Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
A very good friend of mine had major surgery last week. He had cancer ("had" being the operative word, as the docs think they got it all and he's going to be ok), but he will be out of work for 12+ weeks. They are a one income family and his short term disability pays 60%, which is good, but not good enough. He and his wife have four little girls at home and they are going to experience a financial hardship, so my fellow small business group of girlfriends and I got together and brainstormed, and the result is fundraising for my friend and his family. This Thursday night we will be having a benefit Pampered Chef party, which will be the culmination of a month-long catalog show we have been holding. Two days later, I will be hosting a benefit bazaar featuring original handbags and gift baskets from Brenda's Creative Designs (remember Brenda, my boss, from my early posts?), facials from Mary Kay (my friend Rhonda is my sponsor, but more about that shortly), and Tupperware with my good friend, Lori. Oh...and Wall 2 Wall Photography will be there, too. A percentage of sales proceeds will go to the Taylor family by way of gas cards and groceries, etc. We are also hoping we will have earned enough from our Pampered Chef party to earn free product that we can raffle off. 100% of those proceeds will go to the Taylor family. We are having a silent auction for arts and crafts (another 100%) and are seriously considering a 50-50 drawing. If anyone in the Goldsboro, NC area is interested in further information, please leave me a message here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And while that has kept me hopping, I also had the Sperry portrait shoot on Sunday, and have been retouching photos this week.
To further keep me busy, I have decided to be a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. I love my Pampered Chef, please don't get me wrong, as I will probably be one of their best customers, but I thought about the pros and cons of the many income streams I have available to me, and Mary Kay seems to go hand in hand with the photography business, and I can very easily integrate the two. Should any of you that are reading this be in need of pampering, a facial, or just need a "Mary Kay Lady" please visit my other site: www.marykay.com/juliewall .
Wall 2 Wall Photography is also offering other services as well as portraiture and art images. We are now doing custom "cd" or "record album" covers with interesting tracks listed on the image. (Check back here soon for an example. I went off and left the file on my hard drive at work.) We are also offering bereavement sheets, which are basically a memory sheet with a picture of the person that passed retouched and placed on a sheet with a border and information about the individual. These sheets will be available for donations only. There are no "set" prices for this service, due to the sensitive nature of the product. Email me at email@example.com for more information regarding either of the above services.
So with all of this going on, you can see that, in addition to my day job (which we lovingly refer to as the DDJ-Dreaded Day Job), I have a full plate until November 16, at which time I will be able to more actively persue my Mary Kay-related goals and my holiday portraiture.
I hope that you all have had a wonderful couple of weeks. :)
Friday, October 24, 2008
The day job entails a Joint Commission inspection, and this year one of our requirements has changed, which means that a LOT of our policies are changing, too. Translation? A lot of work for my staff and me, and a lot of long hours.
Pampered Chef? Oh, wow! Did I mention I love this stuff? I love to cook. I love to eat. I love to meet people. I love to talk. Can you think of any other requirements that would be needed to sell a product I love so much? Stay tuned. I will keep you posted.
I've got Christmas and holiday portrait sessions coming up. If you haven't booked yours yet, call me! They are going fast and if you want to have your package in enough time for cards and gifts, book now, while there are still sessions available.
I have two events to photograph over the coming weeks and will post details on all as they become available.
This is the busy season, so the blogs may be fewer and futher between. :)
Until next time!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I did my 8+ hour shift at work yesterday, then spent 3 hours in a business plan writing class, and then 8+ more hours at the office today, and have been trying to work my way through ODesk for some information, but am hitting dead ends there, too. I think it's time to pack it in and call it a day.
Alrighty, then. I figured out the cursor problem. Hadn't ever seen that one before, but rectified it and got the remaining image uploaded, as you can see.
So now it is off to profide some computer support to a friend of mine and get started on having a weekend.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
He was in town just shy of two weeks before he flew back to Nevada, leaving an upset mom, brother and step-sister. During the middle of this time, Wall 2 Wall Photography had a grand opening open house, a family portrait session scheduled, and our own family portraits to do before he left.
Needless to say, it was hard to be motivated, because I was incredibly sad prior to his departure, but kept my scheduled appointments accordingly.
I'm glad that I did. While it's not professional to let your personal life get in the way of your professional life, there is a point where you have to find some middle ground.
I shot some really neat images of this family and it helped me not only get my mind off my issues, but reinforced the confidence I have in myself regarding my ability as a portrait photographer.
Even though I was upset and sad, we sat for a family session in our studio before my son left, and somehow we came out of it with some of the best family shots we've had of ourselves to date. I don't know how I managed to look as happy as I did (I was miserable on the inside), but we will always have the images posted in this blog (coming soon) to remember that we were a family.
To anyone that is contemplating cancelling any kind of professional engagnement due to personal issues: My best advice is this: Don't do it. You will feel much better if you can continue to act as if nothing is bothering you in your professional life. It helps counteract anything that might have you questioning your performance as a person in your personal life.
Thanks for listening. Until next time.....
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
As many of you know, I offer a different type of portrait package. Your bargain basement packages consist of one or two poses in many different sizes. My session packages allow the customer to get prints of all shots taken, some even matted and ready for framing; many in custom albums. (Email me if you aren't familiar with our packages.)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
We will be having our open house on Saturday, August 23, 2008 from 1-6 p.m.
Among the goings on will be a drawing for a free portrait package, reduced price 8x10 matted portraits (appointments can be set at the open house), portrait portfolios on display, a catalogue of landscape and still life prints that can be custom ordered to size, and our "meet & greet" for all of our new customers.
Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or directions to the studio.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Because of this, and the fact that I am just starting to get this puppy off the ground, I do not have a generic business credit card. (As a sole proprietor, to obtain one through the bank, one needs to fill out a financial report with information including, but not limited to, your assets (house, car, bank accounts, insurance policies, etc.), your income (and your spouse's if you plan on using it; highly recommended to justify your debt to income ratio if you depend on both salaries to pay your bills), the amount of business you anticipate over the next 12 months, etc. This is because if you are not a corporation (i.e. an LLC) your personal assets can be taken in the event you default on your business loan. Neat how that works, huh?
Anyway...My business checking account came with a debit card that can be used online for those types of purchases. I have used mine twice; once to order checks, and once to order a checkbook cover.
So, yours truly is going through her transactions to balance the checkbook (after having blown the dust off of it) using the online banking function that was re-established after a period of non-usage. I discovered two transactions for $11.99; once on July 1 and once on August 1. Don't ask me why or how, because I honestly don't know.
I get on the phone and call the bank to inquire about the above transactions and they did a little research and gave me an 800 number to call and have them credit the charges back to my checking account. So I called. It was disconnected. BIG shock there, huh? So I called the bank again, and they took my information and stated that a customer care specialist in their fraud department would get back with me within 48 hours.
During the 48th hour I received a voicemail from the bank (I'd been down with a bug since the night of the discovery of the charges and stayed in bed the remainder of the week), who gave me another 800 number to call. Tried that. A few times. Line was busy. Hmmmm. So the following day I get a little packet in the mail that I filled out yesterday and took to the bank. One was an affidavit stating that I wasn't lying about the fraudulent transaction(s), and the other was the actual fraud report. The affidavit had to be signed in front of a notary, and since there was one at the bank, I figured I would just leave the paperwork with them, rather than burn a couple of days waiting on USPS to do their thing. (I don't like them very much right now, either, but that's another story.)
Yes, I know...It's only, what? $23.98? Not a lot of money...Unless you don't have a lot of money in your busines account to start with, because you're trying to get up and running.
I have done a LOT of online transactions over the past five years. I mean, I'm an e-bay addict, purchase a lot of mats and whatnot online for our benefit art auctions, etc. and in that time, this is only the second time anything like this has happened to me.
On the one hand, doing online transactions with a debit card pretty much puts it too close to the actual cash. On the other hand, I'm not really comfortable putting all of my personal assets out there JUST so I can get a business credit card at this point in time. When I do my LLC? Sure. I'll use the business financial information. The less I have to put my personal assets on the line the better I like it. :)
So the only think I can feasibly do at this point in the game is continue to do as I have been, but do business ONLY with companies I am familiar with and have done business with in the past, and continue to keep a sharp watch on what is going on with my bank statements.
The first time this happened was because I apparently didn't read the ULTRA small print when I ordered some business cards (and apparently neither did a couple thousand other people). This time I was not familiar with the company that charged the card, but after having done some research, it seems that the company in question nails people that use other companies. There are another few thousand unsuspecting web-consumers that have fallen prey to this company, as well, so I'm apparently in good company, huh?
Ahhhh, life's lessons. You gotta love 'em. Until next time....
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I can only hope that they had as much fun as I did. :)
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I took last night off. Sue me. I was tired...I mean reallllly tired. I got off of work early, thinking that I'd come home and do a little interior housekeeping in the studio, but I didn't. I sat down in the recliner and crashed. Hard.
I was supposed to go to the bank and deposit a check I'd received, but I figured I would take care of that later. I was also supposed to move the remaining funds from the studio savings to the main checking account, too, but I figured I would take care of that later, too. I mean, we came in SO under budget that it almost hurt, so we thought, hey! Let's put the deck/porch/rails up, since we have all of this extra money. *feeling stupid* But move the money FIRST!!!!!
Lesson learned? Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.
Wait...I got that backwards. That's what you aren't supposed to do. Which is what I did. Dangit!
Lesson learned? ALWAYS (no matter HOW tired you think you are) do today financially what you probably shouldn't put off until tomorrow. I.E. GO TO THE BANK WITH THE MONEY!!!!!
Johnny had to go to class in Havelock this morning, so we got up at oh-dark-thirty, and I caught up on house work, laundry, soaps, etc., completely oblivious to the financial issue that awaited me.
You have never seen anyone move so fast! I was moving money around like one of those guys you see in the old movies doing the shell game. I absolutely almost never overdraw my account, but guess what? I really shoulda stopped at the bank on my way home yesterday, and I never shoulda crashed in that recliner. I hate an overdraft fee. I mean, c'mon! I almost NEVER get them! I make a habit of NOT bouncing checks, man! I'm serious. I take it personally if I get an overdraft fee. I'm feeling pretty stupid right about now. Why? Because as much as I hate an overdraft fee, I hate four of them even more!
I love this studio. I do, but I've gotten really slack when it comes to the finances. I am usually the one doing online banking every single night of the week and this last couple of days have been so surreal. Thursday night I posted in here, just as happy as a pig in...well...sunshine, and didn't even think to look at the bank balance. I was so busy reveling in the fact that I actually had lights, music, and the Internet, that I completely forgot to move money when money needed to be moved. Shame on me. Really. From financially responsible adult to kid with new toy in record time.
Note to self: Dear Julie....GROW UP!!!!!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Johnny and I worked on the remainder of the front deck/porch, plus stairs earlier today, and put the second window trim up, as well, so we were fairly busy, and Peri helped us a good deal with moving props and equipment into the building.
I am going to post a couple more pictures of the exterior, as well as one of the interior on this post.
Did I mention I already have a session booked for the first Saturday of August? :) Life is good.
If you know of anyone that wants portraits, have them contact us. You can see our portfolio at http://www.wall2wallphotos.com/.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I got home from work this afternoon and painted trim prior to its installation, went in, painted the door trim (front side), and when Johnny came home, he installed more baseboard, I put the putty into the little nail holes, and Perio came behind me with a little paint brush cleaning up the nail holes.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
After being sick a couple weekends ago, it put us a couple of days behind. Fortunately, my friend Kevin (who is married to my friend, Cindy) is an all-around talented contractor-type. Cindy & I work together at the hospital, and Kevin works in the same department as my husband, Johnny. Prior to getting the drywall, Kevin had said he would be more than happy to come over and help with getting all of that up. We didn't think we'd need help, but then, I hadn't gotten sick. On Tuesday one of our plumbers at the hospital volunteered to come and help us with the drywall, and I told him it wouldn't be right to abuse him before we abused Kevin. So long story short, Kevin came over last Tuesday night and worked with Johnny and me to get the remaining drywall up. Betweeen Johnny and Kevin, they were slapping drywall up faster than I could get it screwed to the studs. It took us all of about two hours to knock it out.
So over the next several days we put a lot of mud in the joints and corners. Ok, so it's Monday night and we're not completely done, but we are close. I have done more sanding over the last 5 days than should be humanly possible. When I cough, I am sure that white, dusty clouds come out of my mouth, ha ha...
So the other night I found this dead cockroach in the plastic sheeting we'd had over the drywall. I thought that was funny. (Yes, I know...I was either overly-tired, have a warped sense of humor, or both.) Anyway, it struck me as funny that the one creature that is supposed to be able to survive a nuclear war could not survive a night in plastic sheeting. (I wonder if Terminex could use that knowledge?)
I have also learned that those women on the home improvement shows (you know, the she-contractors with the acrylic French manicured nails?) must not really do all that much. I started this project with just about a perfect "ten" (my own, not acryilic, thank goodness), and I'm down to a perfect "two." Now, I've had acrylic nails before, and I've broken one or two in my time, and THAT hurts...So I know that a) I won't ever be a she-contractor on a home improvement show, and b) it's probably wise to trim those nails down to less than 1/4" in length before starting any home improvement project that requires the use of one's hands, and c) do not have acrylics on your fingertips, huh?
Anyway, I've got to take my youngest son to Raleigh tomorrow night so that I can have him at the airport at oh-dark-thirty on Wednesday morning to fly out to his dad's so I'm going to lose a night. So I'm a little frustrated. I had hoped to have the first coat of paint on the walls before I left for Raleigh, but I'm just not really seeing that happen. :(
Ok, so I guess that's it for now. :)
Saturday, June 21, 2008
So over the Memorial Day weekend, we were busy pulling fence panels and gates down to make room for the studio. On the day after Memorial Day the guys got here and started building the structure. By the end of the first day, all four walls were up and the beams in the ceiling were a skeleton, but this thing was huge by my standards.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I learned three things about insulation today.
- If you shop around, you can find it a lot cheaper than they sell it at Lowes.
- It's a really pretty shade of pink.
- It makes you itch like nobody's business if you get it on you. (scratch, scratch, scratch!)
It's been a long day...8 hours at the day job, and 3 and a half in the studio. I knew I would get tired, but didn't realize I'd be THIS tired!
Pictures coming soon. Nighty-night!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I’d been shooting for quarterly reports and presentations, as I mentioned earlier. This was fun. I’d get a list of “targets” from the publisher and get to leave my desk to meander about the facility to find these folks and take their pictures. Anything that gets me away from the everyday ho-hum of my desk is a good thing. Anything that does that and involves a camera is a GREAT thing!
So in early spring of 2007, I was approached by the Hospital Police Chief and was asked if I could take some pictures of his staff over three shifts for use on a story board for Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. Who was I to say no?
I worked it out with my powers that be (again, thank you, Brenda!) to make some adjustments in my regular “banker’s hours” schedule to go shoot one night on second shift and another night on third shift.
This was one of the most cool day-job assignments I’d ever had! I got to go places I wouldn’t normally go; the morgue, the roof, inside the police office. The more pictures I took, the more I realized that this really needed to be something I needed to do part-time. Even the first shift shots I took were fun. I am partial to the one of Lt. Williams directing traffic one chilly spring day. I got to get on my belly in the dirt, prop on my elbows and shoot a really unique angle, and they loved it! Who am I kidding? I loved it, too. And for those of you who don’t know, cops are a unique & different breed, so that made the entire project even more intriguing!
It was about this time that Johnny told me that if I was really going to be serious about this I had better start getting some of the equipment I needed. I made a list: lighting, backdrop stands, backdrops, more lenses (I am so partial to my 50mm prime!) and I turned into a total eBay junkie during this time. If you don’t think my feedback score shot up! J
I ordered backdrops first, and thought I would try the economical route: A backdrop clamped over a shower curtain rod in my dining room doorway, some environmentally friendly fluorescent bulbs and clamp lights from Lowe’s, a tripod, and my kids and their friends as guinea pigs. Some of these portraits came out alright. I figured if the folks at WalMart could do it, so could I. (Little did I know then that the right equipment makes ALL the difference in the world.) But from this humble set up came some really neat portraits.
Finally I decided to get the stands and the lighting equipment, etc. I even went out and bought a book on lighting technique. It didn’t help much. But the backdrop stand and light stands/umbrellas looked REALLY cool, even if I was producing incredible shadows in some of the portraits I shot. Now, I like shadows, but I don’t think the average consumer does. Even that horrible discount 11x14 on my wall doesn’t have shadows…it makes our youngest boy look like his head is the size of a basketball, but it doesn’t have shadows.
Coming soon in A Little History – Part III: Home Study and Going Into Business For Real, This Time!