Erica recently came to my studio for a photo shoot. We met at a networking breakfast and landed up at a workshop together towards the end of last year. She confessed to me that she’s usually the one behind the camera, capturing landscapes as a hobby on her outings, but she felt the need to have some of her own portraits for her business as well as a few for herself that she can keep and appreciate.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this!”, I heard her mutter as we said our goodbyes after our initial consultation! But I knew that I’d be able to make her see that she’d made the right decision.
Erica, it was an absolute delight photographing you. You have a kind soul and a charismatic smile and my hope for you is that you spend more time in front of your own camera from now on!!
ESD Professionals is an ever-evolving consultancy, assisting businesses in general on several fronts, Ethically, Systematically and Dynamically. We currently offer Compliance Consulting and Training to Financial Services Providers, Business Consulting in general and IT Technical Support. On the more creative side we offer Copywriting, Photography and Graphic Design services.
Who’s your target market?
Our default target market has centered mostly around Financial Services Providers up to now because of my background being in the Financial Services Industry. But our expanded service offering that now includes our varied talents, is aimed at the far wider audience of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
What problem of theirs do you solve?
Business Owners are not always experts at all aspects of their business. I am there to help them with those parts that are crucial but not their core business: the compliance, the articles or web-copy, the blurb for the brochure, advice on structuring and strategic planning…I ask a lot of questions and this is often just what a client needs to get the jumps start they need to get to where they want to be.
What makes your product/service/business different?
I very strongly believe that every business is unique and individual. As a result, I ask a lot of questions and actually listen to the responses – there are no templates or off-the-shelf responses from ESD Professionals! I make use of my many years of experience to help clients steer their businesses away from risks that can be avoided and prepare as far as possible for those that can’t. On the more creative side, I add a “personal touch” to ensure that the uniqueness of the client is clear and evident.
Why do you do what you do?
I have a passion for doing the right thing and I love helping people develop and grow… My consultancy is a way of using my experience, skills and talents to help others get things right and realise their visions.
What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner & how did you overcome it?
Major bouts of lack of self-confidence has been my biggest challenge as a woman in business and then as a solo-entrepreneur … I have worked through the bouts by following Dory’s mantra of “keep on swimming” and eventually usually feel a bit silly for having lacked the confidence in the first place! But I know that I am not alone in this challenge, especially with fellow women in business. So, wherever possible, I hope to help others find the reasons to gain their own confidence as I have done with progressive success over the last few years. It helps to find what you are really passionate about and keep the focus on that. And keep on swimming!
What advice would you give other business women, either starting out or already in business?
In a nutshell, be authentically you with confidence and passion. And never be afraid to ask for help!
What would you do differently if you could start your business again?
The evolving of my business has been so closely linked to my own personal growth that I don’t think it would have the true authenticity that it has now if I did things differently to begin with. I know what I need to do differently going forward though: be assertive of the authentic me and the services I offer.
What’s next for you and your business? What’s your big dream/goal?
Now that I have taken the plunge and had my personal branding shoot with AbigailK Photography, I have no excuse not to put myself “out there” with my authentically me brand and offering. My goal is to be known for helping clients capture their unique essence, whether it is through ensuring that they are compliant within their industry, or creating copy that tells their true story to their clients, or something in between.
Why did you need a photo shoot?
The “excuse” for having the photo shoot was a desperate need to obtain decent photos of myself for online marketing… The true authentic reason was to “prove” to myself that with an authentic photographer behind the camera the true authentic me could actually be depicted in a photograph… the bonus turned out to be that I actually look pretty good in the resulting authentic photos!
What was your expectation for the photo shoot?
I knew that I would at least have some professionally taken photos of myself that I could use for my branding. I was hoping that I would get a bit of a confidence boost in the process.
What was your expectation for your images?
I had a sneak peek at some of the images during the shoot and was pleasantly surprised that they actually looked pretty good! When Abigail sent the first sample I was very happy with the result, but also kept of thinking that the sample must be the best of the bunch… the final images exceeded all my expectations, by miles!!!