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Impressia Photography Blog

Ive failed. Yes, I set a goal at the beginning of this year and I have failed. I wanted to read a book a week and that target hasnt been met. There are a couple of things you should know. One, I am not an avid reader. Id even go so far as to say, I am not a reader. And two, I have a problem retaining what I read. This is the main reason why #1 is valid. I can read a page and you can ask me what I just read and youll get a blank stare. As a small child I read books at a very elementary level. As I progressed in school and was required to read the various novels and classics, I read maybe a chapter or three and then when I arrived in class the next day, Id ask other students what the book was about just before the test. After they provided their synapsis, I felt I had a grasp of the story and lo and behold, a great big D or sometimes F appeared in a frightful red ink at the top of my test paper. This led to my adult reading being kept to a minimum such as quotes, or brief magazine articles.

 

My two sons are both reading a tremendous amount in school and on their own. My older son has literally read hundreds of books before his teen years and received recognition and awards through school due to his achievement. I have been inspired to read by the influence of my two children. So, in January of this year, I set a very lofty goal of reading a book a week. Yes, from 0 to 52! Because I have difficulty retaining the material, I take notes and this has helped me tremendously by emphasizing the points of interest. When I am finished, I type my notes into a document so that I have them all in one place that I can do a word search to find particular content I wish to revisit at a later time.

 

This is no news to many of you but books can be very educational. I have learned extraordinary things this year across an array of topics. Many of the books Ive read are business related and others are purely recreational. I have covered, politics, marketing, customer service, faith, autobiographies, success, failure, and even coffee. I now have a wealth of new strategies to apply socially, personally, as well as in business. In future posts, I am intending to give a brief description of many of the books I have read calling out two or three points of interest that may be helpful to those reading this.

 

As I fell behind, sometimes I would read two books a week to get caught up. Some books had fewer pages (most are averaging 200-300 pages) or were less interesting and didnt require as much note taking. Sometimes I have read 50-75 pages at a time to stay on top of it. This has been a drastic shift in focus for me and although the pace has been rigorous, I look forward to continuing to learn new things from reading and expanding my mind long after this year has come to a close.

 

So, you may be wondering where I am since I have already failed. Well as of November 5, 2018, I have read 41 books (and listened to five audio books but these dont count). I am on number 42 this week. So, yes, I have failed my goal. But the results of the effort have been a huge success—changing my life for the better. So start failing today. Fail boldly. Fail often. It will make you a better person and will ultimately help you reach your goals.

When you reach the two decade milestone in business or experience, it can certainly be worthy of proclaiming. Whether its displayed in personal profiles, websites, advertising, it communicates a solid, trustworthy company. A company that has expertise and provides something you need or want.


Whether its a cup of coffee and a slice of pie at a local diner, or buying a new vehicle from your favorite dealer, we enjoy and support those businesses that consistently deliver things the way we want them.

If a company or business owner provides a great product or service, their reputation will spread by word-of-mouth and through social media, resulting in repeat customers and decades of success. The quality of the work and the personalities of the operators (the brand) will facilitate longevity of the business.

On the other hand, there is no real significance to the number 20. Lets take a look at the other side. We see it everywhere, resumes, commercials, and print ads, touting Over twenty years in business. Its worn like a badge of honor—a rite of passage. You could be doing a mediocre job for twenty years but how does that have any value to anyone? A lot of businesses have a good run but then they start to settle in and get comfortable. They sustain enough business to keep the lights on but arent really growing. They continue doing what theyve always done resulting in very predictable revenue. Meanwhile, the world is changing. Technology has and will continue to change the way consumers shop and purchase. If you dont keep up with the Jones youll get stuck.

I was recently at a shopping mall and about 25-30% of the stores had gone out of business. Online shopping has drastically impacted retail purchases. Kodak really missed an opportunity when digital was introduced. It seems like every week, while new buildings are being constructed, three businesses are closing their doors. Even family owned and operated businesses need to adapt and change to not just stay afloat but to endure the economic shifts. You may not shut down completely but you will certainly hinder growth if you arent always improving.

Customer service is vital. There are countless business owners that fail to address this area of operation and yes, there are plenty of unsuspecting people that will try out a product or service once. If you arent providing top-notch service, youll lose every customer, eventually. Sure, more will call or come in because they found you online, but they wont return. Reliance on this approach will lead to demise.

As August comes to a close, I am happy to announce twenty years since I started Impressia. By adapting to change, altering my products and services to accommodate what the market wanted, focusing on quality and customer service, and always seeking and implementing different ways to communicate effectively, I have grown from a side business offering a single product, to providing a variety of products and services to many (repeat) clients. Continuing to stay educated and learn whats going on in other industries has opened up unexpected opportunities.

So, how are you going to reach 20 years in business? How far beyond that are you willing to go? Look at what you need to do and then attack it!


Are you looking for someone who can just take photos, or someone who can create amazing images that meet your needs? Todd Ramsey, Owner of Impressia, delivers a "Distinction Beyond the Standard" to help you attract the clients you deserve.

If you're ready to improve your image, send me an email at: toddramsey@impressia.net and let me know how I can help.


As I continue this series sharing different aspects of growing a small business, there will be various aspects Ive encountered in both the residential and commercial industry. When pursuing anything, if you quit, youll never know what you might have achieved. H. Jackson Brown Jr. is quoted as saying, In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance. Now, I dont like to think of business as a confrontation by any means but the concept of water slowing wearing away a rock simply by its steady persistence, should be an example to us all.

 

In the summer of 2015, I saw two men installing a wooden sign on an empty property indicating that a new Duffs Fine Jewelry store was going to be built there. I discovered there was an existing store location and I went to meet with the owner to discuss photographing the new store. Brandon Alford was very nice and his knowledge of jewelry was impressive. He liked my work and said he wanted me to photograph the new store when it opened in November. As the time got closer, he started to rethink this because the store was going to be decorated for the Christmas season and he didnt want all of his advertising to display the Christmas appearance. He decided to postpone photographing the new store until the spring of 2016. Once the stores construction was completed, some photos had been taken and were being displayed on the company website and various social media outlets. After continuing to maintain contact with the owner, when spring came around, Brandon was a little reluctant to have the new store professionally photographed since he had some images he was already using. So, we went from Youre hired to Im not so sure I need this. I shared some images of recent projects I had done and the impact they had on him resulted in a complete change of his composure. He smiled like a Cheshire cat and responded without hesitation, Lets do it. I could have accepted his decision not to move forward but through gentle persuasion and perseverance, I was able to overcome his doubt.

 

After the final images were created, Brandon also ordered a fantastic 30x20 print to proudly display in the store. So what can you take away from this? If you do good work, do it right, and dont quit when you get resistance, you will win.

Click to see more images of Duff's Fine Jewelry.

How have you persevered in business?

Are you looking for someone who can just take photos, or someone who can create amazing images that meet your needs? Todd Ramsey, Owner of Impressia, delivers a "Distinction Beyond the Standard" to help you attract the clients you deserve.

If you're ready to improve your image, send me an email at: toddramsey@impressia.net and let me know how I can help.

How many opportunities pass us by simply because we did not ask? It is common to talk ourselves out of doing something because we are uncertain of the outcome. We ask ourselves, What if they say no? What if Im not good enough? What if..? What..? We come up with all sorts of excuses and fill our minds with doubt before weve even tried. Why develop the perfect case of why we shouldnt do something when we should be listing all of the reasons why we should and then going for it. A friend of mine always asks for a discount everywhere he makes a purchase. Frequently, he is told No, we cant do that. But now and then, he is surprised with a 10-15% discount just because he asked. I find this amazingasking for something without an expectation and receiving it.

I was driving in a new area and I noticed a company name on an office building that made me curious. I pulled into a convenient parking space and walked in. There was a meeting taking place between the business and their client right inside the entry and I was very obviously interrupting. I wasnt rude but politely apologized for the intrusion. I introduced myself and I asked if they minded if I shared some information. They allowed me to continue and I respected their time, keeping my presentation to just a minute or two. A month later, I was contacted about photographing a couple of luxury custom homes for the architect. After a little coordinating, I completed their requests and delivered final images to them.

Well, that act of asking what their needs are and how I can help has resulted in:

1)a new client
2)a satisfied client
3)repeat business
4)additional sales from products
5) client used the images to advertise in Luxe Magazine
6)referrals
7)a 5-star review online
8)exposure to almost 2000 potential clients. Wow!

If I never took a chance by simply asking a question, I would never have been able to establish this strong business relationship and it would have been open for someone else to have access to. Take a chance. Take lots of them! What are you missing out on that you could have just by asking?

Click here to see images from these two homes.

Visit Heritage Design Studio on Houzz

Do you have a story youd like to share about the results of just asking?

Are you looking for someone who can just take photos, or someone who can create amazing images that meet your needs? Todd Ramsey, Owner of Impressia, delivers a "Distinction Beyond the Standard" to help you attract the clients you deserve.

If you're ready to improve your image, send me an email at: toddramsey@impressia.net and let me know how I can help.

This new series of posts will be in chronological order starting in March of 2015. As the series progresses, you will start to see some changes and improvements in my techniques. By Doing rather than Hoping, you can change your circumstances.

So, after deciding to give it my best shot to make an 18-year hobby/side job become my sole source of income, I was going to have to drastically change my approach to growing my business. A long-time friend told me I had the skills, knowledge, equipment and experience to do the job but I needed to work on the business side of things. Good advice but I couldn't get the thought of needing to have income and where would it come from out of my mind.

In 2015, I officially applied to 90 graphic design and photography related jobs. In total, I had two phone interviews, three actual interviews and no offers. Going from working my entire life to getting laid off and not having any luck finding work was very discouraging. Mostly due to its proximity to my home, I had applied to a variety of photography and design positions at Pier 1 Imports for two years. I was never given a chance to talk to them or prove my ability because I did not have 3 years of shooting home decor. Determined not to give up, I contacted a homebuilder that had a model home in my neighborhood to see if they would allow me to photograph the model to get some practice and some images that I could present to Pier 1. Then, I called Plantation Homes (part of McGuyer Home Builders, Inc. MHI) that also had a model in my neighborhood to see about photographing their model for some additional experience. They were very kind and approved my request. For many reasons however, I never got around to doing it but one day, I got a call from the marketing director. She told me they were not happy with the photographer they had been using and liked the examples I had showed them of their competitors property. They hired me to shoot the model in my neighborhood (for pay!) as well another property. This led to photographing several more properties for them.

Eventually, after applying to the following positions with Pier 1 Imports: Digital Art Director, Digital Designer, Senior Graphic Designer, Associate Photographer, Manager Ecommerce Photography and Photographer (seven separate times), I did get a phone interview. (Insert trumpet sounds here)

I used every ounce of knowledge I had about proper interviewing techniques and how to make the best impression.I had prepared questions, rehearsed some ideas for answers I may give. I stood up during the interview and smiled while speaking. I was able to make memorable relatable points with the interviewer,  I felt like I had given the best interview of my life and… I never heard from them again. Although I felt some sense of victory that I got the phone interview after two years of effort, I also felt like maybe I just wasn't good enough.

But you know what? The image below that I created for Coventry Homes (also part of MHI) was entered in the 2015 McSAM awards and won first place for Best Architectural Design, Sales Price Between $400,001 and $500,000. Not only that, they have displayed my images on the walls in the office of the model home, used them in their print and online marketing, and this image has been running on digital billboards throughout DFW on and off for a year now. This was the beginning of my new career.


Impressia Photography
Model for Coventry Homes

So, whether you've gotten laid off, thinking about starting your own business, or maybe you just want different results in your situation, you can hope things will work out, or you can take some action and do something to make it happen.


Are you looking for someone who can just take photos, or someone who can create amazing images that meet your needs? Todd Ramsey, Owner of Impressia, delivers a "Distinction Beyond the Standard" to help you attract the clients you deserve.

If you're ready to improve your image, send me an email at: toddramsey@impressia.net and let me know how I can help.

If you are an entrepreneur or are thinking about becoming a small business owner, youre going to want to read this. Ive been a little remiss to post anything because I really want to offer you something you can actually use, not just a Hey, look at this project I just did. Many of you dont really know what I am doing now or what the past 19 years involved. This post is an introduction to a new series I will be doing that will not only share some images Ive created that have helped enhance my clients businesses but more importantly, I will take you on a journey with me through the experiences I have had and some of the things Ive learned as I continue to grow my business.

You dont arrive at success by traveling a nicely paved road with people waving, smiling, and throwing confetti as you pass them by. Its a road filled with potholes, tight curves, delays, hills that hinder your sight, and a host of obstacles (and joyful moments) before you start to approach something that resembles success. Many people that may seem successful only share with you the great times and end results of their hard work. They often leave out the struggles, problems, and things that frankly, by experiencing them, are what ultimately will make you stronger, smarter, and able to reach your goals.

Ive always been a creative visual communicator since before I was in Kindergarten. I started Impressia in 1997 designing very unique visual resumes to help job seekers stand out in an amazing way. Over the years, I added various graphic design related services and about 13 years ago, photography became part of the mix. This has been a fairly successful side business while I was working full-time jobs. Not only has it allowed me to grow my talent and ability while working with many different clients, but I have been able to purchase the necessary equipment, furnish my home office and grow my bank account. People would often ask me if I would do this full time if I could. I always responded emphatically Yes … and thats where it stopped. I never took any steps to make that a reality. In January of 2015, I was laid off. I experienced what 100s of thousands of people have and will experience. Emotions run the gamut—anger, fear, uncertainty, and the security of a regular paycheck and a benefits package are all gone. The choice before me was to re-join the workforce with the perceived safety of a regular job or give it all Ive got to finally make a living working for myself. I chose the latter, and in spite of some of the difficult challenges, I am positive I made the right decision.

2016 has taught me more about operating and growing my business than the previous 18 years combined. Why, because I have invested the time and research necessary to create a viable strategy to reach my goals. Hoping versus doing, persistence, and communication are just a few of the topics I will cover. As we put the stamp on August 2016, Id like to invite you to follow this exciting series and learn some of the things that have brought me to where I am today and maybe you can use some of them to start or grow your business.

 If you wait to do everything until youre sure its right, youll probably never do much of anything.  Win Borden


Are you looking for someone who can just take photos, or someone who can create amazing images that meet your needs? Todd Ramsey, Owner of Impressia, delivers a "Distinction Beyond the Standard" to help you attract the clients you deserve.


If you're ready to improve your image, send me an email at: toddramsey@impressia.net and let me know how I can help.