Our newest and youngest ever franchise team member Anna has started her business with flying colours. Taking her passion and A-level photographer course to the next level with the support and encouragement of the Photography For Little People Franchise.
Anna Pilkington is only 21 years of age and has started to shine in her area. Specialising in maternity, newborn and family photography across all areas of Preston, Southport, Leyland and Chorley. One of her favourite books as a child was Alice in Wonderland. She said “The magic and adventure of each page held a new and fun-filled element of awe and wonder. I think this was the catalyst that inspired me to do something special and a little bit different as a keen Photographer”
We caught up with Anna and asked her a few questions about her passion business and plans.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you discovered PLP?
I have always had a passion for photography. This passion was enhanced by the 2 year Photography A-level course that I did. I was interested at how a camera could capture a moment in time, which then could be treasured forever rather than a memory lost.
I discovered Photography for Little People when I had just relocated to Southport with my family. I was working as a cash office and customer service assistant at a local department store and although I was gaining experience, it wasn’t what I ultimately wanted to do. On my free days, I would take my camera to some of my favourite local places, such as the beaches; national trusts and different public gardens. One day, my cousin visited with her young son and I took my camera out and began to take some images. My cousin was delighted with my work, but my family also saw the passion in my eyes and encouraged me to look for a career in photography. I continued acquiring more knowledge and skills using my camera by attending further courses.
My dream was to start my own photography business, but I was aware of this being a daunting process and the potential pitfalls of starting a business from scratch, especially at the age of 20. I decided to look at other options and this is when I discovered the Photography for Little People franchise. Upon much research and deliberation, I realised that it was far different from other franchise businesses. It was well established, offered all the ongoing support and training that I would need both with the photography and the actual running of a business, it offered me a Mentor and a network support and gave me all the tools that I would require to get my business up and running.
It was what the heart of PLP was all about- its philosophy- that confirmed it was something that I wanted to be a part of! I decided even at this early age, it was the right time to invest in my future.
What is it like to be a business owner at the age of 21?
I am very proud to have my own business at the age of 21. It has been and still can be, daunting at times but I have found it to be a thoroughly rewarding process. I am responsible for making my own decisions and choices- I am my own boss, so those choices need to be correct for me. I have only myself to answer to at the end of the day! I work hard but because I am doing this for myself, it gives me the motivation to forge ahead and the confidence to do things that normally I would have shied away from.
I set myself goals daily and have to be very organised and efficient with my time. However, I can still choose the hours that I work so I find I also have time to fit in my personal life. Another positive is that when I need it in the future, the business has the potential to work around me and be flexible to my needs.
This is the beauty of PLP- although it is my business, the support and tried and tested procedures which have made PLP the successful model it is today, has ensured that my time and actions are always fruitful.
I really enjoy meeting and engaging with different people, promoting my business through various events, being creative of course, and finally, the buzz when I receive new clients through recommendations and feedback is amazing! However, the main pleasure is capturing those most precious moments by creating a very unique mobile photography session experience for families. Knowing that it was me that caused the delight and smile on clients faces when they receive their finished pieces. Classic, timeless and natural. That’s what makes me the most proud.
Are you looking forward to your challenge and working with the PLP team?
I look forward to the challenges that the business will throw at me. I embrace a challenge and thrive off pressure. A quality that has surprised me during this process as I have quickly learnt to think on my feet. Expect the unexpected no matter how well planned I may well be and to be as resourceful and creative wherever possible.
Working alongside the PLP team has given me so much confidence. I am constantly gaining experience and if I am unsure of anything, I just ask! The answers are always there. I regularly meet up and collaborate with other PLP franchisees up and down the country, exchanging ideas and resources; gaining advice, sharing information and attending events. I have a new additional family now in PLP and as a family should be, everyone is encouraging, supportive, friendly and can pick you up with words of wisdom when the day didn’t quite go as planned… As a new business owner, this is a fantastic resource!
What would you say if someone wanted to start a photography business in their area?
There’s a common saying which is, ‘choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’. I am finding this true. Owning my own business is hard work and demanding but it is an absolute honour and pleasure to do what I do. It’s a decision that I have never looked back on and has definitely changed my life for the better. It has given me a future to look forward to and I’m excited about what is ahead of me and how I am responsible for growing and shaping my own business. Photography for Little People has given me the wings to soar. My advice would be… Go for it!