Noelle Neff is the owner of Noelle Neff Photography, a Miami based business that has experienced considerable growth in the past year. Noelle shares extensively on the role that creativity plays in business. She is an advocate for artists and business women, and is especially passionate about the places where these two interests intersect.
Neff grew up in Florida, and then attended the University of Miami for her undergraduate degree. While in college, she began taking photographs for friends. This side hustle grew and grew, and she continued to take gigs through out her early twenties. She never considered it a viable career, and was constantly searching for the career that would allow her the time to live a creative life on the side. Soon she realized that while she had been taking photographs for pleasure, she had grown quite a substantial client list. When a friend suggested that she start her own business, she agreed. Neff went into business with some trepidation, but has found that her desire to produce the best photographs for her clients has been enough to balance out the “unknowns” that she faced. Through the support of her artistic network, she was able to work through several roadblocks including book-keeping and digital marketing.
Photography is just one of Noelle Neff‘s many interests. She believes that staying curious about the world is key to creative success, and this has led her to many hobbies including singing and cooking. She calls Miami home, and can’t go a week without a visit to the beach.
Do you know what steez is? If so, how do you express your steez?
I think steez is all about how you express your style. I express my steez through the clothes I wear, the voice I speak in, and how I carry myself.
When you were younger what was your dream occupation?
When I was younger I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was obsessed with the touch tank at our local aquarium. I spent hours looking through National Geographic magazines and cutting out pictures of anything that swam.
Who/What inspired you to get into your current field?
I’d have to say that life inspired me to get into photography. For a long time I couldn’t accept that I would have an artistic career. But I couldn’t stop taking photographs! These incredible opportunities kept on coming my way, and I would accept them. If the universe had dried up my opportunities, I might have focused on something else.
What is one current trend that excites you?
I’m really excited about the quality of the cameras on people’s phones. It’s like everyone has an incredible camera in their pocket, and has it with them all of the time. That was unimaginable ten years back. We’re seeing all kinds of amazing footage as an effect of it.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was starting my own business. Photography was a hobby for me, but I didn’t think of it as a career. When I actually put aside my fears and filled out my business licence forms, I felt like I was accepting who I was as an artist. I also had to face my fear of rules and regulations, and financial institutions. I’ve always been a dreamer, and the rules of reality feel heavy to me. It felt like a big bold step to turn my work into a concrete business entity.
What do you think of social media? Has it made an impact on your professional career?
I like social media in small doses. I realize how important it is to business, so I work on embracing it. But it’s good to keep it in balance. I try to focus much, much more on face-to-face relationships. I think that is where the real value lies. Social media has impacted my business because it is a way that I amplify my work. I think of it like a loudspeaker, or a tool. But I never ignore the real work that is going on behind the scenes, or behind the Facebook, twitter, or Instagram accounts.
If you were ever to start again, would you do anything differently?
If I was to start again, I would seek help in business logistics earlier. When I was first starting out as a business owner, I thought I had to do everything all on my own. When I asked my peers for help, I found that I could get out of my trouble zones much faster. Instead of flailing with my books, for instance, I could seek help with the problem from someone who was really good with numbers.
What do you see for the future?
I see myself strengthening my passive income streams. I sell my work on BigStock and iStock, and I’d like to increase these sales so that it gives me more cash flow to work with in the business. I see myself working with a wider network of female entrepreneurs.
What’s one piece of advice you can tell our readers?
One piece of advice I have is that competition is good. I really value competition these days, and think it is healthy. The roots of the word compete actually come from the Latin words “com” meaning together and “petere” meaning seek. So compete means to seek together. Competition is healthy, fun, and can lead to the greater good of all involved.