Can't Find The Right Words?

Caution: It’s personal

Gina & Beate Chelette

Dear Reader of the PhotosecretsBlog. You know that I am very business oriented. But for me and everyone else it’s not always just about business. Like you I have a family and ‘my own stuff’ to deal with.

Photo by Dorit Thies

Recently I had taken the opportunity to use Gina’s graduation celebration as a reason to offer a special promotion to my client list on all my products and services. The response was astonishing. You either hated or loved it. Some were moved and thanked me for sharing and others said in no uncertain terms that they thought it was inappropriate. So if you just want the business straight up, this post is not for you because it is – personal.

For those who have never heard my story or are relatively new to what I do, let me give you the quick version. As the youngest attendee of a German photography school I went the path that most of you take. I began assisting and did some event photography. Next I secured a paid internship at a trendy publication and was promoted to photo editor. From there I went to start-up German Elle magazine in the capacity as a photo editor but got bored (and I think a bit arrogant.) I immigrated to the US in 1989 and became a rep. I started my own business in 1993 that I sold to Corbis in 2006. On that difficult and trying path I was a producer and ran a stock photo syndication and licensed images into 79 countries. After facing imminent bankruptcy with debt piled up $135,000 high my luck turned and I became the worlds leader in my category and a profitable company. What many don’t know is that all along I’ve been a single mom.

My daughter Gina has just graduated from high school and she going off to college in a month. She has chosen to go to Columbia College in Chicago and it’s shaping up to be an emotional summer for me. My baby is leaving and it’s a bit tougher than I thought it would be.  I’ve raised my daughter as a single parent. Double difficult with my family living in Germany. But irrespective of how hard it was, we made it. Just like you we’ve had our moments and those teenage years were truly a tall order. I suppose my mother was right when she said I was going to have an opinionated daughter just like me. Jokingly I say when they turn nice again – they leave.

What does this have to do with this blog and you? Sometimes I think it’s OK if you let your hair down and allow the world to get a glimpse of who you are outside of  the business world. At the end of the day you do business with people that you like and whom you can relate to. While being in demand and the concept of scarcity are important aspects of marketing and promotion so is the human aspect.

My daughter Gina grew up in my business. We sat together in front of the TV watching Sesame Street and she helped me being seven years old to put stamps on promotional postcards. At eleven she was the sign-in person for my castings and ensured that the line moved quickly. Lately she’s been proof reading my copy for my Tip Sheet and some of my more important letters. Gina is so good at proofing that the idea was born to set up her own business which is what I’d like to introduce to you.

If you know what you want to say but can’t find the right words a proof reader might be your solution. I myself work with a copywriter that I introduced to you in a previous blog entry to do my advertising copy. For the copy that I write myself I need more often than not a proof reader. I know what I want to say and I have a voice but English is my second language.  Even after 20 years I still struggle with sentence structure and grammar. Heck, I am a creative, how perfect do I need to be? Truthfully the imperfection works for blogs and forums, but the important stuff has be at a high level.

That’s where someone like Gina comes in. As an AP English student, a bilingual speaker and an avid reader her command of the English language is incredible. Her specialty is working with non-native English speakers (as in Mom, what are you trying to say here..) and creatives. She’ll check your biographies, blurbs, about us, letters, websites, LinkedIn profiles, blog entries and accompanying text for your promotional mailers. I can’t even begin to tell you how many mailers I get where I know that the business owner is not a native speaker and it sounds not very professional. You only have one chance at a first impression, make sure it’s a professional one.

I am bringing this to you is for a variety of reasons. Many of you need help with your copy and you know it, too. But you don’t have big budgets and you might not have thought about hiring a proof reader. Another reason is Gina is my daughter, she is fast, good and at 18 she is already setting up her own business to help support herself through college. That impresses me and I promised to help her launch.

Please click here to check out her blog/website. She is offering the readers of this blog a special (can you tell who taught her?). For first time clients your first job is 50% off for the first hour. It’s a one hour minimum and after that billing is in 15 minute increments.

And for those of you who can’t write at all. Record what you want to say on a digital recorder. Send your MP3 to a transcription service. Send that file to Gina and voila, there you go. Gina has a professional transcriber she works with.

Again, please click this link to find out more about her proof reading service.

Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Beate, my blog has family stuff on it too. My take on it is that my family is important to me and I'd rather my clients know me as a person and not just a machine that takes photos. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck Gina with your new venture.