#31DaysofBiz | Rae Images

About the Biz

Get to Know: Rae Images

Rae Images is a boutique photography studio specializing in business headshots and branding photography. We partner with entrepreneurs and corporate professionals looking to create their professional brand from scratch or revamp an existing brand. We also serve growing businesses as an extension of their corporate brand.

We take a fun, and very engaging approach to the photoshoot experience, which helps our clients feel more relaxed and confident. By helping our clients put their best face forward, we empower them to better connect with new customers and opportunities.

We currently serve the Greater Charlotte region, the Southeast, and are available for domestic and international assignments.

As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?

One of the things I love most about Charlotte is the plethora of resources and support networks available to small business owners.

  • Business Sorority, an innovative network for businesswomen and female entrepreneurs, was the first network I joined after starting my business. Through Business Sorority’s various leadership and professional development opportunities, I have not only grown as a leader but have found a tribe of other female business owners who have been tremendous support as I navigate the entrepreneurial journey.
  • I also invested in The Woman’s Advantage, an international business coaching program for women entrepreneurs at various career levels. Through this program, I have gained greater clarity on the direction of my business and how to better share my brand story with clients and prospects.
  • eWomen Network is a national network for women entrepreneurs, whose mission is to help one million female entrepreneurs achieve one million dollars. My involvement with eWomen’s local and national events and their Platinum Member coaching programs have expanded my vision of what is possible for my business and has given me greater insight on how to grow and scale my business to the next level.
  • Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO),  an international network of women CEO’s, Presidents, and Managing Directors of multi-million dollar companies, has allowed me to cultivate relationships with well-established entrepreneurs in the Greater Charlotte and Raleigh regions. Although I am not yet a member, I met my mentor Camisha Farris, CEO of Anointed Flooring through WPO. Camisha was the first person to introduce me to Charlotte Business Resources and the available resources for small business owners through the City of Charlotte. Through Charlotte Business Resources, I also learned about Charlotte Business Inclusion, which played an instrumental role in helping me obtain my Small Business Enterprise certification.

Additional networks and resources that have contributed to my business’ growth include:

What has been the biggest lesson learned during your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you used that to grow your business?

One of the biggest lessons I have learned during my entrepreneurial journey is you CANNOT do it alone. Taking your business to the next level will require leveraging additional resources and relationships beyond current expertise. Professional networking groups and local resources like Charlotte Business Resources are critical to the growth of small businesses and the entrepreneurial community.

 

 

What tips can you give up-and-coming professional photographers in Charlotte?

My three tips are (1) master your craft, (2) find your niche and commit to it, and (3) learn the basics of business:

1. In the beginning, learn as much as you can to master the technical aspects of your craft. Also, take advantage of local classes offered at centers like The Light Factory and online classes like Creative Live.

2. Many photographers fear they’ll lose business by focusing on one or two genres of photography – Nothing could be further from the truth. The more defined your focus, the more value and expertise you will be able to offer your clients and the more your clients will trust you and refer business to you.

3. Managing and growing a business can feel very challenging, especially when first starting out. Being a business owner requires a very different skill set than what is required to be a freelance photographer. I encourage all new business owners, and aspiring business owners, to read The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, and invest in a business coach or coaching program.

Many dream of taking their passion and turning it into a business. Can you tell our readers about what that process was like for you?

I started working as a freelance photographer while working in corporate America. I worked nights and weekends for years before officially launching Rae Images in 2012. I didn’t know that I wanted to do photography full-time, but once I made that discovery, I started making several lifestyle changes. I transitioned from a full-time position to long-term contract projects. I took a significant decrease in income, but contract roles offered me more time and flexibility to focus on growing my business. I made a lot of sacrifices, and continue to make sacrifices; however, few things compare to being able to do what you love every day and live out your purpose.

 

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