She’s Mom Incorporated: Vicky Scesa, Mamatography

Vicky Scesa is a photographer, graphic designer and teacher by inclination and training. She’s also a mom, and when Safina Stella was born, Scesa’s focus shifted a bit. She loves taking photos of her darling daughter, and she wants to teach other moms to take better pictures, too. That’s the genesis of her business, Mamatography Photo Workshopsaimed at hip mamas who want to take professional-quality portraits of their babes, the cupcakes they’ve baked or products to boost their online sales. Lessons are offered in person or via Skype.

MomIncorporated: How did you get started in photography, and what do you love about it?
Scesa:
I started shooting in high school and got very serious about it in college. I was a graphic design major and always in need of photography for my work. Some of my peers thought in terms of typography or illustration but I always thought in photo frames. I loved that I could capture a moment that would otherwise just be a memory. I could give life to my ideas, that’s the best feeling of all.

MomIncorporated: How’d you get the idea of teaching photography to moms? What kind of teaching had you done previously?
Scesa:
Teaching moms was an evolution of years of teaching all walks of life. I started out after college teaching digital photo and camera lessons to a doctor on a weekly basis, and something just clicked, so to speak. Years later, I taught a mom’s group as a single young person. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter that it occurred to me what the true purpose was for these ladies, to take better shots of their kids. Since, so much more has opened up. I’m meeting moms in business for themselves who need professional-quality photos on a budget. So they’re learning to take photos themselves instead of hiring a photographer, which can be costly.

MomIncorporated: How have you marketed your online photography courses?
Scesa: I use social networking such as Facebook, and I’m new to Twitter. I have an Etsy shop, which is so fun for me and has brought me some webinar business due to the fact that their photo quality standards are so high. I just launched my blog a couple of weeks ago, mamatographylessons.blogspot.com. Here, moms will have the ability to view free photo tips. I’m also working on video tutorials that will be featured throughout the web.

MomIncorporated: What were some of the initial challenges in setting up your courses, and how did you overcome them?
Scesa: I’m still overcoming challenges all the time. Online, I’m working out the kinks of teaching to individuals vs groups. Simple issues such as the internet speed in my area have thrown a wrench into the works the past. Locally, I know that I need to target a broad audience, so I’m working on mass marketing plans.

MomIncorporated: How do you balance motherhood, your regular photography work and your teaching activities?
Scesa: Well, that list is a little longer because I’m still a designer, too. The balance is tricky and, being that my daughter’s under a year old, I’m still getting the hang of it. I try to make a habit of marking all my projects and personal activities on my iCal. I recently hired a sitter to come to my home to read to and play with my daughter a few days a week. Prior to that, I thought I could be a playmate, a housekeeper, a photographer, teacher, etc., etc. I also know that I have to sort my time evenly: work, baby, self, home. The best part of this juggle is that I’ve realized just how valuable my time is, so I’m more particular about the jobs I take on.

MomIncorporated: What tips do you have for an online entrepreneur — or, for that matter, a professional photographer?
Scesa: They both go hand and hand these days. One leg is only as strong as the other! Plus, persistence and knowing your skill. And when you don’t know something, that’s okay, own it! Strive to learn more and be humble about it. And of course, shoot, shoot, shoot. Baby/kid in one hand, camera in the other!

MomIncorporated: How do you market your business, and what do you find works out the best for you when it comes to marketing?
Scesa: I send out eblasts as often as time allows. I post on social networks throughout the day.  The best marketing is getting to know other moms; this is also the most rewarding.

Worksheet No. 12: Questions to Ask a Bookkeeper

You’re officially in operation. You’ve found your first clients, sent out several invoices, and you’re eagerly awaiting your initial payments.

It’s time to get a bookkeeper on board. Here are 20 questions to ask potential bookkeepers so you know what services you’ll be receiving, and be certain you have someone you can work with.

Thanks to bookkeeper Christie Mascelli of Assured Business Services for helping with these! You can download and print this handy checklist and use it as a guide when you’re interviewing bookkeepers and accountants.

Download: 20 Questions to Ask a Bookkeeper or Accountant (right click on PC or CTRL click on Mac to save to your computer).

Download: 20 Questions to Ask a Bookkeeper or Accountant