What do you typically tell people when they ask you what you do?
You know those women who hate being photographed? Loathe being in front of the camera? Well I’m the photographer for them. I love to photograph ordinary, everyday women and show them just how incredibly and uniquely beautiful they are, no matter what their size, shape, age or skin colour.
What did you want to be when your were 10?
Hmm…. not sure I was thinking about it too much at 10. At 4 or 5 I wanted to be a nurse, and by Year 10 in high school (so about 15 or 16) I wanted to be a lawyer, but then I did work experience in a law firm and rapidly changed my mind on that! At age 10 I think I just wanted to be climbing trees.
What’s your most quirky personality trait?
I find it difficult to walk past a shop with a misused apostrophe somewhere in their signage without going in and asking for a pen so that I can correct it. Things like “Todays specials” or “mandarin’s 3 for $2” make me hyperventilate. I can feel my heart rate increasing right now.
How did ViVidity Photography come about?
I have always loved photography, though I am pretty much completely untrained in it. My camera gave me such joy, and took up so much of my time that I had to give it to my husband to lock in his filing cabinet at work when I was studying. I would never have finished my PhD otherwise.
As soon as I had my camera back, I began shooting again, and not long after that registered my business name. I began selling greeting cards in boutique gift shops around Sydney, and then soon started photographing children and families. That worked well for me while we grew our family as I could work part time in my business and still be available to look after our own little ones.
What was a defining moment in your business?
I once had someone make a booking for a corporate photo shoot with hair and makeup required, so I began looking around to find some great people to work with. That shoot fell through, but I already had a makeup artist booked, so I found a friend of a friend to come in and just ‘play’ for the day. It was the best shoot I had ever done, and I loved the feeling of being part of a team instead of just a one-man-band. That was the start of my love affair with photographing women, and I still use the images from that first ever women’s shoot in my marketing.
What do you love most about your business?
I get to play dress ups and hair and makeup for a living! How much fun is that?! I also get to meet some amazing people and hear about their lives and their businesses, and that’s a privilege.
What do you do to play?
Walk on the beach or through the bush with my family, knit or crochet, read, watch movies…. And I really love a good family game of scrabble.
What was a watershed moment in your business journey?
I feel like I’m about to step into another defining moment soon, too, like I’m about to feel some growing pains in my business, so watch this space. Go big or go home, don’t they say?
How do you go about building a loyal client base?
I try to treat my clients well, to go over and above their expectations. I don’t always succeed, but I hope I get it right more often than not.
How is running a successful business different to what you may have thought it would be?
It’s so much more challenging than I imagined…. and I haven’t ‘cracked it’ yet, so it keeps me interested and engaged with my business. There’s always something to learn!
What continue to be some of the greatest challenges you face in your business?
Cash flow is always a big one…. well actually it can be quite small at times!…. so you have to make sure when you are busy and earning well that you set some of that money aside to keep you afloat during quiet times.
When are you most productive?
When I have a tight deadline. When you’re your own boss it can be hard to stick to schedules…. especially if you’re a bit creative. We have a tendency to fall prey to “shiny object syndrome” where any pretty new bauble that comes across our paths becomes a ‘must have’.
Now…. what was the name of that lovely new font everyone’s using these days….???
What strategies have helped you be most productive?
Putting systems in place (and using them!), and — surprisingly — being registered for GST has also been a great help. Makes me keep on top of my book work.
Who or what inspires you in your business and why?
Serial entrepreneurs. Seriously, how do they do it?
What advice would you give to other business owners trying to grow their business?
1. Get as ready as you can BEFORE you launch. Have your pricing in place (even if you intend to offer discounts initially), have your website ready to go and also secure appropriate social media handles, build up some posts on social media channels and don’t worry about whether they’re reaching an audience just yet. Just have them there so that when you DO launch you already have something in place and you look a little more established.
2. Treat yourself seriously.
You have to treat your business like a business, not a hobby. No one else will take you seriously if you don’t.
3. Have systems in place early that will allow you to meet demand as you grow.
Yes, you get one for free…. I’m nice like that!
Infuse some of your personality through your business. You can bet you’re not the only “super-specialicious-widget-maker” out there, and your target market needs a reason to buy from you and not your competition.
You can connect with Jennifer for Photography at: http://www.vividity.com.au