Episode 205 – She left her Corporate America Sales Job & Started a Photography Business. Here’s What Happened Next.

Episode 205 - She left her Corporate America Sales Job & Started a Photography Business. Here’s What Happened Next.

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Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Sarah Petty: When Anna Marie Bolet left her corporate sales career to start her photography business as a concert photographer, she thought she would have the same kind of success she always had because she can sell to anyone. But she quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Here’s how Anna Marie got on the upward spiral, earned thousands of dollars for portrait orders, and was voted community as Member of the Year by my Peak Performance coaching community.

Sarah Petty: My  Peak Performance Coaching program is my top tier program for photographers who want to make a consistent living with their photography.  Anna Marie won Member of the Year, which was voted and nominated by her fellow Peaks. I love bringing these guys on the podcast to talk about their struggle.

You might think that she’s got it all together and she hasn’t had any struggles. So I really want to dig in with Anna Marie as we celebrate her too. So Anna Marie, tell us your back story and how photography came to fit into your life.

Anna Marie Bolet: I was in sales most of my adult life in Corporate America, and that can be up and down. As a salesperson and having success there, I really believed that I could start out on my own business and have the same kind of success because I can sell to anybody. I can listen to people’s stories and all that stuff. And when I started, I realized very quickly that that just was not the case.

I am grateful that in my life I have had a good example with my parents as far as mentoring and go out there and try to invest in yourself as much as possible. So I was a lot more open to the idea when you came along. Your business model just totally made sense.

Sarah Petty: When you started it, were you doing digital files or what did your model look like?

Anna Marie Bolet: Interesting enough, I knew that I always wanted to print. Before 2020, I really started to pursue concert photography and I started to print out some of my concert stuff, but nobody would buy it.

Sarah Petty: How did you get into portrait work, or was that after you already joined my program? Is that when the transition took place?

Anna Marie Bolet: Yes. When I jumped into Boutique Breakthrough with you, I rebranded and started from scratch. Starting at zero and with everyone else was incredible and that propelled me.

Sarah Petty: As you were learning how to price and marketing, what part of that freaked you out?

Anna Marie Bolet: The learning curve of the different types of photography. As I was posting more on social media, people would reach out, ask me for certain types of photography. I didn’t know how to do some of that so I had to figure it out.

Being in a group such as the one you’ve created was helpful and nurturing because I could reach out to people and they were so kind and helpful. That is really important if you’re doing anything, especially in business.

Sarah Petty: How did it feel when you did pricing? Was marketing your business comfortable for you?

Anna Marie Bolet: It was scary at first because I didn’t know how to price my own work. Marketing was not comfortable because in Corporate America I was selling someone else’s product, and now I was selling my own.

Sarah Petty: Got it. So you went out there and do you remember the first client you got through learning what you learned in Boutique Breakthrough? Talk about that.

Anna Marie Bolet: My first client was somebody I was getting to know. She’s a business minded person and she hired me to take photos of her daughter who’s a dancer. She told me, “I want you to be my daughter’s photographer because I know you will listen to us and what she needs. “I had never done that kind of photography because her daughter’s a dancer and I had to take photographs of her leaping in the air and stuff.

Sarah Petty: You created the images and you sat down with them to help them place their order. How did that ordering appointment go?

Anna Marie Bolet: I will follow a blueprint, especially when I don’t know what I’m doing. I followed your blueprint to a T. I brought my laptop to their home and I projected their images onto their TV and everyone cried, including me, and I can’t help it now.

It was just so amazing to see the change in how her daughter presented herself to the world. She was a dancer in New York and had come back from New York almost feeling defeated, and that brought her back up.

Sarah Petty: So cool. It’s crazy how that experience can raise their self-esteem, isn’t it?

Anna Marie Bolet: Oh yeah. And mine too. It’s an energy exchange. And I’m so grateful that I’m able to connect that way, and that’s what I want to continue to do.

Sarah Petty: So you took their order. Was this a Julie, an order over a thousand dollars?

Anna Marie Bolet: Yes.

Sarah Petty: Wow, you followed a system and someone paid you good money. How did you feel about yourself?

Anna Marie Bolet: I felt really good. I was validated with the energy exchange and the emotion and all of that, but it felt really amazing. I can never not do this. I’m just going to keep going.

Sarah Petty: Looking back from that very first Julie to now, what other obstacles have you hit?

Anna Marie Bolet: There were a couple slumps. When I first started, I wasn’t completely pursuing photography, but now I am. I think the slumps were definitely there where I wasn’t paying enough attention, and then I would skip a step in the process because I was doing too much at once.

2022 was the year I decided to go full-time. And I was in a car accident that resulted in a concussion, and it was pretty complicated. I was forced to take off. I couldn’t do anything. Some days I couldn’t even remember my middle name. As soon as I stepped back into my business, I had a $22,000 month in December. And that was after not working at all.

Sarah Petty: I love that. When you have something like that happen in your life, you realize what is important to you. So what’s your BHAG, your big hairy audacious goal?

Anna Marie Bolet: It’s to hit $525,000. That would mean being able to have a full-time assistant and employ. And then for this year, definitely hitting the six figure mark again would be amazing. And that’s what I’m working at.

Sarah Petty: I have all the faith you can do it. I can’t wait to see what you do, Anna Marie. Thank you so much for being here and giving inspiration to people.

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