Two Years Full Time
The month of June is a pretty special month for me, not only is it when my sweet girl Mia’s birthday month is but it also marks the start of when I became a full time photographer. Since graduating from photography school in 2006 and then meeting my husband in 2010 it had been a dream of mine to stop working “day jobs” and to actually put that degree to use and make my sole income and career path as a photographer. I think it helped that I when I went full time I had to take on another job as “Mom”. Being able to stay home with Mia has been amazing, sometimes it’s hard but I love that we have this special time together and I hope she realizes as she gets older how lucky this time in our lives we are.
So I have been thinking about this blog post for a while and brainstorming what I was going to write about since I didn’t write one last year for my 1st anniversary. I figured I would do what I do best, write a list of the things I have learned in the past 2 years running my own business (We’ll see how long this list gets… haha).
- When I get a goal in my head I will bust my butt to make it happen… As many of you know I am on the first page of Google for Tacoma (it’s maybe how you found me to be your now photographer). I take a lot of pride in this and not afraid to share my secrets or boast about it, because I worked really really hard to make it happen. I knew very quickly that if I wanted to make full time work I had to get my SEO (search engine optimization) in order so that I could book clients off web searches. To date I have booked at least 15 weddings off google searches and countless portrait sessions. So any photographers out there think SEO is a waste of time, it’s not it’s the sole reason I am still in business.
- Good Customer Service Pays off…. My 15 years of customer service experience has paid off to providing my clients with amazing customer service. I think a lot of people haven’t ever had the jobs I have or been put in the situations I have been in. Good customer service comes back to you 10 fold and I’m so happy I can brag about this.
- My last day job taught me something…. So if you own your own business in WA state they like to make the sales tax and B&O taxes super complicated and it can really freak a lot of people out. Thankfully at my last job I was responsible for doing the B&O taxes monthly & all those stressful hours sitting there looking at monthly reports paid off. Now each quarter when it’s time to file I am a pro at it. I’m going to be real for a second I have dislike jobs in the past but this was the first job I HATED! I took this job because we were buying a house in Tacoma and I needed a place closer to home. I was very lucky to have a dad with connections in the area and he helped me get this job. BUT the fact I am sitting here writing that I’m thankful for what the job taught me surprise me. It just goes to show you the universe has a reason for everything and a job you hated for a year and half teaching me this important to my business now wow’s me.
- Sometimes I can’t turn my brain off…. I have lost count at the number of nights I have been up past 1-2 in the morning working or thinking about stuff or writing blog post. It’s 11:26pm as I write this. I laid in bed but couldn’t relax and had to get up and write this blog.
- Social media for me is a job. As many of you know who follow me OR are friends with me on facebook half the time I am tagging myself in my clients photos. Social media is a big part of my business and how clients find me. This year alone I have booked 2 weddings off instagram so it’s super important just like SEO! In March this year I took all the Facebook apps off my phone and I haven’t looked back. I still check stuff on the web browser throughout the day but my anxiety level has gone down since taking Facebook off my phone and I’m also not on my phone as much making me a more present mom and wife. It also helps my husband Pat is not on any social media and doesn’t care to be.
- It’s OK to say NO!….. I have turned down one wedding so far because after meeting with the bride I knew it wasn’t the wedding for me. Saying NO to money is scary BUT being happy with my job and giving my clients the best product is much more important to me. Even if I have to turn a gig down I know in my heart there is probably someone better out there for me to capture this very important day.
- When SH*T goes down, it’s all on me….. This website is my primary source of how people find me and connect with me and when there are issues with said technology I am the one that has to deal with it. Back in March of this year I decide to move my website hosting to a cloud based server. Well that’s when everything hit the fan and I was in panic mode. When your email & website are connected via this serves you kind feel helpless knowing that people are trying to connect with you & all their getting is an error screen. Let’s just say I moved away from hosting company and will never be changing.
- Sometimes you need help…. Since I am a one woman operation here and try to do everything myself I do sometimes have to ask for help. My help comes in the form of my editor. She helps me get some of my editing done when I am super busy allowing me not to be sitting at my computer all summer long. This was a big step for me to give this important step of delivering the final product to my clients. The great thing is because she has my secret sauce you will never know which was edited by me or by her.
- Everyday I learn something new…. Last year I decided to focus on education and spent money on a few workshops and a mentoring sessions. Meeting with these more established photographers really helped me get tips on how to grow my own business & actually make it a success. I really feel 2015 help me grow in my posing, business and marketing. I also get help from my peers I have a great support system I have acquired over the past 2 years and we all have helped us grow our business and support one another whether it’s leads or tech support. Just the past month I learned how to do a successful sparkler exit, Thanks Lindsay!
- Ideal Client…. I think FINALLY my ideal clients are finding me. It’s so wonderful when you find people who value you and your product. It makes me love what I am doing even more.
- My style & look…. This year I looked back at my previous years weddings and really looked how my overall body of work and from what friends have said about my portfolio. I think I finally found my look for editing, my style of posing and my overall look for my company. Earlier this year I redid my branding and that is also being launched this month along with a new fresh logo. I want my final product I deliver to my clients a mix of romantic, classic and fun photos from their wedding. Because I am normally a pretty happy person and love to laugh I like a sense of humor in my photos and it’s taken my clients doing random and wacky things while they are in front of my camera to make me realize I need this to finish my work overall.
- I am a big ball of emotion when it comes to my business…. Last week with this new website and branding launch I was completely fine, feeling very confident during the whole process but then Wednesday comes along and I am a hot mess. I wasn’t expecting to be so emotional over this new change but apparently it’s hitting me harder than I ever expected. I guess it shows how invested I am in everything and changing things can be a scary thing even if you know it’s for the best.
Well I’m sure there is more I have learned in these last 2 years being a full time but 11 things seemed like a good place to stop. I can’t wait to see what this 2nd year and 3rd wedding season brings Jenny Storment Photography. Thank you to all my clients who have supported me and entrusted me in capturing your wedding day and family portraits. I love what I do and I hope that comes out in my work and final product I deliver to you. If it wasn’t for all of you I wouldn’t be where I am today so THANK YOU!!!!