Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Greg and Paige Mitts, Owners of Vision Quest Media, located in Quincy, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our business is Vision Quest Media, and we specialize in hotel photography for limited-service mid-scale properties and small resorts, as well as real estate photography. We have an extensive portfolio, having photographed over 1000 hotels, 2500 vacation rentals, and 3000 residential real estate listings. While we used to focus on virtual tours, we have since expanded our services to include high-quality photography for our clients. Our clients include hotel owners and managers, real estate agents and brokers, and property management companies. We work with clients all over the country, helping them showcase their properties and stand out in their respective markets.
Tell us about yourself
As a husband and wife team, we've been living our dream for the past 13 years. Our clients are like family to us - almost all of them are repeat customers. As a result, our main focus is maintaining our presence as the #1 ranked hotel photographer on Google. We take pride in the quality of our work and the relationships we have built with our clients over the years.
While we are passionate about our business, our life is not just about running it. Most of our photography jobs are short trips, so we have the luxury of designing our lifestyle around our love of travel and exploration. We have been fortunate enough to visit and photograph hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals all over the world. We take immense pride in the fact that our work allows us to live life on our terms, and we are grateful for every moment of it.
To that end, we are excited to begin sharing the lessons and insights we have learned about building a bootstrap business and running a successful creative business as a couple.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We are most proud that we met our goal of photographing in all the lower 48 states and will be focused on getting Hawaii and Alaska soon, so we can say we have worked in all 50 states!
Our real accomplishment, though, is that we built our business from scratch without incurring debt. The lifestyle choices we have made allow us to live a 7 figure lifestyle on a 6 figure income.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Running a business as a husband and wife team has its challenges. One of the hardest things for us is that we have built a business where we are both indispensable. While this means that we are both equally invested in our company's success, it also means that it can be difficult to delegate tasks to someone else. We have worked hard to build a base of loyal repeat customers, which has allowed us to focus more on maintaining our #1 ranking on Google and less on constantly hustling for new business. However, because we are the business, we can't just send someone else to do the work. It's a double-edged sword, but one we are willing to take on for the lifestyle we have built for ourselves.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Building a business with residual income means creating a product or service that generates income even when you're not actively working on it. This could be a subscription service or a product that requires ongoing maintenance or updates. By building in a residual income stream, you can ensure that your business continues to generate revenue even during slow periods or when you're not able to actively promote it.
- Making yourself irrelevant means building a business that doesn't rely solely on you. This could mean hiring staff, outsourcing certain tasks, or automating certain processes. By doing so, you free up your time and energy to focus on growing the business rather than simply maintaining it. Additionally, by creating a business that doesn't rely solely on you, you're able to scale it up more easily.
- Building for the best-case scenario means planning for success from the outset. This could mean investing in infrastructure that can handle a large volume of customers or clients, building relationships with key partners or suppliers, or investing in marketing and promotion strategies that can generate significant growth. By planning for the best-case scenario, you're able to position your business for success from the beginning rather than playing catch-up later on.
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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