Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jadie Jo Italasano, owner and photographer of Jadie Jo Photography! I discovered Jadie on Instagram and loved the easy, natural style of her photography.
Jadie describes herself as a natural light photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle photography. She started her business in 2010, and has been doing it full time for over three years. Although she's based out of Salt Lake City, she photographs destination weddings worldwide. As a hybrid photographer, she uses both digital and film mediums.
Jadie has graciously shared what she's learned from her experience as a small business owner. Read on to take advantage of her insight!
How did you get started in your field?
My entire life I have been creating. As a young adult, painting and drawing became what I loved most, and that is what I would spend every minute of my time doing. I always had paint under my fingernails or charcoal on my hands from something I was creating. It wasn’t until my last year of high school that I decided to try photography as a creative outlet for me.
I fell in love with photography right away and it quickly became my ‘thing’. The most important thing to me in life is to be able to hold onto memories, in any form. This is why photos mean more to me than anything else, and why I have such a passion for what I do. I fell in love with photographing weddings because I love love. There is just something special about weddings and couples in love. Capturing that kind of honest emotion between two people is something that I will always cherish.
What do you wish you had known when you were just starting your business?
I wish I had known the importance of having a client management system when just starting my business. It has made keeping track of everything so much easier, from finances to contracts, e-mails, etc. I think a good client management system can help a business owner stay on top of their game at all times. It helps me be able to spend less time at my computer trying to organize things, and more time marketing my business or for myself.
What has been the most effective strategy for gaining new clients?
A good majority of my clients come from word of mouth. Because of this, I would say that the most effective strategy for gaining new clients is to please your current clients. I do this by communicating really well with them. My clients always know exactly what to expect all of the time. I also like to pleasantly surprise my clients by having their wedding gallery up in 3-4 weeks when I told them it wouldn't be ready for about 6-8 weeks. I also like to mail little ‘Thank You’ notes with a personal message hand written inside. It’s simple things like this that show my clients how special they are to me, and that I really took the time to be there for them.
What has been the best part of running your own business?
The best part about running my own business, aside from the freedom, has been the ability to travel more often. I am lucky enough to get to travel both for business and pleasure and have been able to meet amazing people this way.
What has been the most difficult part of running your own business?
The creativity part of my business came easily to me, it’s what I have always done.. However, business was not something that I was used to. The most difficult part of running my own business has been learning the ‘business’ side of things. Learning to manage clients, contracts, money, even just figuring out how to manage my life with a business to be sure I have enough ‘me’ time, especially throughout the busy seasons.
What advice would you give to someone else starting a business?
My advice to someone starting a business would be to not forget why you started in the first place. Sometimes we get so caught up in the competition or the business side of things that we lose track of why we love what we do. I make sure to take time to use my creativity for myself by setting up small projects that I have fun working on that don’t necessarily have to do with my business, but I do it just because I want to. I need to constantly feel creative and grow. I think anyone who starts any kind of business typically starts doing it because they love it, but it’s too easy to get caught up in a busy routine of business life, and for what we love to eventually start feeling like ‘work’.
Anything else you would like readers to know about you, your business, or being a small business owner in general?
Don’t be afraid to quit your day job and pursue your dreams. Don’t let people judge you or put you down. It’s normal to have low times, but part of being a business owner is fighting through that and not letting it effect you negatively. Everyone looks so different on social media, like they have everything put together all of the time. This is not true.
It’s normal to have low times, but part of being a business owner is fighting through that and not letting it effect you negatively.
Life is messy, even for the best of us. We all have our ups and downs, and that’s fine! I myself get discouraged about my own work every so often, and as awful as it feels, I know this is how I grow. I will come out of that rut stronger and having learned something new to better myself and my business.
It’s too easy to compare ourselves to others, especially as a small business owner. But remember that everyone is still growing and learning, even those you look up to. And one day, if not already, others will be looking up to you as well. Keep your heart in it and everything will pay off!