Bravery, Branding, and Building a Business That’s True to You -- My Interview with Andrea Rogers, Andrea Elizabeth Photography
I’m a small business owner and so are my clients. Running a small business can be challenging, but it also comes with some incredible blessings. The biggest is being able to work closely with my clients and getting to know them on a personal level. Each one has shared unique insights with me about business ownership, creativity, faith and more, and I want to share them with you.
This month, I’ve interviewed Andrea Rogers of Andrea Elizabeth Photography…
How long have you been doing photography full time?
I left my office job in 2014 to do photography full time. It was definitely scary to leave such a stable income, but I knew that it was time to give this passion my 100%. It has been the biggest blessing.
What has been your biggest hurdle in owning your own creative business?
Besides the business side of things (taxes, spreadsheets, etc), the thing I am constantly working on and improving is myself. It is natural to grow and stretch creatively, but the trick is to stay true to who you are and what you love. It's a balance that I strive for daily.
In your opinion, in what ways does your brand affect your business?
Having a strong brand helps in two big ways. One, it lets others know who you are. And two, it attracts the kind of clients you are looking to work with. With a creative business, it is so important to do work that makes you happy and inspired, or else you end up getting burnt out.
Did you run into any problems with the branding that you had in place from the beginning? If so, what were they?
Yes, it is so easy to get distracted by "pretty things"! You can find a font and color that you like, and then the next day you find another one that you like. Finding brand aspects that way is shallow and just scratches the surface. That's why it is crucial to have a professional come in and guide you. They create a brand for you based on who you are, your style, and your goals.
How has having a new mood and brand board helped you with your overall brand for your photography business?
Oh gosh, I love having a mood and brand board! Like I mentioned before, it is so easy to get distracted by other pretty things. Whether it is another photographer's editing style, or another vendor’s logo, we sometimes lose sight of our own gifts by comparing ourselves to others. I can appreciate and admire something without adapting it into my own brand and style. Having a mood and brand board keeps me focused on my own personal look and business goals. It keeps me centered and allows me to stay on track with my own creative growth, not someone else's. I don't want potential clients to struggle to figure out who I am and what kind of photography I do, that should be apparent from the get-go after seeing my website.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs or small businesses out there just starting out?
Find out what you love to do and strive to be great at it. It's better to flourish at your gift than try to be just adequate at everything. I love natural light, and it's okay that I don't also love studio photography. There are other people in this industry that offer what I don't love to do, there is someone for everyone out there. By saying no to the things that don't help your business grow, you leave space open to do the things that inspire you and make you happy. And secondly, support other local vendors and invest in a good brand. We want people to hire us because of our gifts, we should also hire others for theirs. They can see through your superficial interests and get to the core of you and your business.
Any other thoughts about your business or being an entrepreneur in general, that you would like to share with our readers?
Support others, embody community over competition. Attract clients that want YOU, not you trying to be someone else. At the end of the day, you are more than a pretty logo. Your brand is the first hello, it's up to you to be consistent after that!