I had only been back at work in my office administration job for three days after a two week snowboarding trip to Canada, I knew I was done. I hated that job. I walked into the crazy boss ladies office and told her I was giving notice. By lunch time I had decided the notice period of a week was too long for me to handle and just walked out. Hello Unemployment!
Those of you who know me now will be laughing. That doesn’t sound like me at all. What a risk. I’m not an adventurous person. I don’t like to wonder far from home. I don’t like taking big risks. I am an introvert so I certainly don’t enjoy the spotlight. That’s all true though.
I put some feelers out to see what job I could find quickly. No twenty something comes back from overseas, with enough cash to sit around while they find their dream job. I got a call on a Tuesday afternoon; the man on the phone offered me a sales job with an immediate start. I had to meet him to hear a presentation on Thursday and the following Thursday he was having surgery so I’d have to do the presentation. “How do you feel about public speaking?” I didn’t have time to even consider how I felt about the speaking, how was I going to even learn what to say!
And the rest is history….
Seriously though, obviously it was nothing short of awful. I had notes I had been practicing from I knew the important details. I stood there, looked at the 5 very lovely people and remember his words “Don’t worry Em, in this line of work no one can die.” I was so nervous and it felt like I was going to die. Nothing came out, my words didn’t make sense, I was squeaky, I was making the audience uncomfortable with my discomfort. I sat down; I looked at them and confessed. I explained I was only a week into the job, I told them that this was the first presentation I had never done it before abut evenly remembered enough of the details to give the presentation.
Do you want to know what the conversion rate was for my first presentation? 100%! Over time I refined my presentation, tried different ways to deliver the information, did some cracking sessions and some real flops. Not a single person ever died either. He was right.
It was so much fun. I love meeting new people. Making connections. Watching people succeed and make really positive changes in their lives. Imagine if I had of said I do don’t do public speaking. I certainly wouldn’t be here, ten years later, helping people make a huge impact.
I love my job and the life I have because I was brave, took a risk and said yes!
Did you always want to be your own boss:
Since high school, I knew I always wanted to have my own business, so I took all the right classes for it, like Business Principles and Accounting. I was always creative and took all the arts classes as well, knowing that I wanted to do something in the creative realm. So, yes, I've wanted to have my own business since I was a teenager.
After I left school, I continued looking for work in the creative field and took night classes and studies as well. All those years of learning and experience has all come in handy for the work I currently do, which is fantastic to see that I'm using a lot of those skills in my business today.
How are you making the world a better place?
I'd like to think that I'm making the world a better place with my approach, and belief in, the new mums I see in my portrait studio.
Primarily, as a newborn photographer, I am often the first trip out of the house for them with their tiny new baby and often the first person outside of their family that they will see. There is no judgement from me about any of their decisions - breastfeeding, bottle feeding, co-sleeping. Whatever it is, I hope to be a breath of fresh air for them and a source of support.
I hope that the mum's who come into my studio feel more relaxed than when they came in, and can leave feeling more confident in themselves, that they are doing an amazing job as a new parent, through all the difficulties they are experiencing with a brand new baby.
Mother's are the heart and soul of a family home and - with one happier, more confident mum at a time - the world will definitely be a better place!
What makes you unique?
I want to make my client's experience with me as convenient as possible. It's all about customer service, so after their portraits in the studio, I bring their photographs to their home, so they can view them comfortably and make their choices, whilst having me on hand to ask any questions.
It makes the process much easier and quicker for my clients. They can feel confident in their choices and what they are purchasing and that makes it worth the extra time I can give to my clients.
It also helps build a stronger relationship with my clients because it's another in-person visit, I can see them again, chat to them and make good friends with them.
I'm not a fan of Facebook messaging or texts. The more I can speak to my clients and network on the phone, or better yet, face to face, the better my business and relationships will be. I'm social, chatty, friendly and love to help anyone with anything I possibly can - photography-related, business, parenting, whatever someone needs, I want to help them however I can.
What is the most valuable thing you've learnt?
The most valuable thing I've learnt over the last seven years, is that business and marketing skills are the most important skills you will need.
If you can't get the foundations of your business model right and you don't know how to create a reliable marketing strategy, you don't have a business. Start investing in your business, marketing and professional development before you invest in anything else. It is the best and only way, in my opinion, to set yourself up for success.
Learn, learn and keep learning!
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far has definitely been marketing myself. I really wish I had spent more time learning about business, identifying my target market and learning how to actually run a business! The systems and streamlined processes are really important to handling your workload effectively.
My other standout challenge would be recognising that having and raising children at the same time as building a business is a much slower process than I anticipated. I can have it all, just not right this second - it takes more time that you think!
How has the journey differed to what you expected?
As I mentioned above, the slow growth whilst having children at the same time, can be the biggest challenge of all. I have such big dreams for my business and all the things I want to do! It takes patience and resilience.
I started my business after having my first child, and now I have three children, been through four miscarriages and my business is now seven years old. It's been a hectic and crazy few years!
Wearing so many different hats every single day, and the priority changes regularly throughout the day - that can be a challenge to get used to, but I'm much more able to handle that juggle now than a few years ago.
What does the future hold for your business?
My favourite question! The future has so much in store and I'm really excited to see it continue to grow!
I'm currently expanding into the commercial and product photography world with helping other businesses learn how to DIY their own photography and rock at it, so I have live workshops and events planned, online classes and mini lessons in the works, as well as offering commercial and social media photography services for businesses that would love to just outsource this important part of their business.
Long term, I've spent the last 12 months thinking about what I want to give back to the world and how my photography can leave the world an even better place when I'm gone. I have a non-profit charity program I am working on in the background for families who are placing their elders into Aged Care. I don't want to say too much about it just yet, but this will be my gift to the world that I hope will bring a sense of happiness, joy and memories to families at a difficult time in their life.
This program is going to become a nation-wide offering at Aged Care homes and facilities, and I can't wait to see it serve my community in the way I know it can. It's going to be amazing and beautiful and I can't wait to give it wings!
Join us at Skill Seeking Business Babes for Jades workshop on improving lighting and environment for people doing video for their social media - Click here for access