Name: Shannon Serrao
Position: Founding Photographer & Designer
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I capture imagery of my clients or their products in a stylised way and design graphics to market products to their target audience.
What products/services do you offer?
Photography, graphic design, video editing, image retouching.
Why did you start your business and how long have you been running it?
I started my business to strengthen the relationship between businesses and their target market via strong visual language. I also started it to gain more control over my life and have been running it for almost 3 years.
What struggles do you think most businesses face in your industry and what would you say they need to do to overcome them?
When starting out, I’d say most struggle with attracting their dream clients and pricing their services. To overcome this I suggest creating work you’re proud of that will attract your target market, networking and sharing your work. With pricing, I advise being diligent when tracking your expenses and how long you spend on projects. Make sure you account for tax, super, sick leave and annual leave that will be coming out of your billable hours as well as hours spent corresponding with clients and admin work that are all necessary to do your job.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Big or small, my positive client feedback always feels like the greatest accomplishment.
What do you love most about your business?
Contributing to the growth of other businesses and working collaboratively to create great visuals.
What do you find most challenging?
As I’m still building my business I often work alone.
How do you promote your business (please include as many details as you can)?
I promote my business via sharing my work on social media and speaking about it to whoever will listen.
What business skills do you have (eg. graphic design, customer service)?
Aside from my aforementioned services, I have sufficient skills in copy writing and customer service but would prefer to outsource these in the future.
What software did you/your designer use to create your website (eg. WordPress, Wix)?
What are some of your favourite business tools and apps?
Adobe suite, I love Asana to keep my workload organised, UNUM to organise my Instagram content, Google forms for client quiestionnaires, Google Keep for bits and bobs & Wave for accounting and invoicing.
What do you like about your website and what’s not working for you?
I like how my images stand out and are the most attention grabbing part of the site however I feel that it needs some better organisation, a place for testimonials and perhaps more marketing copy.
What lessons have you learnt during your time as an entrepreneur?
Always use a contract when accepting a job, make sure you have a clear brief and deliverables before starting a project, assign yourself specific work hours so you can separate work and home life, know your worth and build a support network.
What is the one thing that you want everyone to take away from this post?
It is common to hear that if you “Choose a job you love, (and) you will never have to work a day in your life.” This idea may have you second guessing your choices when challenges arise. Keep pushing through, take every mistake as a lesson, hone your craft and work towards a life you love.