Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Hayley Fisk, Owner of Hayley Fisk Photo, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a photography LLC (Hayley Fisk Photo) focusing on commercial photography and videography. My main clientele includes beauty and skincare brands, as well as creative agencies who work with commercial clients.
Tell us about yourself
Originally from a very small town in Illinois, I studied photography in college. Upon graduation, I decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in commercial photography. I was very interested in the arts from an early age, and my amazing family was always supportive. My parents were actually the first people to encourage me to start taking photos! My main goal at the beginning of my career was to find a full-time job where I could shoot photography or retouch images full-time. However, after working in a couple of full-time roles, I soon realized that the typical nine-to-five routine was not for me. After working in multiple part-time and freelance roles, I decided to open an LLC for my photography. Working for myself presents me with unique opportunities to advance my skills, which motivates me to get up and do what I do every day. I also have a wonderful support system, including my family, husband, manager, and peers, who all encourage me daily.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, my biggest accomplishment is being able to support myself through my business, especially during times such as these where we’re dealing with the financial strain and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a doubt, we are currently living in difficult times where owning a business in the arts seems daunting. However, seeing my work on a website, in a magazine, or in a store encourages me to continue pushing forward.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things I face as a business owner is the ebb and flow of the photography industry. Some months I am swamped with work, and other months are radio silent. I used to panic during slow periods as it felt sporadic, but over time I learned to anticipate when work tends to slow down due to the market, the time of year it is, etc. Now, rather than panicking, I try to use the slow months to regroup and focus my attention on other areas of my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Immediately reach out to a CPA to discuss/start taking steps to open an LLC. This will save you so much time and energy in terms of filing taxes and legitimizing yourself as a business. Set up an organized bookkeeping system to track things such as receipts and your gross revenue.
- Start networking with peers within your industry. Many people feel uncomfortable networking with their direct competition, but you would be surprised by how many business owners are happy to open up about their own experiences and mistakes they have made. Some of my best clients were referred to me by my peers and other photographers. Having a community of your peers can help make the journey of starting and growing a business feel significantly less lonely.
- Learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. Starting a business is exciting, but to say it is a lot of hard work is a major understatement. You are trading a “typical” nine-to-five lifestyle for one where you eat, sleep, and breathe your business. This can feel overwhelming at times, especially when business slows due to things outside of your control. You will have sleepless nights, and you will have days where you question why you started a business at all, but you will also have many beautiful moments of success because of your perseverance. Stay the course, pivot when needed, and always be willing to learn and grow with your business.
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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