Talk of the Town with Jessica Malone
Episode 68: Jessica Malone
In Episode 68 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser interviews photographer Jessica Malone. Jessica lives in a small town an hour away from the closest big city. Despite that, and even during a worldwide pandemic, Jessica’s business has been thriving. By shifting her beliefs and not being afraid to charge what her work is worth, Jessica has been able to reach her goals and achieve success.
Listen to the whole podcast to hear how Jessica has made her business the talk of the town by doing what none of the other local photographers are doing. You’ll also hear all about how her immediate reveal method allows her clients to choose even more of the images they love.
In this blog, you’ll find some of Jessica’s beautiful portraits, links to her webpages, and answers to some bonus questions.
Get to Know Jessica Malone
Q: What has been your biggest breakthrough in business?
A: I have a few in different areas. I cannot emphasize enough how impactful learning about self-value has been in every area of my life, but especially in business. It changes everything. Literally everything. Another breakthrough would be the 40-Over-40 project campaign. I’m from a small town, and I feel like it really put me on the map, so to speak. It helped me further set myself apart from other photographers in town. The final breakthrough would be OUTSOURCING. Identifying my strengths and weakness, or simply the tasks that do not bring me joy, and hiring someone to do those has been enormously beneficial. Learning to let go was hard, and I’m still working on it, but outsourcing has ramped up my efficiency, my level of service, and allows me to use my energy in the best way possible.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting Sue Bryce Education?
A: Personal transformation has been my biggest accomplishment. I do things daily that several years ago I would’ve never thought I had the capability of doing. When I started watching SBE in 2017, I was on the verge of quitting because I was overwhelmed, burnt out, and had very little self-value. I was selling $50 shoot-and-burn sessions. My highest portrait sale ever at that point was around $700, and that definitely was not happening on a regular basis. I had more anxiety than you can imagine. I wanted to throw up before every shoot.
In fall of 2018, I actually started implementing the SBE model. I had no studio and not even a nice house with a nice living room. Within a couple months, I had a $5,500 sale. In 2019, I was able to open a studio. In 2020, of all years, I set a new single sale record at $7K and ended up grossing over 6 figures. I no longer have the anxiety I had before. I am genuinely excited for my shoots, and I can speak to people with a confidence I don’t think I ever had.
Q: Explain how Sue Bryce Education helped you overcome obstacles in your business.
A: I started to say that it might be easier to name the ways that it hasn’t helped me overcome my obstacles. But even then I couldn’t think of any! I think the biggest thing was this is the first time someone identified obstacles as obstacles and not facts of life. Like being from a small town, or there are a million other cheaper photographers, doesn’t mean you can’t make this work. That is not a fact. It is an obstacle. And obstacles can be overcome. Then, of course, the information is there on how to tackle any of those that may arise.
Q: Do you regret any decisions you have made in your business?
A: I try not to think in terms of regret because I think everything is working out just as it should. But I do wish that I would’ve started this journey of valuing my craft, my business, and myself sooner! I sat on the sidelines for almost two years, watching videos and reading posts in the group, just afraid that I couldn’t do what they were doing. I wish I would’ve gotten out of my own way sooner.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
A: Within 5 years, I will have purchased land and built my own studio where I will have associate photographers and host workshops. I see myself grossing $400K. I also see myself branching out as a coach or mentor to other photographers and creative entrepreneurs because I want to empower and liberate them in the way that I have been.
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Jessica Malone of Jessica Malone Portrait