All images by Jen Rozenbaum. Used with permission.
Photographer Jen Rozenbaum didn’t have a plan when she started her photography business, and though she admits that this isn’t the smartest of ideas, it just worked for her. We’ve interviewed Jen before about her photography, a bit about business and her marketing term #shamelesslyfeminine. But we were eager to talk to her again about business and what it takes to run a boudoir photography business, maintain a work/life balance and what’s ahead for her.
Next year, Jen wants to spend time helping other women in the photo business to build their own businesses. And now, it’s not only about Facebook marketing, or blogging–but those sure do take up a lot of time.
Phoblographer: What made you want to do photography as a business?
Jen: This is a great question. I actually think it’s a character flaw that made me go into business. I have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a blessing and a curse. I don’t have many hobbies because I don’t really know how to just relax and enjoy. For some reason I tend to think BIG with everything and try to make is a business. I have had a lot of businesses over the years. Even as a kid I made things and sold them to anyone who would give me the time of day. It was inevitable with photography I guess.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about your initial plans. Was there a lot of saving up involved at first? What was your plan?
Jen: Oh, you’re supposed to have a plan? I didn’t have a plan. I had a camera and a dream. Which was stupid to be honest. There is something about that entrepreneur spirit though. Sometimes you have an idea and you need to seize the moment. Sometimes the planning destroys the momentum and excitement. I had a lot of business experience so I knew what running a business was like. I can’t tell you I recommend this way of working. It just works for me.
Phoblographer: What were some of the biggest mistakes that you made as a photographer during your start that you really wish you didn’t make?
Jen: I don’t have any regrets because I learned from every mistake I ever made. However, I did go through a period of time where I wasted a lot of money because I was so into what everyone else was doing. I needed the same props and backdrops, etc.
That was a huge waste of energy and money. The only way you can really be you is by putting on blinders and just be you.
Phoblographer: Let’s talk about actual business. How much of your time is spent actually shooting vs doing other tasks like marketing, social media, editing, working with clients, etc.
Jen: Shooting is a minuscule amount of what I do. It’s everything else that is time consuming. I take 1-2 clients a week for an hour or two hour shoot each. The majority of my time is spent booking the clients, answering emails, social media, writing my blog, running my FB group, etc…
Phoblographer: When you start to work for yourself, it’s easy to be caught up in all of your work that you tend to work way over 40 hr weeks. So what do you do to try to maintain an effective work/life balance?
Jen: Okay so are you ready for REAL honesty here. I don’t work anywhere close to 40 hours a week. I did! I used to. I busted my butt when I started my business. I would work ALL the time. Now, not as much. For good reason of course.
A more balanced life makes me happier and much more successful (as a person and as a photographer). I need to be available for my two children. They need me more as they are getting older, not less. I need to treasure and prioritize my relationship with my husband. I need to take care of me, run a household, etc…
There are still times I need to work 40+ hours a week and when I have to I do. To really be clear, if I worked more I would probably make more, but that won’t make me happy. Balance makes me happy and the money I am making now makes me happy. I have both!
Phoblographer: When I last saw you, I asked about where you wanted to be in a year and you told me working with other women to help them start their own photography businesses. What makes you want to do this?
Jen: Well, funny…since you have asked me about it, I have thought a lot about it. I think my real goal is to help women create and live the lives they truly want. To be #ShamelesslyFeminine. In 2016 I would like to concentrate more on that as well as connecting women to each other. I will start with the photography industry and move it out to the world one day. It’s something I feel extremely passionate about, but I am still brainstorming on ideas to make this happen.
Phoblographer: Photographers are getting burned out with Facebook and Twitter. Lots of us use Instagram and the next big thing seems to be Pericope and Meerkat. So what are some ideas you have on how photographers can use social media marketing in a better way besides having good images and content. What about target audiences?
Jen: Meerkat. Crap, I don’t even know what that is! Oy. Social media. It’s the best and worst thing that has ever happened to my life. My biggest advice to people is to be genuine. Post what stirs you, what makes you smile. Don’t force it. Your “people” will find you!