Brandy Aldridge was a Charlotte, North Carolina graphic designer who had grown bored with her job.
As a mom of three she’d always loved photography, but was scared she would fail if she started her own business.
She put the idea of photography to the side because she thought she needed official education to be successful, but during the pandemic, she couldn’t get the idea of photography business out of her head.
Brandy is going to share how she started a photography business from scratch with no formal photography training and got her first $4,000 photography client.
Tell us about your backstory before you did Boutique Breakthrough.
Brandy Aldrich: I worked remotely as a senior graphic designer for a brand and marketing firm.
Since my children were born, I’ve been juggling my job and my children.
I started photography 12 years ago when my son was born.
I received a lot of encouragement, but never believed in myself or that I could have my own business.
With my graphic design background in college, I was taught that you needed education to pair with talent.
I had that same thinking with photography.
I had the talent, but I needed formal education first.
I had a friend who started her own photography business and she was super busy, but not making a lot of money because she was selling digital files.
It gave me anxiety and no desire to be a part of that lifestyle, so I did photography for fun.
I didn’t have a formal business.
Sarah Petty: Tell me about your job as a hospital photographer.
Brandy Aldrich: I worked as a hospital newborn photographer because I wanted experience and training.
I fell in love with newborn photography, but I didn’t get paid if they chose not to purchase anything.
Lots of hours were spent editing photos after my kids went to bed throughout the week.
This was all while I was still working my marketing job four days a week.
I was being paid below minimum wage.
Sarah Petty: When did you decide to finally change your lifestyle?
Brandy Aldrich: In the fall of 2022, I started seeing you on social media, and it just spoke to me.
My husband encouraged me to change what I was doing.
I took a five-day challenge, and everything you said was eye-opening and seemed to align with what I needed.
Sarah Petty: So, you and your husband hopped on a call with Sarah on my team?
What was that initial conversation like?
Brandy Aldrich: I knew I wanted to do it but I didn’t have the confidence to make that choice by myself at that time.
Sarah Petty: What did you tell your husband?
Brandy Aldrich: I wanted his approval and feedback.
I have the confidence to make that choice myself now, but at the time I didn’t.
Sarah Petty: After he talked with my team and heard everything, what was the conversation like between the two of you?
Brandy Aldrich: He knows I have the talent and the drive, and told me to go for it.
Sarah Petty: So you got into Boutique Breakthrough (my 8 week program) and what was your experience like?
Brandy Aldrich: I loved everything about it.
It was exactly what I needed.
I started in January and learned the legal process.
That was huge for me because I was so afraid to do that step.
As silly as it sounds, going out and doing business-y things was a huge hold up for me.
I felt very confident about branding and marketing.
Still, it was good to walk through that process and put on a boutique photography lens.
I thought I was going to struggle with the amount of time that I would need to invest in doing it, but I didn’t. Instead I wanted to do more.
Sarah Petty: I love that.
What about the community?
Brandy Aldrich: Everybody was so supportive and lifting each other up and we’re doing the things at the same time.
When somebody posted a struggle, I could just really relate.
I learned so much faster from a community.
Sarah Petty: Did you feel like your fears were normalized?
Brandy Aldrich: Yeah, absolutely.
Even with all my fear of running my own business, my community really helped support me.
Sarah Petty: What about big wins?
What happened to you?
Brandy Aldrich: First, just getting the legal stuff done was huge for me.
My second big win was my “Julie” ($1k or more client order).
It was my very first client after getting my business up and running.
My “Julie” invested over $4,000 of wall art.
It felt awesome to be able to serve her and know that she had these moments captured.
Third, the confidence that I gained from going through the process has been able to keep me moving forward after Boutique Breakthrough.
Sarah Petty: Confidence is a hard thing.
What do you think gave you the most confidence from doing this whole course?
Brandy Aldrich: I think the support from everybody in knowing that they are going through the same things and learning it’s okay to fail.
Sarah Petty I think so many people listening think that successful people don’t have fears or concerns.
But every single student that I’ve worked with had to get through something hard.
Whether the hurdle was money, a spouse or whatever it was, we all have to overcome something to get where we want to be!
Thank you so much for being here and sharing your story.