Transcript: Media Wisdom Interview Part 2 (Max#8)

Welcome to the transcript of the second inspiring interview (Max#8) with Media Wisdom Photography, motivating people to start their own business. In this interview, Abi gives excellent advice for small business owners sharing her understanding of successful management styles inspiring and educating others to reach their goals in becoming high achievers.

Kevin: Welcome back to the Maximise Potential podcast, the podcast which enables you to maximise your career, business, and life potential by listening to a range of motivating interviews.

Hello and welcome back to episode eight of the Maximise Potential podcast. Today’s interview is a follow-up from our previous episode where we interviewed award-winning photographer Giles Christopher. Today’s interview is with his business partner and one at the focus of our interview is orientated around building a successful business with a saturated marketplace which is exactly the marketplace that media wisdom operate within.

Interview today is packed with excellent advice for small business owners to help them maximise their customer opportunities as well as anti-sharing so much of what she has learned in business of the last nine years.

So I’m sitting down again with our team from Media Wisdom who we had the pleasure of interviewing one half of which was Giles and our last episode. The interesting thing was that throughout the interview it became very very apparent that Giles although a great photographer, a national award-winning photographer, had absolutely nothing to do with running the day-to-day aspects of the business.

In actual fact,Abi, his better half, actively discouraged him from touching any elements of the business. So if I would be wise to sit down this time with Abi, so hello Abi.

Abi: Hello, Kevin!

Kevin: And we’re going to talk business today.

Abi: No antecdotes.

Kevin: We’re not going to talk film history, or Memphis Belle or any of that. We’re going to get down to the nitty-gritty about starting your own business and about maximising its potential. As a small or medium-size enterprise.

Abi: Yes, very fun.

Kevin: That’s what we’re going to talk about today. So Abi, why don’t you tell us what it was like to start media wisdom from a business perspective.

Abi: I don’t think nine years ago I had any idea from a business perspective. We based it on arrogance and ignorance. . We both come from very successful film industry backgrounds and careers and we decided that life had been taken up by other people’s demands and it was time to make a change. So we got together and made a list of all of our strong points, what we could do and we couldn’t do, and decided that we could offer a good photographic service.

I worked as an assistant for my dad and I was practically brought up in a photographic studio. Giles started his career as a stills photographer and the mood in the movies. I paused on the production side so I can organize people, talk to clients, obviously I still keep Giles away from clients because he doesn’t… so we combine our strengths and we thought, we can do this. And the arrogance part was because we are from the film industry and you think that everybody loves you and everyone will do everything for you and everyone is fascinated with what you’ve done.

Kevin: It is funny because Giles spoke about the same existence and the film industry that must have made you immune to the outside world.

Abi: And if you’re filming somewhere, you think that you can stop the world. You can stop traffic and you saw people going into their homes because you’re filming somewhere. So that was the arrogance part. It was ignorance because I didn’t have a business brain at all.

Kevin: I was going to ask you that because it sounds like you know anything about the physical aspect of the business.

Abi: I didn’t. I was always freelance, and Giles was always freelance and my parents were always freelance so I have always been brought up in that world. I’ve never had a proper full time job is in a way, the business side of it was almost based on freelance experience. I’ve always gone and I can set up a production office and the team and I can get a lot of people that write and it’s nice files in order and that’s what we’re basing our business on. There was no real business there at all in the beginning. It was as I said, arrogance and ignorance.

Kevin: What was the quickest thing you had to learn on the first day of saying that this is our business and we are responsible for bringing in income which is going to pay our mortgage. What was the steepest learning curve that you had to go through?

Abi: putting a value on our common experience and talking to people from business link. We didn’t know anyone there ran her business at that time. Our world was freelance people so that was a really steep learning curve. It was funny people that have businesses that we could talk to and get help from. The most important thing we got so close to value your time and value your experience at the right price on it. We are starting you think, oh I can possibly chargeback, and that was a really big mistake. You have to work out and break down what the outgoings are per month and therefore what you have to charge to hit that target each month so that they came like a money game. The figures game.

Kevin: And that was the first reality check I imagine. You’re thinking “Oh we will run this really creative business will take lots of sexy pictures” into actually, no, this has to pay the bills.

Abi: Yes it has to pay the bills and there is a lot of down time doing the research especially when you’re starting up. You’ve got to do the research. into what your clients are going to be. And it’s just like “wham” there you are.

We have both been used to putting an invoice in and getting paid at the end of two weeks or months for the following week or something so to then sit there and not be paid… while you’re researching. We had to do something very quick. Giles was still doing bits of pieces in commercial and filming which was great.

Production-wise I had to step away from it because when I was in production you would give up your life for six months or a year or however long production was. It wasn’t something I could pop back in and out of, I had to leave it completely. That was really hard to leave that because I was doing very well. So I actually put all of that aside. Hopping in and out of taxis became a bus pass.

Kevin: There were probably sacrifices had to be made. Going back to the reality of those first few months of running Media Wisdom how did you find, suddenly, going up to people and saying “this is how much I need to charge you for this.” And then physically asking for the money afterwards. Because I can imagine that for someone going into business for the very first time, having to suddenly ask for money, justify money, that must be one of the hardest steps to go through when you are going from an employee perspective.

Abi: Yes it is really hard, but what we do is quote first and you have to have the confidence or the arrogance that I had that this is what we are worth, this is our quote for that job, and that is the amount they’ve got it down.

Kevin: Is that mindset you have to tell yourself? I think that’s worth explaining a bit more because I think that confidence or arrogance whichever way you look at it, must be one of the toughest things that anybody going into business for themselves and they’re waking up it is only themselves that they have got to answer to this whole thing. It’s only themselves they can bring in and pay the mortgage, and your confidence to take a knocking.

Abi: I was always used to doing budgets for commercials and films and dramas. You get the budget together and send it off to the client or the agent and it would either be approved or negotiated. So I was sort of used to that. I was expecting things to be negotiated on. When we started, Kevin, honestly our portfolio was so bad and what we got away with was awful stuff. That was nine years ago. Thank goodness our clients have stuck with us, there must’ve been something that we are offering at the time.

Kevin: So what do you think that was?

Abi: Um, maybe it was confidence. I knew that what Giles could offer in photography was better than things I have seen before. We first talked about setting up the business I had seen his show reel as a cameraman and it was outstanding. And I have seen lots of cameraman reels and director photography reels that wanted to light for commercials, and I was working commercials, so I knew that was pretty special. And I seen his stills, and and his stills are all over the place. They weren’t focused at all but they were still something about them that you thought, this is amazing.

And, in my previous life producing for commercials you would work with a director who you admire and you supported and you would go into agencies and say, my director can do that with absolutely no problem at all. This is the quote, let’s have a meeting, and it worked. So I kind of took that mindset through with me so that even though running a business was new to me, I carried everything I had learned so that it wasn’t a complete life change, it was all my experience from before.

Kevin: You are pulling all that experience in to a new venture.

Abi: Absolutely! That was my strength. I can’t take a photograph, even having a dad is a photographer and a husband who is a photographer. I know I can’t go because they’re both brilliant. My dad is brilliant. So saying there was something there and really pushing that. I think that people felt safe.

Kevin: I was going to say it sounds to me that the important thing you are emphasizing here that is if you have confidence in the product. The product in this case is Giles.
Abi: Yeah, a big blonde boy! [laughing]

Kevin: That’s right! If you’ve got confidence in that, that gave you the confidence to go out and sell.

Abi: In the beginning, Kevin, I was phoning up all sorts of people. I was sitting there at the computer and would say today I’m going to look at websites that are bars or restaurants. Because we were working from home at that time and you know how to sharpen your not on the high street and there is no passing trade or anything, I turned around and said that I could look at their shops, their websites and see the quality of photography they had. If I thought it was bad, I would phone them.

When I was finally get through from the receptionist to the marketing manager, and speak to the marketing manager, asked them to look at our website which was awful… awful! And then they would go okay that is lovely come in for a meeting. So we would go into a meeting with some shops that were slowly built up of places that we knew. And we stuck with things that we knew so we could build up a portfolio. I would get a meeting and maybe it was her confidence, but we would get the jobs.

Kevin: So let’s talk about that a little bit more because I’m very keen to understand. We launched this business, it is an intangible service. You do from your own home, you didn’t have a shop in a high-traffic location. You’re in a marketplace that is already saturated with a whole range of different photographers who are all offering relatively speaking similar services. Your and potentially what is a high-cost market as well because what you offer is not just going down the road and buying a widget or a mug or whatever. You’re asking people to part with hundreds of pounds. How did you actually go about marketing yourself.

Abi: Arrogance. Stupidity. I don’t know. I guess I would just go and look and I thought we could do better I would donate contact with the company. It really snowballs because if you get one you get a handball and it really just snowfalls from there. You’ve got to grab the opportunity.

The first meeting we had I remember was with a company called massive pubs that were local to us. 40 pubs they had around London. We got in to see them and they said well, we’ll do one of as a test and if you like what we have done that will quote you to do the rest of them. We did the test and I loved it. The budget was absolutely fine and we put it in, under budgeted and under quoted probably, but that set us up. So we were then known by the marketing manager and the MD there. We work for them for over three years because every time I bought a new pub we would go into all the interiors and the staff photos and all sorts of things so we grew with them in a way.

And then having those photos, I felt more confident to go to other groups and restaurants and say that we have done these, we can do that. How about we do that for you? So the next one was then, Warren House.

Kevin: That’s in Kingston, isn’t it?

Abi: Kingston had a fabulous conference venue and hotel that was our second client nine years ago and we are going back there this morning to do a video shoot with them. We have worked with them ever since and they’re fantastic. We always aimed high. Warren House is absolutely beautiful and we just got in at the right time because we had these photos from Massive and we showed we could do a long-term job. And he gave us so much more confidence. It was a fantastic company to work with. As we got to know them over the week, asking questions, like what they did and what they liked and what worked for them, we could then offer them other things.

So nine years we have been working with them doing their staff and their food and we do their events for them. Today is a video about their gardens because the gardens are beautiful! That was our idea.

Kevin: So you’ve touched on a few things. I’ll try and go back over them and you can explain each one because I think they are all important for business owner who is just launching a business.

You setup a portfolio. Your portfolio is your testimonial in effect. Talk to me about that. How important is that to you as a marketing tool?

Abi: It is invaluable and I’ve learned so much about how to set one up over the years. In the beginning the photos were almost something you can buy in any art shop. You just shove the print in there. At the time people seem to accept that. Now the portfolio is huge. It is mounted, and it shows the quality and it is really important when you are charging the amount of money that we do, you have to show the quality of the work. People almost, with photography, a lot of people can’t understand the amount of experience, training, and insurance that they are buying into.

What they can see is the finished result. People want results and they want that result. If they’ve seen that result in your portfolio, they will buy into you. So a portfolio is really hard because you almost have to cover everything. You don’t know what picture is going to connect with somebody. The portfolio has got to show quality, it has got to show the you are versatile. Obviously, if you’re going into something that is just food we just change the portfolio according to who we are going to see.

So we do a lot of research into who we are saying first and what they are looking for.

Kevin: That is very important so let’s talk a little bit more about that.

Abi: It’s moved on a little bit now so that I don’t have to look… go through websites and look for clients now. Our clients are fantastic and word-of-mouth is how we get work. Lots of people just to the website will see the work. But when we do get a call, then I will research and that call about who they are and what they want and have tried to train Giles into listening first and then present a portfolio.

Because we know what the client wants from our initial meeting,if we have the portfolio wrong or there is something in it that is particularly great that we should show first,then what we can brush over the not quite as strong points. This is something that you might be interested in! So is listening first.

Kevin: And that to me is a lesson that is universal, although you’re using it to Taylor and customize your portfolio to show to people, I would imagine that the process would be the same whether you’re going in and trying to sell a website design or PR services, or guest speaker services or whatever the business is that you’re trying to organize, show what you’re trying to sell.

Abi: Definitely! We had a girl that is a virtual PA, through a networking group and she’d already done her research on me. By chance, we were sitting next to each other and I had no idea who as she was. She said, “Abi, you’re the reason I’m here.” And she knew all about so I was impressed. Hopefully that is the way the people see us as well, that you do feel comfortable to do understand the client. As we work with them, because we work with people long term, you know that, you get to know them more and you can suggest things.

We like to think that we work with clients by giving them things that they might not have thought of. The video today, Warren House hadn’t thought of. And it is great that they say yeah that is brilliant!

Kevin: And that is the bit you begin to touch on as well is to say that what you are doing initial work with someone, it develops.

Abi: Yes, it is just listening. And as you said I think it is important for any business. Just to listen. Because you could miss something that can be an opportunity for you. And if you don’t grab that, it is gone. In his listening and following things up and coming up with ideas for people. Because that shows that you’re good at what you do, no matter what business you’re in. I think that we are very good at what we do photography wise we are excellent even though I don’t do it.

Kevin: [laughing]

Abi: Just offering up ideas, and sending out information. We’ve done this. Newsletters work really well for us. Although my writing is not very strong the pictures are, so you send that one out to clients. Keep the contact in the connection all the time with every business that you’re in. Keep the connection with the clients because that can be passed on to somebody else.

With the newsletter, is great because you can see who is opened it and who has passed it on but the best bet about sending information out is the information you get back. And working with that… it’s priceless! We would get someone going “oh, I saw that on her newsletter. We’ve just been doing this…” or “we have been working with these psychics for a while” and I could tell them that another client of mine was working with the psychic as well. So we have a connection and we chat about it. It is not generated any work in that way but it has strengthened the relationship.

Kevin: Interesting!

Abi: And that is really important to again listen, find out what they’re doing, see if there is a connection anyway, rather than just “I’m not interested.” Listening is the main thing.

Kevin: Let’s just recap a little bit because you’ve touched on some good points for any new business owner. We’ve talked about the fact that opening the door for the first time a lot of it is going in with strong complements, and a strong belief. And really feeling is that you can deliver a quality product to them.

Abi: Yes, and you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t think you did, would you? You wouldn’t go in willy-nilly. You should quantify the reason why you want to go into business.

Kevin: I think that is easier said than done.

Abi: Really?

Kevin: From the people I’ve spoken to, people go into business with a concept or a raw idea that I probably desire they want to work for themselves which is stronger than the desire that they want to do something specific, if that makes sense. A lot of them just want to escape working for someone else. They think about working for themselves, it can lead to a greater future and they can have control over their lives. But they don’t necessarily qualify actually what they’re going to do and how they’re going to make money out of it.

I think that is why I keep coming back asking this question because you actually sat down and did the raw sounds. You took the creative side out of it and the hobby side out of it and he looked at the sheer basics and ask how you can pay the mortgage. And what sacrifices do we have to make in the short-term and order to make this a business to actually survive initially and then florist.

Abi: [indiscernible]

Kevin: In the harsh reality it is.

Abi: But do something you enjoy doing. It’s surprising when you put it like that.

Kevin: I think that is why so many startup businesses go out of business first 12 months. Because people do not put a structured plan in place. You said the first thing you did was go and look for advice at business link and try to find other people that ran their own businesses just to get it a business plan in place. Even mentally in mind as to what you have to do.

This is where a lot of people struggle initially. So, tangible product, confidence in product and a clearly defined product. That is stage one. The second thing you spoke about was when you get a client, maximise that client. Really get to know them. Ask questions. See where the relationship can go.

Abi: Definitely.

Kevin: And research. You spoke about that we spoke about the listening. Then he began to touch on the next stage of it which is, how does business grow? You spoke about networking, referrals, and ongoing communication that you feel stimulates that. Talk a bit more about that. How does someone grow a small business?

Abi: Whenever I go to a photographic seminar or business school with photography… last year I was in one and there were about 400 people and their potential photographers. The first question is a hand goes up and someone asked how to get their first client, or customers. You think “Oh, gosh..” There isn’t an answer. Again it goes back to confidence and listening and grabbing opportunities. Taken care of the customer even if you just have one customer that could lead on for five or six as it has for us.

For example, with Massive Pubs, we had that for three years and he sold that business. It’d done very well and the marketing manager moved on and she took us with her as her photographer. She then went to various different companies and every company she went, it was like a bee… each of those companies we got to know, they got to like us and the next person who took over for her kept us on as their photographer. And then she would go on to the next company.

But that only happens when your customer service is right. When you listen, and when they want you, and when you are giving them more than they have asked for. They love you and you’re giving them results.

Kevin: Talk to me about giving them more than they’ve asked for.

Abi: When your small business you can do that. With a big business, decision-making takes forever but in a small company you are the boss and you can make those decisions quickly. A lot of times we might run over eight hours or the five hour half day and you just do it because you want to give the client a good job. You do because you have taken the job on so for you, you want the job to be the best that you can give that person. That’s the decision you’ve made. If we didn’t want to do it, we wouldn’t do it. So it is an interesting job with interesting clients. You go in and work until it’s done. You just think, we’ve got to do this because it would not make us look good… but it will pay off. You make a decision what’s going to do the best for you.

Early on, we had a call from a company in Portugal who had spent their marketing budget on video and then realized they didn’t have any stills. We had been recommended by a strange route, a friend of Giles. So they were offering us a week in Portugal, for no money, and I want all of these photographs taken. You think at that point, what are we going to do? We are trying to set up here. I went okay, if we don’t have to put our hands on pockets at all for that week, that’s fine and will take the shots for you and it was the best decision we ever made.

So we went over to Portugal and had a week over there and didn’t have to pay for anything they organize all the flights and then gave us another week where we took the children out and had a villa there for a week all paid for. And we’ve been going back to Portugal ever since to do the job and the Madeira when they had another resort in Madeira which was paid at this time. So we did a shot in Madeira for them. That initial decision, do we do this, and yes we do it, it was a risk. We could make that because we were small. We did get something out of it. You kind of make sure that there is something in it for you.

Kevin: Sure.

Abi: It is something I have learned is to always make sure there’s something in it for you.

Kevin: Because otherwise people won’t value the service that you are giving them.

Abi: Exactly. You have to be valued. They knew that we were doing them a favor and they looked after us and we’ve been doing business with them & so we got something from that. We gave them more than they wanted as well. We were doing it for nothing anyway, but we gave them a lot of images. The resort was covered, villas were covered, the food was covered, their team was covered. So does payoff to give that little bit extra. There is always something extra. In photography, there is always something extra whether it is extra time, photographs, a different look, something that you might try. And then offer that up in the client might like it.

In any business, if you are thinking about what you can offer is a little something you got up your sleeve, not just a pen with a company name on it. If you have something up her sleeve you know is going to add value to your service, that is fantastic. Keep that up your sleeve and use it. That client will really appreciate it. Peoples time, the value of someone’s time to come in and have a chat about something, it’s fantastic. You just really value that. We value that, we value people’s time.

If you are starting up a business and you are thinking, what can I have up my sleeve that can be that bit of extra customer service or you go into any shopping have a good customer service, you might end up buying all the things in all different colors because you have a good customer service person. You hear it in business that “people buy from people.”

Kevin: Yeah, let’s talk about that.

Abi: I think coming out of recession as well it really has come into its own. People do buy from people. Even big companies struggled and went under. A lot of big companies were maybe charging a lot more than medium-size companies that would give the same service, if not better because it was their passion and their business. It was their “baby”. As a client you would get lost in a huge machine. So I think as people come out of the recession and as people are looking for suppliers and service providers they want to be working with someone who were on the same wavelength.

People are scared to make an investment with someone where they might just be lost or be a number. They want to learn more and they want the process to be enjoyable. They want to be talked through the process. We did take what we’ve done for granted. We have a studio, this is the first studio that I had ever worked in 20 years ago for commercials and I feel very at home here. I have to remind myself that when we have corporate clients coming here I have to talk them through the process. Because this is out of their comfort zone. Being in front of a camera, and being vulnerable is out of their comfort zone completely and you have to hold people’s hands through that.

I think in any business if you hold your clients hand through whatever process they have come to you for, you need to respect that person for coming to you in the first place and you got to think, they have come to me for a reason. So that person deserves a lot of care and a lot of attention and a lot of the time because they’ve come to you because I don’t know how to do it themselves.

So, looking after people and giving them a time as I think why people buy from people. They make that connection and yes I do a lot of networking and there are people that I might not want to connect to, whom I have it connected to for whatever reason, you’ll have to connect with everybody. But the person you do connect with is the person that you need to nurture and look after. So people buying from people, is really strong and it’s really important in business.

It’s important not to hide behind anybody. You’ve got to put yourself out there and be the connection that the receptionist knows, the accounts department knows, because that all helps getting the next job and being paid on time. Getting a response back from the client if you need something and needed an answer urgently from them, people buy from people is just so important and have to look after people.

Kevin: It sounds like that is one of the strengths but the essence of a small or medium-size enterprise.

Abi: I would say so, yes. And we also work with small or medium-size enterprises because we like working with those people.

Kevin: Because you can breach that personal level with them.

Abi: Exactly and you can see them grow and take on new experiences working with us. We push people and challenge people and we get challenged! Is just the two of us in media wisdom but we have suppliers that we work with as a team. We have printers and framers and when we are working with a lot of fine restaurants, that team was really strong. We couldn’t on it without that team.

Kevin: As a small business were not just dealing with this philosophy as a forward direction where you’re talking about just the customers, but from a back restriction is where where you have the supplier infrastructure behind you that is crucial to help you deliver.

Abi: Yes! Buildup that team and that is where networking is important. You don’t just pull up the team with the first person you speak to but through the years you learn what you need. That is what people’s websites change so dramatically. It might change to the years when you realize what you’ve got to offer. That changes. If you stick in the same place, you won’t grow. You have to keep changing, moving on, listening and seeing what is going to help you as a business.

Kevin: Next year, you guys celebrate a decade in business! That is an amazing feat for a small business considering how many as the said earlier go out of business on the first year. Let’s try and sort of summarize a few points now:

ï?· For someone looking to start up a new business, what is the most important lesson that you have learned over this last decade? You would say this is the most important thing to help you survive initially.

Abi: Back to listening, it is important. And value your time and the experience they’ve got. Don’t be wishy-washy about it. Networking, for me, has really helped. Not in going out and getting clients, but for the people I have met I have met a fantastic business coach. My weakness was knowing business. I think when you recognize your own business and fill the holes almost… so I met a fantastic business coach named Christina Jackson who works with Action Coach. She is top of the game and works with all sorts of size businesses. She is a bit of a business bully but I love her! She is brilliant.

And when I found out that she did evening workshops, that were more cost-effective, because when you’re starting out you can have your own business coach. It is a fortune. But she had looked into that as well, so she was doing bite-size workshops but the smaller business can afford. Genius!

Kevin: Say you actually go out and be among the small business owners.

Abi: Exactly! So that helps, not to find clients but Angel. She was brilliant and puts everything into focus. Having someone who knows business will help you focus what you’re doing so you’re not off all sorts of things, so the balls are not all over the place they’re kind of contained. It is exhausting. There is only seven days a week. There are only so many hours that you can work. And you have to be earning money in those hours. And enjoying it, most importantly.

So get help, find your weaknesses and get help to block those weaknesses and make you stronger. Make what you are presenting stronger. Have great suppliers that know what the situation is and understand you. And work with you to make you look good. Those are the important things. Find people that can help you and have a good team around you.

Kevin: Excellent.

Abi: And listen to what the next opportunity is going to be. Does that help? Does that make sense?

Kevin: And talking on a personal level, most people start their own small businesses because they want to have control over their own life. For most of the conversations I’ve had with the people that suffered a major factor, and for you going into business for yourself, how you feel about your life now going on 10 years comparing it to when you were back in the film industry, what is different now?

Abi: Oh, Kevin, it was such a glamorous life. 10 years ago I was really happy!

Kevin: Hang on, “cut!” That wasn’t the right answer.

Abi: You learn so…..You are always learning. 10 years ago in the film industry, you are always learning. Freelance is a different world, but you are still working on someone else’s agenda: timesheet, scale… you are making them look good. And you’re working from six in the morning until midnight ridiculous hours and thinking why? And people in the industry think well I can’t do anything else will have to keep taking it. But you can do something else, you really can.

The more you start thinking about doing something else, that’s one thing, but then you start talking about it. You start mentioning to people that you’re going to go and set up your own business but that is going to be better. We’re going to have control of our lives! We’re going to do this. You can either make people go “well it’s not going to work,” or “well I wish I could do that.” But you have to go with the positives. When people say that they wish that they could do that you should tell them well I can and I’m going to do that. You’ve always got people who make excuses and bring you down because deep down they might want to have done it and they missed the boat and they’re not doing it.

So start thinking about and then start talking about it. And then when you start talking about it, people start going well out that someone who might be interested to talk to you about that if you are doing photography. When I left the film industry, I was just doing some temp work for counsel. I was thinking I was just here a couple days a week to earn some money while we were setting up a photography company. We then did all the photography for that company’s website. Just by talking about and letting people know what you’re doing and having the confidence…

Also another really good thing is don’t be afraid to say no or that you’re busy. I was temping, but when a client called up and said “are you busy?” I wasn’t afraid to say that no I couldn’t do it because I was busy. Now I really am busy! We schedule out til July or August and hopefully they’re thinking, “They’re busy. I want to be with that busy person.”

Aim high and to be surrounded by people who are also aiming high that will push you. And you’ll be in the right frame of mind, the right group of people that will push you. They will also encourage you and link you to other like-minded people. Don’t get stuck and local, but think big. Again, it goes back to your growing. Never forget that you are growing and you might grow out of something. We grew out of local networking and when I stepped away from that, bigger things happened.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but don’t be afraid to move on either. Know that you’re aiming high and aimed for bigger. And go for it. Don’t be afraid to leave those people behind because they’re only going to pull you down. You just have to think clearer and the clouds will clear and all these other clichés. But just aim for what you want.

Kevin: Is that how you on a personal and professional level maximise your own potential?

Abi: Yes, I have always aimed high. In commercials and television I’ve always worked with the best directors and the best producers. And when I wasn’t, and it was time to leave and move on. Now we work with great clients. Kevin, when you come out of the film industry, or maybe come out of the corporate world, you’re in this bubble. You don’t know what else is outside that bubble.

When you do what we do, or when you are starting up your small or medium-size business. You have the opportunity to learn what other people do. What other businesses do. It is so refreshing. It is so brilliant and refreshing. You’re learning about people that do all sorts of bizarre things like the life of a chimney sweep because you’re photographing them. You want to find out what they do and what their aspirations are. There was a chimney sweep we worked with. His aim is to work for the Royal household so he has to have a website that is good enough to be picked up for those people. So he is working for the national trust and huge houses so we photographed him cleaning these enormous chimneys. So he could put those on his website and grow. He didn’t want to stick with domestic. So he has to invest a bit of time and money and having the best photographs. So he made that investment and he is doing very well. So he has pushed himself and he is going for what his agenda was and so many of our clients do that.

Kevin: I think we have covered some excellent advice for new business owners. Like I said, you guys are a success story in your own right which probably you don’t get the chance to actually look back and really consider for yourselves. But you are going to celebrate a decade in business next year.

Abi: It is quite cathartic going through that thing you said. It is good I did that.

Kevin: You really should sort of take stock at times and say we really have come an awful long way. And, on that note, I think we will draw everything to a close. I would like to thank you for your time on this nice sunny Friday morning and I hope you have a great shoot today at Warren house over in Kingston.

Abi: Thank you Kevin! That was lovely and thanks for your time and listening to me “waffle!” [laughing]

Kevin: It was great; thanks Abi!

Thank you once again for tuning into the Maximise Potential podcast, podcast to help you maximise your career business and life potential. While I think of it, I also want to let you know of our forthcoming episodes. As well as our regular update from UK triathlete hopeful Eliot Cole. We have been lucky enough to record a three part interview series with record breaking polar explorer Pen Hadow, the only explorer to ever have walked solo and without resupplying to the North Pole. The feat is compared to climbing Mount Everest without oxygen. In his interviews, Pen tells us his story explaining the physical and mental battles that he confronted in order to achieve this incredible goal.

Please remember, you’re more than welcome to post questions and suggests interviews to us by connecting with us at Twitter or on Facebook and you can find links to both of these on our website at And finally a quick thank you as always to our sponsors the Jenrick Recruitment Group and Xerxes Music. And on that note, we’re going to leave you with a track from his selected works Volume III album today which is a track called “Fall.”

[music to end]

We hope you enjoyed viewing the final transcript of this second part interview. The next podcast (Max#9) we’ll be following more inspiring people including Elliott Cole in his diary update of his triathlete training motivating others to maximise triathlon success.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!