Each month, I take time out to get to know one of our lovely members. A chance for you to get to know more about our members and more about their business. It’s also a great chance for members to share more about their learnings. Afteral, Thrive is all about sharing experiences, knowledge and expertease.
This month it’s the turn of Sue Kennedy, a baby & family photographer
Sue delivers (pun intended), photoshoots of babies and their families at her Parndon Mill studio (that’s in Harlow if you’re wondering.)
So, Sue tell us, why do you do what you do?
I started my photography business in 2002, after a corporate career, when I was young, free and single 🙂 Now 18 years later, with my own family, I am pretty sure I’d make a rubbish employee, and who wouldn’t want to photograph babies all day?! My studio is in an old converted flour mill, surrounded by other creatives, and beautiful countryside, which is a world away from an 1960’s office block in Central London.
What practical advice would you give to anyone about to start, or in the early stages of owning a business?
Play to your strengths is common advice, but this year I discovered how your business personality may mean you approach your business in a different way to others. So some things will come easily to you and not others, so roll with that. I spent years thinking I ‘should’ be doing certain things that sucked the life out of me, when actually they don’t suit me and I will just come across as uncomfortable doing them, and there is always an alternative route that is less energy draining. Of course, some things you can learn to do or you can buy in expertise to speed up your progress, but always understand the fundamentals of what you need doing yourself. For me knowing my strengths makes it easier to filter advice, as often that person will be applying their business personality to the advice, and our profiles may be opposites. This can trigger genius ideas, or you can end up annoying each other 🙂
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
In the early days I was inspired by other photographers, but gradually I have grown into my own style and trusting my own intuition. I love learning, so have a serial course habit that has shaped the business I have today.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given in business?
Have good systems, which might sound crackers, but I discovered Asana last year and I work so much more productively with it, planning my time better, and not forgetting tasks. I’ve always had a CRM, so Asana manages all the other aspects of running a business. It’s brilliant when I have a free 30 minutes, and can quickly identify a task, and crack on.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Don’t change the way you do things because of one piece of negative feedback. Go read the thank you cards, and fabulous testimonials instead, so that you keep serving the clients who value what you do, and not the ones who will never be satisfied.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
I’d like to think it’s my customer service, as I’ve had many clients return with second & third babies, but I suspect it’s a combination of factors as people need to see you & know of you before they make a booking.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I have just added a new photo quiz to the website, to help potential clients start to think about their wants & needs from a photoshoot, which gives them the result of a ‘style’ and then I follow up with some more tips & info (if they leave their email address). There are no right or wrong answers, it’s just a fun way of engaging with them. https://suekennedy.co.uk/quiz/ Give it a whirl, I’d love your feedback.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, your tips and insights Sue. We absolutely love having you in the Thrive Collective Club and seeing you Thrive in business.
If you’d like to find out more about Sue, do check out her photography business on the various channels and websites.
Thrive Collective is a community of business women supporting each other to connect, collaborate, learn and thrive together in business.We’re women who are energised by other women’s successes and equally motivated by our own.Thrive Collective is the combination of both the Thrive Collective Meet Ups and Thrive Collective Online Membership, whatever help you need, we’ve got you covered!