Karina Mora Prints
Passionate about educating others about Mexico through art. Mexican culture is more than just Cinco de Mayo celebrations, margaritas, and piñatas.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been a wedding photographer for 9 years. Last year I really felt a pull to pursue something else. It’s not that I don’t love wedding photography anymore, I was just questioning my purpose, questioning my time spent at home with the kids (I have two, ages 7 & 5), and questioning my creativity all together. I built the wedding photography business to the point that I could put it on autopilot and let it remain steady, while I thought about what I wanted to do next. Last November, I launched a new business where I sell photographs from Mexico. I’m able to educate others about Mexican culture and share my story. Most importantly I’ll be able to leverage my talent, allowing me to spend more time focusing on my family.
How long were you in business before you found your groove? And how did you get there?
It wasn’t until about 5 years into my business that I found my groove. I spent a lot of time investing in networking events. People aren’t going to know you are around if you don’t show up to tell them you are around. Whether it’s on social media or in person, networking was my greatest form of marketing. During that time I invested almost all of the business’ income back into learning. I took sales courses, business courses, read books, listened to podcasts, and joined masterminds. Both networking and education really propelled my business in year 3 and 4.
What’s your favorite part of owning your business?
I love a challenge. My brain is wired to figure things out. Owning a business is NOT easy, but I enjoy the adventure of working hard to figure out how to get from point A to point B, then when I’m at point B I figure out how to get to point C. It sometimes takes me awhile to figure it out, but when I do, it’s so satisfying to me and makes it easier to keep on going.
When everything seems to be going wrong, what pulls you through?
When it seems like I’m at a point that I’ve just messed everything up, or I’m stuck at figuring out the next step, it’s probably because I need a break. I take time to do something that isn’t business related. I take my kids to a cafe, or to a museum or park and I try to focus on the reason I’m doing all of this. I know when something is going wrong, that it’s not the end of the world, and after a little time to get clarity on the situation, I can come back and try to figure out the next steps.
I also find that talking to someone helps because I can get all my thoughts out. That in itself is a stress reliever that can help bring some clarity.
Tell us about the biggest lesson you’ve learned.
Relationships in a business setting are professional and will not always become friendships. When I first started, I wanted everyone I worked with, even clients, to be my best friend. I thought being friends with everyone was what success looked like. But I quickly learned, that isn’t sustainable, nor does everyone even want to be my friend. There were even a few times where I put too much weight on a friendship which then got in the way of the working relationship. While there are some business relationships that have turned into friendships, I’ve learned to first, be a great person to work with, and let friendships develop organically over time. Letting your emotions get in the way of your work can quickly bring you down and negatively impact your business. So set boundaries, and don’t take things too personally.
What is your favorite process or system? What is the positive impact it has on your business?
I started using Xero a few years ago and it has been a huge help especially during tax time. I used to do everything on a spreadsheet and do taxes myself, but since using an accounting software and hiring an accountant, it’s so easy! What’s more important is that it’s easy to see where all my money is going and how much I’m actually making.
Along those same lines I use Honeybook for my wedding photography business. Ever since using Honeybook, booking and communicating with my couples has been SO EASY and saved me so much time. I can keep all my documents for each client in one place, accept payment and set reminders for them on when their next payment is due, and also communicate with them on anything wedding related all on one platform. It’s amazing.
These two tools made it possible for me to step back from weddings to focus on a new business while keeping things running with weddings.
What’s your must-read business book?
The One Thing by Gary Keller has changed my way of thinking. I thought I had to do EVERYTHING in order to be a successful business owner. I thought no one could do it better than I could, when in reality I was just doing a mediocre job on everything. It really changed my mindset on what it meant to be successful, and how I could achieve success.
What are your 1-year and 5-year goals?
- 1 year: I’d really like to start making consistent sales in the new business. I plan to work on networking and collaborating with the right people so I can spread my brand.
- 5 year: I hope to have a few more collections launched from different cities in Mexico. I’d also like to be in a place where I can hire a few people for social media and marketing.
What’s one piece of advice you would give your fellow entrepreneur?
Your mental health/strength is your greatest asset. Owning a small business can be a lonely road. It can also be very draining. Making sure you’re taking care of yourself and your mental state should be a high priority. If you’re stressed, worried, or depressed you aren’t going to be very valuable in your business, which will make it harder for you to grow.
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