Real Business Owner: Christina Shook, Photographer
Q. What’s the name of your business?
Q. What business/industry are you in?
A. Photography – portrait, commercial and wedding/event
Q. What made you want to launch your own company?
A. Working for myself gives me the most satisfaction and motivation. Also, there’s not many jobs for photographers – we’re mostly independent.
Q. What was your biggest hurdle you discovered when launching your business?
A. I started my business with very little money. I learned a gorilla marketing approach built through relationships and community involvement that has proven exceptionally successful and is the way I run my business to this day.
Q. What was easier than you expected?
A. Building a website. The hard part is choosing content. But building was not hard.
Q. Did you write a business plan? Why or why not?
A. I did write a business plan but it was very loose. I really responded to what I was finding successful and that really varied from my plan.
Q. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your business?
A. I wish I’d worked more on my sales presentations and how effective in person sales are.
Q. What services would you highly recommend outsourcing?
A. For me – editing tasks when I get backed up & book keeping
Q. What tasks do you think every business owner should do for themselves?
A. I can’t speak for every business owner, but I think its important to have a personal connection with my client before, during and after a photo session. My assistant can do many things but I want to be highly involved and responsive to my client.
Q. Which books did you found helpful while getting started? Why?
A. Its been long time but Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business was key.
Q. How do you find new clients/customers?
A. Mostly from word of mouth and building / maintaining relationships but also from web presence and volunteering my services to the community – through charities, schools…
Q. What kind of marketing or advertising do you do?
A. The only paid advertising is TheGatheringGuide and its been successful to me for years. I do email blasts for specials and direct mail for my very best clients.
Q. What piece of advice would you like share with someone looking to start a business today?
A. Speaking as a photographer, I’d tell someone to make sure they had a great website and then get out there and start shooting and building relationships to get known and keep working. Join professional photography groups.Written by