Episode 59: How This Photographer Turned Her Portraits Into a New Car (and you can, too) with Jill Daugherty

How This Photographer Turned Her Portraits Into a New Car


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

My student, Jill Daughtery, was constantly frazzled, doubting herself and stretching herself thin.

She knew she needed to make big changes in her business if she was going to be the mom, wife, and photographer she wanted to be.

Jill is sharing how she grew her six-figure photography studio, in a rural area that is jam-packed with good photographers.

In just the last few months, Jill has been able to purchase a new minivan, lighting equipment, a laptop, and pay off her studio build-out without taking on debt.

Jill is here to share her story that will hopefully inspire you to go all-in on your portrait photography business.

How Jill Balances Kids & Her Six-Figure Photography Business 

Sarah Petty:

“I am so excited that you’re here because you have four kids in the thick of elementary, middle, and high school.

I know it’s overwhelming to be both a mom and entrepreneur, can you share how you deal with that?”

Jill Daugherty:

“It’s a lot.

I always thought it was hard running a photography business while having little babies, but they get much more time-consuming as they grew up.

It became even harder.

When they were little I could edit during nap time or at night.

Now, I’m always driving them to practices, and running around.

I just try to do the best I can to balance work and family.”

Sarah Petty:

“I love that you value being a great mom.

You want to make money in your business, but you realize that your kids are going to be gone soon.

You value your time with them as much as your time working.

What does being a mom mean to you?”

Jill Daugherty:

“To me, a mom is a person that guides you and gives you a safe place when you need someone to talk to.

A mom is someone that teaches you to not be afraid and to take risks and reach for your goals.

I am always thinking, what can I teach my kids?

How can I teach them to be independent?

How can I inspire them to take chances and not be afraid to fail?

If I can raise four children with open minds and abundant mindsets, then I’ve done a good job.

Doing this takes a ton of time and trust in myself.

To teach my children these skills, I have to embody those same qualities and lead by example.

I have to trust that my kids are watching me and that I am a good example for them.”

Sarah Petty:

“How does being a business owner and entrepreneur, model these traits for your kids?

What are they able to watch you do because you run a business?”

Jill Daugherty:

“They see all the struggles that I go through, especially when I’m stressed out or doubting myself.

We openly talk about failure.

I tell my children that comparison is the thief of joy and because when you compare, you forget about what you already have.” 

How Jill Brought Her Family Closer Together Through Her Photography Business

Jill Daugherty:  

“When I was a shoot-and-burn / digital file photographer, I was not able to pay enough attention to my kids.

I felt horrible.

Even when I was physically with them, I was thinking about money and how I was going to find my next client.

When I started your coaching program I decided to do everything I was supposed to do and just follow the formulas you gave us.

I loved the idea of creating artwork that people will love and not needing a billion clients to make money.

I started looking for the right six-figure photography clients and figuring out what their needs were.

Making the switch to boutique gave me time for my family because I wasn’t shooting, editing, and stressing as much as before.”

Sarah Petty:

Has your husband or children noticed a difference in you?

Since you’ve been less stressed out and able to spend more time together as a family.”

Jill Daugherty:

“Everybody that knows me can see a difference in the confidence that I have.

I used to be afraid of failure and constantly in fear of not doing something right.

Now, I push through my fear and do it.

I am on the back end of my anxiety which feels amazing.

Being able to confidently talk to potential clients about my prices and business model feels amazing.

When someone tells me no, I don’t take it personally.

It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad photographer or wrong, it just means they weren’t the right fit and I am okay with that.

It feels amazing.”

How Jill Handles Competition from Other Photographers 

Sarah Petty:

“I know you have a lot of competition in your area, some shoot and burn, and some quality competitors.

Since gaining that confidence, how have your thoughts changed about competition?”

Jill Daugherty:

“To be honest, sometimes I still get freaked out by it.

It is always lurking in the back of my head, but I have realized that people come to me for my personality, and others go to different photographers because of their personalities.

It’s okay because there’s enough clients for all of us.

If I don’t photograph every family in my county, it’s okay.

It can be tough to keep this mindset, but I’ve always lived by the motto,

“A rising tide lifts all ships.”

We all get further when we help each other.”

Living Life With Disposable Income From a Six-Figure Photography Business

Sarah Petty:

“When you first came to me, you said,

“I have some bills I have to pay, I need to catch up and make money.”

Then, at the end of last year, you said to me,

“Somehow, I got money, I have EXTRA money”

Can you talk about some of the things that you’ve been able to purchase, since becoming a boutique photographer?”

Jill Daugherty:

“I drove a beat-up old minivan for years.

When I found a new car I wanted at a local car dealership, I bought it with no hesitation.

I had the confidence that I would keep making ample money in my business, and it felt amazing.

As a young photographer, I used to think, ‘I’m never going to be able to pay this bill,’ but now, like a six-figure photography business owner, I think,  ‘Here is what I need to do to pay that bill.’ My money is in my control.

I know that I can make more.

Now that I have become boutique, I bought new lighting equipment for my studio and invested in a new fancy laptop.

Not only was I able to invest in myself and my business, but I was also able to splurge on my kids.

I put them in select sports and summer camps.

It’s amazing to have disposable income that we can use to provide our kids with opportunities.”

“My oldest kid is dabbling in entrepreneurship, so I bring them into the studio and teach him basic editing skills to see if he is interested in photography.

He has great leadership skills, so I think he would be a great entrepreneur.

I can’t wait to help him on his journey.

Becoming  boutique has allowed me to put my family first in so many ways.

I am able to be flexible and more present with my family and be a better mom.”

Sarah Petty:

“Jill, thank you so much for sharing your story.

I know you have inspired so many photographers to put their families first through boutique photography.”

How This Photographer Turned Her Portraits Into a New Car (and you can, too) with Jill Daugherty
Episode 218 – Business Not Growing? 5 Things You’re Overlooking

After being in business 26 years and understanding the value of every single client, I am always shocked when creatives don't do every single thing they can to serve every single client they have. The longer I'm in business, the more I realize that just doing that...