Inspiring Enterprise Portsmouth | Startup Case Study
A much-loved hobby turned into a dream business
Former flight attendant and single mum of two, Charlotte, always dreamed of making her much-loved hobby of photography into a lucrative business. With the help of Inspiring Enterprise Portsmouth, she has been able to do just that, creating two photography businesses, Moonchild Photography, and Charlotte Florence Photography.
Charlotte formerly worked as a flight attendant and traveled the world, working in far-flung climes such as Dubai, Moscow, Seychelles, and Sweden. However, she found that doing the odd freelance job for the airline with a young family wasn’t sustainable. She always enjoyed taking photos and friends suggested she took it up as a business. So, she bought a camera and practiced, so that she could get better at the art of photography. At first, Charlotte would take photos of friends’ children for free but then gradually started to charge.
Turning the hobby into a business
Initially, Charlotte approached the local jobcentre about the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and they put her in touch with Julie Stevenson of Inspiring Enterprise Portsmouth. Julie helped Charlotte with all the foundations for setting up a business: her initial business plan, marketing, networking ideas, and pricing.
Charlotte has found Julie approachable and very helpful in starting her business.
“When I go for one of my regular meetings with Julie, it’s like I’m just going to meet a friend who knows about business. She is a lovely lady, always there whenever I need her. I can ask any question and she will respond. If she doesn’t know the answer herself, she will look into it.”
Another thing Julie has done has made Charlotte more business savvy with her pricing structure.
“I undercut myself initially, but Julie has helped me become a shrewd businesswoman. For example, I make sure now that I always ask for a deposit, even if I am working for a friend!”
Growing the business idea
Initially, Charlotte founded Moonchild photography, a business marketed at families, creating family shoots. She will take the photos at her clients’ homes but also often on locations such as on beaches or in woodland. Additionally, she offers maternity and newborn photography packages. In September 2021, the business took off in a different direction as she did her first two paid-for wedding photography shoots.
“I was a bit reticent about wedding photography at first, but I have found I really enjoy it. I love the whole day and editing of photos after the event to get the aesthetics right.”
Charlotte Florence Photography is the wedding arm of her photography business and Charlotte is now focussing on this. Her idea is to take on wedding shoots in the Summer while concentrating on Moonchild Photography in the winter months. She is also in the process of setting up a styled shoot with other wedding service providers which provides an excellent networking opportunity with like-minded businesses.
Charlotte’s Top Business Tips
Charlotte’s top tip for anyone wanting to turn a similar hobby into a business is to not take anything too personally,
“Photography is like an art, it’s subjective and you just have to be brave and put your work out there. Some people will love it, others won’t, the important thing is staying true to yourself”
Due to the help from Inspiring Enterprise Portsmouth, she also has a great tip for growing a business,
“You have to keep pushing; keep posting, keep commenting on others’ posts, keep networking, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of established like-minded businesspeople.”
Inspiring Enterprise Portsmouth
Inspiring Enterprise in Portsmouth (also known as the Solent Supporting Employment Programme), supports unemployed people to set up their own business, find a job or enrol in a training course. It is funded by the European Social Fund and the Solent Supporting Employment programme run by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Fund.
If you are unemployed or inactive (not earning), suffer or have suffered from health issues and live in the Portsmouth area you may be eligible for support in starting your business. Please visit the web page on this website for more details.