small Business Roundtable.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship? Before retiring from the military I decided I wanted to follow my passion of photography and be my own boss.

Why do military spouses make great entrepreneurs? You have to become a more balanced individual when you don't have another person to rely on and carry the load. You have have to become flexible and pickup new skillsets that most spouse's don't. It makes you a stronger individual and you need strength in business to survive.

What is a "blocker" for you in business. What holds you back? Time management. Working from home and having school aged children with activities is always a challenge. You really have to try and keep the balance to effectively accomplish everything.

How has being a military spouse changed your for the better? Having been active duty it gives you a greater appreciation for those who have to be at home when their loved one is gone. It really has provided me with a full circle clarity on the military life.

What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur? For me personally it made me realize how life in the military and everything you learn prepares you for running a business. I believe my work ethic is different than most which gives me an advantage.

What would you tell a milspo entrepreneur who is feeling discouraged? Always push forward. Never let a "no" setback you back or kill your spirit. There are much worse things in life than the word no.

What are your five favorite things that you can not live without as a milspo entrepreneur?

  • God - My personal relationship with my faith helps keep everything in perspective when it comes to business. 
  • My Wife - She supports me and her viewpoint and critique are always extremely helpful. 
  • The internet - It's crucial as a photographer and it's how do my work and book most of my business.
  • Relationships - In this digital age I think people forget how to establish real relationships. More than just meeting people and handing out a few business cards, but taking the time and getting to know the people you work with so your network can truly expand.
  • My Camera - Last but not least my camera allows me to capture moments that people will cherish forever. I try to provide images that speaks to each client personally so it something that they will value forever. When people value what you do your solidify your business relationship.

What is the most amazing thing you have experienced in your business thus far? Being invited to the White House this past January for the 2015 Small Business Round Table where we met with the head of the small business administration Maria Contreras-Sweet and other White House officials.

How do you want to be remembered? As a good husband and father.

Twitter: alvintatumjr

Instagram: @alvintatumjr

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