Welcome to Take it Personally! It feels so surreal l to even say that because this podcast has been an idea floating around in my head for who knows how long. And most recently it’s been something that I have talked about in theory, but now it’s out in the world! Thank you so much for tuning in.
I wanted to welcome you to the podcast and give you a little behind the scenes to what you can expect from me and this podcast, and also a little more information about me in case you don’t know me or you are wondering why you should even listen to me in the first place!
My name is Maddie Peschong, and I am a photographer in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I love it here and have actually lived in the Midwest my whole life. Now my husband and I and our two kids call it home, and we don’t see ourselves leaving anytime soon. I have been a photographer for about 8 years. I started doing portraits, seniors, families, and like a lot of photographers, I started out not charging to get my feet wet to see if I liked it and really to just practice (which is what I would definitely recommend to others starting out – shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot some more). Eventually I started charging for my services and swore I would never do wedding photography…and now I shoot about 10 weddings a year.
One of the things that has changed in my business over the past year or so is that I have shifted more toward branding photography, and that’s really where my heart is. My background is actually in social media and digital marketing, and I fell into photography totally by accident. I went to school for journalism and was interested in writing, and social media was just becoming a thing at that time. When I finished college, I got an amazing opportunity to work for Wells Enterprises. They sell Blue Bunny Ice Cream, and I ran their social media accounts. I learned so much from that position and still looking back, I can’t believe how lucky I was; it was a dream job.
All the while at that corporate job, I was doing photography on the side. And that was all I intended it to be; it was a great creative outlet for me. I am far from formally trained, but my interest was peaked. I went out and got a camera and taught myself whatever YouTube and Google University could teach. I liked photography enough to keep shooting and learn new things, but it was still just a side project for me.
From Side-Hustle to Full-Time
After a few years, Jeff and I decided to move back to Sioux Falls as we planned to start a family soon and wanted to be closer to our own families. I worked hard to get a job at a really great digital marketing agency that was my dream job in the area. When we were planning our move to Sioux Falls, I remember having a conversation with my mom and Jeff and both of them said, “You’re not going to try and do this photography thing full-time right? Because there are a lot of photographers in Sioux Falls.” And they were right, there are a lot of photographers in Sioux Falls, but I just remember thinking: a) the amount of people doesn’t matter and b) watch me. At the time, I was really excited about my new marketing position and wasn’t planning to pursue photography full-time. But there was this voice in the back of my head that was saying I could do it if I wanted to, and “watch me.”
It didn’t end up happening until a few years later, but I eventually left my full-time job to do photography full-time as my business had grown to where I couldn’t balance both anymore. My business was booming, and so I had to pick one. And that’s what I did. It’s been an incredible transition to full-time entrepreneurship, and I think that is due to the brand I have built over time – a brand that can thrive even in an industry and in a city where there are a lot of photographers.
So long story long, that is how personal branding was first introduced to me. I knew I had differentiated myself, literally just based on my personality, my weirdness, and my quirks to book clients and make a lot of money. And I think when you find your “thing,” the thing that works for you, you want to tell everyone. That’s the position I am in right now, and that’s how this podcast came about.
Lately I have been shooting more branding photography than anything else, and I have been working with other women business owners on that exact same thing that I did for the last 8 years to grow my business. I’ve also been doing more education and letting people know that personal branding can work for them and their business.
There’s nothing better than not only doing what you love and what you are good at and what you are meant to do, but also simultaneously believing that there is enough for everybody. And when you build your business from the perspective of personal branding, it is really easy to believe that. You discover that people who book you and want to work with you, are your people. They aren’t the same people that will book your friend who offers a similar service, and her people aren’t yours and won’t book you. And that’s okay; there is enough to go around.
There may be topics that come up in this podcast that may have you asking how it relates to personal branding, but hang with me. The way I see it, everything is personal branding – every touch point, every interaction, every email, every part of the client experience, it’s all personal branding.
Take it Personally Podcast
Some things to expect: I will be here every week (though I can’t promise life won’t get in the way). But in one way or another, I’ll be here. And interview shows will also happen! I can’t wait to bring other entrepreneurs onto the podcast to talk about what their zone of genius is and what gets them excited, so stay tuned!
Some things you can’t expect: This podcast won’t be perfect, and honestly, that’s hard for me. I’m not sure that I am a perfectionist, but I have a hard time putting things out into the world that aren’t really, really great. I want this podcast to be perfect and for you to listen without having any sound quality issues, or weird noises, or anything like that. But the reality is I’m not a professional sound editor, I’m not a professional speaker…I’m really not a professional anything if we are being honest. But I am learning to be okay with that, and I hope you are okay with that too! I can promise you that this information will be valuable and actionable, and it will be a lot of fun. I am so thankful you are letting me be a part of your day, and I hope you like the upcoming episodes. See you next week!
If you love this podcast, I would love if you would support it. Screenshot it and share on social media, leave a review on iTunes, subscribe to the podcast so you are alerted when a new episode drops, or join the conversation in my Facebook group (under Take it Personally Podcast). If you have any ideas about the show, any feedback, or if you want to be a guest on the podcast to share about what lights you up, I would love to hear from you! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.