Full-time photographer Amanda Fothergill recently came across an interview she had given in college. She was a senior at the time, and like all seniors, she was planning for the rapidly approaching “real world.”
“I am looking for an accounting position now and applying for a Masters of Accounting Program, however, I hope to one day be deeply involved in photography in Fountain City (Knoxville) because that is really where my passion lies.”
It's doubtful all college students stick to their plan as well as Amanda did. She followed her accounting career right up until last June when she finally felt ready to take the plunge to pursue her passion of being a full-time photographer.
“Public accounting is safe and I learned A LOT about running my own business but I've had a passion for photography since I was in middle school. I went from an aspiring photographer to a full-time one very gradually. I stayed in public accounting until June 2015. It was nearly impossible to do both and my photography really suffered because I simply didn't have the time to invest in it like I should. Since going full-time in June with some encouragement from another local small business called Life Lived Beautifully, I have almost doubled the size of my business, with a 44% increase in revenue. I set goals for 2016 that I have already conquered, knowing that in 2015, these goals would have been difficult to achieve. It takes a lot of guts and it's stressful and scary but the payoff is totally worth it if it's something that you really love.”
Amanda comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. Her first inspiration to start her own business came from her father. “Growing up I have always been surrounded by entrepreneurs. My dad was one my whole life, my brother became one, my cousin became one, then my cousin married a girl who was one. It inspires me. I see them get creative to make themselves stand out and be successful and it inspires me.”
To build her own photography business, she didn't have to look far. This lucky creative entrepreneur was still able to find the inspiration in her own family. Her cousin, Lori Hensley Photography, was one of her first key influences. Lori was there to answer every question Amanda had through every step of starting her small business. Knowing her passion from the start, she was also able to follow several other photographers as her business grew.
“I also have followed Katelyn James for the whole 5 years that I've done this… she is my photographer hero! I also follow Jamie Delaine, Justin and Mary Marantz, and Velvet Owl Photography. Jamie Delaine influenced me with her posing and lighting and location spots. Katelyn influenced me then and still does now with her personality and how she loves her couples. Velvet Owl blows me away with her portraits and lifestyle photo editing. Her editing has really inspired me and shows through a lot in my editing style.”
While it can be so easy to throw your whole self into your business, Amanda has already figured out it is not wise! She recommends everyone take two solid days off from work every week. If you work all weekend, Amanda feels your new weekend can fall on Monday and Tuesday or whichever two days work for you.
“Also, say no to a session or a wedding so that you can go on a trip. I learned the hard way that I need time away with my family. I need to have that summer beach trip. I need to have the weekend camping trip. Sometimes that means saying no to people during a busy time and that's okay. Your other clients will love you more because you aren't getting burnt out in the middle of a busy season and will therefore spread the word about you more!”
We have no doubt, Amanda Fothergill's client's are spreading the word about her! From growing up with a family full of entrepreneurs, to following a well-formed plan to pursue her passion, this photographer has the guts, brain, and drive to run a successful small business. We know she will lead and inspire others to do the same! Follow along with Amanda through her Showit website, blog, Instagram, Pinterest, and on Facebook.
Oh, and just for some extra viewing fun…Amanda May Photography's promo video!
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