ur co-founder and CEO, Michael Rangel, had the pleasure of speaking one-on-one with one of our very own Novo users, Kristelle Boulos. Michael believes that one of the best ways to support small businesses is to speak with their founders to learn more about what they need in their business finances and beyond. In a recent article he published about the interview, Michael says, “My favorite part of my job is speaking with small business owners across the U.S. Not only do they have awe-inspiring stories about how they started and grew their businesses, but they offer a refreshing candidness on what it takes to succeed as a business.”

Kristelle is a lifestyle and wedding photographer, but, as she says on her website, she’s “not just a photographer.” She prides herself on her ability to get to know her subjects personally and tell their story. “Photos are more than 2D images,” she says. “They can take you back to a specific place, time, and feeling. I started out hoarding memories for myself, and now I am so happy to be a photographer for others and help them create their own ‘memory capsules.’” 

Kristelle has been using her camera as an instrument for storytelling for more than 15 years. She says it all started with her first cell phone, which had a tiny two-mega-pixel camera. However, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she considered pursuing her photography full-time. In the last two years, her business has skyrocketed. 

Throughout the conversation, Kristelle shared five key takeaways for other small business owners to help them succeed in their passions:

Let your business idea find you

Your passions, or the things you keep coming back to, are the most valuable source of inspiration you have, and one of them may just be a future business endeavor. For Kristelle, photography was her passion, but she didn’t realize she could make a living off of it until her own wedding. She realized she could have an impact on others, and when the pandemic hit, she was able to step back and reflect. Out of this reflection, her business was born. 

Trust the numbers

When deciding whether to pursue your business full-time, believe what you’re seeing in your business. Kristelle says, “The moment I felt I was ready to quit my job was when my income as an employee matched the revenue I was doing with photography. That happened in September 2021, and I thought it was an outlier month. Then, in October, November, and December, I kept going above what I was making as an employee. At the end of the year, I looked at my business’ financial trends, and thought, ‘I need to trust the numbers and follow my passion.’” If you’re consistently seeing high revenue and other key metrics, it may be time to quit your day job. 

Be intentional about the work you choose to take, and set substantial goals 

While it may be tempting to take every job that comes your way for the money, you want to choose clients that are aligned with your vision. Saying yes too many times means burnout and a lack of focus on your real goals. “Which opportunities are you going to work on, and which are you going to say no to help you reach your goals faster?”

In fact, Kristelle says the best goals are the ones that are audacious and go beyond just getting more clients. Sure, business is important to an entrepreneur, but what’s more important is building an ecosystem in which your business can thrive. Kristelle, for example, is working on learning how to create a course so that she can teach others like herself how to start a photography business. 

Improve your mindset 

Kristelle says this is her most important piece of advice. Updating your mindset will help you to let go of limiting beliefs. For Kristelle, this improvement meant getting comfortable with talking about money. Where are you uncomfortable, and how can you work through the uneasiness to come out the other side? Changing your mindset will help you go further and faster than you ever thought possible. 

Trust your gut 

Kristelle’s final piece of advice is to always return to what you really desire. “Going back to…what you desire is going to connect you to your ‘Why?’ You need that in order to be successful.” Kristelle’s gut led her right into a successful photography business. If your intuition is guiding you to follow a certain path, listen. 

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March 17, 2022
Notes by Novo