This isn't a Small thing
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
I've been sitting on an idea for a while now and I feel like there's no better time than the present. In our current climate with #BlackLivesMatter and #SouthAfricanWomenMatter it is more important than ever for us to stand together, encourage and empower one another.
I'll be interviewing black women-led businesses over the next couple of weeks and featuring them on my blog in an effort to spread not only community spirit but some much needed positivity; highlighting the wonderful, strong women of South Africa.
I hope to inspire you all and encourage you to continue supporting our fabulous local businesses as well. (Also, I really miss interviewing and learning about peoples' journeys).
Ready or not, here we go!
I met this amazing woman at a female entrepreneur group at the beginning of 2019. We were both new to the entrepreneur scene and eager to grow our businesses.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Hi! I’m Kelly, also known as “Small One” (when you meet me, you’ll understand why). I run a wedding and lifestyle photography company.
When did you start your business?
Initially, I started it as a part time income stream in 2010, but I have been running it full time since January 2019.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I have a love for people and find each person/family to hold such an interesting story inside of them. I’m a trained counsellor, but a creative at heart, so I wanted to find a way to merge my therapeutic skills with my artistic and creative abilities – and that is how Small One Photography was birthed. It allowed me to get to know people, and reflect their stories back to them, in a way that instils a deeper appreciation for their lives, their connections and their journey of life!
How did you come up with the name of your company?
In my school going days, I was given the nickname “Small One” because of my travel-sized stature (haha!). It made sense to name my company and build my brand around a name that represents me.
What has been your greatest highlight/achievement as an entrepreneur?
I have found that my greatest highlight has been to help people establish their own entrepreneurial journey. I never attended an institution where I was taught the ins and outs of running a business and I have had to navigate through the different challenges it brings by myself and through the advice and counsel of others that have journeyed before me. It has been a great blessing to be able to offer the same kind of assistance that was offered to me, to other entrepreneurs that are at the starting phase of their journeys.
What is unique about your business?
The premise of photography is visual storytelling, and in addition to the technical photographic skills, I have a great understanding of people and family dynamics due to my counselling background. The art of photography is giving people a glimpse into the artist’s perspective of it’s subjects (in my case people), and I’m blessed to be able to do that by building trusting relationships with my clients.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful for you?
I personally market through social media and word of mouth referrals. My heart is to build relationships with clients and journey with them through the years, capturing major milestones in their lives as they occur. Maintaining those relationships is extremely important to me, and social media is a great medium to keep in touch with people.
On average, how many hours a day do you work?
Every day is different, but typically, I work anywhere between 8 – 12 hours per day. As an entrepreneur, it’s rare that you’re able to completely “switch off” as there are many tasks and roles you have to play.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I have to start my mornings with a cup of coffee and my morning devotional Bible time. It gets me into a peaceful and focused mindset for the day. Thereafter, I attend to emails, spend some time marketing and engaging on social media. Around mid-day, I pay less attention to administrative work, and focus more on my editing or planning for upcoming sessions. I typically break early evening to attend to household needs and then get back to editing again. I’m a night owl, so my day typically starts later in the morning, but ends off quite late at night.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your home life or life in general?
I still consider myself and my business to still be in a “building” phase, so I invest a lot of time into my business. I’m blessed to typically be shooting every weekend (which is great for business), but it does take time away from socialising and relationships. Any “free time” I get, I typically like to spend resting and recharging, so I do feel like I tend to often ‘miss out’ on life activities. What keeps me going is knowing that I’m blessed to be able to be building a career around something I love doing, and the sacrifices are only for a season and a temporary part of my journey to build a legacy for my family. Finding a work-life balance that works for me, is something I’m still trying to figure out.
If you had the chance to start your business over again, what would you do differently?
Believe in myself more and not sell myself short! Over the years of building my business, I would frequently do “free” work because I did not understand the value of my business just yet.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Know your worth! If you conduct your market and product/service research efficiently, you will gain a good understanding of the need that you’re fulfilling and the value that you’re bringing to your clients. Pricing in a service-based business is not a straightforward and easy task, but it helps to do thorough research by consulting both with your potential target market, as well as others in the industry. Another tip would be, to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. People are the reason your business exists – so it’s worthwhile building quality and sincere relationships with people. It is your business so you have full reign to set the values, the culture and the foundations of what your business will be built on. For me, God is the centre of my life, then family and then people – and that is what I have built the foundations of my business on and always hold that are the core of my decision making. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun with it and enjoy what you’re doing. The mistakes are how we learn, so go for it!
Where can we find you on social media?
Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/SmallOnePhotography/ Instagram handle: @small1photography
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