Written By Madison Harrison
Madison Harrison is a 10 year old photographer and owner of Photos With Madison, LLC. She is also the youngest journalist for her local newspaper and is in the process of writing her first article for KidFash Magazine, a national kids fashion magazine.
She started taking photos when she was 3 years old and started her photography business when she was 7 years old. She started it because she loved taking pictures of little girls and their dolls, but she also enjoyed photographing nature, weddings, events and even celebrities such as Former President Barack Obama, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, John Legend, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Some people thought she was too young to start a business, but it didn’t stop her.
Here she’d like to share ten tips of how to become a kidpreneuer. All of this is based on her personal experience with starting her own photography business.
1. Find what you are passionate about or find something that you like to do and do it. I found out that I liked photography and that’s what I pursued and I am happy that I did!
2. Turn your passion into a business so you can serve people and make money doing what you love. When I realized at seven years old that I really loved photography and I loved how people reacted to seeing themselves in the photos I took, I realized that it was the right time to start my business.
3. Start a social media account and make it look professional. As a photographer, it was important for me to showcase my work so that anyone who was thinking about hiring me could see my photos.
4. Find partners to help and support you and your business. For example, my mom and my dad are my biggest supporters and encouragers. Whenever I come up with ideas for photoshoots, or my next big dream, my parents always help me to make it happen. I found out that you can’t do everything by yourself, especially when you are ten.
5. Do your first event but don’t charge money yet. Since people don’t know what your product or service is yet, you may not have a big turnout. When I was first starting out, my mother said not to charge for my first photoshoot; so, I asked Mrs. Wendy if I could rent her studio for $2 an hour for 3 hours. I was so happy when she said yes. I made a flyer and we advertised on Facebook. About 12 little girls came to my first photo shoot with their dolls. That was the exposure I needed to get my business going.
6. Book yourself on local TV! My media coach, TeeJ Mercer (www.iseemeontv.com) teaches you how book yourself on TV without a publicist (someone who is responsible for publicizing a product, person or company). Even though I didn’t have to do that, she did prepare me to speak in sound bites (short catchy phrases) and not be nervous when I went on the Steve Harvey Show.
7. Keep doing events to get yourself out there. Just like when I kept doing event photography, photo shoots and private shoots. It helped me to get exposure and experience. Choosing a charity to work with helps too. Not only are you helping to raise money and awareness for the organization, but it allows all their supporters to learn about you as well.
8. Don’t EVER give up! Sometimes it seems like what you want to accomplish will never ever happen. It took almost two years before my dream to photograph the President came true. For almost two years I continued to share my dream on social media using the hashtag, #HelpMadisonMeetPOTUS. This past June I was invited to photograph him at the United State of Women summit, a conference attended by 5000 women and hosted by Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. It was because of photographing the President that Steve Harvey had me on his show. If I would have given up, my dream would not have come true and I probably wouldn’t have been on a national talk show.
9. Don’t forget to start a business account with a bank or a credit union so you don’t start spending all your money on stuff like candy and dolls. Make sure to save money and you will have to use some money for business supplies. I chose Grow Financial because when I went there I liked how they treated me as a real business customer even though I’m a kid entrepreneur.
10. Be a Mentor! When I first started, someone helped me get to where I am and you should be that someone to help another kid to follow their dreams or to just introduce them to what you do. My mom always says that “children need exposure”. If we expose children to our different talents, it lets them know that they have options. I did this very thing with my friend, Ava who is 5 years old. She was my second shooter for a recent event where I hosted a “Princess Party” for foster children instead of celebrating my 10th birthday with a party. (A second shooter is a photographer that works alongside the photographer).
Becoming an entrepreneur may seem intimidating at first, so breaking it down into smaller manageable steps makes it easier. I know I am just a kid and I don’t have all the answers. I can only share with you what I’ve learned over the past two years. Always remember to have fun with your business and don’t forget the most important thing, help others and stay humble.
To find out more about her, please follow her on Facebook and Instagram: @photoswithmadison also visit her website: www.photoswithmadison.com.