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1. A Little Bit About Me and My Business

How I grew my photography business to 6 figures

Here is episode 1 of my podcast, and I want to share a little bit about me and my business!

I created this podcast as a way to serve. I want to be able to help other photographers, and people in business learn the things that I learned the hard way. I have a strong desire to help other photographers learn and grow in their business.

I also want to bring in some of the leading experts in the photography world that will share some of the ways that they do business.  

I wanted to start this first podcast off by telling you a little bit about me.   

  • I’m a daughter of the king first and foremost. While this podcast is a business podcast primarily, I will have many things that I say that will point back to Christ. It’s impossible for me to separate the two as everything I have been able to do in my business is because of the Lord.   
  • I’m a wife to Andrew. We have been married for almost 12 years. We started dating our senior year of college. Andrew is in full-time ministry and has been our whole married life.
  • We have 3 girls Ashlyn, Caelyn and Lauryn, and we live in Mobile, Alabama.  
  • I’m southern without the accent. I love peach tea, shrimp, grits, and biscuits and gravy. We love living on the coast.  

I began my start with photography 10 years ago. I have to tell you how I got my first camera because this is quite a story.   

I knew I wanted to buy a camera. I always loved taking photos, and really anything creative I enjoyed. Andrew and I were newly married. We didn’t have a lot of money as we were first starting out. I knew that if I wanted to buy a camera, we would have to sacrifice and save up for a while, or I could sell something of value to be able to buy a camera.   

That is what I did. I sold the only thing of value I had at the time, and that was my wedding dress.   

I have no regrets though. That put me on the path I am on. I’m not a super sentimental person so it didn’t really even phase me to do that.   

I bought my first camera and began taking photos of anything and everything. A lot of senior portraits, a lot of families, even newborns. For the longest time, I thought I would want to specialize as a newborn photographer. That makes me giggle now because newborns are the one subject that is super difficult for me to photograph.   

I am a completely self-taught photographer. Meaning that I didn’t have any training or even education when I first began. I learned through experience and trial and error.   

Because of that, I believe it took me a lot longer to get my business off the ground, and that is probably one of my biggest regrets when I was first starting out.    I know if I had invested in education as a beginner, it would have not taken me so long to get my business to where it is now, but it was a journey, and I enjoyed the growth process.  

The Best Decision I Made for My Business

6 years ago, I made the switch to exclusively photograph weddings, and that was one of the best decisions I have made for my business.

I absolutely love photographing weddings. However, 3 years ago I was at a place in my business that I had to make a tough decision. I was shooting 35 weddings a year, and still trying to do everything on my own… Be a good wife, mom, involved in our ministry, and it was not working. I couldn’t keep up. I was drowning in work, and that was even with pulling many all-nighters just to stay afloat.   

I decided that I didn’t want to work like that anymore. I believe in working hard and hustling, but I think it is about balance. I had a very unhealthy balance when it came to working. I knew something had to change.    Instead of giving up my business, I decided to hire a team and begin to outsource some work. Looking back, I don’t think I would have survived another year of business had I not done this. I am now a huge believer in the fact that you can’t do everything.   

I had to get some help. I’m now at the place in my business where I’m making more than I have ever made, but I’m also working less than I have ever worked. I want each of you to have that same kind of freedom.    There will be three decisions that you have to make in your business when you get to the place I was three years ago.   

When you get to the place of burn out you will have 3 choices

  1. You can quit altogether
  2. You can raise your prices significantly, and book way fewer clients
  3. Or you can delegate, get some things off of you, and share some of the responsibility.

If you continue on in your business when you get to that place, you will eventually burn out, and lose all of the joy of photography.    I also think that you will hinder your financial growth if you don’t make some hard changes.   

We will dig into burnout, creating a team in more detail in the coming weeks.   

In the coming weeks, I will share more about burnout, and creating a team. As well as the nitty-gritty on all of the mistakes I have made and what I have learned from them. I also want to share the things that I believe have attributed to success as well.  

Everyone has a different definition of what success is. Success might mean to you that you can pay some bills, it might mean bringing in a supplemental income to help support your family, or it might even mean crushing some huge goals and getting to that 6 figure mark in your business.   

I want to help you reach success as you define it. Everyone can achieve success.    Success isn’t partial. It is available for everyone.

This podcast is here to help you find direction for your business.    I want to hear from you. I want to hear what you are struggling with, and what obstacles you are struggling to overcome. Send me a message on Instagram @jentewell and let me know how I can serve you.   

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