Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Jones, Founder of Prana Portraits, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Prana Portraits. Prana represents "Life Force Energy," and Portraits represent creative personal imagery. My passion is to help support the Women+ Soulpreneurs and Creatives community - specifically those in the Healing Arts industry. I love to co-create, to help breathe new energy into their personal branding or esteem to help them thrive. So they can continue to grow and share their gifts with the world in a fun and interesting way.
Through my creative photo and video art, delivery is always aimed at the highest, most powerful expression of the client. My clients are looking for a more artistic way to express their mission and connect with their audience. They are either just starting out and need assistance with brand alignment, or they have a long-standing business and just need fresh and impactful photo and video art content. Photoshoots can range from personal branding and company headshots to creative, empowering, and personally expressive photoshoots, with a sense of playfulness and magic.
I am also a Reiki practitioner. I aspire to allow this energy flow, intuitively throughout my photography and video art sessions. I also hold events for the community of ATX Women+ Soulpreneurs & Creatives.
My goal is to continue to support the Healing Arts & Creative Community on a larger scale by connecting people with the support they need to run their business marketing and beyond. I hold regular events offering expert guests, photoshoot expressions, brand vision, alignment support, and more.
Photography is just a small piece of that business expression and expansion. There's so much you can do post-session, and I want to make sure my clients connect with who they need to. I support them in communicating their imagery to the community in a free and confident manner.
Tell us about yourself
I have always believed in magic, and I've been dabbling with my own positive spells since I was a teenager. I have been on my own healing journey. I have personally felt the power of the connection to Source and how it helped me feel supported and loved in the loneliest and toughest of times. Most likely, everyone has gone through some form of trauma, and by supporting this magical community, I believe we can all feel a little more connected, a little lighter, a little more loved, and a little more supported.
As a teenager, I also gravitated toward a passion for photography. I had a dark room before going digital. I worked with an SLR first-gen camera for 10+ years before starting my own photography and creative design business in 2012. I always knew I wanted to support holistic and community-driven companies, but it wasn't until after traveling through SE Asia that I began focusing on the Healing Arts and Creatives Industry – which can be defined as large and wide. Check out this article for what it means to me. [pranaportraits.com/what-are-the-healing-arts]
In SE Asia, I studied reiki, yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, meditation, kundalini, "Sanskrit" and other ancient healing practices. This expansion of the energy connection I developed led me onto the path of supporting those in the Healing Arts and Creatives industry. I want to support others on their healing journey and help them feel "seen." I believe that if you don't feel seen, this limits your healing capabilities. Being a witness to people on their path is a critical part of the healing process. So is "holding space" for others in a nonjudgemental, safe way.
Motivation comes at me in waves. Inspiration keeps me going daily. I'm inspired to share positive energy, to share smiles, laughs, and creativity. To share expression to its fullest because it feels fucking free in a world where we don't always have a say. Supporting the Healing Arts and Creatives Industry makes me hopeful that I'm supporting a loving and passionate industry. An industry that wants to continue to inspire, to help people feel and grow in their own inner connection and strength. In return, this makes me want to be better every day so that I can serve that community whilst also expanding my own inner world.
Many times my motivation is being able to step up and create something wildly new with each client and make people smile along the way. There's a dance and a fluidity to making sure the energy in a photoshoot is consistent and positively flowing. That's something that motivates me, to make sure I cross all my t's and dot all my I's for each and every shoot. It's what makes me jump out of bed and say, "get to it!"
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I feel one of my biggest accomplishments is never giving up on my dream of supporting this industry. So many people have told me that it's a tough industry and I should consider another avenue. It's one of those lanes that when you want to commit to it, you have to commit fully, and that can be scary. The Healing Arts and metaphysical industries are not always industries people make sense of if they haven't experienced it. It hasn't been easy to stay on my course and still isn't, but I know that getting behind myself and my brand is an accomplishment in itself.
I am passionate about re-energizing clients' photographs and artwork for their marketing and business purposes. So, whether they are just starting out or have been in the game for a while, I am here to help create a heart-centered approach to their brand. To truly showcase the gift that the client has to offer. Being a creative creator and a solo business owner requires the creator to step into roles they are not used to. Accounting, bookkeeping, sales, tech support, web design, graphic design, social media management, etc. There are a lot of hats to wear.
Throughout my career, I collected various hats, from sales management at Time, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, to self-taught graphic and web design and large event management for over 14 years, including marketing, managing $3M budgets, and attendance of over 6K. These steps along my path have ended up being my biggest accomplishment, as they now support me in every facet of my business structure. I am so grateful for my variety of skills, knowledge, and expertise:
- 6+ years of Reiki Practice
- 14+ years Photography
- 14+ years as a Graphic Designer
- 14+ years of Marketing Campaign Management
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think one of the hardest things is to realize your worth in regard to yourself and your business growth. In this profession, it is easy to get caught up in the "love" of it [which is awesome]; however other tasks such as administrative duties, implementing systems, self-discipline, and workaholic tendencies can make that work/life balance difficult.
Here are my top challenges:
- Balancing the admin task with just wanting to create.
- Realizing your worth to be able to help you and your business grow. It's easy to get stuck in service, but also to remember that you are running a business.
- Getting systems in place to help support.
- Cutting it off at night.
- Breaking the cycle of family workaholism and finding time to date.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make a Plan, Create Metrics, and Time Block – I'm not into formality, but a plan and putting it onto paper (or a Google sheet), is critical. Jotting down all your thoughts and formulating milestones to guide you and benchmark your way is so important. And, if you really "time block" your time, you'll be able to gauge more realistically how soon you can get there if you stay focused.
- Find a Mentor (in your Industry if possible) – this has been CRUCIAL for me. I couldn't be where I am today without the mentors I have been connecting with. I've put in my time to follow, watch, learn and hit my head against the wall, but to have their support to get back up again, has been immeasurable. Find your mentors. A hungry learning mind is a great asset for running a business.
- Know your worth – wowie, I can't stress this one enough. Consider the facts with an eagle-eye view. If you have been putting in your time and continually seeking mentorship and training, then make sure you are taking into account the journey you have been on and the things you have accomplished. Imposter Syndrome is a real thing, and it's important to kick that early on.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Probably just that I have worked really hard to create a unique photography experience. I'm an endless bucket of creativity, calling in those who want to co-create together. It's when you're able to collaborate with a team to make a really "far out" scene come to life that's when the magic happens. Trusting in each other and using our intuition makes for a magical experience. My outcome is to deliver exactly what the client requests, and more, wrapped up in a whole lotta love! A teacher told me once that her mission in life was to light the person next to her with her own light so that that person can light the person next to them until the whole world is lit. And, I feel I carry on that torch and wish to do the same.
My community offerings will continue to be around brand expression and expansion. I will continue to pour my heart and creativity into every project, and I will continue to grow with my beautiful clients to support their mission in any way I can.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.