Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicole Bedard, Founder of Nicole Bedard Photo + Video, located in Rocky Hill, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide brand photography, brand strategy, and video storytelling services to creative businesses. My goal is to capture the full brand story that highlights an entrepreneur’s business in an authentic way so they can engage with their customers and generate more business in the future. I love working with business owners from all different industries and feel passionate about showcasing their creative spirit and talent. From solo entrepreneurs to large-scale creative teams, I create custom photography or videography content for each client.
Tell us about yourself
My path to a full-time creative career was anything but conventional or linear. After completing a traditional university and graduate school program, I found myself wanting to explore more of my creative side. I held a job as a software consultant and was lucky enough to live within driving distance of the Rhode Island School of Design. After attending an information session, I immediately signed up and took the leap into exploring a whole new creative world. That experience unlocked my creative spirit. When I moved away from New England, I had to fall back on my previous skill sets and landed a position as an Intelligence Analyst for the federal government. Not too long after starting this new position, my creative drive came knocking, and so while working full-time, I attended a digital photography program through the Boston University satellite campus. I walked by the school for a year, thinking of the possibilities before taking, again, another leap. I started laying out how to build a business and be my own boss right from the start of the program. I set monthly booking goals and tapped into my network to determine which photography genre I enjoyed the most. I balanced work and school for a number of years, all while building a client base. Working as a photographer supporting businesses is where I started 12 years ago and is where I continue to find my joy today.
The creative business owners I work with motivate me every day. I love hearing about how they started and where they are going. Being a business owner myself, I understand that It takes a lot of courage to leap into entrepreneurship, so I am always inspired by my clients. Being a business owner isn’t always easy, but at least they know I will be a cheerleader for their brand and highlight who they are and what they do in the best way I can.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been sharing what I have learned in the area of branding with my fellow alumni and current students at the Rhode Island School of Design during a recent webinar series. I credit my experience at this school to my creative unlock, which propelled me to later pursue a photography program at Boston University.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Learning to say “No” to the work that doesn’t fulfill you or your business needs or goals. When I was first starting out in photography, I wanted to experience many different types of areas, like weddings, family, and maternity sessions, so I could understand what goes into each genre. I also learned what I didn’t enjoy. I am happy I have had those experiences, but I often say No to them now. Learning that saying No actually opens the doors to work that you want to pursue. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but once you say No to the first project that doesn’t align with you, you will gain the confidence to do it again.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a network of friends and family that will give you honest, productive feedback and have worthy experiences to share. Consider them your own board of directors. If you hate your job and want to start a business, don’t seek advice from someone who hates their job too. Seek advice from someone who left a job they hated and has gone through the process to start a business and is succeeding.
- Capture your process - In today’s marketplace, your future customers want to know WHO is behind the business. Capturing your process will increase their curiosity about your brand, and they will learn more about you.
- Research and connect with others business owners who might be 1 or 2 steps ahead of where you would like to be and learn from them. If they can reach that goal, so can you.
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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