Welcome to a brand new Small Business Chat with Samantha Higgs who runs a photography business, Samantha Higgs Photography. Now, here’s an exciting first for this series: Sam is a cousin of brother and sister Tone Hitchcock and Annabelle Beckwith, featured last year and about to have their own update interviews published – so the Small Business Chatters really are one big, happy family!
Sam’s another person who has organised her business around her family, and it’s always worth stressing what a good way to combine family and work this is – as long as you’re well organised and fairly strict about making room for family time. But it’s a combo we’ve seen working well time after time, as we meet more and more business owners. So let’s meet Samantha and find out how she got started a few years ago.
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
Samantha Higgs Photography, set up in April 2010.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I worked as an assistant photographer for many years and always planned to run my own photography business eventually. As a full-time mum, it has been easier to run my own business than to go out and work to someone else’s hours.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
Once the children came along, I wanted to be able to spend the weekends at home with them and be able to run a business that fitted in nicely with being a mum. I’d always liked the idea of selling my own prints so it seemed the ideal time to do this.
Had you run your own business before?
No, but my husband has run his own successful copywriting business for many years, so I’d picked up some tips and have had him on hand to help out. That’s only fair though, as I did all the photography for his website!
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
As the business has to fit around the kids and school I work mostly during school hours. As the children grow older I’ll have more flexibility.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
I’d been a photographer for many years, so I had the photographic skills, but I hadn’t appreciated how much time and effort all the other aspects of running a business – admin, marketing and so on – would take up.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Invest in a comfy chair! If only I’d known that I’d spend as much time sitting in it typing as I would out taking pictures!
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I’d got my website sorted sooner, rather than using photo sites as my main web presences. I’m excited about that as I’ve just launched it and I think it looks pretty good.
What are you glad you did?
I’m glad I spent time and effort on internet marketing, constantly updating my Facebook page rather than just making it and not using it: it has resulted in many sales.
What’s your top business tip?
Don’t ignore the power of social media and the internet.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
Slow and steady. The main thing is getting my images in front of the right people, and I’ve had to experiment a lot to find the best ways of doing that. It’s a learning experience!
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
I’d like to be selling more via the internet – especially through my new website – and craft fairs, and also perhaps have an exhibition or two of my work.
I like the give and take in this family with its mutual business support. I’ve definitely benefitted from my other half having run his own business before, as it’s a lot easier to explain those “must work all Saturday while you do the hoovering” times! I find the point about Facebook interesting – it doesn’t do that much for me, I have to say, in terms of orders, but I find that many crafty and arty people do get sales through their Facebook pages.
This coming year looks exciting, and I’m sure Samantha’s update interview will be full of good news!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.