Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Darlene Woodward, Founder of Pant the Town Photography, located in Georgetown, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I photograph pets and the connection they share with their families. My customers value the relationship with their animals and the art displayed in their homes. They appreciate service, a customized experience, and unique final product results.
Tell us about yourself
Photographing pets all started with rescuing my "project" dog, Kota, 11 years ago. She wasn't an easy dog; she required a lot of patience. I spent 16 years of travel as a flight attendant, becoming a "homebody" and enjoying every moment. I went from flying the skies to training, walking, photographing, and learning everything there is to know about dogs. I now do pet photography full-time. When my dog experienced some health issues, I niched down my business even more by specializing in "Memory Sessions" for senior and terminally ill pets. My heart goes out to the seniors. We don't know how long our pets will be with us, and it's important to get portraits done now. They truly are family. Getting out with pets and their parents, enjoying the moments, and having fun experiences motivate me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Sharing my passion with pet parents is a huge accomplishment for me. Being able to do what I love to do. Photographing pets is a dream come true for me. When you can do what you love while making money to support yourself simultaneously, that is an accomplishment! I've never had a client say to me, "I wish I didn't have photos taken of my pets." I love the joy of it all!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things: Fear of failure. It takes a LOT to run a business. There is also a lot of trial and error. I have many ideas, and sometimes I am terrified of putting them out to the world! No one likes to fail. I have learned to take all of my failures as learning experiences. That is what it is all about. I try not to be "perfect" at everything. It's much better to be making progress and continue moving forward. I have to remember to stay positive. If running a business was easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it?
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Education - learn everything there is to know about your craft, along with everything there is to know about business. Photographing pets is about 10% of what I do. I take courses, work with business coaches, and am always learning and open to new things!
- Patience - you will have ups and downs. Good weeks and bad weeks. Have patience. Things take time to grow; write out your short-term AND long-term goals. Wake up every morning and write down three things you are grateful for. Take it all one day at a time.
- Be Brave. Fight the fear. Try new things. If it's outside of your comfort zone, then it's a good thing! If something doesn't work, that's ok! Tweak it and try something else.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you have a senior or terminally ill pet, don't hesitate to book a photo session experience. Our pets make our world, and I promise you will not regret it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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