The Power Of Yes

The Power Of Yes

A good few months ago now the amazing Bev Downie from Bev Downie Photography was looking for an assistant/ second shooter for this years Radio 2 Dine and Disco in aid of Children in Need. It would be a long day but it was for a good cause. I drafted an e-mail, and deleted it. I did this 3 times before telling myself, yes, it is ok to send this. By this point I really didn’t expect Bev to still be looking for someone but she was, and she said yes, I could assist her!! I hadn’t done much photography work this year so far and I was really nervous to be taking on such a responsibility. Roll on to Saturday 25th June and I was on my way to The Mulberry Inn owned by Chris Evans to help Bev. I’m not that good when it comes to recognising celebrities, but when it comes to recognising chefs, I’m your girl. You could imagine my surprise then when I pulled my car up next to James Martin and then heard that Tom Kerridge was in the kitchen. I will also fully admit that both James and Tom are my biggest chef crushes so I was a little starstruck to say the least. As the night went on it was clear to see that Chris Evans and his team had put on an amazing event, it was the tenth and final Dine and Disco and it was a privilege to be there. The event started with a Q & A with the chefs, led by Dawn French (looking fabulous may I add). After the...
Celebrate Change Like Nature Does…

Celebrate Change Like Nature Does…

15thirtyfive has been very quite for quite a while. That is because life got in the way. A change of job, a decision to wind down my photography business and put family first for a while and a sense of not knowing where 15thirtyfive was going had all led to it being ignored. This was all changed a few weeks ago when I went away with a group of women I have been privileged to be a part of for almost 5 years. These women, The Shooting Sisters, are all photographers. All have or have had their own photography business within the past 5 years. Some are hugely successful and on a mission to build an empire, some have had to make tough decisions about going back to full time contracted work while still building their businesses and some have stopped running their businesses entirely. The best thing though about this group of women is that no one judges any one else and everyone supports each other. We try to get together in person at least once a year, but we are often in contact daily through social media. Whilst we were away this time, we created vision boards for the next 12 months. Where did we want to be? What is important? How do we get there? The thing that stood out for me was that I missed 15thirtyfive but it needed to change. I learnt from being away with these women that all I really want to do is help empower women to live life positively and in all its fullness. I want women to like themselves, to...
Bring in the S.W.O.T Team!

Bring in the S.W.O.T Team!

You have a solid business plan, you know where you wanted to get to when you wrote that plan and how you were going to do it, what it would cost, your main competitors etc. However, when did you write that plan? 3 months ago, a year, longer? The thing about your business is that it is not a static entity, and nor are your competitors. What can you do when you sense you are off course, or need to change direction but don’t know where to begin. Particularly if you are a sole trader, it can be very hard to take time out of working in the business to focus on working for the business. When I have spoken with business owners; whether it be about skills of productivity, I always start by getting them to go through a quick SWOT analysis with me. This is hugely beneficial and something you should take the time to do on at least a quarterly basis. For those of you who have never done this before it really isn’t as scary as it sounds. I don’t expect you to dress up in full black combat gear for a start! The hardest thing I ask is for you to be completely honest with yourself in this process- now that doesn’t sound too scary does it? So where do you begin? To counter-act any procrastination with setting up templates, I have created one for you to download here.  Download (PDF, 228KB) Once you have your template, I would suggest you start by looking at your business, then yourself, and then if you are feeling brave...
Costa or Starbucks?

Costa or Starbucks?

Costa or Starbucks? Or even any one of the other coffee shops out there, which one would you choose? For me it’s definitely Starbucks during the week. It’s easy, it’s literally on the way into the office and I can order from my phone to pick it up as I walk through. At the weekends though, or days when I work from home I prefer a small local independent bakery. This is all very well, but what does this have to do with your business? I had a wobble about my photography business yesterday. Another great photographer has moved to the area and today another has announced opening their studio just down the road. I wondered if there was going to be enough business and if I can even compete with these people. Then I thought about coffee shops. Where we are there is literally a coffee shop or independent bakery in practically every other shop. We have big brand names in the mix as well and yet they all trade, they all seem to be surviving and yet they all do the same thing. Why is this? We don’t all like the same coffee. Just like not everyone will like my photography, or that of my competitors for that matter. However, there are people that do like my photography and they are the people that I need to market to. Just as Starbucks has identified its core customers require speed (seriously, I couldn’t get through the week without that app) so I know that my customers appreciate the time I take to get to know them, I don’t...
Networking

Networking

Networking can be incredibly important for the growth and development of your business, however, networking is another one of those things that we can liken to Marmite; you either love it or hate it. For those that hate networking it can be a real struggle just to get yourself through the door, let alone start talking to someone you have never met before. However, networking is changing. No longer are you confined to 7.30am breakfast meetings or lunchtime sessions where you have to give a 30 second pitch and ensure you come with leads in hand for the others in the group. Yes, these still exist and they absolutely have their place, but there are now more informal and sociable ways to network with likeminded individuals in your given sector. Knowing where to network is only part of the story though, and something that will be covered in another post. The purpose of this post is to look at how to get the most out of a networking event without falling foul of the networking etiquette police! Whilst at a networking event earlier this week, a gentleman introduced himself to me not by name but with the line “hi, I’m trying to raise a billion pounds for a construction development”. Great, I know why you are here, I know there’s no point in me talking to you because I can’t invest £5 let alone a billion and I know you have no respect for me because you didn’t use your name, didn’t ask me mine and spent half of the opening sentence looking over my shoulder to see who else...