Rachel Grahmann has an eye for photography. With the help of Thumbtack, her full-time day job doesn’t get in the way of growing Rachel Grahmann Photography & Design. She’s connected with diverse clients she’d never have found and is able to develop a career she’s craved since getting her first camera in 7th grade. Learn how she balances a busy life with building her business passion with Thumbtack.
What brought you to Thumbtack?
In 2012 I rented a photo booth through Thumbtack for a school event. Although I was working part-time as a photographer at the time, it didn’t even occur to me that I could be on the other side of the site as a pro. I ended up signing on with Thumbtack a few months later. It was so easy to use from the client side, and now I can say it’s just as enjoyable as a service provider.
How many of your jobs are directly from Thumbtack?
Thumbtack accounts for a little more than half my jobs, but it’s an ebb and flow. I’m about a year and a half out of college and also working full-time, so it’s not always easy to grow my photography and design business organically. Thumbtack is an incredible way to supplement my business when I’m not able to be as active as I want because of my busy job or other life obstacles.
Any advice for people who are nervous or just starting out?
Try not to take things too personally, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! These two things go hand-in-hand, really. I get nervous to reach out to clients at times because I’m afraid I won’t get the response I’m hoping for or they won’t like my work. It’s a careful combination of letting disappointments roll off your shoulders and keeping your chin up to send that next quote.
Also, download the mobile app. If I’m on the go, waiting in line, on my lunch break, I can quickly pick it up and see what opportunities are available.
What’s your best advice for pros who are ready to grow?
Quote, quote, quote….but carefully! It took me a while to get accustomed to which requests were the best fit for me and which requests it was better to pass on. Once I hit my stride, I saw more responses coming in.
How do you go about writing really great quotes?
Throw in a little personality! It gets so easy to use the same prefabricated response over and over when you’re going for volume and speed. To shift gears, I like to really glean as much as I can out of the request—I love when clients add lots of details—and customize the quote as best I can.
Which Thumbtack jobs make you the happiest?
Family photos and graduation photos. I absolutely love to spend session time getting to know the family and seeing how they interact with one another. It’s even more picturesque from behind a lens. I started my career doing grad sessions, so those are near and dear to my heart as well. A cap-and-gown portrait gets me every time!
For design, I really enjoy creating a great logo. The brainstorming part is my favorite. It’s the coolest feeling when a client comes back with feedback saying, “This is exactly what I was thinking!” It’s amazing how much a quality logo can change the game for a business.
Do you have any photography or design-specific advice?
Ask questions. So often the client is waiting for you to ask for more information to better understand what they’re looking for themselves. I’ve also found that clients tend to appreciate suggestions, from a favorite photo location to a unique color scheme for their branding.
In general, I’d say never stop evolving. My business and online presence look so much different than they did before Thumbtack took me up a notch…and I’m so thankful! I look forward to six months from now, a few years from now, to see what Rachel Grahmann Photography and Design continues to become.
I work a full-time job apart from my photography and design business. I know I wouldn’t have the volume of business I do without Thumbtack. It’s almost like having an assistant saying, “Psst! Hey! Jane Doe wants photos of her family and her pets. Can you do it? Follow up!”
How else do you connect with customers?
Word of mouth is a big factor for me. At my day job, I take a lot of headshots and work on a lot of internal newsletters. Nothing compares to the feeling I get when someone tells me they like my work and they’ve recommended me to a friend or family member. For me that’s truly the highest compliment.
How would you advise others who want to reach Top Pro status?
Perseverance! Some weeks I feel like I’m on fire. I’m touching base with a lot of clients, I’m planning shoots and brainstorming designs left and right, and then the next week it’ll feel like a tumbleweed is going to blow across my computer screen. It takes a lot of perseverance and patience to say, “Not this week, but maybe next week…I’ve gotta keep trying!”
[Photo via Rachel Grahmann, photographed by Kate L Photography]