While working as a life coach, during her deep personal development journey, Haleh Shoa discovered what she really loved to do – making photo books and other gifts for her family!

During slow periods at her job in advertising, Haleh would bring in family photos and scan them using the high-end scanner at work. Creating sharable memories and sending them to family stuck a chord in her heart. She then combined her experience with technology, asset management, and entrepreneurship to start her new business journey as a Photo Manager. Haleh has now been an enthusiastic member of The Photo Managers since 2016 and has experienced massive growth in her business.



What advice would you give to somebody starting just out?


For me, I had a vision, which was way bigger than what I could start doing at the time. And my vision was that I don’t want to do all the things that are required for doing this business, I don’t want to be the scanner and the digital photo organizer. And I don’t want to be all that but you have to be all that in the beginning. So my advice is to do the thing that you feel the most comfortable with and stretch yourself to a point where you feel like someone has punched you in the gut. You don’t want to go past a level seven pain, but you want to keep it at that point where you just feel like “Okay, that hurt, but I think I can do this”. 

Trusting your gut is so so important in becoming an entrepreneur because our mind is not our friend, our mind is going to trick us into so many doubts. So it’s having that spiritual practice of meditation, or even just talking to a trusted friend. Don’t be hanging out with the “Debbie Downers”. Because we all have that person in our life. And so try to surround yourself with people that can give you good advice but also question things, not in a judgy way. It’s really important to have that kind of support in your circle in the beginning.


How did you find your first clients?


I’m an extrovert, and I use that to my benefit. And so in the beginning, I think it was actually your [Cathi Nelson’s] advice. You said to tell everybody what you do. So in my first coaching class, I told the class about my idea and one of the ladies there said, “You know, my children have a godmother, and she really needs help.” And she was my very first client, and to this date, she’s still my largest client ever. I went into her house, and she had, about 30,000 loose photos that were just spread out on her ginormous dining room table. And many other tables surrounding her dining room. So, the universe was like, “Oh, you want to do this? Here you go.”


What strategies do you use for finding clients today?


The best clients are your power partners. It’s the people who can reach those businesses and those families you want to work with. They’re in their homes. For example, home organizers and framing stores are a great source.


What do you love most about your job?


The client delivery. When I initially explain what I can do for a client, there is always a little bit of doubt on their part. But when the delivery comes, they just love it. They love getting their boxes, of beautiful things all organized and curated.


What aspects of your work do you like the least?


The most difficult part of my position in this role has been when you have a difficult employee. That’s the hardest part. It’s when like you like that person but they’re not working out. That requires me to build the gumption to let that person know that this isn’t really working out for me. And it’s probably not working out for them, either. Because it’s always mutual. If something isn’t working out for one person, it’s probably mutual on the other end. 


How has being a member of The Photo Managers been helpful to you?


It’s about finding your people and also finding experts. There’s always someone who can answer a question that you have. It’s such a great, wonderful community filled with many people with so many different backgrounds and expertise, willing to help. It’s been absolutely my favorite group. And I’ve been part of so many different groups. But it’s been the most wonderful experience for me.


Watch the full video to hear more from Haleh Shoa including how to make clients realize the value of curating their collection, and more!