This week, I’m joined by Damaly Shepherd, an NYC-based photographer and entrepreneur headed for $500K in revenue this year. From a background similar to my own as an HR recruiter, she has built a successful portrait and branding photography business with an emphasis on next-level experiences for her clients. As a black, female first-generation entrepreneur, Damaly shares with me how her clients, team, and business are centered around BIPOC experiences and gives me a sneak peak at her One Year from Now vision. 

Timecoded Guide:

In this episode, Damaly and I discuss:

  • [4:19] Creating a business model based on a trusted roster of contractors
  • [7:40] Building self-trust to pursue a different business model than industry peers
  • [14:20] Learning how her thoughts about herself, her business, and her team are creating her $500k year 
  • [18:07] Asking questions that create high-value results for her business
  • [29:26] Discovering her One Year from Now vision

How does the structure of your team work for you? 

Damaly is not a one woman show in her business, and she makes it very clear to me during our discussion that she doesn’t want to be. Her team of makeup artists, hair stylists, stylists, and assistants work with her to craft the best experience possible for her clients and for herself. Damaly knows the environment in which she performs best and in which her clients, especially her black and brown female clients, thrive with comfort and excitement. 

“As a black woman who centers black women in my work, it’s very important to me that my makeup artist and my stylist understand black women.” – Damaly

Why are clients coming to you to buy what you’re selling?

Because Damaly doesn’t touch every single step in the process, she doesn’t market her business as if she’s the only thing clients get. Still, clients come to her for her skills and her vision. Photography is so much more than just what’s in front of the camera lens, and Damaly is happy to present her clients with a product and service that fits their needs, builds their confidence, and inspires them to view branding and portrait photography as an art. 

“They are not coming for me to touch everything, but they are still coming for me and that’s such a cool thing for me to see now.” – Damaly

What thoughts have motivated you on your journey?

Living in New York City during COVID, a large portion of Damaly’s business has taken place during an uncertain time of restrictions and lockdowns. Despite the impact this had on her personally, she’s happy to see how far she’s come with positive, productive thoughts. Seeing her worth, believing in the value of what she does, and even letting herself be a little “delusional” with her goals has brought her to a year where she will make $500K in revenue. 

“We have to have the audacity, and honestly that’s because we were programmed not to…We have to decide on our own.” – Damaly 

What does your One Year from Now vision look like?

With $500K feasibly on the horizon, I wanted to know what Damaly sees for the future of her business. Instead of setting goals for financial earnings or client numbers, Damaly is focused on the feelings of security and prosperity for her future self and her future business. She wants to have down time to live her best life, aspires to provide more support for entrepreneurs and photographer like her, and hopes to see simplicity and clarity in her processes and systems. 

“I think that in 2023, on the photography side, there’s going to be a lot more simplicity and automation to what we’re doing.” – Damaly



Learn more about Damaly Shepherd on her website, Instagram, and Facebook

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