On my 13th birthday I received my first "real" camera, the Canon Rebel T3. Growing up, my grandfather was a photographer and he was always snapping pictures of me on his Canon AE-1. When I was 12 years old he passed away suddenly. He was my best friend and he still is my biggest inspiration. From that point forward I was dead set on becoming a photographer. A few years later (age 15) I started my first business, Mullins Photography. I remember making $20-$40 here and there for friends and family. I took pictures at school and church events. I then took a class on photoshop my freshman year of high school and from there I focused on learning the rules of photography and becoming an expert in photoshop. Since then, I've taken thousands of pictures and my client list is growing daily. I walk in my grandfathers footsteps and I provide affordable photography to everyone around me.
Through Mullins Photography, I've grown to "Mullins Photography and Design." This isn't an official label, but it's in the works. With design, I create logos, flyers, business cards, photoshop, and other design needs. I also create designs and vinyl heat press clothing. Branding that is something I can see in the future.
Most of my business is conducted in London, Ohio and Perrysburg, Ohio. I'm a frequent traveler, so I also catch a client here and there on the road. I had a studio in London for approximately two years, but after I moved the building was sold. Now, I set up a studio in my barn and I shoot outside all over the state.
My second business is Mr. Miss Auto Detailing. I started it in August/September of this year, and I conduct business in London and Perrysburg, as well as out of state. Mr. Miss is unique in this niche because we are a traveling auto detailing company. We bring our chemicals, power washers, generators, water tanks, and other materials to you (the customer.) We can clean a car at our shop or in the desert. Why "Mr. Miss?" I chose Mr. Miss because growing up, I was always the tom boy out of the group. I liked to play with trucks, mud, and everything in between. Later in life, I found out that I pay close attention to detail and I enjoy cleaning. So, I started up my second business: Mr. Miss Auto Detailing. Mullins Photography, oddly enough, motivated me to start Mr. Miss. I held a charity event for breast cancer and we had a car wash with a live band, food, and raffle among several other attractions. It was a hit! The only excuse people gave for not coming to the event was that they didn't have time, or they didn't have anyone to watch the kids. That's why we travel to our customers.
Both of my businesses have check lists for employees to follow while completing jobs, and specific directions as to how we are supposed to present ourselves. Jobs start with a want or a need, a searching process (which we win through marketing,) customers then schedule and have their service completed. I keep track of everything through Quick Books. That is where I keep track of customers, write invoices, note payments, and materials. I also use Quick Books for standard accounting and taxes.
My marketing approach is strictly based on social media and word of mouth. I've learned that there are specific ways to gain followers and appeal to their wants and needs even though, when they get on social media, they aren't looking to buy anything. When it comes to social media marketing, there are time frames that certain content should be posted. There are waves of interest in popular happenings that social media marketers can use to their advantage (such as memes, events, and holidays.) By growing your social media business pages with blogs, memes, helpful information, and giveaways you can then brand yourself. Once you brand yourself, gain a following and credibility you then begin to reach clients that are out of your direct view.
I also get a considerable amount of business from word of mouth. Now-a-days, anytime someone is looking for a product or service, they ask for recommendations on Facebook. When this happens, people that I have connected with in the past tag me in their posts. This also goes for physical word of mouth. I use flyers, business cards, and brochures as well. Anyone that knows me, has a set of brochures and cards to give out to potential customers, friends, and family. This all ties back to credibility and branding.
I do this because I love it. I've chosen two businesses on totally opposite sides of the spectrum because I love photography, and I love to work. I like being outside, I stress clean, and detailing is basically a satisfying "out." It's also a great business to take anywhere I go. Everyone's livelihood revolves around their vehicle. Taking beautiful photos and giving them to customers that will have them forever is something that I hold close to my heart. I want to share these experiences with everyone that I possibly can, because I know that the way I conduct business is unlike anyone else.
My end goal is to be the CEO of multiple businesses, and to be able to invest in whatever I want to invest in. After I build these businesses to a sufficient point, I plan to expand and continue to brand myself. As time goes on, I want to be a part of the business world expansion that we are experiencing because of technology. I will be someone that contributes to the innovative business world. With that, and my love for everything I do, I know I can reach my end goal.