At the 2016 Real Property Photography conference, Ciprian was named the ‘Franchise Fast Starter’. To acknowledge this incredible achievement and to learn more about this hard working Franchisee, Head Office asked Ciprian some questions.
What does an average day look like for you?
I have only been in the franchise business for half a year. However, my typical daily routine has changed quite a bit. In my first few weeks, I was spending 70-80% of my time in prospecting – namely searching for potential clients, disseminating information about my business and the services I offer, as well as promoting the overall RPP franchise. These marketing techniques became fruitful and I started setting up meetings with potential clients. These meetings became more frequent and began to take up more time than prospecting. In the next phase, jobs started flowing in and took up more of my time. Currently, most days are the same as I have managed to find my own working rhythm that balances the daily tasks – which now consist of a mix between managing my regular client’s appointments, conducting photo shoots, preparing images for processing, managing my time (to ensure all clients receive their photos within the specified time frames) and managing my finances (invoices, payments, etc.). My schedule varies daily, as the bookings I receive are random. However, the order I complete my tasks is generally the way I have just highlighted – plus the ongoing task of managing incoming enquiries throughout the day.
What drives you to want to take your franchise further?
My past is pretty humble but this has only made me strive to do more, try something new every day and try to make the most of every opportunity. I am spending a lot of time researching new ways I can improve and develop what I am doing. I know if I want to be successful in the long run, I need to be innovative and always stay ahead of the competition. I am glad to live in an era where technology evolves daily. My clients seem to embrace these changes and always want more. They will always want their product to be better and faster and I have to be prepared to meet all their needs instead of continuing to offer the same unchanged product. However, this does not mean I am jumping on every new gadget that is on the market. I do like to research new technologies and ways to take my business further, but I am very careful with my selection. If I do decide to embrace a new idea, it is thoroughly tested and approved by Head Office before being introduced to my clients.
How do you tackle daily challenges that may come up – such as conflicts with scheduling and children?
First of all I do not have children. However, this does not really mean I have too much time on my hands and I definitely do not like wasting time. I always try to be organized, and I keep up to date with my schedule through modern software and apps. My schedule assistant is set up in Google Calendar, which I use to manage my appointments and check them at any time. There are other devices and software available, but I find this very convenient and easy to use. My wife sometimes tells me to add items in my calendar so that I do not forget and schedule something when I am not available. It just takes a bit of self-discipline.
How did you end up in real estate photography?
Before coming to Australia (while living in Las Vegas a while back), I had the opportunity to work as an assistant to a real estate appraiser. Photos of the houses were one of the things the assessor required for his comprehensive reports, and I was hired to assist with this task. Since then, I have loved real estate photography and I promised myself that in the future I would pursue this passion. It took me a while, but now the time has come to keep my promise – and nothing makes me happier.
Can you tell us about a moment when you felt the most accomplished in this profession?
Because I am only at the beginning of my career as a professional photographer, everyday seems like an accomplishment to me. However, I am fortunate enough to have had a few highlights – and those were always when my clients were extremely happy with my finished product. In particular, one client was so unhappy with another photographer’s images that she called me and asked for my help. She showed me the photos she had received – they were nowhere near the RPP standard of quality. Fortunately for her, I am a bit of a perfectionist myself and I can’t leave the photo shoot until I am sure I have done everything I can to accommodate my client’s requests. I have always thought that photography is a form of art, and art is seen and understood differently by different people. Therefore, all I can do is my best and show them my opinion on how I believe the images should be framed.
What was your most difficult situation to date and how did you overcome it?
I seem to have managed to keep away from trouble so far. However, in the beginning (during my first week to be exact), I was in a difficult situation over the phone when a person called and wanted to know specific copyright information that I did not have at the time. I excused myself, got the person’s contact detail and promised to get back to her shortly with the required information. I called Nik (CEO) and asked for his advice, which he provided. I then called the person back and clarified the issue. However, I ended up with another legal question that I did not have the answer to. Once again, I had to apologize and promise to call back. At that point I felt very unprofessional, but I tried to remember that it was my first week and there was no way I could have had the answers to such questions (which I have not been asked since, even though I have the answers now).
If you could give yourself some advice before you started this job, what would it be?
If I were to go back in time, I would tell myself this: “Stop procrastinating, you can do it, you will love it and you will be so good at it!”