Sept 7, 2021
The Mass Business Podcast
Season 1, Episode 7 – The Value Of Self-Educating, wth Shannon Ortega
Our guest for episode 7 is Shannon Ortega and keeping with the theme of season 1 which is “Educate Yourself”, he shares with us his experience of building his business as a mostly self-taught photographer and videographer. Shannon tells us why he’s big on building relationships and how & why he avoids being too “salesy”. We talk about why it’s important to keep educating yourself as well as your referral partners and how Shannon found his ideal type of referral partner. Are you ready? Let’s go!!
Resources mentioned on this episode –
Contact Shannon –
If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on our show please visit us on Facebook or at our Website –
Matt Ward -00:00
Hey folks, welcome back to the mass business podcast. My name is Matt Ward and I am your host. This is where we talk about small business growth and understanding networking and referrals. I’m excited to bring you a great guest today, Shannon Ortega. Shannon runs a team of creatives who believe that stories speak a universal language. Through compelling videos and photography. They help businesses weave a story that gets real results. If you want to hear Shannon, you better be ready. Are you ready?
Intro – 00:47
Welcome to the mass business podcast where small business owners, also known as risk takers share their stories about the growth of their business and themselves. Our interviews and our content is focused on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. I say it all the time. And I’ll say it again today. You never know where your next referral will come from.
M – 01:19
Hey, Shannon Ortega. Thanks for joining us. I greatly appreciate it.
Shannon Ortega – 01:24
No, thanks for having me. I’m super excited.
M – 01:27
Oh, look at that. Barry White voice you got going on. I wish I had a voice for a podcast or YouTube channel video right? blessed with ha Look at that. Now do you work? Do you do you like drink honey tea and stuff before you come on these shows?
S – Um, no. I’m actually drinking coffee right now.
M – Me too. Every day. At least a full Dunkin right here. And today? It’s two. No, they didn’t sponsor the podcast. Thank you very much. We’re working on that. So real quick, just in a quick nutshell. 30 seconds or less tell the audience who’s listening on their podcast favorite podcast app or on YouTube, watching on YouTube, what it is that you do it full frame media?
S – 02:07
Yeah. So here full frame media, we help businesses market themselves using photo and video. Today in age, you know, there’s a lot of technology and I feel that there’s a space online for people to market themselves in a different way using video and photos.
M – 02:21
Awesome. Awesome. So so so many questions about that, right? Because as a as a referral coach and a guy that does a ton of networking, I run into video people all the time. And what I find it’s just me and you, by the way, having a conversation here. There’s no one else listening. What I find is that video people are so creative, That they don’t follow up.
S – Yeah, yeah,
M -I never hear from them. They never check in with me. They never and as a member of the National Speakers Association, I know a lot of people that need video. And so the question begs what’s going on in the business mind of a professional video person? To the point where it sounds like they’re working in the business and not on the business? Is that a common thing in that industry?
S – 03:20
Yeah, it very much is, you know, most videographers or photographers, they’re videographers and photographers first, where I’m a little bit different. I like to call myself an anomaly for a sense, I have a set background in sales for the last 12 years. So prior to 2016, I didn’t know anything about photography or videography. My last job before going full time was as a salesman, a sales agent for an insurance company. So because I have the inverse background, my specialty is the sales side of it. where, you know, other people that grow into the video and photography space, they have, you know, their camera for years and your mind works differently. So that’s actually an area of opportunity for a lot of creatives is the business side of you
M – 04:13
know, I used to always tell the people when I owned a web agency for 16 years in Gardiner, Mass I used to always tell my employees look, we’re not in the business of creating websites, we’re in the business of saving people time. Right? And we always knew I always asked why they chose us and the number one reason was they couldn’t get hold of their current web guy. Now I was the tip of the spear. I was the salesperson, I was the networker. I went to every networking event, feasibly possible, right all throughout Central mass Boston and everything like that. And I always told my team you got to reply within 24 hours. That’s just our thing. I don’t care what it is. You got to get back to them within 24 hours and it’s a mindset in the way you set up a business. That ensures that you do that. Because if you’re chasing the sale all the time, and then you’re working the sale, you can’t chase the sale at the same time you’re working the sale. It’s conflicting. It’s why you see contractors show up to networking groups, they get a bunch of business, and then they never come back. Because they’re hammering the nails, right? I tell people all the time in the Amspirit networking groups that I help build in Massachusetts, I tell them all the time that if you’re looking for a contractor, look for someone who actually has a salesperson on the team, right? Because then they can follow up. They can their job is sales. That sounds like how your company is structured, right?
S – 05:38
Absolutely. It’s, uh, I’m really big on relationships. In fact, a lot of the big jobs that I’ve had in the past were because I’ve had a relationship with the people that were the decision-makers. So my main thing is building a relationship with a potential client. Because I don’t want to be salesy. I don’t want to come across salesy, or just because I’ve seen that in the past, I’d rather sit down with you have a cup of coffee, and you know, you tell me how your business is going, eventually, you’ll remember me as a video guy, and you’re gonna call me.
M – 06:10
I, I swear, we, we were raised together like that, like, I don’t meet people like that. So we have to meet in person, because we have to have a cup of coffee, because that’s gonna happen, that’s totally gonna happen. Tell me about how you you How long have you had your business now.
S – 06:30
So the business started in 2017. Within the last six months, I rebranded everything was going as Shannon Ortega photography, because we’re bringing on different people, I want to be able to have different people show up to projects instead of Shannon. So now it’s full frame media. So we’ve been in business since 2017, mostly as a solo, solo entrepreneur. But we’re looking to grow.
M – 06:59
I love that company name though full frame media, just, it’s just really kind of cool you like in the full frame. I love the play on words with what you do. And that’s fantastic. As you’re starting to grow. What’s your biggest challenge?
S – 07:15
You know, right now, I’m looking to scale the business, I’m at a point where I have contractor photographers that work under the company. But there’s still so much work that needs to be done, and I need more people. So right now, what I’m working on in 2021 into 2022, is scaling the business so that I can bring on more people we can take on more clients, and everyone be happy.
M – 07:41
Yeah. And you know, Ryan McEniff, a previous guest on the podcast said something very interesting about obtaining additional people and scaling a business. One thing he said is oftentimes small business owners look to scale a business in a way… So they try to scale the business before investing in the business. And what they need to be doing is investing in the business before they try and add on the people. Right? So and what he was saying was you got to invest in the people to grow the sales, not grow the sales to invest in the people. Oftentimes, small business owners go the wrong route on that what they’re often trying to do is try and get more sales, but then they can’t work the sales because they don’t have the team. And then the challenge that I did when I was at the web companies, we always tried to have about 150% capacity on work for the employee in the role before we added a second employee in that role. And then they both would end up at like 75% capacity. Right. And so that was a common thing that we would do. You know, season one, we’re focusing on one primary thing through the growth of a small business. And that’s educating yourself. Tell me a little bit about how you do that.
S – 08:59
So just to give you a little background, I bought my first camera in 2016. And prior to that, I had no idea about photography. So the way I learned the most was YouTube. So if there was something I wanted to learn, I log on to YouTube because YouTube is kind of like a search engine too. So if you put in a question on YouTube, you’d be surprised how many videos come up. So I am primarily self taught if you know, if you count YouTube. So I take learning very seriously, if if I don’t know something I’m not scared to tell a client Hey, you know what, I’m not exactly sure how to do that. But I’m gonna find out and I’ll get back to you. I think it’s very important to have communication with your client that way and transparency. So I’m very huge on learning. So before I go to bed, sometimes I’ll pop in YouTube and I’ll take a look at stuff right now because I’m trying to scale the business I’m I’m learning a lot about leadership and profitability. So that’s really what I’m learning right now because of where I want to be in the beginning of 2022.
M – 10:06
Yeah, profitability is key. My good friend Mike Michalowiz wrote a book called Profit First, which is fantastic. It’s all about how do you, you know, take money. You know, it’s income minus profit equals how much you can spend on expenses, and it changed the game in my web business and allowed me to sell it in 2018. For a number that is so crazy, I wouldn’t have been able to get that kind of money. So yeah, you definitely got to think about that. What? What, so you’re learning about leadership and profitability right now? And when it comes to tools in your business, like what? Not not the tools that you use to, you know, in full frame, right media, like to produce a video, but what tools are you using to run your business in an effective way?
S -As far as like software?
M -And yeah, yeah, what, what one tool? Can you share with the audience? That is a game changer in running a business?
S – 11:03
Yes. So, um, right. Now, I would have to say it’s my CRM, my customer relationship management tool, I use something called 17 hats. Oh, yeah. That allows me to do everything that I need to do from emails to invoicing, to appointments to questionnaires, everything you can think of, I can even track time work on a project. So I think that is the most important thing that I have. That helped me stay organized when dealing with my clients.
M – How did you find out about 17? hats?
S – YouTube. Well, so because, because I have a sales background, I knew that when I worked in insurance, I had a CRM there. So I’m like, I need a CRM for my business. So I just sat down and I follow a lot of videographers and photographers. I’m like, what are they using, and because if someone’s using it in the industry that I’m looking to get in, that’s what I should be using. And I found 17 hats and I love it.
M – 12:06
That’s awesome. I use um, I use HubSpot to track my notes. And in my CRM, and I’m a big, I’m not a huge fan of HubSpot as a whole. I’m just a fan of the fact that it tracks the emails that you send, and creates contacts in the system automatically. And then it allows you to create notes and tasks, and reminders. I don’t use it for all the marketing suite of things. I use it for the business management side of things. So that’s cool. 17 hats is an all in one service too
S – It is, I love it. Yeah.
M – That’s good. That’s good. So how much networking are you doing these days, Shannon?
S – 12:44
So right now, I haven’t been doing too much. Within the last six months or so just because we’re expanding the business switching the business name, we just took over a 2500 square foot space. So that’s taken the bulk of the time. Prior to that I was part of a BNIi group where you know if you’re familiar,
M – 13:07
yeah, in person networking, or in zoom with the pandemic, but yeah, weekly networking groups. Absolutely. Yeah, I Amspirit is very similar to that. And, you know, the thing is, with these networking groups, no matter what they are, no matter how often you do them, you just got to keep doing that. Right. And because that consistency, is what drives the referral side of it. So how are you? Are you doing well with getting referrals in your business? And where are those referrals coming from? What type of industry professionals are sending referrals your way?
S – 13:38
So right now, I work with a lot of real estate agents, which the referral network there is a little tough because there’s, they’re pretty much all competitors if you really think about it. So what I do, I’ve make relationships with a ton of different businesses. So I think of all the people that would work with a real estate agent, whether it be a client, a mortgage broker, an inspector, anyone that can that has a touch point with a real estate agent, and I start working with them. And surprisingly, a lot of people send me referrals to their favorite real estate agent.
M – 14:13
That’s exactly what you should be doing. That’s exactly what you should be doing. Because if the real estate agent is the person that’s hiring you, then effectively they’re the client. So you want to go to the source of the referral who can connect you to the agent, which is in fact the mortgage professional, the title attorneys and closing attorneys in Massachusetts, the home stagers people like that, so,
S – 14:38
Yup, even the brokers sometimes I have some great relationship with brokers in the area, and they refer other agents over to me So, it’s it comes in handy.
M – 14:48
And is it challenging for you to sort of educate all these referral sources about what you do and to stay in touch with them on a regular basis?
S – 15:00
Yes, yes, and no. So it’s important to educate the referral sources so much, because I’m a photographer that focuses on business, I get, I still get a lot of referrals for other things that I don’t do. So, one thing I don’t do is like newborn photography, that’s never been interesting. But from time to time, I’ll get a referral for Hey, you know, this person just had a baby. So it’s educating the, hey, this is kind of what I focus on, where I still do wedding photography, and on the other side, but the most thing that I’m growing right now is the business side. So it’s constantly having that, hey, this is what I’m looking for. These are types of clients I’m looking for. So, you know, keep a lookout for something like that.
M – 15:46
As a small business owner right now and just being full, fully authentic to the audience. Because here’s the thing I know the answer. Well, I don’t know the answer. But I know the answer’s the same problem other people listening or having or watching on YouTube. What is your biggest challenge as a small business owner today?
S – 16:05
Today, my biggest challenge is relinquishing control. Because I’ve been doing it by myself, so So long as I’m building and bringing on new people really relinquishing control is, it’s a challenge, because, really, it’s my baby, it’s my vision, it’s I’ve been doing it a certain way. But in order to scale the business, I have to be able to let go of the reins in order for it to grow. So I just brought on an admin. And for the most part, I’ve always done my own schedule. So we had a one-to-one. And she was like, Shannon, you did your schedule for next week. Why did you bring me in? I’m like, I’ve been doing it for so long this way. So. So that’s one of the things of kind of letting go of some things so that I can focus on other things that, that haven’t been able to focus on.
M – 17:02
Yeah. One thing I mentioned on a previous podcast is my philosophy on delegating work in offloading work is to trust but verify. That’s the issue with the controlling piece is that there’s this concept in our head that no one will do it as good as I can. And that’s probably true, I will validate that that’s probably true. But done is better than perfect. And as small business owners, we often don’t get other things done, because we’re too busy controlling these other things. So we control A and B, but C, D, E, F, and G aren’t getting done.
S – 17:45
Absolutely, you said, You said I a really powerful thing that I had to sit down and kind of look at a couple years back that done is better than perfect. When I was working in insurance, I was doing photography part time. And I’m like, I gotta get this camera because this camera is going to get my production value a lot, a lot better, or I gotta get this lens, I gotta get this and that because it’s going to be so much better. Until I realized that a lot of clients, they’re not looking for the best, they’re looking for reliable, they’re looking for professional, they’re looking for trustworthy. Not and I’m not saying that to excuse, the lack of perfecting your craft. But if you focus on relationship building, if you focus on professionalism, if your quality is 80%, there, the clients gonna forgive that, because they trust you, you’re professional, and you’re given the still give them a good product. So I think that’s something that I had to grasp, that done is better than perfect. And I want to get out there and do.
M – 18:51
Well that and I mean 80% of what you’re looking for, it’s probably 140% 150% of what the clients looking for. Like, often times, trying to be the perfectionist isn’t what the customer is even looking for, you know, in the camera to your point, the camera’s the equipment, right? If I’m the customer, you’re doing a video for me, the type of video camera that you use is completely irrelevant to me. The product that you produce is 100% relevant. And that goes to your point early on when we talked about the storytelling piece, which is that’s the most important piece to me as the client, it’s not the camera. I don’t hire you, by the way, I would never hire you because of the camera that you own or bring to the job site. I would hire you because of the vision of the story that you see. And the quality of work I’ve seen you produce right that’s why I would hire you. And I think once we as business owners start thinking about that in a better way, that what we buy and in what we think our customers buy are two different things.
S – Absolutely. Absolutely.
M – That’s awesome. So, if there’s one thing you could change today about your business, I mean, we know what the problem is. But if there’s one thing you could change today about your business, what do you think that would be?
S – 20:26
Um, something I can change today, what would it be? You know, I don’t, I don’t think I would change much. One of the things that when going full time, I think I was very good at learning was learning from other people’s mistakes. So I’ve worked very hard in, in finding out the stuff that could go wrong, and planning for those. So one example of stuff that goes wrong for
videographers is you meet with a client, they want to do video work, you bill them, and they pay you you do the video work. And then later on, they say, Hey, this is not what we wanted. In the videographer, let’s say the videographer 100%, did what was asked. There’s no way no proof to verify all that. So one thing that they don’t do is contracts that we want to do XYZ project. Oh, perfect. Let’s do that. Let’s get into writing to protect both of us. We’ll put in detail what’s expected, what’s the payment. That’s something that a lot of videographers and photographers don’t do. And the biggest thing is, is expectation. That’s where, where a lot of that’s where the disconnect is that the client has a certain expectation. And if it’s not met, and it’s not agreed upon, prior to the start of it, someone’s disappointed whether it be the videographer or the client, someone’s gonna be disappointed. So prior to even going on set, Hey, this is what we spoke about. This is the agreed upon payment, let’s get it in writing. And if there’s any, any, anything that’s off that’s talked about prior to coming out and shooting. So you know, things like that I’ve learned, not saying that I’m perfect, but those are the small things that I’ve learned to, to kind of take on and learn from other people to implement in my business.
M – 22:34
Yeah, and I think that’s a powerful thing for our listeners to hear today. First of all, you got some valuable tools that Shannon talked about, definitely 17 hats. He brought you some incredible knowledge around not being a perfectionist, not holding on to the jobs, opening up your calendar, delegating, outsourcing, not being the control behind every single thing that has to be done. And then also, you know, talking about the quality, also talking about business professionals, professionalism, right, the things that you have to do to be a true business, like a contract. Contracts are not a bad thing, they’re a good thing. They hold both sides accountable. You should do contracts for everything you do, that involves money exchanging hands in business, and otherwise, people are gonna get burnt on both sides. And that’s where relationships fall apart. So if you’re listening about the growth of your business, you know, take into account some of the things that Shannon shared today. And I’m sure he’d be happy to talk to you about the growth of his business whether it’s providing the services that he offers, or even the growth, the arc by which he’s he’s done this now, since 2017. Shannon, if people want to get in touch with you after listening to this on their favorite podcast app, or watching us on YouTube, how can they get in touch with you?
S – 23:58
A couple ways. They can email me Shannon@full frame MediaLLC .com or they can find us on Facebook Fullframe Media LLC, and they can reach out they can interact with some of our content. And I’ll be happy to answer any questions or even sit down for a cup of coffee.
M – 24:14
There you go. cup of coffee got to be a large dunks. That’s what it is. Thanks for joining us on episode seven on the podcast. Shannon. We greatly appreciate you having me here. And to all those listeners out there on the podcast and on YouTube. Don’t forget to interact with us in the comments. Shannon and I will both be commenting back and responding to the comments on this episode both on Facebook and on YouTube. We greatly appreciate you listening and until tomorrow. We hope you have a great day. Go make a sale. Take care everybody.
Outro – Thank you for listening to the mass business podcast where we focus on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. Don’t forget to like on your favorite platform and share out this podcast. This show has been produced by Heather Grant. Music by Cailte Kelley. All rights reserved. I’m your host, professional speaker, author, and word of mouth referral consultant, Matt Ward. Don’t forget the live happy, smile a lot. And high five everyone around you.