This is my second “BBM Entrepreneur Segment” and I am learning so much about small businesses in the local area who are on the rise! I love meeting people who know the struggle and the excitement of owning their own business so it’s nice to have someone to relate to. I met with Kristin Hardwick, a fabulous professional photographer based in Nashua, New Hampshire. We met at your local Panera Bread and discussed Kristin’s business in more depth!
1) Tell me a little bit about your business:
A: “I am a personal branding photographer and a branding expert and what that means is I help clients put forth the image that will speak to their target clients in a way that is authentic to them. We photograph them in any manner of ways to make sure their website, their social media and all their marketing is polished and elevates them above the competition. My studio is in Nashua but I do work with clients all over New England at this point. I have been in business for 4 years and in those past few years we have narrowed our niche to working with just business owners and from there, I have realized I really work best with entrepreneurs who have a service-based business, so anybody who has an online business or is providing a service to clients and they need to be the face to their business, those are the people i like working with.”
2) What was your determining factor when you decided to start your own business?
A: “My background is actually in finance and HR, I spent 8 years in the corporate world and after having my daughter, who is turning five shortly, I kind of decided that this is not how I wanted to spend my life, I didn’t want to be in a cubicle for 40 hours a week so I started to really take my photography seriously, spent a couple years honing in on my skills with the camera because obviously you have to be really good at what you do. And then I spent a couple years honing my skills as a business owner and learning marketing and branding and everything else that goes in to running a business. Last year, actually last June was when I quit my day job and went full time with my business so it’s only been a year but already, we have gotten so far.”
3) What has been your biggest struggle as a business owner?
A: “ I think it’s true for a lot of people, but especially for me as a creative, is finding a way to express myself authentically. I think naturally my personality is to be a bit of a chameleon and mold to whatever someone needs me to be. As a photographer, that’s what I’m paid for, to photograph you the way you want to be photographed so I’m really good at doing that for other people but when it comes time to think about what my brand was and what my image was, I was struggling there. I have worked with some coaches over the past year and worked with a stylist and really figured that out for myself which has been so nice.”
4) Who do you get your inspiration from?
A: “In the photography industry, I usually prefer the big names, the greats like Peter Hurley, Annie Leibovitz, any of the big, commercial photographers, I really love and follow their work. I am a huge Annie Leibovitz fan, I actually traveled to New York City last fall to see her exhibit, she’s amazing! On a business level, I look up to Jen Sincero, she wrote books like ‘You Are A Badass’ and ‘You Are A Badass At Making Money’, both are super great books! I have given several copies to friends and clients. I also really look up to a few people, like Gary Vaynerchuk who just understands that business is a game and you want to win and just the fundamentals of providing a service of value in exchange for money, people who get that as a game, I love!”
5) If you could give any words of wisdom to a new business owner, in your field or otherwise, what would you tell them?
A: “I would tell them to figure out what makes them stand out, what makes them different in their field. I think that with the internet coming into play, everyone can own their own business now and the market, no matter what industry you’re in, is getting more and more saturated by the day so if you can figure out what makes you different, and articulate that to your clients, you’ll get a lot further ahead a lot faster. There are one million photographers in New Hampshire alone, I’m pretty sure, and finding ways to differentiate myself as a branding photographer really helps me stand out amongst my competition.”
You can view Kristin’s BRAND NEW website going live next week (July 11th) at www.kristinhardwick.com but until then please make sure you follow her on her Facebook and Instagram pages!
kristin hardwick photography (fb)
A BIG thank you to Kristin for meeting with me today, it was awesome to talk to such a motivated woman business owner!
If you are a small business in New England and would like to be featured on the next BBM Entrepreneur Segment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
-The Blonde Boss xo