Karen Harmsworth joins us from Your Photo Organizers in Victoria, British Columbia…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
Becoming a photo organizer resulted from the experience I gained and then shared in curating my own family’s memories in the face of my husband’s cancer diagnosis. Our children were quite young and I realized that they wouldn’t remember him if I didn’t do something about the mess. The impact of that situation put photo organization on the top of the list of things that I think everyone should take care of and not put off.
Primary services and which do you most enjoy?
I do a lot of Digital Organizing and Digitizing and I offer a custom scan service as a part of that. I also offer a personal tutoring service for my DIY clients. But creative projects are my favourite jobs. I love creating digital albums, meaningful gifts and displays, photo montages, personalized Christmas cards, invites and a package of products that celebrate a life well loved.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
I found APPO while searching for tools and professional development to help me with the photo organizing business I was already doing, that would make me more efficient and my google search led me to APPO in 2011.
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
The tools and vendors that I use vary from client to client depending on their needs and the type of job that I’m doing. There are so many great tools out there and I often use several in combination to complete the job. When it comes to getting digital photos organized, I am loving what Mylio has to offer. I’ve found it to be one of my “go-to” tools as a part of the organization process.
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
One of the mistakes that I made early on that has really changed the way I do business, is not doing a proper and thorough assessment of a client’s photo and media situation before diving in to do that job that they have asked for. In some cases, it has ended up costing the client quite a bit more than necessary because they aren’t organized and keep finding things that they want me to deal with. In all cases, it has caused me a lot more work than it needed to. Starting each organizing client off with a comprehensive (note – a paid) assessment, has yielded informed clients with reasonable expectations and accurate job completion times.
Best client success story…
Taking a published, leather bound, 256 page memoir and creating a digital album that combined the families pictorial history without damaging the original inscribed publication. The client had been to other places and been told it couldn’t be done without damaging the original because of the way it was bound. It was a real win and boost to my business to be able to do it with no damage and 9 copies were sold.
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
Business Operations Management – assessing and strategically improving productivity in small & medium businesses
Are your own photos organized?
Yes, my own photos are organized and in albums except for the last couple of years. I worked hard at keeping our family photos organized while my sons were still at home to enjoy them. I’m a believer in using my own services and making the time to get it done. I have found that the experience and knowledge gained in doing so has increased my credibility and my paycheque. It also speaks of my passion for the importance of what I am doing.
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
Don’t put off taking work because you don’t think you know enough. With the speed of which technology is changing and how our job as organizers is affected by that, it’s important to know what tools are out there, but until we actually need them, learning them thoroughly might be a waste of time. Always give yourself at least a couple of days before starting or committing to a job and do your research to see what tools are the best and most effective for that specific job. Learn them and apply them at that point. Build your workflow chart, add the tools to your toolbox and move to the next job. Don’t get overwhelmed with what you don’t know, realize that you can acquire what you need when you need it.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
I believe that to be the best in our field, we must be constantly developing our skills. It is a good practice to have a professional development fund and use it each year to grow yourself and your business. Figuring out what areas need development comes from working consistently and setting goals for your business.
Say hi to Karen in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview!