Episode 172 – Can You Be a Stay at Home Mom & Make Enough Income from Photography? How One Mom Is Getting $5,000 Orders

Sarah Petty: If you’re a hybrid photographer who’s offering prints but hasn’t sold any yet, this is for you.

Today, I’m talking to Canadian photographer Janelle Krulicki, a mom of two who has worked part-time as a photographer since 2015, while her kiddos were home with her.

She is going to share how she went from never selling a piece of wall art to a $5,132 order.

Janelle, welcome.

What’s a little bit of your backstory?

Janelle Krulicki: I’ve been doing photography since 2015.

I have a broadcasting background, but my true love is photography. 

Although I knew about prints, I was doing digital files like everyone else.

I watched videos about selling prints, but did not know how to make a price list.

Sarah Petty: You were just grabbing different puzzle pieces from different puzzles and trying to put the pieces together… 

Janelle Krulicki: I tried selling prints to clients by putting images on a sharing site and offering an option for them to purchase, but they never bought anything.

Sarah Petty: What did they buy? 

Janelle Krulicki: Only digital images.

The odd person bought a gift print, but never a canvas. 

Everyone is trained to just want the digitals, and I didn’t know how to speak with those people.

Sarah Petty: Were you educating them?

Janelle Krulicki: I did not meet with them before.

I used email to communicate with them.

They would come into my studio, and see my wall portraits on the walls of my studio, and some might say, “Oh, that’s really nice.”

But that was the extent of it. 

Sarah Petty: How long did you do that?

Janelle Krulicki: I started in 2018 and pushed digitals because I didn’t really know otherwise.

Sarah Petty: Were you a full-time mom at this point, or did you still have your other job?

Janelle Krulicki: When I went on my first maternity leave, I decided not to go back to my job.

I wanted to start photography full time. 

My husband was our main financial support, and I was the stay-at-home mom/photographer.

Sarah Petty: What were you saying in your mind?

Because now you’re home with your kids, but people aren’t ordering.

Janelle Krulicki: It was a struggle trying to coordinate all of the things with my children.

There was a lot of hands-on care and not a lot of time for my photography work, even though I was at home all the time.

From caring for the house and my children to COVID happening and my kids doing distance learning, making time for photography was really difficult.

Sarah Petty: How many hours were you spending per session?

Janelle Krulicki: I would usually edit around 20 to 30 images, so about 15 hours per client. 

Sarah Petty: What was your average sale?

Because you were selling them a bunch of digitals for an amount, right?

Janelle Krulicki: I was doing between $350 to $450.

Sarah Petty: Which some people might say, “Oh, that’s not bad,” but do the math on how many hours that is.

What was your hubby saying?

Janelle Krulicki: He was thrilled.

Whenever I would contribute financially in any way, he was thrilled because otherwise it was just him.

He didn’t know any better either.

Sarah Petty: What was it that made you say something isn’t working?

Janelle Krulicki: I always knew about printed artwork and wanted that business model.

I came across you a year before I started Boutique Breakthrough, and it just wasn’t the right time. 

I waited a year and then I came back to my husband and I said, “Invest in me. I am important. I’m just not where I want to be, and I know I can do better. I have the drive and the determination, and I’m going to make it.”

And so he said, “Okay.”

Sarah Petty: Wow, that gave me chills.

Invest in me.

That’s hard to say.

Do you think that you had trouble asking for things from him? 

Janelle Krulicki: It was hard, I didn’t want to have to ask for an investment like that.

Sarah Petty: You invested in yourself and did Boutique Breakthrough.

What was that experience like?

Janelle Krulicki: It was great.

There was so much information that I could take in.

It was really cool looking through the online database of everything and seeing it all and having that at my fingertips. 

I had a network of people that I could ask questions and learn from as well.

I really liked that.

Sarah Petty: What did you learn that you were missing in your photography business?

Janelle Krulicki: Marketing was a big one with how to put myself out there.

Also, I wasn’t pricing high enough, even though I thought I was.

Lastly, learning how to have a positive mindset.  

I learned to reframe my thoughts and put the past behind me.

Sarah Petty: There is a lot of mindset training.

What part of the training was the hardest for you?

Janelle Krulicki: I would say the mental game of talking to people.

I’m introverted in a lot of ways, so having to not just sit behind a computer desk was hard for me.

I still struggle with battling my head trash.

I have to really focus and not squirrel away. 

Sarah Petty: The constant support of your photography community is so helpful in battling head trash.

Tell us about your “Julie” ($1k or more client order).

Janelle Krulicki: My “Julie” was a lady and her dog.

She didn’t have a pet her whole entire life.

She’s probably in her 60s and lives alone, has no family, and she wanted to make memories with her dog. 

I met her at a Chamber of Commerce event.

Then she contacted me after, and we scheduled it.

We did a two part in her house and in my studio.

She wanted the album, then two large art pieces, and added on an acrylic block. 

Then at the end of the session, she said, “Hey, can we book another session in the spring? I want photos of my dog and I running through the dandelion field.”

So that’s coming up in a few weeks.

Sarah Petty: Holy moly.

What was the order sale?

Janelle Krulicki: It was a $5,000 order.

Sarah Petty: What?

You got a $5k Yay and a Julie ($1k or more client order) all at once!

How did that make you feel?

Janelle Krulicki: It really brought it full circle.

I kept saying the whole time I was going through the process of every step that once I do one, then I feel like I’m over that hurdle, and it’s just going to keep happening.

I had to do every single step to ingrain it into my brain.

Sarah Petty: It’s having all of those missing pieces.

Did you ever find yourself feeling resistance in the process and have to tell yourself, just trust the process?

Janelle Krulicki: I definitely have felt that feeling.

I would just look back at my notes or speak with another Boutique Breakthrough friend, and we would get through things together. 

Trust the process and great things will happen.

Sarah Petty: Looking back on what you have accomplished in such a short period of time, do you think you would’ve figured it out on your own?

Janelle Krulicki: No. I would’ve had to do a lot more research and make my own thing up.

Sarah Petty: What does your husband think about your success? 

Janelle Krulicki: He’s so happy about it.

He is a huge cheerleader for me, and he is now like, “Oh $1,500. Oh, that’s a low order.” 

It’s different for him now, too.

Sarah Petty: He’s had a mindset change because now he sees what your value is.

I love that, and thank you for joining me today.

Download the Episode Transcript Here

Working photographer, coach, mama, and wife. Whether you’re looking to take your photography business full-time or simply make good money on a very part-time basis so you can contribute to your family financially and be your best self, we’ve got something for you.

I’m Sarah Petty

Hey, there!