Episode 178 – This Hair & Make-Up Artist Started a Photography Business. Here’s What Happened.

Hair & Make-Up Artist Started a Photography Business

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Sarah Petty: Krystina Siwinski had been working as a hair and makeup artist for 20 years, and she realized it wasn’t sustainable for the next 25.

So photography became her new goal.

She hasn’t even been in business a whole year, yet she got her first $1,500 order before our program Boutique Breakthrough was even over.

Krystina, welcome.

I’m so stoked that you are here to share your story.

Start with what photography has looked like in your business.

What is your backstory?

Krystina: I bought my first camera in July of last year.

I haven’t really even been in business for six months yet.

I knew I didn’t want to do anything for free as a photographer and I wasn’t doing mini sessions.

My husband and I started talking about what my future looks like.

I just couldn’t handle hair and makeup because my hands, feet and back were killing me.

So I wanted to make a change.

We started doing research and the truth of the matter is that the average photographer makes like $30,000 a year and I wasn’t going to leave my job to make less money with a new career. 

I started doing lots of research and then eventually came up with you and found Boutique Breakthrough.

Sarah: So hair and makeup is a great career and you can make really good money doing that.

And you have flexibility so you can kind of create your own hours, but it is physically demanding.

You’re on your feet all day long.

I love that you had a business background.

Were you working for someone else in the salon or was it your own business?

Krystina: Kind of both.

I work in the salon and I rent my booth.

Currently, I still work Monday through Wednesday in the salon.

Thursday and Friday are completely dedicated to my photography business right now.

Saturdays, I’m doing my brides for bridal hair and makeup.

I’m in the hustle, but it’s with the future of being a full-time photographer by next year.

Sarah: You also understand from having done this, that if you don’t keep clients coming back, you’re not going to be booked.

So I love that you kind of have that background of seeing that you’re a hunter.

Krystina: Yeah.

I built my bridal hair and makeup business.

I understand how hard it is to build a business because it took me five years to build that business.

I made a ton of mistakes and it cost me a lot of money.

Sarah: So going into photography you wanted to know how to do it right the first time around and how can I do it quickly.

Is that what you were thinking?

Krystina: Exactly.

How can I fast track my success?

Sarah: Got it.

And you have a supportive husband?

Krystina: Phil is so good, and at the same time he’s not really my back pocket person.

He is realistic and didn’t think I could make that much money in a short amount of time.

I’m that kind of person who’s like, I can do it.

I don’t really care what other people think.

I’m going to make it happen.

I don’t know if you want me to tell you what my biggest struggle is, but my biggest struggle is all the technical stuff, like learning how to use my camera and the software to edit and all of that.

I’m here to speak to all the people that have a hard time with all the technical skills because I’m there.

I literally just had a moment this morning ordering something and I was like, I need to take a break.

I need to go do something and then I’ll come back to this because I need to refocus.

Sarah: If you sit and wait to do it until you have perfect technical skills, you’ll never do it.

You just have to figure it out because maybe someone’s ordered a print, the big print that you’ve never ordered before and you have to figure out how to do it, but you’re getting paid to learn, which I love.

How did you come across our program and me?

Krystina: You popped up on my Facebook and on my Instagram.

It was a no-brainer.

I attended your event, Go Boutique Live, where I watched for a few days and it honestly just made so much sense.

Sarah: So you wanted to jump into my program and learn.

How do you make that decision?

Krystina: Full disclosure, I did not entirely tell everything to my husband.

It was a little bit later that he finally found out.

But I was ready to do it and I had money set aside for it.

I did not have all the money but I said, I’m going to put in what I’m going to make enough to pay for the program.

Sarah: And you get investing because to do hair and makeup, you had to invest in that.

Krystina: You do lots of education.

My kit itself is probably worth five grand.

And how do you get that?

You work on it every few months, you’re adding more things to your kit, you’re taking things out.

You’re finding the things that work for you and what doesn’t work.

And I mean, realistically, that happens in every single career you’re in.

And it’s happening here too.

But with the help of the community, I’ve been able to focus on what really works.

Instead of me having to order samples from 50 different labs, I can see what other people are producing and I can say, oh, I really like that lab.

Sarah: So you got in, and I love that you’d been in business not even a couple months.

I mean, you were more just pondering it, and so you really got this education when you were basically new.

You hadn’t spent years doing a bunch of stuff.

What is that like to go through, especially with your background, having been a business person.

I know you have those skills because you have to, right?

What was it like to go through a completely different business program?

Krystina: To be entirely honest, for me, it was very daunting, especially at the beginning.

It’s just such a landslide of information.

I was just completely overwhelmed at the beginning, and I definitely had moments like I did this morning like, am I going to be able to do this?

For me, I’ve found that what works is when I get really overwhelmed, I go and do housework.

I take a break and I clean the bathroom, or I clean the kitchen, and then I come back and I can do this now.

When I was creating my price list, again, the technical stuff, I couldn’t figure out how to upload things and how to move things around and where are my pictures.

When I was doing all those things, it was really hard.

Sarah: How does it feel looking back on it now.

Because now you have your price list done and all that hard stuff done.

Krystina: I know that I never would have gotten this far without help.

Like I said, it took me five years to establish myself as a bridal hair makeup artist, and to be able to already be established and have a $1,500 order in less than two months, and I’m not just making this up.

I mean, it’s a lot of work. It’s really hard, but it makes sense.

Sarah: So you did the hard things.

You got legal, you learned what specifically to say when you’re talking to people and you got your pricing.

Then, you went and got a client and you did the session and built the presentation.

How did it feel that first time to sit there with that client and be presenting the images?

What were you saying in your head?

Krystina: In my head, I was saying, I wish someone had done this for me.

I’ve had family photos done so many times over the years, and I’ve never had someone sit down and reveal a gallery to me and go through and decide what the best images are and which ones I should get blown up.

I thought, what a special service.

It was exciting.

I wasn’t nervous about it.

What I was excited about was what I wanted my client to get.

I wanted her to get what I never got.

I never got this treatment.

And so when I was doing that session with her specifically, she’d come to a point where when she saw the number, she said, “I don’t know if I can do that.

That’s my entire paycheck.”

And I said, “Well, what is it that I can do? What is holding you back?”

And she just said, “I just need to take one thing off. If I can take one thing off, then I’m fine.”

We removed one thing, and then we made some adjustments to another image, and she was fine.

Being able to serve someone at that level, that’s what I want to do.

I think at that point I realized, this is where I want to be.

This is what I want to do.

I don’t want to shoot and burn.

Sarah: When you were sitting with your “Julie”, $1k or more client order, did you feel pushy when you were showing her images?

Krystina: Not at all..

You do kind of have that little pushback in your mind of like, oh, I want them to have everything and they should get everything.

But ultimately, even with this client, because it was a mother and her son, the images that we removed from her order were pictures of her son.

She doesn’t have many portraits of her and her son because she’s always the one behind the camera.

So again, just to be able to provide that service and be that extra person that she needed to take her photos was phenomenal to me.

And she has a beautiful acrylic print of her and her son together.

I was more than happy to be able to do that for her.

I was not salesy at all.

Sarah: I love that.

And I love how you said that you wish someone had done that for you.

So you’re coming from a place of love, which is what we teach everybody in our programs.

It’s not just some slick sales pitch.

Sarah: So what’s the future for you?

What’s your goal in the next year for revenue?

Krystina: That’s a great question.

In terms of income and business sense, hopefully this time next year, I want to quit my job and I want to be full-time in photography.

I’m making it happen because next year for me, I don’t want to be behind the chair or doing hair and makeup.

Sarah: And you know what, Krystina, it is so possible for you.

Krystina: It’s strange to think it’s only been four months since I started and I’m already making money.

A lot of people are in business for a lot longer than that before they’re ever seeing any kind of money.

This is progress.

It doesn’t have to be hard to make money.

Once you master the small skills, the rest is pretty easy.

Sarah: I love it.

Once you get it, you’ve got it, right.

Thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story.

I know you’re going to inspire a lot of people who have been hooked up with the technical part of it.

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This Hair & Make-Up Artist Started a Photography Business. Here's What Happened.
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