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I am extra excited today to be introducing you Jillian Miller of Jillian Miller Photography! Jillian is a boudoir photographer from New Zealand! Jill manages to juggle a part-time job along with her photography business and I wanted her to be able to tell you a little bit about how she does that, and what motivated her to start her business in the first place!
Hi Jill! I am so happy to have you here today! Can you please tell my audience a little bit about yourself and your business?
I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. I moved to New Zealand in 2015 and my love for capturing beautiful things grew rapidly (have you seen this place? How could it not?!). Jillian Miller Photography launched in February of 2017 and started out as a mishmash of me photographing everything and everyone. It has since turned into a style of photography where I get to empower people and yet provide a safe, comfortable studio environment. I specialize in boudoir photography which is an intimate style of portraying individuals and couples as their most authentic selves.
The transformation that I see with every single one of my clients from when we first meet to when I deliver the photos is HUGE and makes me fall in love with my purpose over and over again. The confidence my clients gain from seeing themselves in a way they don’t usually get to is indescribable and that is why I love doing what I do.
I love that you are able to empower people through your photos. What motivated and empowered you to start your business in the first place?
This answer is simple, beauty and happiness. Sometimes we get too caught up in life to stop and remember that we can and deserve to feel absolutely amazing. I found that I was constantly meeting women who were not confident in themselves and didn’t think that they were beautiful – myself included.
My mom was visiting me from Canada (yay mom) and I found that she was feeling exactly the same. So I offered to take some photos for her. Her entire outlook on life changed once she saw the photos and I knew that I had to help people feel like this as much as I could. At the same time, I found myself enjoying my corporate job less and less, as things started to become extremely competitive and cutthroat within the organization, and that’s just not my style. My friends and my parents encouraged me to take a leap of faith and to put myself and my dreams first. So I did.
And when you first started, what were some of the obstacles you faced?
Oh gosh, honestly there were lots! I guess the biggest obstacle was understanding that there is more to being a photographer (and entrepreneur) than just taking photos. The reality is that only 20% of the work is taking photos and the other 80% is all about business! I’ve had to learn everything from marketing and networking strategies, to how to keep my books balanced and stay organized. Luckily there are great online resources that help guide you through how to manage a small business and make it successful. I sometimes forget to make the business side of things a priority as well because I love taking photos so much, but remind myself every day that to run a successful business, I need to keep things balanced.
Yes! Balance can be so hard to achieve. Speaking of balance, you also work a part-time job; how do you manage both your part-time job and your business?
Trying to give your own business the best chance that it has to succeed and managing another job at the same time is sometimes difficult. I am very lucky to have a job that is flexible and a boss who is understanding about my passion for photography. With my position, I work part time and so if there is ever a clash in my schedule, it is generally pretty easy to get a shift covered.
I love having a part-time job because it helps me switch up my week and keep things interesting while allowing me the flexibility that I need in order to feel like I’m providing the best level of customer service to both jobs. The consistent paycheck relieves financial stress and allows me to take as many photography jobs as I want to, especially those that are challenging and inspiring in a creative way. I find myself now working on my business 7 days a week, and before and after my part-time job. Don’t get me wrong, there are some days that I just don’t have the motivation to learn about marketing strategies, and so for days like that, I focus on refining my craft whether it is trying out a different style of photography or improving my post processing editing skills. There is always work to be done and if I’m not going to do it… no one will!
Your business is just over a year old at this point, so what advice would you offer to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
The truth is, being an entrepreneur is not always easy, in fact, its hard like 80% of the time. There are times where you might think you want to quit, and you feel like you’ve gone nowhere. Be patient. If you’re passionate enough about what you’re doing, you WILL find a way around it. The other 20% of the time are usually the BEST days and make every drop of blood, sweat and tears, you put into your company worth it. The world is your oyster so don’t be scared to take chances and make mistakes because it all works out in the end!
Remember to work hard because success generally doesn’t happen overnight. It’s also ok to ask for help. Seriously, don’t be ashamed. The way that lots of people have gotten successful is not by doing everything themselves, but from pulling favors, asking peoples opinions and learning from other peoples success and mistakes. Make sure to surround yourself with people who will bring you up and challenge you rather than the latter, and give yourself (or ask someone to give you) a pep talk whenever you need it.
Thank you Jill for taking the time to speak about your business today! For those of you who are in New Zealand, don’t forget to book an appointment with Jillian Miller Photography!
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Dana Nicole is an award-winning freelance writer for MarTech/SaaS who was rated one of the best SaaS writers by Software World. She specializes in writing engaging content that ranks high in search engines and has been featured in publications like Semrush, ConvertKit, and Hotjar.
Dana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has over 15 years of experience working alongside national brands in their marketing departments.
When Dana’s not working, you can find her dancing en pointe, cooking up new recipes, and exploring the great outdoors with her two big dogs.