Company Name: Joe Wong Photography
Location: Toronto, Canada
Service (what do you do?):I’m a full-time International wedding and lifestyle photographer specializing in emotional, documentary-style images with a modern twist.I’m also a full-time husband and daddy to two beautiful boys.
Number of Years in Business: 5+
What made you start your own business?
I’ve been photographing for over 15 years.I have photographed my own weddings for over 5 years.The first 3 years I was working as a US Equity Trader with one of North America’s largest brokerage firms and photographing my weddings.I left the corporate world and went “full-time” shortly after my first son, Ethan, was born in 2007.Working full-time and photographing weddings full-time was keeping me super busy.When Ethan was born, my focus shifted to spending as much time with family.I was booking so far in advance at that time, it made sense for me to go full-time.So I dropped the “job” and got my LIFE back.
If you had to start over what one thing would you do differently?
I probably would have hired a professional to design my website.I had so much to show couples, but I had no idea how to put it online – the medium that is accessible 24/7 to anyone in the world with Internet access.Instead, I only had a printed portfolio and that limited myself to only local commissions because I was only able to connect with locals.Now that my site is professionally designed, I am able to promote my brand better, update and showcase my recent work, and share large amounts of information internationally!As we speak, my top 10 visitors are from Canada, USA, Hong Kong, UK, Jamaica, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mauritius and India.
What’s your favorite, can’t-work-with-out, item?
I’d have to say my car JI can practically photograph a wedding with any camera and lens, but I’d have to have reliable (and cool) transportation to get me there J !After my car, it’d have to be my Boda Bag lens bag.That amazing invention, made by my friend Jim Garner, has changed the way I document weddings.The bag is so good that I bought it for everyone on my team.You can find it here: http://www.goboda.com/
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
One of my first positions I took after graduating from University was a Business Development position with a very prominent US brokerage firm.Within 6 months, I became the top producer and bringing in more new business than any other employee.A lot had to do with what my Manager told me…
“Stop selling when it’s sold…”
We had a solid product.More importantly I believed in it and I am a firm believer that a great product/service sells itself.So instead of selling our product, I spent all my time cultivating relationships with my high profile clients.
I bring that same mentality when I run my business.When I have my consultations, I’m not selling.I believe my work speaks volumes and the fact that my business is 100% referral based tells me that I am offering something else that is not tangible.I call it JW Experience, which I talk about frequently in my blog.
I spend about 10% of my time talking about my work and products and 90% getting to know my couples better on a personal level.I just love meeting new people and my consultations are more about building a relationship and seeing if we are agood fit for each other.Being a good fit is really important for both the couple and myself.
Which two people (past or present) would you like to meet over coffee and why?
My Grandmother.She passed away about a year before Jeanette and I married.I would love to introduce her to her great-grandchildren…and to spend more time with her.I was out of town for the last few years of her life and I would love to somehow get some of that time back.I miss her dearly.
My Grandfather.I never really got to know him as he passed away before I was born.But I do see a picture of him hanging at my parents’ house with my Grandmother.My Dad is a spitting image of him…and I am a spitting image of my Dad.It would be pretty wild to be able to get a photograph with the 3 of us.
In five words how would you sum up your personality, style, company brand?
Passionate and excited about Life.There you go…5 words.
What would you like your clients to come away saying about you?
I’ll quote what a recent bride, My-Linh, wrote me a few days after documenting her wedding in July, 2009:
“Anyone that has you as part of their wedding is truly blessed. You are truly one of a kind…your attitude in life is admirable… Your family and friends are so lucky to have you in their lives.”
That’s what I like to hear.
On a separate note, I’ve never referred to my couples as clients.I’ve always wanted to break down the ‘business’ barrier between my couples and I.It really is a friendship more than anything so you will never see me write about my couples as ‘clients’.And I’m not their photographer….I’m their “photogra-friend”.
What are your three favorite blogs besides your own and platinumeventsgroup.com?
With a very busy schedule at home, I don’t have much time to visit other websites, but here are three of my favorite blogs:
Seth Godwin’s Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Anyone who runs a business should bookmark Seth’s blog.
Vincent Laforet’s Blog: http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/
Vincent is one of the most influential photographers in the world.His work is mind blowing and truly inspiring.
Chase Jarvis Blog: http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/
Chase is a world-renowned commercial photographer, director that oozes creativity.