Welcome to the first episode of The Inspiration Station! A space for real-life small business owners to share their story and to inspire others to build their brands. Think of this as a podcast in blog form. A space for entrepreneurs to hear from those who are running the brand, and life, of their dreams.
It’s real. It’s honest. And, it’s here to inspire you to keep moving forward on your journey. It’s here to give you a sense of belonging and to know that, wherever you are on your path, you’re heading in the right direction.
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A bit of background – The Inspiration Station
What’s your 30-second elevator pitch or introduction?
I’m Kandi & I’m a Brand Photographer working with female business owners who are curating their personal brands and building the life of their dreams.
I take each of my clients through a unique experience workflow before their shoot that is designed to build confidence, motivation, and excitement for their upcoming shoot. This is how we create well-curated, thoughtful, and authentic imagery for their brands.
How long have you been in your industry and running your own business?
I started studying photography after we came back from honeymoon 11 years ago. It started as a little side hobby to save me from the boredom of working my corporate job. Then, 7 years ago I took the leap and decided to start my own business. I initially wanted to get into Food Photography but, as it turns out, it’s not so easy to step in there and book the jobs.
I actually had no idea what Brand Photography was when I started. This has been somewhat of a journey and I’m so grateful that I stumbled upon it cos THIS is what I love!
What made you decide on this business?
I was working with a mentor early on in my career who told me that I needed to have personal branding photos taken. I thought she was nuts! Why couldn’t I just use the terribly cropped wedding photo I had on all my listings? I mean, what did it matter what I look like? Surely my service could sell itself?
Um… it’s almost embarrassing that I was that naïve and that it’s literally what I teach people NOT to think each day!
I soon realised that, while I love food photography, I love people more! Being a Brand Photography allows me to really help my clients beyond just taking their photos.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I’d been in my corporate job for 10 years. I loved the company and the people but I didn’t have enough work to fill my day. Being bored will make you do crazy things – like quit your job without having the slightest clue what you’re going to do, how, who to speak to, etc. I did get the crazy looks!
I figured that I wanted to be in control of my time and that would mean starting my own business.
What would be your top piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business?
You are capable of so much more than you may think. Don’t let old habits and thought processes define who you’re meant to be. Take your idea AND GO WITH IT. You only need your own permission.
Some real life questions – The Inspiration Station
What, for you, is the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
Inspiring others to build their brands. A lot of people don’t know where to start and it can be so overwhelming which is why I take my clients through an experience when working with me. It’s so much more than just a photoshoot.
Have you had any major struggles in your journey that you’ve needed to overcome?
Oh, tons!!! Like a tough pregnancy, losing my Dad, lockdown, feeling utterly lost and hopeless. But, I’ve always felt stronger on the other side of these things.
Business-wise, I’d say that my biggest struggle has been stepping into my own power and not feeling the need to constantly look for external validation. It’s great to learn and be inspired by others but I no longer see myself as “less than” them, even if they’re further along in their journey.
If so, how do you feel about those struggles today? Were they worth it?
Any struggle is worth it when you’re building the life of your dreams. It’s a chance for personal growth and that shit is pure gold!
I would NOT want to re-live the struggles that I’ve been through (as I’m sure everyone would say) but I have made it to the other side and I haven’t quit on me.
Did you have much support in your decision to start your own business? Or any resistance from those around you?
I had a bit of both. I think my friends and family wanted to support my decision but that there might have been a few “Is she bloody crazy?” whispers behind my back. I get it, though, we all want our loved ones to be safe and the way I chose to do this was not safe.
They’re all still egging me on now, though. Some might still not really understand what I’m doing and why but I’ve got good peeps.
Can you tell us about any personal growth moments you’ve had? Things about yourself that needed to evolve to run your business properly?
I believe that we need to continually grow as our business grows so there have been A LOT of moments! Most recently I’ve had one which has taught me that, after years of investing time and money into coaching, communities, masterminds, etc. I’ve got enough knowledge to go for it.
I love working with coaches but it’s about using what they teach you and not always feeling like you need your hand held.
Tell us about a difficult client or customer that you’ve had to deal with and how you chose to do it (keeping it anonymous, of course).
Hmmmm… let me think. To be honest, I have the best clients! Every now and again someone comes along and tests me a little but I always try to grow from it when it happens.
I once had a corporate client that, from the beginning, was trying to cut down on the budget for the shoot. They didn’t argue my rates but tried to shave off time while still expecting the same result and number of images.
On shoot day I was asked if I could “stay later” and I just said, “Sure! Then I’ll just send the invoice for the extra time.”
Needless to say, I didn’t stay late and felt pretty darn good about sticking to my guns.
When you started out what was your big dream goal? Have you accomplished that goal, still working towards it, or has it shifted into something else?
I’ve always wanted to be famous (I know! How cliché, right?). Not celebrity famous but to be known for my work and be a bit sought-after. I definitely don’t feel famous yet but I’m working on it.
Most of my goals have evolved over the years and I think that’s what keeps it fun!
How do you feel about pricing your goods or services?
I feel great! I use a method that I recently learned to price my services based on my worth and how I want to structure my business. And, it’s working!
Has pricing been a problem for you in the past?
Absolutely! Guilt, shame, comparison, more guilt, etc. Now that I’ve changed my mindset around my pricing I just wish everyone would. If someone values you, they’ll pay your price.
There is plenty of money circulating in the world. All you have to do is put yourself in it’s path.
If a package arrived on your doorstep with R1 000 000 in it today, no strings attached. What would you spend it on?
1. Another Christmas in Scotland.
2. Equipment upgrade.
3. Another personal branding shoot for myself (like, as in flying to the US for it!).
4. I’d use some to start another leg of my business – perhaps my own studio.
5. And, the rest into savings/investment.
I most definitely would NOT close my business!
What crazy, “feels a bit far-fetched” dream do you have in relation to your business?
I’m going to photograph Sarah Jessica Parker in New York for her shoe brand. No plans have been made as yet and she doesn’t know that I exist yet but it’s going to happen soon, I can feel it in my bones. Hey! Maybe she reads this blog post, who knows?!?
If you could go back in time, what one lesson would you share with yourself when starting on this journey?
Trust yourself more. You don’t need to do everything that everyone else is doing.
Fun Stuff – The Inspiration Station
What’s your word for 2023?
If you could live and work from anywhere, where would that be?
I love Joburg so I’m staying put. I wouldn’t say no to a few international shoots a year, though, if anyone’s offering?
Which famous person would you love to have coffee with and why?
Elton John – We went to his concert a while back and he was just so chilled and relatable. I feel like I could just stand at his piano and chat the afternoon away.
Beach or bushveld?
Summer or winter?
Wine gums or chocolate?
Yoga or Netflix?
Yoga then Netflix… if that’s allowed?
All-time favourite song.
Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen
The Inspiration Station – Where can you find me?
Well, right here on this website, of course, but if you’d like to really stay in touch please come and join me here:
– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifestylephoto1/
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LifeStylePhotographySA
– Sign up to my email list: https://bit.ly/3IdSLBn
– Book a connection call: https://calendly.com/kandi-26/life-style-photography-intro-chat
Thank you for joining me here on The Inspiration Station. I hope this has given you a bit more of an insight into who I am and what my journey has been like so far. There’s so much more to tell but I’ll reserve that for future coffee dates with you guys.
If you or anyone you know would like to be featured on The Inspiration Station please fill in my contact form here.