This 3 part FAQ page is here to help answer some common questions that small business owners often have when they consider adding photo organizing services to their existing business or starting a new business as a photo organizer. After you read through this information, if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Sherra at Big Picture Coaching today!

Photo Organizing & Direct Sales
Information about Appo™
Affiliate Marketing & Panstoria Software

Photo Organizing & Direct Sales

Why would I consider becoming a photo organizer?
Photo organizing is an emerging niche market within the photo industry. It is a service-driven business where business owners charge for their time, offer a variety of services related to memory preservation and can sell a wide array of products to their clients.

If you are organized by nature and memories are important to you, this is an exciting profession to join. The work of helping people celebrate and enjoy their memories is more important than ever. Traditional print and digital photos can mean a tremendous opportunity to help people and make money in a field you may already love!

How do I find clients?
This is the magic question and the list of ways to do this is endless. My best advice and “free tip” is to start telling people what services you are adding or offering and talk to people who don’t have time to keep up with their photos and memories. They will be surprised and delighted that you are available for hire to do it for them!

To get you started in thinking about how to begin talking to people, subscribe at Big Picture Coaching and you’ll get my free mini ebook “5 Tips to Help You Find New Clients”.

I have owned a direct sales business for many years and am not sure I understand the difference between a direct sales business model and the transition to small business owner. What’s the difference?

A direct sales model comes with a consultant agreement that you sign and re-sign every time you place an online order to stay active with the company. The agreement typically states that you agree to sell their product line exclusively and cannot sell any ancillary products or services. This means that even if the direct sales company does not have a product that you find and consider useful to your clients, you still cannot sell other products within the industry while you are an active consultant receiving the direct sales discounts and commissions.

A small business owner who is not active in a direct sales business can pick and choose what vendors, product lines and services they want to represent.

There are no upline/downline relationships when becoming a small business owner. However, when joining a professional association like Appo or NAPO, you can receive invaluable support, networking and access to resources that you would not likely find on your own. Many NAPO chapters have local meetings.

Do I have to register my new business if I am no longer a direct sales consultant?
You need to check with your local and state resources about a business license and sales tax information. You will need to remit self-employment and sales tax on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on your government requirements. Services and products may be taxed differently and it is your responsibility to know what you need in the area you live.

How do I decide if I should jump in and become a photo organizer?
This could be your amazing and re-energizing “Plan B”. Only you can decide but here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Do you still love and value the importance of memory keeping?
  • Do you work well independently?
  • Do you still enjoy helping people with their photos and memories?
  • Are you willing to learn more about technology?
  • Are you excited about the prospect of learning to do business in a whole new way?
  • If you are burned out, tired or angry about your direct sales experience, can you channel that energy into a positive experience for clients who need your help?

Making a good decision about becoming a small business owner means evaluating what you are good at and taking your skill set to the next level.

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Information about Appo

Where can I find help to navigate through all the information related to photo organizing?
The Association of Personal Photo Organizers (Appo) is a professional association that provides support, resources and training through membership. I only recommend services I use myself and I am a member of Appo and certified photo organizer.

Why should I join Appo?
Your membership gives you access to Appo’s resource center, monthly webinars that are recorded and archived, member forum and facebook group, and wholesale vendor discounts with premium quality products and services.

Membership in Appo helps small business owners by leveraging members’ buying power to get exclusive and wholesale partnerships with a huge variety of vendors. You have full control of products and services you choose to offer.

How much does it cost?
You can pay membership dues quarterly or annually. Visit Appo.org for more information on joining.

I’m still not sure what Appo is?
Founder Cathi Nelson says it better than I ever could…

“The Association of Personal Photo Organizers is a community of people — organizers, photographers, graphic designers, storytellers, historians, direct sales professionals and people who love photos and stories. Through training, education, networking and collaboration we strive to advance the new and growing profession of photo-life management. Our hundreds of trained Personal Photo Organizers specialize in assisting consumers and businesses to rescue their irreplaceable photos and organize them in a way that makes it simple to share their memories, lives and traditions. We help make those distant memories tangible so you can cherish the life you shared with others, reconnecting you to that exact moment of your past.”

Is Appo membership a conflict if I am in a current direct sales business?
You should read your consultant agreement and policies and procedures specific to your company. Typically, you can be a member of a professional business association but you are very likely prohibited from selling any other ancillary products. Your contract most likely states that you will exclusively sell a specific product line.

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Affiliate marketing & Panstoria software

What is an affiliate?
Affiliate marketing is an online internet marketing model that has been around since 1989. You may see Amazon stores or links on websites or blogs that you visit. In the simplest of terms, if you have a website, you can apply to many different merchants and become a part of their affiliate program. In essence, the merchant provides links and banners and ads with a special code embedded in the link you can share on your website and in emails that keeps track through cookies (special files on your computer) of where the purchaser came from. When they click your affiliate link associated with a specific product, the merchant keeps track and pays you a commission percentage.

How do I get my affiliate payments?
The merchant most often uses a 3rd party affiliate Outsourced Program Manager (OPM) which is where you fill out an application, get approved with an account, provide banking or PayPal information to deposit your commissions that they track via your website and email links that are clicked when purchases are made.

How much does it cost to become an affiliate?
There is no cost to becoming an affiliate.

What if I don’t have a website yet?
With your Appo membership you receive an Appo web page and some affiliates, like Panstoria software, will accept this page so your affiliate application can be approved.

Is it worth my time to become an affiliate?
Affiliate marketing is based on creating additional passive income streams. By putting up a banner or sidebar ad or text link, visitors to your website may click on those links and the merchant and merchant’s program manager take care of the rest. You don’t have to stock product or have a shopping cart on your website. As your website traffic increases, the volume of affiliate purchases can increase which means your revenue stream can increase.

How does the Panstoria affiliate program work?
They use ShareASale as their program manager so this is where the links below will take you to apply to participate.

I am a Panstoria affiliate and you can click my ad square link which means I would get a small affiliate commission*:

Become a Panstoria affiliate

Or you can go directly to Panstoria’s page if you choose not to use my affiliate link:
Panstoria Affiliates

What is a two-tiered affiliate program?
Panstoria offers a two-tiered affiliate program which means you can get paid two ways.
1) Receive affiliate commission on product purchases (25% or 33% if you are an Appo member)
2) Receive an additional 10% if you refer another affiliate. The 10% is on that affiliate’s commission from product sales.


  • Client A clicks my affiliate link and purchases Artisan at $39.99, I earn $13.20 as an Appo member at 33% commission.
  • Client B clicks my affiliate link and applies to be an affiliate and she is also an Appo member. In one month, she has 4 people buy Artisan software through her affiliate link on her website. She earns $13.20 x 4 = $52.80 and I earn 10% of her commission total which would be $5.28

How do I get my banner ads and text links to show up in my email and website?
The full HTML code needs to be placed in the proper space on your website or email. This code becomes a live, active and clickable link when displayed on a website or email. You need to be somewhat familiar with HTML which is the code that most affiliate links and banner ads are in. Your website administrator or designer should be able to help you with this. Or ask my friend “Google” if you want to dig in and learn more about HTML and how to use it.

*You must disclose that you use affiliate marketing on your website. Many bloggers decide early on that they will only create affiliate relationships with products that come highly recommended in their circle of friends and/or products they know and use themselves.

The FTC has regulated this and here are two recent articles explaining more about what is required:
BlogHer article: FTC clarifies their rules for bloggers

MediaPost article: The latest FTC rules on blogger disclosures

If you are a real information junkie: 53 page pdf FTC dot com disclosures

Why would my clients need to switch to Panstoria’s artisan or historian?
If your clients want software that will be updated and has email support, this is an inexpensive change in software. Since this is the company that created the private label CM software, the learning curve for yourself and clients will be very short. Many people do not want to learn new software. Side note: I am a Mac user and this is Windows only software.

Will the CM software continue to work even though CM is out of business?
Yes, but it is now unsupported software. This means that when computer operating systems and other software and hardware change, the old software may not work without updates. This is a personal choice you can help your clients make based on their needs.

Disclaimer: None of this should be construed as legal or financial advice. You should research and make business decisions based on your own due diligence and consult with professionals as you deem necessary.

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How can I help you?

  • Coaching services – provide accountability as you transition to a new business model and learn the best ways to become profitable quickly.
  • WordPress website customization and setup – Please sit down to read this next sentence. You do not need a website to begin. I actually recommend that my coaching clients get some paying clients before they make the investment to build a website and brand. Use the Appo web page that comes with membership while in start-up mode.
  • Online training – coming soon with specific topics to help photo organizers in different stages of their business.

Sign up here to get the free mini ebook AND you’ll get updates via email.

Take advantage of my free 30 minute consultation – no pressure since I am one human being with only so many hours in each day…I have a limited number of coaching spots available. I always make time for a 30 minute call where we can talk and determine if I can help you. Contact me today!

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