#002: Photo Organizer Interview [Podcast]

Update 9/19/17

Join us at our new photo organizing podcast
Photos with Sherita!

BPC-podcast-art 600pxThis interview series introduces you to photo organizers around the country who share their unique stories.

Meet Julie Kessler

Julie headshotJulie Kessler, owner of Picture This Organized in Colorado, shares how she transitioned her business from professional organizing to specializing in photo organizing earlier this year. Julie is a certified member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO). She uses a customized system with each client to help them identify the photos, memorabilia and home movies that tell the stories they want to share.

The fun part of listening to a podcast is that you don’t have to be tied down to your computer. You can download the audio file and load on your iPod/mp3 player. Here are a just a few ideas for listening while you are…

  • Walking the dog
  • Running errands in the car
  • Exercising

You can expect short information-packed podcasts that we’ll keep to 30 minutes or less because we know that we are all busy small business owners.

Click to Listen

Be sure to ask any questions in the comment section below after you listen. We love to hear from you!

If you missed the first interview, click here to listen to my interview with Rita Norton of Photovation.

If you have started your business but still don’t have professional print materials, take a look at our marketing templates designed exclusively for photo organizers. Everything you need for print and your online presence is included in one marketing set. Don’t forget we also have amazing business forms so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel AND you can present yourself to clients with a professional image. Be sure to visit the business forms page to watch the short videos with tips on how to use each form. My clients love them and yours will too!

Photo Organizer Interview [Podcast]

Update 9/19/17

Join us at our new photo organizing podcast
Photos with Sherita!

BPC-podcast-art 600pxThis podcast is the first in a series of interviews featuring photo organizers. Every organizer has their own story and by listening to each other we will pick up tips on how we can improve our own businesses. Use this series as a learning tool – each interview will be packed with rich content that is proven effective for other photo organizers.

The fun part of listening to a podcast is that you don’t have to be tied down to your computer. You can download the audio file and load on your iPod/mp3 player. Here are a just a few ideas for listening while you are…

  • Walking the dog
  • Running errands in the car
  • Exercising

You can expect short information-packed podcasts that we’ll keep to 30 minutes or less because we know that we are all busy small business owners.

Click to Listen

Rita Norton headshot 473pxOur first interview is with Rita Norton, photographer and owner of Photovation. We talk about who her ideal client is, what services she sub-contracts out and how she uses her bundle of professional business forms with her clients.

Be sure to ask any questions in the comment section after you listen. Rita and I would both love to hear what you think!

Jen Tufford – A Sales Success Story

Jen at conference
Direct Sales is a wonderful industry for men and women who want flexible hours and the ability to work from home or alongside a full-time job. These small businesses offer a way to add income to an existing family budget, or to provide full-time income by building and leading a team. Jen Tufford’s story is inspiring! She offers great tips and advice for those who are thinking about joining a party plan business, or who have been working it for some time!

Tell us about your business and the products you offer.

Thirty-One Gifts is a direct sales company in the fashion industry. We sell handbags, totes, and a great spirit line that features many colleges and universities. Our new Spring 2013 catalog has an amazing new organizational line! Many of our products can be personalized. We also offer an incredible business opportunity that can do everything from getting you out of the house a few times to month to replacing a full-time income…or more!

Direct sales is a great business for women – what specifically do you like about the party plan model?

I think women crave positive, fun relationships. Often in the workplace and at home we receive little to no recognition or support. I love that the party plan model introduces us to a whole group of women that we may never have met otherwise. Many of my hostesses and customers have become some of my best friends.

You are a Senior Executive Director at Thirty-One Gifts.  What exactly does that mean and how did you get there?

Jen's teamThis is the second level from the top of our career path (until recently, it was the top level, but we grew so quickly, another level was added.) I am responsible for celebrating, encouraging, and rewarding my entire downline organization for their achievements and successes.

Direct sales is not hard work, but you do have to work hard.

After my husband was laid off, we had no regular source of income. I had to work even harder to further develop relationships with my customers, hostesses, and team, and to improve my customer service so that I could get referrals to continue to grow my business.

What do you like best about being a small business owner?

Jen's FamilyI love that I work mostly from home. This allows me to not only be there for my kids at their school and sporting events, but also for my husband and me to spend more time together (after a layoff, he was able to start his own business as a result of my Thirty-One success). The flexibility and the income can’t be beat!

What are the frustrations?

Staying self-motivated and focused! Because there is no one looking over my shoulder or giving me deadlines, it can sometimes be hard to come down to my home office to do what I need to do.  Many times, I’d rather than go to lunch with a friend or watch TV!

What advice do you have for other women who are looking for a small business and think direct sales might be the answer?

Choose a company whose products you LOVE! I wasn’t planning to do Thirty-One as a business; I just liked the products. Go to a local vendor show and talk to the people in the companies you are looking at. Most importantly, be sure you like the person who will be your sponsor. If you don’t connect, or she isn’t answering your questions during the “courting” phase, chances are good that she will not be any easier to work with once you join.

What advice do you have for women who are working out of their home?

  1. Hand out 5 business cards per day, Monday-Friday. Make it a game to not come home until you do.
  2. Set office hours, and STICK TO THEM! I do not answer my phone or check emails outside of my office hours. Trust me, this will make your spouse and children much more supportive when you keep business hours rather than constantly answering the phone during dinner or family movie night.
  3. Stay consistent – in whatever way works for you. It is so much easier to stay motivated with your business if you are consistent.
  4. Remember that your family is the reason you are working your business, not an excuse as to why you AREN’T working it!

Melissa Draut: Grant Writing That Matters

Like many of us, Melissa Draut left the corporate world and found her dream job doing work that makes a difference in the lives of others. As a Grant Writer, Melissa has built a business based on her past experience and the desire to do meaningful work as an entrepreneur.

You are in the grant writing business; tell us a little bit about what you do and what a typical day might look like.

I help non-profit organizations raise funds for their programs by writing and researching grants. A big part of what I do is to help identify what foundations are the right funding prospects for the organization’s program. That part of the job involves using databases, research and talking to people at foundations to see where we might have a fit for possible funding.

A typical morning may be writing a grant, researching leads and calling foundation contacts.  Since the job is so “head” oriented, I work out at lunch and actually get some of my best ideas when I am lap swimming. The afternoon could be spent meeting with a client, heading to the post office to mail a grant package or interviewing a program manager to get details for an upcoming grant.

How did you come up with the idea to go into business on your own?

I was very resistant to running my own business after leaving the corporate world. I figured I would freelance for a while, and then return to the next job somewhere. Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up with five clients and enough revenue to sustain myself. After going through rounds of corporate layoffs, I think this is more secure financially since my livelihood is not dependent on one source.

What do you love about grant writing and working for yourself?

I love being a grant writer for my clients because I am truly passionate about the mission of these organizations. From promoting financial self-sufficiency for domestic violence survivors to ensuring talented students have visual art education, I am working in the middle of some exciting solutions that address community needs.

I like working for myself because I have a healthy workplace and a good boss. I’m also lucky that my IT expert husband has supported me every step of the way with technology recommendations and set up so I can work effectively and efficiently.

What do you wish you had known before starting your own business?

That it really isn’t as hard as you think it might be. I thought running my business would be such a hassle, and it really isn’t once you get systems in place. Sure, it took me awhile to figure what to do with taxes, bank accounts and office equipment, but I learned to ask and hire experts for help instead of trying to figure everything out myself.

I bet others say this – I would have jumped into this sooner had I known how much I would thrive doing this work.

What advice do you have for women who are seeking to leave the corporate world and work from home?

My advice to women and men who are considering a change from the corporate scene to their own world: have confidence that you can learn something new. Review your track record – if you’ve been successful in doing new projects and reaching goals for someone else, you can do it for yourself and your new clients.

Find Melissa at MelissaDraut.com

Asip Ink: Designing a Growing Home Business

Katy Asip is a talented entrepreneur whose business has grown steadily over the past 6 years. She is the perfect example of a successful, small business woman who has learned to work and grow her business alongside of her family. Katy has an artistic eye and a flair for both the cute and classic. I’ve been a loyal customer for years! Today, Katy shares with us her tips for running a home based business.

Tell us about your business and the services you offer.

My business is Asip Ink. I design and print personalized stationery, custom invitations and a line of inspirational greeting cards called “Love Notes”

How did you come up with the idea?

I didn’t start out with a business in mind. I was doing volunteer work for a start-up charity in Atlanta. We needed thank you notes and letterhead for our organization so I learned how to do make them. Next, I began making notecards and notepads for friends as gifts. Before I knew it, friends were asking me to make notecards for them to give as gifts. Little by little I grew the concept into a business.

What do you like best about being a small business owner?

I love making my own hours and schedule. I have a family, so it is so nice to have the flexibility to do carpool or doctors’ appointments when my kids need me to. I can tailor my schedule to match my family schedule. I also love working at home. I can have dinner cooking or laundry in while I am working.

What are the frustrations?

When I get super busy I can get overwhelmed. I often think “it’s only me,” but I’m guessing most women have a lot on their plates and often feel the same way.

I have learned to use my less busy times of the year – winter and summer – to stock up on cash and carry inventory, organize my workspace and work on fine-tuning marketing tools. These are the things that I cannot focus on when I am slammed with orders.

Also, I invested in a couple of tools which make my business run so much smoother. I purchased an excellent printer which means less wasted paper, ink and time! An excellent paper cutter saves so much time. So, what may seem like an extravagant expense can save time and money in the long run.

Lastly, I have dedicated time in my office during the day, but I never work at night.

How have you grown your business?

I do several craft show and markets a year and I always make new contacts at these. I have a very large email distribution list and though I don’t send too many emails, it is a good way to stay on customers’ radar. I have a website, asipink.com, which my customers share with friends. My business has grown through word of mouth and the internet.

What advice do you have for others who have a great idea and dream of turning it into a successful business?

I would say the easiest part of having my own business is that every day I am doing something I truly love. If you have a talent or passion it is fun to make money doing what you love. Shape your business so that you are doing the things you love…and hire someone to do the things you don’t!

You can find Katy’s work at asipink.com or contact her at kasip@mac.com

Memories of Loved Ones: Katy Samuels Hits the Road

Several years ago, Katy Samuels and her extended family took a unique business idea and ran with it — or drove with it as the case may be! Though the family works many and sometimes odd hours, together they make it work. I believe their real secret is the desire to serve others in both the best, and hardest of times. Find out more as I interview Katy to learn what MoLo is all about.

Tell us about your business, Memories of Loved Ones. Who do you serve and what do you offer?

Our products and services help people “celebrate life”. We showcase events such as a birthday, anniversary, graduation or reunion. Or perhaps a family is experiencing the pain of losing a loved one. We specialize in creating custom products – our core product offering includes custom designed and framed collages, slideshows that can be burned as DVDs or Blu-ray discs, and digital books.

Recently, we expanded our offering to include specialized products for weddings. We offer a complete package that includes everything from websites, logos, invitations, programs, table cards, collages of the bride and groom growing up, custom signature books, books telling the story of the bride and groom’s journey to their big day, signs at the event and more! We can even help after the wedding by showcasing wedding and honeymoon photos.

Part of your mission is to help families who are grieving. Tell us more about that.

Our funeral service is unique — we haven’t found a company in the US that offers anything quite like what we have to help a grieving family.

We start by meeting the family at our office or at their home in our MoLo Mobile. In either location we meet with the family and convert all of their memories to digital format. This can include loose photographs, photos in albums, newspaper articles, framed art, framed photos, 3D objects – such as collectibles, jewelry, clothing, medals, trophies – we’ve even included a car! Whatever the family considers a “memory of their loved one” we convert it all to digital.

We love to hear each person’s story. Our goal is that each collage, each slideshow we create, reflect the personality of a families’ loved one. We deliver everything to the funeral home, set it up (all collages are displayed in frames), and then pick it up after the funeral. We will even set everything up at a 2nd location if the family would like us to.

How did you come up with the idea to start MoLo?

In July 2004 my brother Scott & I lost a dear friend, Keith Noble. Keith’s wife made posters with photos for the funeral, but several years later they were misplaced. I decided to contact Keith’s family and collect as many pictures as I could and created “posters” of Keith for a memorial golf outing we hold each year. Our family and friends loved what we had done.

We researched to see if there was any company in the US that offered a service to help families put together and display photos at a funeral. We couldn’t find any! So, we sat down and brainstormed. In the beginning we focused on taking the burden off the family by preserving their photos, creating a beautiful personalized tribute to their loved one, and providing a high quality end product that would last a lifetime. We founded our company based on this simple concept — and boy have we come a LONG way since then!

What do you love best about what you do?

Every day I have the opportunity to put a smile on someone else’s face! A lot of people think our job is depressing. It’s actually the complete opposite. Yes, a family may cry while we are meeting with them. But they also smile and laugh as they share stories about their loved one. I love knowing that we are providing a valuable service that is truly helping someone in need. We go from being perfect strangers on the first day we meet, to feeling like we are part of the family just a few days later. It’s not uncommon for us to receive huge hugs (with tears) as the families thank us over and over again for what we did. It’s truly an amazing feeling and we are blessed to be a part of it.

What does a typical day on the job look like?

“Typical” and “MoLo” don’t go together very well! We love to meet for breakfast because it’s our one chance to be together and to share a meal. It’s not uncommon for us to completely miss a meal and go hours before we realize it! Our days are flexible, but also unpredictable. We make it a priority to put family first and work everything else around that.

Funerals always take priority in our job queue and we work our celebration jobs around them. We never know for sure when we will be in the office, out in the RV, or driving a child to and from school! We tend to work crazy hours and have even pulled all-nighters, but that is why our mobile office is very comfortable including several couches that are often used in shifts for naps!

What advice would you give to women who are thinking about starting a small business?

Be very passionate about your business concept because you will put more blood, sweat and tears into this endeavor than you can ever imagine. Do your homework up front. Research your idea thoroughly to make sure you understand what your competition is doing. Learn how to network in your local community and figure out how to market your idea. Know that you will make lots of mistakes but you learn more from your failures than your successes. Most importantly, follow your dream and believe in yourself. I truly believe that if you are passionate about what you do that anything is possible.

You can find Katy and the team at Memories of Loved Ones (theMoLo.com)

Canvas Creek: Pairing Art and Team Building

Karen Grosz is founder and owner of Canvas Creek Team Building. I’ve known Karen for a long time. She has all the qualities that make a talented business woman. She is incredibly smart, tenacious and not afraid to take risks. She has the ability to dream up a concept and then make it a reality.

The result of all these wonderful talents combined is Canvas Creek, a growing business that serves both families and organizations. You are going to love her story!

Tell us about your business and the services you offer.

Canvas Creek Team Building is a company with two main offerings, team building and coaching certification. The team building events are tailored to the needs of the business, the coaching certification allows business and life coaches to add Canvas Creek to their list of offerings.

How did you come up with the idea?

Canvas Creek is the intersection of my business coaching experience and a collaboration with my daughter on a contemporary ceramic studio. While starting a new coaching company I wondered what would happen if we paired art with team building. We tested the concept and were blown away with the results. In the ceramic studio I’d watched people go from fearful to proud of their creations. That’s exactly what happens with a team. But a team also experiences a profound reaction which bonds them together.

I also like to say I jumped and the universe caught me.

What do you like best about being a small business owner?

Knowing something I created has such a profound impact on people. I also like being my absolute own person. I run my schedule, design my appearance, and give my time to the things that matter to me.  In the corporate world, these are choices made for you.

What are the frustrations?

That the day is only 26 hours long. What, it’s 24? That could be part of my problem.

Getting the word out is my big frustration. This is not the kind of business you put in a commercial. I just can’t seem to get the point across that we travel- that Canvas Creek helps businesses everywhere, not just here. We’ve traveled some, but not nearly enough.

How do you see your business making a difference in people’s lives?

I have a list of quotes that make me proud. One seven year old said to her parents “I think when we are yelling and screaming at each other we should look at our painting and remember we can be quiet and we love each other.”

A business owner credits the three hours they spent at Canvas Creek as the kickoff of explosive business productivity.

Canvas Creek helps people to be more creative, but also kinder to each other. The insights in working together are amazing and empowering. We have many clients who return time after time because they like the burst of energy this experience gives them.

What advice do you have for others who have a great idea and dream of turning it into a successful business?

Join your Chamber of Commerce. The networking will help take your dream from infancy to success very quickly.

You cannot network enough when you start something new.

I cannot tell you how scary and how satisfying it is to just jump in and swim with your idea- you have to experience if for yourself…and network.

Did I mention network? There are people out there who can and will help you, who need what you offer. Go find them.