I can hardly believe it, but Romsey Fotografix is celebrating its 9th birthday this week!!
It seems like only yesterday that I made the monumental decision to give up my full time job (just like that!) and open the studio. Sometimes when you want something real bad, you have to just go for it!
Even if it is a bit scarey!! Well, actually VERY scarey …
But, as it turned out, it was the best decision I ever made!
Although I won’t pretend it wasn’t a bit touch and go at first. What new business isn’t? It takes a while to establish yourself and build up a customer base. There were lots of sleepless nights and asking myself “have I done the right thing” – taking on the expense of a studio was an enormous commitment in the early days. Many a time I thought I would have to give up my dream, but it gets to a certain stage and you simply can’t give up on what you’ve achieved so far. You reach the point of no return, having invested such a lot in to it.
Fortunately some very lucky breaks in the first year really got me off the ground, and once word of mouth started kicking in, I was on my way!
Advertising in those early days was completely different – unlike social media now which is spontaneous and instant, back then it was a question of booking some space in a paper or local magazine, wait for it to go in, sometimes weeks later, and then hope for the best! It did work to some degree, but nothing like the impact a post on Facebook or a Tweet has these days.
Word of mouth has always worked best. Which is down to lots of you of course, thank you so much 🙂 I’ve met so many lovely people over the years (another perk of the job!), and you’ve told your friends and families, and they in turn have spread the word, so thanks to you and yours, my bookings snowballed.
One of the most special things has been seeing your children growing up. One minute you bring them in as babies, then toddlers and the next thing you know they’re 8 or 9!! And the 5, 6 and 7 year olds who came in during the early days are now well into their teens. Unbelievable! It’s a real privilege to have been asked to capture the various stages of their lives.
It’s also been brilliant to have photographed many of your weddings, christenings and other memorable times in your lives. Such an honour.
Technology has of course come along in leaps and bounds since I started. Today’s amazing cameras and lenses, and the speed of computers and latest software, have made my workload much more efficient and even more enjoyable.
There was a time when we would never have imagined being able to message each other and get emails wherever we may be on our mobile devices, not to mention all the incredible Apps etc.. In fact lots of things we take for granted nowadays were virtually unheard of in 2006! Even Facebook.
Creating Romsey Fotografix has been an incredible experience; as well as meeting so many great people, I’ve also learned such a lot, not only via training courses, but through lots of research and online learning, not only to do with taking pictures and editing, but also the best ways to tackle things such as social media marketing – possibly one of the steepest learning curves might I say – and essential when running a business these days! Certainly it’s reaped rewards, but it can be very time consuming, particularly as a one man band. Keeping up with the changes on the various platforms, and finding fresh things to write about nearly every day without becoming mundane is a little more challenging than creating a quarter page ad in a magazine every couple of months! Fortunately my love of writing and graphic design experience (I ran a graphic design company in a previous life) have really helped, not least for when I’m wearing my marketing hat!
One extremely important lesson I’ve learned from very early on … it’s a tough and very competitive world out there, so resting on laurels and taking things for granted is definitely NOT an option. And also treat everyone as you like to be treated yourself. All of which apply to life in general, I guess, not just in the business world!
You know what? It’s all been truely awesome and has far exceeded my expectations 🙂
So here goes, heading into Year 10 … and in the words of Edward Steichen “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” That’s you and me both, folks – your emotions, my lens 🙂
Thank you 🙂