Episode 201 – How a Florida Educator Transformed Her Photography from Dabbling to $3,200 Orders: Turning Her Back Burner Hobby into Real Money

Turning Her Back Burner Hobby into Real Money


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

After 13 years in education, Sally Brown decided to leave her career in education, but after six months, things weren’t working out for her family financially. So Sally started looking for ways to add income to her family’s budget. She dabbled with photography years ago, but put it on the back-burner to pursue her education career.

Today I’m talking with Sally about how she picked up the camera again and turned herself into more than a self-taught mom with a camera, and her $3,200 portrait order.

I’m so glad that you’re here, Sally Brown. Talk about what your life looked like and where was photography when you started?

Sally Brown: It’s a long story that I’ll make short, but I got into photography when I had my first daughter. She’s 14 now. Like many other moms, I didn’t want to pay a lot of money for pictures for each milestone. And I just felt like I could take the pictures myself. After paying a photographer to do all the photos of my daughter, the digitals are all on a cd in a drawer somewhere. 

So we had all these pictures, I loved them so much, I can remember them in my head, but for some reason we never put them on the walls.

That was in the beginning. did a lot of photography on the side back then, under the table, whatever. I actually traveled to Italy and took a lot of pictures there, and it just sparked something in me.

However, I was in education. At that time I had been teaching for a couple of years. I got a promotion and went to the district office. And the timing of everything, it just didn’t lend itself to doing the portraits on the side as much anymore, and so I focused on education.

Then COVID hit, and the world changed and I had to readjust. I was working 18-hour days, it was pretty terrible, and teaching people how to learn and teach online and everything. My mom came to live with us and so everything got put on the side. I was taking care of her full-time, but after six months, I’m a people person, and we also needed money. And so I needed to figure something out, and I felt like I had been pretty good at photography and so I was like, “I’ll do that again.”

I started getting busy and I decided that I needed to make it a legitimate business, get my insurance, get my license, do all of the right things the right way because I wanted my name on it and our family’s name on it. Then I found you shortly thereafter in a Facebook ad or something.

I did a  free challenge of yours and  fell in love with your personality. I got a scholarship to Go Boutique Live, and loved that. And wanted more. 

My husband at that time was not ready for me to make any kind of major investment to do Boutique Breakthrough or anything like that. But I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own, so I did Boutique Breakthrough.

I got to jump in, because you actually put it on a credit card, didn’t you?

Sally Brown: Yes and it was terrifying. I had not had a credit card for 20 years, and I really did not want to do that, but at the same time, I got an 18 month no-interest credit card and I was like, “If I do what she’s telling me to do, then I can just pay off the credit card.”

So I made that class my job. I took it very seriously. Everything that we did in the program, I would’ve eventually done, but I was able to put it in fast gear and go.

I’ve made more since Boutique Breakthrough than anything else I have done. And so you can’t really argue with that.

It’s scary going in if you’ve never used credit cards. 

And so having never done that, I’m really proud of you that you said and you fought for yourself, and you said, “Look, I will do this.” And that’s part of personal responsibility. “I will be the one to pay that back.”

So your first “Julie”, $1k or more client order,  what was the amount of your first Julie?

Sally Brown: $3,200. And that was amazing, felt life-changing, and I felt so confident. Investing in myself made it where I felt like I was a legitimate business person and that I had the right to charge that, whereas before I was just like, “I’m just the other mom with a camera.”

When you got that Julie, and you told your husband, what did he say?

Sally Brown: He was shocked. 

So he’s seeing the proof of using other people’s money and how it can get you where you want to go faster.

Sally Brown: Correct. And he’s been great and super supportive.

So from a couple hundred bucks to $3,200 and you keep going, how are you feeling about the future of your business?

Sally Brown: Very hopeful and excited.

Thanks, Sally Brown. You’re amazing.

Download the Episode Transcript Here

Episode 201 - How a Florida Educator Transformed Her Photography from Dabbling to $3,200 Orders: Turning Her Back Burner Hobby into Real Money
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