business owners

The Big Announcement Part I

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Owning a business is a lot of hard work and nobody ever said it would be easy. It’s a roller coaster ride of many ups and downs. I truly do believe if you are willing to put in the hard work, the long hours and do things right, you will definitely reap the benefits of being a full time entrepreneur.

I know in my business of photography there is an amazing community of photographers which most of them are more than willing to share “trade secrets” so to speak lending a helping hand when asked with no hesitation. One of the many wonderful and amazingly talented people I have had the pleasure of knowing and receiving help from is Crystal Mitchell from Provocateur by Crystal Mitchell. She is an incredible human being, entrepreneur, and photographer.

This has been a long time coming and has taken a lot of work in a very short period of time to actually bring it to fruition. I have to say though, seeing the hard work put in literally materialize as results you can physically see, is beyond satisfying for me. I am so proud of what I have accomplished in this short time with my business.

So I am sure you are all curious as to what this BIG announcement I have been speaking of is..... well It isn’t just one thing, there are multiple things I have been working on that have culminated in this BIG announcement.

So I would like to formally welcome you to the new Visuphoria Website! A sleek clean feel for our everyday women to feel comfortable viewing. We have also enlisted some top Album manufacturers, and lower session fees! This makes it affordable for everyone to come in and have their own session with the team of Visuphoria.

The Networking Effect

There is no doubt that networking is a hugely advantageous tool to any and all business owners. Now there are many groups, clubs networks out there to choose from but which one is the right one for you? How do you go about deciding which one is the right fit for your business?

Networking definitely forces you out of your comfort zone but It can generate referrals and increased business as well as creating connections.  These sessions give you the opportunity to rub shoulders with highly influential people in the business world.  These are opportunities that you might not normally have. It is also a great way to get advice from like- minded entrepreneurs/business people and make new friends in the process.

It’s tough not to drown in the sea of options but you have to keep your head above water. Talk to friends, friends of friends, do your due diligence and research and find the right one(s) for you.  I know I am currently struggling with this exact dilemma right now and am trying to figure out a couple of more avenues to explore in order to expand my network.

I currently belong to the Toronto Board of Trade and this is a great organization. Business owners from all walks of life are members it’s a great place to meet people BUT you have to put in the time, do the work and that I think is part of the reason people have a tough time with this type of thing. These connections don’t get built overnight, you have to nurture them they take time and let’s face it you’re not going to connect on an organic level with everyone that you meet at networking events. Sometimes, you just need to walk away as there will be nothing mutually beneficial so move on, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Relationships are the catalyst for success. People tend to do business with people they like and trust. Be a resource for others and help them succeed.  Just because there might be nothing beneficial for YOU doesn’t mean you can’t help someone out in the process if you have the capability to do so. Remember, this networking thing ISN’T all about YOU! It’s a two way street.

 

Image courtesy of accelerateplaces.com

Yervant and Anie - The Photography Symposium 2016

“All good things must come to an end” and no better way to sum up the second day of Yervant and Anie’s Photography Symposium. This event rolled through Toronto as one of its many stops on June 15th, 16th and 17th.  I attended the event for 2 days and there was a master class on the third day which I opted out of.

It was an incredible experience and one I won’t soon forget. If you do get the chance to attend this event in your city, I strongly advise you do check it out, you won't be disappointed. Yervant and Anie put together an unbelievable program packed with a wealth of information, knowledge and not to mention an incredible line up of 6 industry professionals all experts in their particular area of photography. It took place at The Berkley Field House, a truly beautiful venue. It was geared at a smaller more intimate group of about 60-100 attendees which I feel was the perfect amount.

The two days were jam packed with information and personal stories and at times, astonishingly emotional and honest moments.  Yervant speaking about wedding photography and making us laugh hysterically.  Joe Buissink sharing his incredibly moving story of his childhood and why he is so passionate about wedding photography.  Sue Bryce sharing her brilliance on posing your subjects.  Michele Neal Celentano and her insistence on existing in your photographs because of her beautifully moving story.

There were a couple of common threads that were strung through these two days of presentations and stories. These recurring threads seemed to be:  if you work hard at your craft, you can achieve whatever it is you want for you and your business and you are worth it so charge your clients what you feel you are worth but keep in mind, you must deliver on that promise.

One thing in particular really struck a chord with me, the presenters kept re-iterating was with regards to printing your work.  Then I thought about it and we don’t print our work nearly as often as we should! You MUST print your work.  Preserve those moments in time through print as you never get a second chance to go back and relive those moments.  They are fleeting!

Remember, it’s not a photograph until it’s printed!  This statement really reverberated me and reminded me just how important it is for us photographers to print our work. Not only are you helping yourself but you are also helping to preserve our industry.

Entrepreneurship - Do We All Have It In Us?

Entrepreneurs, are people just born with it? Is it in our DNA? Is it a learned behaviour?
I would say over the past six months while scouring the web I have noticed a huge increase in videos and posts all relating to entrepreneurship and becoming an entrepreneur. Embrace it, there has never been a better time than now to be an entrepreneur. These are all over the internet! Now I don’t know if it has been there all along and I just didn’t really pay attention to it or if it is just exploding as of late? I would have to agree there has never been a better time to start your own business. I mean, with the digital age and the reach the internet has granted every single person who has access to it, it would seem the timing couldn’t be better.
As the saying goes, “If you want something bad enough, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse”. I do honestly and whole heartedly believe this saying and you CAN achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Ever since I was in my twenties I have dreamed of owning my own business. I came to a realization that it has been for twenty years, I have procrastinated to say the least. Fear has of course played a part in this, not to mention the self-doubting questions like “what the hell would my business be? or do? or provide to people?” I know these are simply excuses. Procrastination is a horrible animal that lives in a lot of us. In my forties, I have decided to finally take the leap. Albeit part time but I have taken a step in the right direction. I know this part time thing is ONLY temporary!
In the words of Sir Richard Branson “screw it, just do it”. Is it really that simple? I guess if you have an idea, the hustle and the drive to succeed. I don’t think the entrepreneurship life is for everyone and that’s fine. Some people are happy working for someone else. You know the type going in every day, doing their job and going home at the end of the day and not having to think about it.
Personally for me, I know I am destined for bigger better things. I don’t want to continue making money for other people for the rest of my life. I want to do something I absolutely love and am passionate about and make money at it. Who wouldn’t be happy doing something you love and are passionate about and get paid for it? That’s not to say it’s easy but think about the freedom!? The joy of going to work every day doing something you love. They say: “if you do what you love you will never have to work another day in your life”.
Think about this: we spend over half our lives working, why would you want to be stuck in a job you don’t even like and be miserable for that amount of time? Life is short, make the best of it and make yourself happy. LIVE LIFE!

Image courtesy of ttentrepreneurship.com

The Professional Headshot - The Importance of One!

The world is evolving technologically and at a rapid pace. In this, the Interweb age, we are constantly being bombarded with images, snippets, catch phrases and sound bites. At these breakneck speeds people don’t take the time to slow down and talk with each other as much anymore. Elevator pitches are the way of the future. Say what you need to say in 30 seconds or less. Capture someone’s attention or they’re out the door.
How does this affect the photos you post online, specifically those of a professional nature. You may own a quality camera and can take a selfie with the best of them. Post that photo on Facebook or Twitter and you may get all the likes in the world from your friends and family members. But now ask yourself these questions:

  • Should I put this on LinkedIn?
  • Does it look professional?
  • Would I get into business with me if I came across this picture online?

 
Now I know what you are thinking, we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover but let’s be totally honest here, we ALL do it anyway. Your headshot is the first thing people online will see. If it’s professionally done, people will notice and see that you actually care about the details and your appearance. With the growing importance of networks like LinkedIn you should be asking yourself: does my profile picture convey professionalism.
A professional headshot is essential to your personal brand. Here are a couple of key things to consider;
Look the Part
When you are getting a professional headshot done, make sure you dress appropriately and look approachable. I hear from so many different photographers who say their clients show up unprepared for their photo. When it comes right down to it, you are selling YOURSELF so look the part!
It Takes Money to Make Money
Why wouldn’t you pay a professional to do the job? Yes you have to spend a bit of money up front but think of how it will pay dividends in the long run. I have heard the headshot referred to as a digital version of your business card. Do you want to be taken seriously? Would you hand someone a business card that looks like it came from a vending machine? Probably not!

As my Dad always told me, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, so why not make a great impression with a professional head shot. You ARE your own ambassador, your OWN BRAND. Do things the right way, dress for success and hire a professional. You’ll thank me later.

Giving Back To The Community - Everybody Wins

As a business owner, giving back to your community is such an integral part of who we are and who we should be as entrepreneurs. It’s almost as though there should be an unwritten rule about giving back in the entrepreneur handbook (of course there is no such book). Although, I believe it really shouldn’t be “unwritten” and there really should be a handbook or guide of do’s and don’ts but that’s a whole other topic.
A couple of nights ago I had the esteemed pleasure of attending an incredible event. The event was put on by a woman named Katia Millar, a woman to whom I was informally introduced by a mutual friend a few months ago. She started a meet up group called Positive Fabulous Women in 2008 and let me tell you, she is positive AND nothing short of fabulous. What this woman has done for thousands of women across the GTA and her community is astounding. Her network of female members, followers and fans is 8000 plus and continually growing. She organizes monthly events with guest speakers, live twitter chats and webinars for her members. These members donate door prizes from their business, whether it be tangible prizes or one on one mentoring sessions from their individual businesses.
These events are held with the purpose of women getting together to network, discuss their businesses, goals, aspirations and most importantly build each other up, support and empower one another. Not only are they members of this network but they all give back to the community in one way or another, whether it be through mentorship or simply what they do as entrepreneurs on a daily basis. It truly is inspiring to be in their presence.
As an attendee and being one of the only men in the entire room, I have to say it was a little intimidating but the experience was without a doubt, three of the most inspiring hours of my life. What an incredible experience, listening to some of these women share their stories of building their businesses from the ground up. Sharing their successes as well as some of their failures because we all know, without failure there is no success. It was truly a magical evening. If any of my female readers are thinking about going into business or may already be a seasoned entrepreneur, I highly recommend you go to one of the Positive Fabulous Women events, I can guarantee you will walk away filled with inspiration! It will be 3 of the most valuable hours of your career. I honestly wish I could attend these sessions but sadly they are restricted to women only.

I strongly encourage all business owners to donate their time to some community cause or event, it will leave you feeling fulfilled. I know for me personally donating my time as a photographer for the event the other night, it did exactly that for me and I will definitely be doing more of that in the future.
I would just like to say thank you to Katia Millar for allowing me to be part of and the brief glimpse into her incredible world that is Positive Fabulous Women.