Before relocating from Illinois to Colorado with her family in 2008, Jaime Rowe worked in project management by day and took photography classes by night. The move inspired her to make a career change. She started her own business, Jaime Rowe Photography, which specializes in taking custom pictures of people’s pets.
Rowe recently chatted with the GoPayment Blog about following her passion, growing her company, and using GoPayment to accept payments on location.
GoPayment: How did you choose your niche?
Rowe: I was a pre-vet and pre-med major in college. I always thought I was going to be a veterinarian, but my family guided me to the business side. I always had this love of pets. When I was photographing them, I would lose track of time, and it really filled my tank.
What are your biggest business challenges, and how have you overcome them?
A recent one was trying to figure out the process of how I do things, so I could train someone else. That’s what I’ve been doing this past month. She’s going to be taking the pictures and editing them, while I fall into the role of promotions and sales. I’ll be able to step in where I’d like to. I help with animal rescues, and donate my time to do their adoption photos and event photos. I’m really getting my process down of how my business works, so I’m working on my business, not in my business. I’ve used process mapping and support from the business club I’m part of.
How did you find the right person to help grow your business?
I’d been looking for someone for awhile. I put a post out on a private forum on Facebook that’s for local photographers. I heard from a lot of wedding photographers who want to fill in the gaps, but Ashleigh [Miller] really stood out. She had studied photography in Europe and done some commercial work. She’s a true artist. A lot of photographers don’t want to do the sales part.
It sounds like you excel at sales and marketing. Is that because of your business background?
I do have a business background, and my husband ran a family business that I’ve been helping with behind the scenes. My father owned his own business, so I’ve been around entrepreneurs my whole life. I feel like I pull a lot from those roots.
You also offer resources for fellow photographers.
Yes, my book Pet Photographer Business Essentials came out recently. If someone is just starting out, it helps get them launched. I also have the Barkroom, which has a Ning site and a series of free tutorials for regular people who want to take pictures of their dogs. I also have another site, which is called Certified Photographer Academy. I passed the exam last year, and there were no study guides available. So, I wrote one and released it as an e-book.
How do you use GoPayment?
I got the GoPayment application on my phone because, when I go to an event, I sell the Survivors Book that I did with Colorado State University. The book costs $25, and the proceeds go to CSU. Someone can just show up and swipe their credit card. It does make things a lot easier, because I don’t have to follow up with payment. Everything should be paid in advance, but sometimes people forget or things happen, so GoPayment fills that gap and makes sure that we get paid for our services.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m really just trying to expand the business, possibly hiring an assistant who would help get things done. I’m growing the Barkroom and helping more people learn about pet photography.