Photo Managers often work as solo-preneurs but many also enjoy working in partnerships! In this video, we meet the partners behind Photos Finished, two busy moms that came together to make a successful photo management company.
During a 10-hour bus ride for their kids’ school trip to DC, Becky Hussey and Kerry Butkovich founded their business. Becky had just started out as a new photo manager, and Kerry was offering slideshow services. They soon realized that their businesses were a perfect fit for a partnership. By the time they got home, they had decided to merge their businesses and form Photos Finished.
As business partners, how do you manage your differences and split your responsibilities
Kerry: So I always liken the partnership to a marriage. You have to have the same degree of communication, understanding, and willingness to compromise. Becky and I have also figured out very quickly that you don’t partner well with somebody who’s identical to you. We are very much complementing each other. Becky, for example, does all of our accounting and all of our design work. She’s unbelievable at making books. I do all the slideshows, I do a lot of the communication with the clients, and I take all the intake calls because I love to talk. And if they’re speaking engagements, we tend to do them together.
For many of you, you’re probably not going to form a partnership, you’re already in a solo place. But I think your takeaway for this would be to find an accountability partner, find somebody not similar to you in style, but who you can call and have a sounding board because it is lonely being alone doing this job. Having somebody that you can communicate with and can brainstorm with is essential.
How do you find your clients?
Becky: Historically it’s been word of mouth. It’s hard to get that first client. I got my first client through The Photo Managers website, which was great. So I think having a good presence online is definitely helpful. Having good SEO and getting your website to really reflect your business and your personality, I think is important. We do some speaking engagements and we do some community outreach that has been successful. When you explain what you do, it almost always resonates with someone. I think that just putting it out there, and putting yourself out there, is huge.
What do you love most about what you do?
Becky: For me, I love the creative part of it. I love to do photo books and I love to create some of our marketing materials. If we’re doing a card for a vendor’s event or signage, or anything like that, I really enjoy it. I also love returning projects to clients, seeing their expressions, and just feeling good about giving them a project back,
Kerry: My favorite thing, as a former teacher, is to be in front of people. I love to capture audiences, I think I have a pretty good instinct for people knowing when I have my listeners’ attention, so that’s fun. Some of my favorite clients are my DIY errs, who I train how to do various steps, and then they go off and do it on their own. I love to do the training process and the teaching process.
What is one area you don’t like about what you do?
Kerry: For me, it’s doing the same thing consistently day after day. I love I do tedious jobs like scanning because my life, especially when my four kids were still in my house, was crazy. But I couldn’t scan for six weeks in a row. I need to go from a scanning job to a digital job to a printed job to a teaching job. I like to mix things up. And if it gets too much of the same the tediousness, the monotony, that just drives me crazy,
Becky: For me, I don’t like multitasking within a short period of time. If I’m in a project, I am fine to work on that project for like, the whole week and just do that. Whereas I don’t like jumping around between tasks with multiple deadlines.
How has being members of The Photo Managers benefitted you?
Kerry: When we joined in 2011, The Photo Managers was a very new organization. For Becky and I, there was a long road to get started because there weren’t a lot of the tools that are available today. But even then, the community, the people, the friendships, and the relationships have always been there. I’m so appreciative every time you have communication with people inside this community, you learn and you learn more, so ask questions! Vendor relationships through the Photo Managers have really helped us, as well as key classes on Lightroom, Mac Photos, and PhotoSweeper. These were especially helpful when our focus was more on digital photo organizing, but there are many more courses available through The Photo Managers Academy for whatever your area of interest.
Becky: And this is such a collaborative community. The members-only Facebook group is great. People are coming on asking questions, and people are so willing to give advice and support. It’s just such a welcoming community in that way. There are lots of other professional organizations where you see that real sense of competition. I don’t feel that here. I feel like it’s, it’s more collaborative, and that’s really important. You also get some really great discounts and perks with some of the partners, that you’re not going to have otherwise and it can really help your business.
Watch the full video to hear more from Becky and Kerry about how they make their photo manager partnership work!