The End… but not really. Part 3.
Alright Caster. Time to wrap it up.
Let me start with – I still don’t have it all figured out. I have been successful, yes – but there are still mountains I want to climb and goals I want to hit that make me feel like I’m still a big nobody in this industry.
Like any smart woman in any sort of sales business, I knew I had to start making relationships of my own. Up to this point no one really knew who I was. When I went to industry events, my former business partner did all the talking and I was barely introduced. Believe it or not, I am actually very shy when it comes to introducing myself to strangers, so it was time to put on my big girl pants and pretend I was good at it.
At every wedding I photographed I got business cards. The big break I got was actually based on a relationship that I initially got with my former partner. When things went south with us, other struggles surfaced. I put the client first, I did everything for the client with only the goal of taking care of these people – not the goal of getting money in my pocket. The way I handled these issues did not go unnoticed. A few months down the road (October to be exact – two months to my deadline) I received a phone call from the team at Wedgewood Upland Hills asking me to come out and meet with them to discuss becoming their exclusively referred Photographer. I jumped at this opportunity to work with them and their couples.
By December word had gotten around at other Wedgewood properties. I was asked to come on as a 2nd preferred team at Vellano, and the exclusive team at Sierra La Verne. Now it was time to make some decisions about growing my team so that I could grow my business.
In January of 2015 I launched my 2nd photography brand, Shy Heart Studios. Why did I launch a second brand instead of keeping just one? I get asked this ALL OF THE TIME. My first reason was because I knew I couldn’t photograph every wedding personally, and I felt it may hinder our growth if Brianna Caster & Co. was hired but Brianna Caster wasn’t the photographer. I wanted to give my entire team a fair and unbiased chance at growing together and booking as many weddings as possible. My second reason was so that we could really cater to our Wedgewood couples with a website that highlighted each property. I kept Brianna Caster & Co. as my own personal portfolio and brand. Maybe one day the two brands will merge, but for now I love the growth we have experienced under both brands. Having both brands, at this point, allows us to reach a wider range of clients and allows us to cater to most budgets.
I have been very fortunate with the relationships I have built and maintained. If it wasn’t for my experience with my former business partner, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. I still have set backs, and I am still growing and learning every day and I love every minute of it. Sometimes it’s hard and frustrating, but I wouldn’t change it. Each challenge sets me up for success down the road. Each challenge forces me to learn what steps to take next. I go forward with the mindset that it’s all teaching me something and setting me up for bigger and better things ahead. I never let myself think I have it all figured out – I am always learning, always trying new things (for at least 1 year), and figuring out what the next move is. The moment you think you know it all – is the moment you stop growing, and start losing. Keep at it! I’m right there with you.