This month’s small business owner interview is with Andi Willis who owns Good Life Photo Solutions. She lives in Georgia and has several photo services that will help you get your photos under control. Visit her services here.
I met her through an organizing bloggers group on Facebook some years ago. She is a fellow NAPO member and a high school band mom just like me! Her story is a perfect example of how a business evolves over time and how business owners acclimate to the demands of their customers. Take it away, Andi.
Tell us about your business and when you started.
I started my business in January 2010 as Good Life Organizing. I specialized in residential organizing and particularly enjoyed creating functional closets and kitchens for my clients. In 2013, I learned that photo organizing was a growing industry and that really intrigued me. I have always been the family history buff and old photo lover in my family. I began to provide photo organizing services for my clients when the need came up in the course of our work together. Over time I started doing more and more work with photos (print and digital), and I found that I was enjoying that so much more than the home organizing. In January 2018 I changed my business focus and business name to Good Life Photo Solutions. My mission is to provide high-quality services for photo curation, preservation, and celebration. All that is done with the goal of helping people save and enjoy their photos from generations to come.
Why did you begin your business?
When I started my residential organizing business, I felt it was a natural outgrowth of personal and professional skills I had developed throughout my lifetime. I love putting order to a situation and leaving things better than I found them (that’s the Girl Scout in me!).
With my photo organizing business, I saw what joy and relief my services brought to my clients. By helping them scan, organize, store and share their print and digital photos, I can help them make their memories last and know that they are good stewards of their family’s legacy and memories.
What do you feel is the area you struggle with in your business?
Time management. I always have good intentions of blocking out time for this project or that client work, but I just can’t seem to make that work for me. Recently my son started driving himself, so I am no longer the head chauffeur of Mom’s Taxi company. With this new freedom (for him and me), I’m attempting to create more structure in my day.
What did you do to combat or overcome this struggle?
I am trying to map out daily my must-do items and prioritize what has to be done for each active project. Lists are my friend.
Please share some tips on how you made your business a success.
Write down your policies and procedures, those things you do all the time. I do my own bookkeeping and found myself trying to remember everything I needed to do when it came time to do my month end reports. Years ago I created a document that is basically a checklist of everything I need to take care of monthly. I update it as needed, but it makes my month end process go so much quicker when I just follow the list.
Also, don’t be afraid to hire someone to help you. When I rebranded my business, I knew I need to make a financial investment to make it go smoothly and to be a successful transition. I hired a business coach (who I had worked with before) to help me think through all the steps and to keep me accountable to doing those steps in a timely manner. I paid to have a logo created. I hired Janet Barclay to build my new website. All of these are things that I could have done on my own but only with lots of wasted time and energy. It was worth my money to have these tasks taken care of for me by a professional.
Stay in touch with other professionals in your industry. As a solopreneur, life can get lonely especially if you do most of your work in your home office. Having a networking get-together once a week or a NAPO meeting once a month or merely an occasional lunch with a friend can go a long way in helping you keep your sanity.
Thank you, Andi. I too believe in small business process checklists. If you are a start-up and can’t afford to hire a person, writing down the steps to remind you what to do next is a wonderful option. When I started my business, I had an on-boarding process checklist for new clients. It included what I email them, what I do to help them get ready for our first meeting, and what I do at the first meeting. It helped me look more professional and consistent with all my clients. Over time I didn’t need to use the checklist any more because the process had become ingrained in me.
I hope this interview inspire you to be flexible in your progress developing your business. Remember it takes time and if it works great. If it doesn’t, readjust. But, never give up. Till next time.
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