This week Cas talked to Brisbane-based (Australia) product photographer Sarah Pembroke, about the ups and downs of running a home based business. If you work from home, read Sarah’s interview and be inspired to keep on keeping on, no matter what life throws at you.
Tell us about your business. What do you do?
I’m a self-taught product and landscape photographer. Everything I have learned is through magazines, books and from professionals within the industry. I’m continuously learning with new techniques and photo challenges and offer fellow work at home businesses professional, friendly and affordable product photography. We are all in similar situations where our expenses don’t always allow for the bigger things in life.
I have also gone back to hand-making my own natural home-wares line, consisting of candles, melts and incense. These are all made from scratch, along with self wrapped and sealed canvases and prints for home décor. All prints and canvases are original non-mass-produced artwork to give customers a unique piece that will last a life time. I have been skilled in my line of work for approximately three years, and only went full-time this year as I took a year off, after a separation, to concentrate on getting back on my feet.
Why did you decide to run your own business?
I decided to work from home as my eldest son has epilepsy and at the time was uncontrollable. I spent more time at hospitals then I did as an employee. Being deemed unreliable by a boss for a situation I couldn’t control was a big blow, yet I still had to provide for my boys. Working from home is a lifestyle decision that fits in with both my boys and allows me to be there when needed most, and financially, it’s easier as I’m not having to pay for extra services, I can put it back into the house.
What do you love most about running your own business?
The hours suit me. I work around family life rather than against it. I control the highs and lows, and I love the fact that being self-taught doesn’t mean I’m any less skilled then someone that has the funding to do courses. I love the fact I’m investing in my own business rather than putting in the hard yards for someone else’s benefit.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a micro-business owner?
Motivation is a big challenge. There are days where, even though I have an office and studio set up for both the handmade items and photography, I would really rather be doing something else, working for yourself, you don’t clock-in or out for the day. You work when you can, and around the family and home.
Overcoming motivation is simply a case of remindig myself that if I don’t go and finish tasks at hand I’m not getting myself out there, and therefore, people are not seeing what I’m capable of or hiring me. I’ve learned that often the hard yards must be trodden to see the rewards and benefit from them.
How do you market your business on and offline?
I market my business through madeit.com.au, an online shop open 24/7 days a week for people who make handmade items. Customers are able to purchase items and leave feedback on their experience. I also promote my photography services through Facebook, although I find word-of-mouth very valuable for marketing, as it’s often repeat customers that will tell others about my work,
If you could give another WAHP just one tip, what would it be?
Persistence is the key to survival, no matter how many times you feel like giving up it’s the end result that you are working towards. I’m rebuilding what I left behind a year ago. It’s a struggle and somedays I think: “why bother,” but then I remember I love what I do, I’m good at it and there is no one else in this world that can do it like me
Connect with Sarah here:
Elev8 Photography & Homewares Brisbane