In this series, ActionCOACH Mary Ann Hauser (MAH) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!
MW: Maria West, owner of Maria West Photography BKN: Coach Beverly Kiser-Nutt
BKN: What do you do, and for how long have you been doing it?
MW: I am a lifestyle photographer in High Point, NC. I do business headshots, portraits, families, senior portraits, interior design shots and more. I have 20 years of experience with professional photography, and I’ve been in business for 9 years for myself. I’m also part of a non-profit that was started in January 2018 called “High Point Discovered” https://highpointdiscovered.org/ I take photos of people of High Point and tell their story. I also take photos at Condon Yards event space in High Point.
BKN: Who is your best customer?
MW: To me, there is no such thing as a bad customer. The best ones are those that value what I do as a photographer, and all of my clients do that. Referrals, as opposed to ads and social media connections, have helped me reach my best customers.
BKN: What has been the biggest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
MW: I shut down for 2 months – I have two young boys at home, so I didn’t do any sessions and put everything on hold.
BKN: What are 1 or 2 actions you've taken because of the pandemic, and how are they working?
MW: I started back up just before June. I’ve been doing a lot of zoom calls. I pushed a lot of things out till summer, and stopped newborn photos until it can be done safely. I used this time to prioritize my family and my health. I realized I had too many things on my plate and worked to place value in areas that were most important to me – being a mom - and worked to establish harmony in all areas.
BKN: What has been your biggest learning since you've been a business owner?
MW: My biggest learning is to not be afraid to talk to people. I am a little introverted by nature – my husband is a great communicator, and he said to me, “just pick up the phone.” After that, I made the conscious choice to always pick up the phone and talk to people. The result is that I have made wonderful friendships.
BKN: What is most inspiring to you today?
MW: I am inspired by the High Point Community. I have been in High Point for 15 years and I love it. I am originally from Grand Rapids, MI. My husband is a furniture designer. We love the High Point area, seeing the work of artisans and experiencing a deep sense of community here.