Story of an Entrepreneur & Wedding Photographer – LJ

Thursday, August 15th, 2013|Advice, Guest posts|by ElexuCommunity

 

Intro

It’s amazing how a single question turned out to be one of the best pieces of advice that anyone ever gave me;

“Does everyone you know, know what you do?”

Question

Starting your own business sounds like a dream. You imagine being your own boss, making lots of money, working your own hours, taking holidays whenever you want, not to mention the ability to work at home wrapped up in a fluffy blanket (so far I’ve got the fluffy blanket part down to a tee). However, the reality is somewhat different when you actually take that leap of faith.

Know what you do

I remember setting myself up as a photographer. Throughout university whilst studying Photography for Fashion & Advertising, I did the odd bit of freelance here and there, collaborated with fashion designers, models, make up artists and managed to get bits and pieces of my editorial work published in Buzz, a local South Wales magazine, and a few others. Looking back on it now I think I was a bit naive and imagined that work would magically fall into place after I got my degree and that I’d be a world renowned fashion photographer, mingling with the likes of Kate Moss, John Galliano and Rankin.

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Then I met a boy…

Met a boy

We fell in love (all, don’t throw up at once), decided to get married and then life got really busy. I was in my third year of university trying to write a dissertation, plan my final year exhibition and organise a wedding that would take place in Northern Ireland whilst I was in Wales. That year was a blur of flights, phone calls, emails, meetings, deadlines, an empty purse, photographs, prints, and excitement mingled with stress! I’m not sure I knew the difference between those emotions by the end. The thoughts of setting up my own business took a backseat as I looked forward to finishing my degree, become someone’s wife (which made me feel extremely old, even though I was only 22) and building a home together.

Building home

Life eventually began to settle down in the months that followed. I was working part time and just enjoying this new stage of life. In essence, I was the epitome of what it means to be “chilled out.” Eventually though, I needed to get a full time job to build up my photography kit and to simply pay the bills. I began working as a Marketing Executive for a Digital Marketing Company. Through this role I realised the importance of effective social media strategies and really enjoyed learning more and more about Marketing. It gave me the motivation and drive that I needed to setting up my photography business properly this time.

Social Media

I attended courses on Marketing, started teaching myself SEO, Google Analytics, and being pro active on social media and blogging more frequently. This is when that piece of advice I mentioned at the beginning came into play.

Advice

I began to talk more about my photography as if it actually was a business and not just an idea or a concept or something that I do in my spare time. I made sure that everyone I knew, knew what I did. When I decided that I was a professional photographer, other people saw me as that as well. In a period of two months, I had designed and built my website, received three wedding bookings and two charity events! My latest client is Karen Paullada, the actress who plays Nadine in Stella – Ruth Jones’ hit comedy on Sky 1! Each of these jobs came to me through word of mouth and, at times, a line of referrals. Whilst I still work full time as a Marketing Executive, photography is picking up quite quickly and although I’m nowhere near the stage of becoming self employed just yet, it’s looking a lot more realistic now. There are countless other hints and tips that I could go into, but for now, let’s start with that single question…

Does everyone

“Does everyone you know, know what you do?”

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Author: Lisa-Jane Meates

Creative Director at LJM Photography

Website: www.ljm-photography.co.uk

Tweet me: @ljmeates