by Team YOTY

Taking the leap to set-up your own business can be really daunting. There is a lot to think about, suddenly you are a CEO, accountant, marketer and admin assistant all rolled in to one. You have to think about whether you will earn enough money to pay your bills and support your family.

But sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. Learning from others that have already trod the path to running their own company can be a great way to spur you on with your dream.

Which is why we asked the lovely Lisa of Wildgoose Photographics to share her story. When Lisa started her business she never thought it would reach the heady heights that it has – she is fully booked up most months, and her Facebook page boasts over 7,000 followers. But this hasn’t come without a huge amount of handwork, determination and of course undeniable skill.

Here is Lisa to tell us about her journey…

I have been a hairdresser by trade since leaving school in 1989, this was only supposed to tide me over until I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life, and it was never meant to be long term. 17 years later I was still hairdressing, so I decided it was time to finally make a decision as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The answer is photography and thankfully the leap of faith seems to be paying off.

Setting up your own business by professional photographer Lisa Wildgoose, Wildgoose photo graphics, via Year of the Yes

I have been interested in photography since the 80’s. My great grandad was a famous local photographer and I grew up around boxes of old black and white images. I found it fascinating to look through them at the memories captured in time and thought how lovely it would be to capture memories for families now to look back on in years to come.

I had bought a new DSLR at Christmas 2013 to take better images for a blog I was writing at the time. I realised very quickly that better quality images gained more interest and followers, and friends and family started saying I should do photography  as a living.

As I used to work freelance at Silverstone many years ago when my hobby turned into a bit of a sideline job, I knew I had the knowledge and ability to turn it into a career path but my confidence was lacking.

I spent the summer of 2014 using friends and family as models for free, to build up a portfolio, and applied for a government funded business loan in Oct 2014. With this I bought a better camera and lens, desktop PC and quality monitor and set myself up a website, which I designed myself using the knowledge I had gained when I was blogging.

Setting up your own business by professional photographer Lisa Wildgoose, Wildgoose photo graphics, via Year of the Yes

By the end of October I had adverts out, business cards printed and clients in my diary.

At the moment I’m averaging between one to two commissions a week. This consists of going to a shoot which can take from 1-4 hours, depending on what shoot it is. Then I will go home and edit the images, which can take between 5-30 hours depending on how long the shoot was.

I also spend at least a couple of hours each day updating my social media sites, website and sharing images and posts to advertise my business. I try to post something to my blog too, but unfortunately it can take a few hours to actually write and publish a blog post, so that is time dependent.

Setting up your own business by professional photographer Lisa Wildgoose, Wildgoose photo graphics, via Year of the Yes

It can be difficult to run your own business around family life, but I try to do my shoots while my children are at school or at their grandparents on a Sunday. I edit and do my social media sharing in the evenings, so I’m very lucky that I can work it around them. However, if I have had a particularly busy week with long shoots, I do find myself wandering back to the PC to edit when they are playing, but the girls love looking at my images and always ask to see the photos from my shoots. I think it’s good for them to know mummy works hard to provide us with nice things.

It’s important to research the industry you are going into. I read… A LOT! As far as the photography is concerned, I have a monthly subscription to a photography magazine, I read articles online and buy books. Having had my own business before though, I knew the basics for setting up and running a business and with my blogging experience I had learnt the social media and marketing side so I was pretty clued up from that point of view.

Setting up your own business by professional photographer Lisa Wildgoose, Wildgoose photo graphics, via Year of the Yes

advice for setting up your own business

Make sure it’s something you love doing and you’re not just doing it for the money. If it’s a passion then the long hours and obstacles that are put in your way to start won’t matter to you. I’d much rather earn less and be happy than be miserable and rich.

plans for the future

My main aim is to get consistent bookings. At the moment I’m still doing some hairdressing while Wildgoose Photographics builds up and I’m finding it quite difficult running two businesses. I’m hoping within a year I can stop the hairdressing and concentrate on photography alone.

Setting up your own business by professional photographer Lisa Wildgoose, Wildgoose photo graphics, via Year of the Yes

Another goal is to have some of my work published. I’m a keen garden photographer and to have some of my images in magazines would be AMAZING! [Editor’s note: the yes magic has happened again and between writing this piece and it being published Lisa has had her work accepted to a garden magazine library which makes her one step closer to her dream].

And just in case that hasn’t already inspired you enough (we are heading right off to work on our business plan), here is Lisa’s Yes Directory:

Inspiration to live life to the full, the Yes directory, via Year of the Yes

yes links

Lisa’s photography business: Wildgoose Photographics / Yes Food – The Market Place, Cromford 

About the Author

Emma loves sunshine and flip flops, prosecco, chocolatey treats, things that sparkle, trips to the beach, reading and blogging.

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  1. Love the ‘Yes Careers’ feature! Always interesting to hear other peoples’ career stories.

    And congrats to Lisa for having her images published!


    • Emma

      Thanks Demi – we are pleased you like the feature, we love it too! Lisa has done so well in her business, we hope it encourages you to follow your dreams too – whatever they may be 🙂 x

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