Makiyah Moody (MM): What is your name and what does it mean?
Michael Ntiamoah (MN): Okay, my name is Michael Kwame Ofori Ntiamoah and basically, I was named after somebody, so I don't really have the meaning to it, but my name is a powerful name.
MM: What day were you born?
MN: I was born on a Saturday.
MM: So, what name does that give you?
MM: Where's your birthplace and where do you currently live?
MN: Okay, I was born in Accra. I mean Greater Accra and I live in Santa Maria.
MM: What's the name of your business?
MN: Okay. Basically, I have a photographic production company, which is Mind Kontrol Incorporation, and I just started my traveling tour, which is the EMENO. And basically, MNO is the initials for my name, Michael Ofori Ntiamoah. And we just have to spell it with the E-M-E-N-O, so MNO.
MM: So, like your t-shirt?
MM: Wonderful. So, you mentioned photography, and travel and tour, how do you describe the business you’re in?
MN: It's fascinating. It's stressful, but I love it. Basically, since childhood I've been…I’m someone who I really love to do… I really like to do what I love. And what I know is that if you're really in love with what you're doing, you don't really consider the money that much. It comes automatically because you do it well. So far as you're doing it in a great way, you'll be rewarded in a great way.
MM: What's one thing about being a business owner that you didn't expect?
MN: Eh, government taxes sometimes. I wasn't expecting it to be that stressful because sometimes they will be expecting the tax without even you receiving the money. That's one.
Two: some clients can be very annoying. Even if you try to be really nice, they take your leniency to be your weakness. So, some clients can be really annoying, but all you need is patience because this work… it’s like everything has got to do with human communication. So, you just have to take your time with everything.
MM: What's the best advice you've received as a business owner?
MN: Okay, the best advice was for me to actually invest in other other stuff apart from my work, apart from what I'm doing, because everything has a season. When it comes to the photography, for instance, when I started it was really you know, there were a few guys and we had a lot of job like the jobs like just kept on coming. But right now, everybody's a photographer. You understand? So, basically, if back in those days if I took those advice it would have helped me if I took it or not. Investing in other things, like other ventures, was very good advice looking at it right now looking at the economic crisis right now in this country. That was the best advice.
MM: What about the worst advice someone has given you?
MN: The worst advice someone gave me was to use the money I was getting to buy more equipment. Because it got to a point in time you have the equipment, but there is no job coming in. It's like you have a shrine, and you don’t have clients. And that was really annoying because the equipment we use is very, very expensive. Okay, you buy those with your money, and I got to know that you can actually rent them, depending on the projects you get, because some clients have specifications. Maybe I might be using a 5D Mark IV [camera], but a client will ask for a RED [cinema camera]. I don't have a RED and a RED is very expensive. So you have to go and rent it. But if you go and buy the RED and they come back and say I don't want it, I want Black Magic, are you going to to Bible black magic too? No. So you have to wrestle investing more into the business as in buying the equipment wasn't a good advice. I mean, it wasn't a good advice. Trust me because the jobs they don't come that much now.
MM: So better to have equipment that is available to you, but you don't have to own it. You can just rent it as projects come.
MN: Basically, you can have a default you can have default cameras or maybe default equipment. Default equipment is basically equipment you started with which is still in good like good condition. Those are the default ones. Just in case maybe you have a shop like something fast you need to go and do. You have a different job the default equipment, but when it comes to big, big projects, you have to first consult your client with what they need before you can go in there and rent it out. Okay, so we have payment plan or maybe pay 40%-30%-30%, so when you get the first 40% it goes into the equipment that you're going to rent, then after that you can get good quality job for you to get your balance.
MM: It sounds like a lot of thinking to be strategic about how you use client work and the equipment that you buy, etc. Where do you think you're going to be 10 years from now with your business ventures?
MN: Ten years from now I want to own at least 14 buildings. I would like to be in my country here. I don't really like traveling. I like traveling but I don't really like to move and stay in any other place apart from my country because I really want to have my things here. I want to invest in my country. So ten years from now, I want to have buildings. I want to be the owner with lots of buildings so that at least I know I'm renting them out in the form of real estate and stuff like that. And I really want to be here. I really want to be here though.
MM: How has travel served as a portal to your transformation?
MN: Okay, so basically what I know is that stay in one place, um, I'm used to my settlement. Okay, I didn't know there were other things out there. So the more you travel, the more you learn. And I just I just got to know that oh, there are so many personalities and people out there. The world is a big place to be stable or being in your confined zone doesn't really help because traveling makes you knowledgeable. It makes you know how people live. It makes you know whether your life is okay or it's worse. So traveling is very important. I would urge everybody to do that. Like maybe once in a blue moon, you travel. Move out of your comfort zone. Get somewhere. Get to know other people, other cultures, and stuff like that. It’s very important.
MM: So, speaking of travel, what's one thing that you want people to know about Ghana?
MN: Oh, when it comes to Ghana, I want people to know everything about Ghana, and I want them to know the truth. Because Ghana is a very nice place. Ghana is very peaceful. Ghana is a wonderful place. We might have our flaws here and there, but Ghana is a place I would urge everybody to visit. Ghana is a very wonderful place, okay.
And when you come to Ghana, make sure you really tour Ghana. Most people tour the south side of Ghana; they are always neglecting the north side of Ghana. They are all part of Ghana. So, I will urge you when you come, try and go up there because they are all Ghanaians. They're part of us.
Even when you come here [Greater Accra Region], we have so many entertainments stuff and it's always busyness outside. So, the north people always feel left out. And most of the tourists when they come, they're always around the south side, okay. So, I will urge those who are coming, try and go up there. There are so many wonderful things up there. So I'd like you to also go up there and Ghana's a very wonderful place. Trust me. It’s a very sweet, sweet place to be.
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