Many of our franchisees have always had a passionate interest in photography and have wanted to run their own photography studio. Gregg Smith, our Welwyn Garden City franchisee is no exception. Leaving a career after ten years as a college lecturer in Sports and Secondary School PE Teacher for two years, Gregg joined the franchise in 2011.
Gregg tells us “I decided to go down the franchise route, and managed this by saving hard, also with support and help from family! The franchise opportunity appealed to me because I liked the fact that there was continued help with the Barrett & Coe franchise method and structure. This allowed me to develop my photography skills at a comfortable pace, with continued comprehensive training to go over new photography trends, styles of photography and new developments, as well as looking at the business and marketing side of things and added support from head office. Added to this, the bi-monthly meetings with new and existing franchisees gives us the opportunity to hear of other experiences and ideas, and to feel part of a group. There is always someone you can pick the phone up to if you ever need support, be it head office or a fellow franchisee.
I began by just working weekends at the studio while continuing my full-time job and after a few months went into the studio full-time. Its all a challenge, so if you are not ready for that, stop reading now! I had never had my own business, so even small details are tough to get to grips. It’s different when you are used to just turning up for work, and not worrying about keeping accounts, generating new business and dealing with everything else linked to the photography like preparation of images and the actual sessions themselves with the customer. However, I have always been someone who likes a new challenge, so it was just another few in the direction of becoming a successful business.
Taking on your business is a big step, so I think one piece of info I would give to anyone looking to do this is be patient and be committed. Sometimes it’s easy to think it’s all too much, but the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ definitely springs to mind with photography. I have a young family and my own business, so I don’t have a lot of free time, but I am in control of my own destiny! It’s the long term I look forward to and aim to keep working towards where I want my studio to be.
My advice would be to take your time, think about the long term, ensure you have the finances to make the step. It’s also really important that you have support from those around you (wife, partner, friends and family) as it will put you under increased pressure no matter which way you tackle taking on a new business. It has been a lot more challenging than I expected, with no two days the same and there is always something to do. If it’s not a physical photography session with clients (pregnancy, baby, children, family, couples, family groups) then it will be editing images, organising deliveries, or marketing (online, and in person). But… so far so good!”
To view Gregg’s work please visit www.barrettandcoe.co.uk/welwyn