Photographer Caroline Moore brings her DIY small-business success to a new illustrated advice book | Local Beat | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Photographer Caroline Moore brings her DIY small-business success to a new illustrated advice book

Punk Rock Entrepreneur: Running a Business Without Losing Your Values favors casual and practical advice over clichéd platitudes

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Startups love to tout their humble roots, all those day jobs, garages and ramen. You’d think the abundance of rags-to-riches stories would make new business-owners less self-conscious about their rags, but that’s not what Caroline Moore found when she started her photography business in 2007.

“People were telling me, ‘You can’t do this with a laptop. You need to have this much office space, you need to spend this much capital to get started up,’” says Moore, of Fayette County. “For a lot of small businesses, that’s not the case.”

Her wedding-photography business took off, and she brought the lessons from that process to Punk Rock Entrepreneur: Running a Business Without Losing Your Values, an illustrated advice book available Sept. 13 from Microcosm.

“Are you tired of clichéd platitudes being presented as business advice?” a back-cover cartoon asks in a graphic titled, “Is this book for you?”

Entrepreneur stresses heeding good advice as much as avoiding the bad, usually in the form of: You don’t need the fanciest, most expensive materials to get started.

Moore’s background is primarily in visual and graphic arts, but she spent most of her adult life surrounded by musicians in punk scenes (including her husband). She’d lend a hand photographing her friends’ bands, or provide illustrations for album art, and she found herself inspired.

“Watching friends involved in the punk scene, [if] they wanted to make a zine or something, they went out and did it. They wanted to tour — they found a way to make that happen,” says Moore.

Besides the frugality, Moore also wanted to borrow the scene’s sense of idealism, hence the subtitle “without losing your values,” designed to calm potentially wary readers.

“People feel like if you’re making money off of a thing, then now you’re The Man, you’re corporate,” says Moore. “I feel like you can run a business without being a soulless corporate drone, or whatever the punk kids would go at you for.”

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