Personal branding is the crystal clear and purposeful effort to create and effect the public perception of an individual by positioning them as an expert in their industry, enhance their credibility, and make them stand out from the competition, creating influence, and impact.
We interview personal branding photographer, Lea Prokopowicz whose ultimate mission is to authentically showcase her clients’ unique brand identity.
Thanks for interviewing with us. Please give us a brief background and what inspired you in your career path.
Starting back as a teenager growing up in Czechoslovakia, I remember developing my first BW photos in my dad’s dark room in our basement. I had no idea that this would be my career path.
After moving to the US, I took photography classes just for fun…. soon, friends started to ask me to take their kids and family photos and that’s when my photography business was born.
What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
Being a stay-at-home mom, I saw the opportunity to create a business out of my photography. Doing what I love, creating my own schedule in accordance to my family and kids’ needs, and working with great people was the perfect blend.
As my business progressed, I welcomed different challenges and ventured into taking photos from real estate, landscapes, events, business and corporate headshots to lifestyle portraits for entrepreneurs. I had no idea that this was the start of discovering my niche – personal branding photography which I feel the most connected to and am literally obsessed with.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to launching your company and how did you overcome them?
Until I personally took the time to invest in my own growth and personal development, I was led by fear that this photography hobby will always only be a hobby and not a real business. It changed for me the moment I changed my self-talk, and continued to pursue the art and the business of branding photography. I educated myself, and slowly but surely, the more that I believed in myself…what was once just a hobby, became a real career and a thriving business.
What are 3 tips you can share with our readers as it relates to your industry?
The tips I’m sharing below apply not only to my business and my industry but it is what I live by. I believe with this mindset; you already are a winner in anything you want to accomplish.
- Be authentic, speak from your heart and be of integrity in everything you do.
- Set your goals – follow your bliss and don’t be afraid. Listen to your inner voice, educate yourself, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
- Believe that everything is going to work out for your good.
How do you personally define success? What does it mean to you?
Successful people are those who are joyful no matter what their situation is. Success to me – means to set a goal, achieve it, all the while enjoying the journey to get there.
How do you differentiate yourself from others in your field?
Each of us is unique. We all have our own very distinct, personal, special brand. What differentiates me is how I interact with my clients. I truly listen, and deliver based on their vision. I make sure that my photo
sessions are fun, and that they are ultimately happy not just with the experience but the final product.
What was the biggest business mistake you made and what did you do to learn from it?
Being afraid of rejection and failure were factors that would stop me in my tracks from moving forward.
It wasn’t until I started to see them only as a challenge I needed to conquer. I don’t fear failure anymore. I now look at failure only as an experience, a lesson for me to find another way, a better way to reach my goals.
What advice would you give to someone asking for advice about becoming an entrepreneur?
- Find a business you’re passionate about
- Be willing to learn and take on challenges
- Have a vision for your business and set your goals
- Learn from yours and others mistakes
- Entrepreneurship is true freedom, the sky is the limit
What would you say is the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
My business success comes from me being client-focused. With clear branding and messaging, my clients are seen and heard. The second factor is simple, an open communication between me and clients to bring their vision to light.