Member Spotlight – Ginny Koppenhol
Name: Ginny Koppenhol
Business Name: Ginny Koppenhol Photography (I thought I’d keep it simple!)
About your business:
I’m a portrait photographer and love photographing people: people with their families, people at work, people enjoying events and people doing the things they have a passion for. I basically love people (does that come across? haha).
I always have a personal project on the go too. At the moment, I am creating a series of portraits for an exhibition in July, featuring older people who have chosen to learn something new or embark on a new adventure.
I run creative workshops as well, mostly smartphone photography sessions. It’s such an easy and accessible way to get creative. We cover photography fundamentals, editing and creative shooting techniques. They’re always a lot of fun.
Why did you start your own business?
I was feeling pretty burnt out after 14 years working in mental health NHS services as an Occupational Therapist. Alongside this exhaustion, I’d always harboured a desire to work in a creative field, after regretting my decision not to go to art school at the age of 18. Photography seemed like an ideal option as it’s something I’d always enjoyed as a hobby and could teach myself the further skills I needed.
My Dad has had his own business for many years, and he inspired me to want to be my own boss one day too.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
It’s such a creative pursuit! As a creative person, I love being able to shape the business in the way that I want to, without having to ask anyone’s permission. That said, my husband is an accountant and often raises an eyebrow when I turn too many potential jobs down in the name of ‘following my passions’.
What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?
The three recurring challenges I face in my business are:
- Finding your path
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Staying Creative
What have you learnt most about being a business owner?
That I can be a competent business owner! It’s super exciting discovering and developing all the knowledge and skills needed to run a business.
I’ve also learnt that ‘word of mouth’ is the number one form of marketing for me as a photographer. I’d initially underestimated how much of a role it would play in my business growth, but the vast majority of clients have come to you via a conversation (either one they’ve had with you previously, or with someone else who has mentioned you).
It’s vital to; be great to work with, to be a collaborative business community member and recommend others when you can, to share the lovely things people have said about you (eg. via testimonials), and to network often. It’s also important to remember that there are loads of ways to connect with people and if the first networking group you try isn’t for you, you’ll find the right one in time (and I can highly recommend the LBN).
Do you have a top tip or piece of advice for anyone starting their own business?
Remember that things often take time to build. Be kind to yourself and take regular breaks throughout the day, and make sure to book in annual leave regularly (and tell people you’re not contactable in this time if you can).
The temptation as a business owner is to work ALL the time, finding it tricky to shake the feeling that the success of the business comes down to us alone. But I came to realise quite quickly that if you don’t make time for rest, you’ll burn out and this definitely doesn’t make for a sustainable business.
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
I have two young children so spending time with them and my husband is a priority outside of work.
I am also a DJ. I did most of my DJing 10 years ago (pre-children) but have recently started doing a few gigs again and am loving it.