Happy 10 to MikiFoto + Co | NJ Brand Photographer

Mallika-10-year-celebration

This month, I am celebrating my 10th year in business. Holy moly! This is a huge milestone that I am both proud and humbled to have reached. Hitting the double digits can really cue the nostalgia. As I reflect on the past several years, I’d love to share a little of my origin story:


I first discovered my passion for photography 10 years ago when my family moved to the west coast. I had two young boys at the time, so it wasn’t easy to travel across three time zones to visit our family in NY. I found myself feeling lonely and disconnected. That’s when I picked up a camera and started snapping away. 

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I wanted to capture every moment—from milestones to the everyday magic—and share them with my far-away relatives. Photography became my lifeline and helped me feel connected again. Soon, I was devouring photography books, taking classes and practicing my skills everyday.

I was hooked. 

It wasn’t long before I launched my photography business specializing in family and children’s portraits. Then, four years ago, I began to shift my focus from family photography to working with businesses as a branding photographer and strategist. As this evolution took place, I narrowed my concentration even more and chose to work exclusively with passionate women entrepreneurs. Now, I empower these women to stop hiding behind their business and confidently become the face of their brand.

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It’s been a decade of working, evolving and learning. Here are some lessons learned through my 10-year business journey:

1) Allow for change and ride the wave. I’ve lived in 3 states while running MikiFoto - CA, FL and NJ. I’ve had to re-start and establish myself again and again. Upon each move, I had to try new things and move outside of my comfort zone to get my name out there. It wasn’t always easy. But with every change also comes opportunity. Four years ago, I made the big transition from family photography to business and branding. This major evolution took guts, but I couldn't be happier with my decision to serve the women entrepreneur space.

2) Find your tribe. Build online and offline relationships to really find your inner circle. Join a networking group. Make coffee dates. Sign up for a meet-up or conference. This past year, my friend and I created a mastermind consisting of 7 women, and it was a game changer. We kept each other accountable, provided support, and pushed each other to grow our businesses.
 

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3) Network.  I will say it again! Online + offline networking does work. But you have to put yourself out there and be of service first. Give, give, get. As you build connections and involve yourself in communities, you will begin to connect with your dream clients and make yourself known.

4) Niche down. Don’t fall into the trap of being a jack of all trades. You want to be a specialist, not a generalist. When you specialize your services, you position yourself as an influencer and expert in your industry. Plus, it’s much easier for others to refer you. Read more about how to specialize your services and avoid “No Man’s Brand.”

5) Collaboration is key. Two minds are often better than one. Partner with other businesses to create something innovative. A group effort can really help you stand out in your market. For example, when I announced my new book, The Brand Photography Playbook, I collaborated with several businesses to throw a launch party. We called the event Books + Bubbly. We had a makeup artist, food vendors, wine club, cupcakes, door prizes and a beautiful boutique as the location. The collaboration and creative effort helped create a huge buzz and made the book launch a success.

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6) Speak out!  Look for speaking opportunities in your community and beyond. Get out of your comfort zone and share your expertise with others. This is how you position yourself as an authority in your market. I moved from behind the lens to in front of the room to teach strategies on business, branding and social media. Although scary at first, anything with practice becomes easier.

7) Be the face of your brand. I practice what I preach. Investing in my own brand photo shoot helped me energize my brand, stand out from the rest and grow my business in countless ways. Plus, I now have a library of images for all my marketing needs.

8) Dream big. You CAN achieve big dreams, but first you need to give yourself permission to have them and possess the courage to declare them. Writing a book has been on every one of my vision boards for the past 5 years. In 2017, I finally achieved my goal when I published The Brand Photography Playbook.

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9) Do the work. Batch, block time, just dig in and get it done. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Focus on big-picture strategy as you choose where to dedicate your time. And wake up early!
 
10) Hire experts. Delegate the tasks that are hard for you to do on your own. You know, the jobs that always end up on your list day in day out. I have hired a systems specialist, a VA, a Facebook ads manager, and a bookkeeper to help me run this business so I can focus on what I do well—the storytelling.

Mallika-Vision-Board

So what’s next for MikiFoto + Co? I have been thinking about this a lot. Here are a few exciting things I am working on for Year 10:

Brand Confidential. This year, I’ll be launching a new workshop called Brand Confidential for new business owners who need help discovering and developing their brand story. It will be part brand coaching, part mastermind and part photo shoot.

Facebook Live. I will continue to offer weekly segments every Friday called AMA (Ask me anything) with MikiFoto. I hope to help more people answer their questions about brand photography and visual storytelling. Follow me on Facebook to join us.

A Course for Photographers.  I’ve gained a wealth of valuable experience and knowledge in a decade. For the last four years, I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs helping them grow their businesses and become the face of their brand. Coming soon is a new virtual program for photographers who are looking to pivot or augment their wedding, family, or event photography businesses with the new growing niche of BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY.

Ten years have flown by! I’m so grateful to have found this creative path in life. The #entrepreneuriallife is indeed a roller coaster, but I feel lucky to do work that fires me up, and I wish the same for each of you.

 Cheers to the next chapter!

 Mallika

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