Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do currently…
Thank you very much for reaching out to me in the first place! My name is Stephanie Pierce and since 2012 I have been a self employed photographer. I’ve been behind the camera/doing photography since aged 6, so Photography has always been a passion of mine. When I got the opportunity (and support from those around me) to do so, I left my regular job and went out on my own full time. I started out “regular” (families, babies, kids, seniors, weddings) and after determining that there were too many photographers in my area doing just that a few years later, I went the opposite direction and now work almost exclusively Construction/Architecture/Commercial/Corporate gigs. Now that’s is all I do- It’s been an adventure and I love waking up every day!
What inspired you to start doing your own business venture?
I was already unhappy in my job at the time and knew that I wanted something different. I was just running around applying for various jobs in my current field as an escape (customer service— I was an English major), but I wasn’t having much luck. A little after I started looking, I had some medical issues that forced me out of the office and out onto my own by necessity. I am extremely lucky to have very supportive friends, family and amazing clients that really helped me make my business a success.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I’m honestly not sure if I can single out just one thing. For me it’s been more about excitement and celebration for/of the little things. A new construction project a client is working on, watching my clients grow bigger and get busier. Amusement at seeing my photographs come up in my Facebook news feed as a commercial real estate client promotes their properties to people in the area.
Through photography, I’ve also been able to help a young woman who suffered verbal abuse from her father all her life begin to heal and finally realize that she’s beautiful. I’ve photographed the funeral of a close friends’ wife because he was torn between needing to organize her service and his own grieving . Helping a charity raise money for their cause or giving a young woman whom-(unbeknownst to me)-suffered from a stroke and was having confidence issues a photo that made her look and feel “normal” again.
I’ve been published in magazines, featured at banquets, given shoutouts and given awards but… none of them feel as special to me as the little moments I mentioned above. It’s my job to run around behind the scenes and promote the clients or document their special day, as opposed to having myself or my business in the forefront.
What fuels you to keeps you going each day?
The things I mentioned above, honestly. I just love waking up to find out what each day holds. It’s always interesting!
Who are the top 3 celebrities/experts you’d love to work with? And why?
Aw man, I’m horrible with Celebrity stuff! My first pick would be Bob (Robert) Ballard. On Sunday evenings growing up my father and I used to hang out on the couch and watch him on National Geographic. I just love the adventures he’s always on and he really helped me find my appreciation of wildlife when I was growing up. I’d love to be able to photograph one of his explorations someday, but not all of them because I do eventually want to go and spend time at home!
David Attenborough – Because, let’s be honest, David Attenborough is a national treasure!
Mike Rowe– Because I love watching Dirty Jobs and really appreciate what he’s doing in his effort to promote the Trades & create more opportunities for folks young and old rather than just pushing everyone into “4 year college.” There are a lot of options out there in industries that don’t have enough people to replace and train those who are retiring and pays extremely well. If I had known that the trades were a viable opportunity when I was younger as opposed to a typical college degree I likely would have gone that direction instead.
Take a moment to close your eyes. Where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?
Honestly? Where I am now – running around New England keeping busy and doing some traveling. I’d like to be able to visit at least a few different locations and photograph some more lighthouses (it’s a personal project vs a work one) as I explore.
If you could get the perfect help from an online tax return service, what would they do for you?
If I was to leave my accountant and start doing my taxes on my own again, the most important thing to me would be having someone to ask questions to. Especially in lieu of changing tax plans and as my income itself fluctuates and I work in different states. Having an expert CPA with experience has been huge for me and it will always be a must!
Can you give our readers 2 key tips for success in business?
Aside from the regular “never do business with family or friends” thing? Really, though, never do business with family or friends! Or at least ones you don’t mind burning a bridge with if it comes down to that.
My best advice is always to follow and listen your gut instinct in regards to which clients to avoid and which ones to work with. Don’t take a gig just because it pays a lot, or don’t not take a gig just because it’s budget is smaller. Who is the client? Are they nice to work with? Are they proud of their job? How’s their workmanship? Business and business relationships are earned- my best clients now are the ones that had smaller budgets when I first started working with them. Now keep me the busiest and pay me the most (I moved at their pace instead of raising my rates on them immediately)!
Never let your ego or self entitlement get in the way – if you’re the best person for the job, you’ll get hired. If you earn it, you’ll get hired again. That doesn’t mean being the cheapest- great customer service and responsiveness makes a huge difference!
If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring 3 things what would they be? My camera & accessories (film, so I don’t have to worry about batteries, etc), for sure. I’d be heartbroken without it!
My seeds (I’m a gardener!) and plants so I have the ability to grow and collect food.
Water- because me actually surviving and having something to drink is important.
How do you describe yourself in 5 words?
I’m a bit strange, I’m not really sure there’s an easy way to describe myself.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Where can we find and follow you online?
To receive a FREE guide to help grow your own online business write a comment with "INFO" below!
Tax Twerk is a digital platform to read about personal finance and digital marketing for freelancers and self employed entrepreneurs.